From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa Police Command has clamped down on cultists in Yenagoa , Bayelsa State capital and its environs as part of efforts to rid the state of crime and criminal elements.
Consequently, a special anti- cultism squad has rounded up 32 suspected cultists at various locations in the state.
According to the Command’s spokesman, Asinim Butswat, after conclusion of investigations the suspects would be charged to court in line with the Bayelsa State Anti- Cultism Law.
Butswat in a statement issued on Friday warned that the Police would ensure the full weight of the law is brought to bear on all those caught violating the law.
“Bayelsa State Police Command notes with dismay the resurgence of cult related activities and clashes in the State, most especially in Yenagoa and its environs.
“As a proactive measure to forestall future cult clashes and violent crimes and to ensure law and order is maintained, the Command has set-up a Special Squad to confront cultists and violent criminals in the State.
“The Squad has since commenced aggressive crack down on cultists and violent criminals. So far, thirty two cultists have been arrested and upon conclusion of investigation will be charged to court under the Bayelsa State Anti-Cultism law.
“Consequently, all cult leaders, patrons and members, including minors, who have been influenced into joining the various cult groups are hereby warned to desist forthwith from any gathering, initiations and campaigns as well as any activity to promote the interest of their groups irrespective of its being violent or non-violent.
“The State Police Command is not unaware of the open and hidden involvement of prominent individuals supporting the activities of the cult groups.
“The Command wishes to state clearly and unequivocally that henceforth their perceived positions of elevation will not protect them if found violating the law.
“The Public is hereby advised to take particular note of sections 1,2,3,4 and 6 of the Bayelsa State Secret Cults/Societies and similar activities (Prohibition) Law, 2012, which provides for the prohibition of secret cults and sundry offences with punishment ranging from 5 to 10 years imprisonment without the option of fine.”