A peace advocacy and human rights group in Plateau State has decried the unabated criminal activities associated with cultism in the state,calling on Governor Simon Lalong to urgently declare a state of emergency on the menace.
This was as it tasked the Plateau State House of Assembly to immediately prioritize the treatment of the state anti cultism law by working towards its immediate passage for effective and efficient treatment of cultism related cases in the state.
On the other hand,the group under the aegis of Coalition of Plateau State Civil Society for Peace and Human right tasked security agencies to be ruthless with cultists in the state,saying the change of approach had become imperative to end the ugly development.
In a press statement,Thursday,signed by its National Coordinator,Dr Pam Pwajok and National Secretary,Mrs Hannah Golu,respectively,the peace advocacy and human rights group said its positions followed its emergency meeting on the 18/11/2020 where it deliberated extensively on cult activities in the state.
The group, according to the statement,”condemned in the most strongest terms the barbaric senseless and inhuman killings of over 10 young men in a renewed activities of cultism within Jos Metropolis by rival cults within the space of one week.”
“This action is reprehensible and must not be allowed any place in the state,” it said.
“We call on the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Barr. Simon Bako Lalong,to as a matter urgency, declare a state of emergency on cultism in Plateau,” it said,adding:” We appeal to Plateau State House of Assembly to speedily pass the anti cultism law for the state.”
The group further said:”While we task the governor to liaise with all security agencies to clamp down on this miscreants with every vigor, we urge the security agencies on the other hand to wield a very big stick on cultism with a view to defeating the menace once and for all.”
While commending security outfits in the state especially Operation Safe Haven for routing crimes and criminality,most especially the inglorious herders/farmers conflicts that once enveloped the state,it tasked the security agencies to be ruthless with cultists henceforth,saying it was the best approach to ending the menace just as it expressed confidence on them.
“We have confidence in the security agencies operating on the Plateau,especially Operation Safe Haven to deliver on this urgent and important task. We urge them to rise to the occasion the very way they handled the once incessant farmers/herdsmen conflicts and other heinous crimes within their mandate,” it said.
It added:”We kindly appeal to all the security agencies to collaborate and rescue Plateau citizens from this menace that is threatening the security and peace of the entire state.
“The activities of these cultists have gone out of hand in recent time and must be stopped by using maximum force if we want to achieve meaningful results.”
According to the group, ” For some obvious reasons, our judicial system is incapacitated and unable to give these criminals maximum punishment due to lack of sufficient evidence or adequate law to prosecute them hence security agencies need to rise up to this singular challenge of cultism bedeviling the state.”
It regretted that:”The activities of these cultists have led to the death of several productive young men from rival groups and even innocent persons who were caught in cross fire.”
“Available information to us indicate that these groups of cultists perpetuate all the dangerous crimes ranging from armed robbery, kidnapping and extortion while hiding under this deadly and evil association called cultism hence must be stopped once,” it claimed.
” We in the civil society and human rights organizations wish to pledge our total support and maximum cooperation to our security agencies in this fight to enable them sanitize our dear state before it becomes ungovernable.
“We stand by them and will provide valid information that will help them in prosecuting this war against cultism,” the group declared in the statement.
It tasked the governor to provide necessary support to all the security agencies in the state to enable them prosecute the war against all criminal activities in the state.
” We therefore want to finally appeal to Governor Simon Bako Lalong to provide the necessary support to all the security agencies to enable them defeat this crime once and for all,”it said.