150 Persons Lost to Edo Cult Clashes in Five Months — Governor Obaseki

By Israel Adebiyi

The Edo State Government has said no fewer than 150 persons have been lost to cult-related activities and homicide in the last five months in the state.

Governor Godwin Obaseki disclosed this to newsmen shortly after a closed-door meeting with security chiefs at the Government House in Benin City.

Obaseki also announced the ban on the activities of Okaigheles (Youth Leaders) in Edo South Senatorial District of the State, as part of a renewed effort to tackle cultism in the State.

While noting that his government has declared a total war against cultism, he added that a special taskforce of the security council headed by the Director of the Department of State Security (DSS) that will from tonight (Monday night) review every cult related incident in the state has been set up.

According to him: “We have just finished the Security Council meeting where we reviewed the security situation in Edo State since January 2024 with particular emphasis on the security activities in Edo in May 2024.

“From the security management report which was considered in our security meeting, we still have a nagging issue in Edo State which is cultism. The incidence of cultism is very high.

“What is particularly worrisome about cultism is the related homicide that goes with cult-related activities. From January to date, we have lost over 150 people to cult-related activities and homicide. We can’t tolerate and accept this situation anymore.

“The Council today, amongst its decisions, has decided to go full blast against cultists and cultism in the state. We have now passed an anti-cultism law in Edo State and that law will be implemented to its fullest.

“We have set up a special task force of the security council headed by the Director of DSS that will from tonight review every cult related occurrence in the state. We will look at all the data, incidents, perpetrators, and those behind these activities, and will make all resources available and leave no stone unturned.”

The governor threatened that anybody who claim to be an Okaigele in any community will be strictly dealt with in accordance with the law.

In his remarks, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Funsho Adegboye, reassured the governor that security agencies would implement the decision of the State Security Council without fear or favour.

Adegboye, who expressed happiness that the state has passed into law the anti-cultism bill, noted that cultists have had a field day in the state.

He posited that the anti-cultism law has a stiff penalty for anybody involved in the act.

“His Excellency has equally directed that no matter how highly placed any individual is, they will be taken to court and such a person will face the penalty.

“On the issue of the Okaigheles, we have been having problems with them as you can’t even separate them from cultism and the Council has agreed that they are banned.

“Anybody arrested will be prosecuted diligently. Council also agreed to have a taskforce headed by the Director of the DSS,” he added.

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