Traditional Rulers in Bayelsa State have raised alarm over increasing wave of cult related violence and killings in some communities and local government areas of the state.
The monarchs pointedly fingered politicians as being behind the upsurge of cult violence in various parts of the state.
According to the traditional rulers, it is disheartening that those involved in cult related violence cannot be reprimanded and punished because they have been made more powerful in the various communities by their godfathers.
The Ibenanaowei of Oyakiri Kingdom, King Joshua Igbagara, the paramount ruler of Okugbe-Isoko Kingdom, King Frank Okurakpo, the Amananaowei of Ofoni, Chief Onakpohor Auditor and the Amananaowei of Toru-Orua, Chief Tounaregha Felagha, in their submission during a meeting with the state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo commended the state government for initiating the meeting and pledged commitment to the fight against criminal activities.
They however identified political godfatherism as a major factor encouraging cultism and called on government to caution its officials as well as increase the welfare package of traditional rulers to enable them play their roles effectively.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo in his remarks described the meeting with traditional rulers from Sagbama as part of efforts by the state government efforts to scale up security in the state.
He urged royal fathers to choose willing and able members of their communities to be part of the vigilante group, with the mandate among others to comb the forests and report illegal camps to law enforcement agencies.
Ewhrudjakpo stressed the need for Bayelsans to learn from happenings in other parts of the country and cooperate with government by intensifying their efforts at monitoring as well as volunteering useful information to duly constituted authorities.
He directed local government chairmen to hold monthly meetings with traditional rulers, noting it that it would contribute to peace and stability in rural communities and the state in general..
In his remarks, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Maxwell Ebibai, expressed concern over the upsurge in cultism and drug abuse in rural areas and also called for efforts to preserve the izon language, which he noted, is fast sliding into extinction.
On his part, the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Development, Chief Thompson Amule, advised the traditional rulers against involvement in partisan politics and taking sides in community development committee (CDC) and youth elections.