Cultists in Bayelsa to get 20-year jail term
Henceforth, convicted cultists in Bayelsa State would be jailed for 20 years without an option of fine.
This followed Governor Seriake Dickson’s signing of the bill into law yesterday.
The law is titled the Secret Cult, Societies and Similar Activities Prohibition Amendment Law 2018.
In signing the bill, the governor noted with serious concern, the rise in cult and other related activities in the state, especially in Yenagoa and it’s environ.
Dickson urged the law enforcement agencies to enforce the law in dealing decisively with suspected cultists and their sponsors.
He explained that the amendment to the law, which had existed since May 2012, was necessitated by the urgent need to check the rise in cult activities among youths.
He stressed that the amendment would give the law enforcement agencies more powers to proactively protect lives and property of the residents.
The law empowers the police and other law enforcement agencies to conduct search in the homes of suspected cultists and sponsors, even without a warrant.
Also, building and premises used for cult activities, initiations, as well as the storage of arms and dangerous weapons would be forfeited to the state government.
It equally empowers the government to destroy such buildings and premises, without any compensation to its owners.
The governor enjoined landlords and property owners not to allow criminals and cultists to use their property for crime.
Dickson also urged residents to report all suspicious and cult-related activities to the appropriate authorities.
The state Commissioner of Police, Don Awunah, said the new law would put the state on the front line in the fight against cultism in the country.
According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Francis Ottah Agbo, the police could arrest any person it suspects to be involved in cult activities.
They could also conduct stop and search on motor vehicles, tricycle, boat or any place suspected to be used for cult and related activities.
It further allows the arrest of the occupier of the house where cult activities are suspected to have taken place, or about to occur.
The statement said: “It is totally unacceptable for children below 15, 16, 17, and majority of the youth to be members of one dangerous cult group or society.
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