By Chioma Onuegbu
UYO—GOVERNOR Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has signed into force, the Cultism and other Violent Behaviour Prohibition Order 2018 with effect from March 12, 2018.
Governor Emmanuel said the security issues reported recently in Etim Ekpo, Ukanfun and Ikot Ekpene Local Government Areas of the state necessitated the security re-enforcements.
Speaking during a brief signing ceremony at Government House in Uyo, he said the Cultism and other Violent Behaviour Prohibition Order 2018, was actually to re-energise the already existing Criminal Code Law, Cap 38 Laws of Akwa Ibom State dated 2000.
The governor who drew his powers from Section 70 of the Criminal Code Law,Cap 38 Volume 2 lawa of Akwa Ibom(2000), said although only three councils have security flash points, adding that the law was binding and will be enforced in all the 31 local government areas of the state.
He said: “Let me also implore other councils that have actually embraced peace to continue to show that in their conduct and everything they do, because we want peace in every part of this state.”
Earlier, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Uwemedimo Nwoko, lamented that the problem of cultism and other unlawful societies in the state had become a major source of concern to the governor and the whole people of the state.
This he said it for the same reason that the governor made the order to prohibit and ban the operations and recognition or activities of all cult group as they are henceforth banned and prohibited in Akwa Ibom.
Speaking further, Nwoko said the Secret Cult Prohibition Law provides a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment for the culprit.
He said having reviewed the law, they “Came to terms with the fact that these penalties are not adequate as of today to serve as a deterrent to people who are found guilty of this law and so His Excellency will soon propose to the state House of Assembly an amendment to this law to raise the level of penalty and sanctions that will follow contravention of the laws.”
Nwoko decried the growing number of groups in the society in secondary schools and even at other strata of the society
He said, “Just like any other law, it will serve no useful purpose if members of the society do not rise up to support the law because even security agencies will need the cooperation and information from various communities, schools, school principals to identify the operations of these groups.
“Some of them are operating in secret and it is the responsibility of every Akwa Ibomite and every resident of Akwa Ibom who identifies or knows where they operate and the name under which they operate to bring to the knowledge of the security agencies and the government for effective action.”