The tea party between the administration of Seriake Dickson and different cult groups operating in Bayelsa State seems to be over as amnesty granted to members last year has collapsed.
Consequently, the unholy activists of the group, which had been in lull since the signing of the amnesty have returned in full force leading to several reprisal killings in some parts of the state capital, recently.
The state government had early last year granted amnesty to repentant cultists numbering more than 600, and promised to engage them in some meaningful trades, a promise that was not fulfilled.
However, the police Command in the state has signified its readiness to tackle the situation as not less than 32 suspected cultists and arsonists in the state have been apprehended in the last few days.
Investigations revealed that 14 of the suspects were apprehended for cultism while 18 others were held over their alleged attempt to burn the palace of their traditional ruler in Oruma, Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.
The suspected arsonists were said to have hatched a plot to raze the palace over allegations bordering on mismanagement of oil money by their king.
It was gathered that the suspects were on their way to execute the plot when a team of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) rounded them up.
It was discovered at the state Police Command, Yenagoa, that the suspects were arrested and brought to the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Hilary Opara.
Mr Opara, who confirmed the development, praised his men for proactively stopping what he said would have thrown the community into a prolonged crisis.
He asked the youth to explore legal means of addressing their grievances instead of resorting to jungle justice.
Mr Opara further confirmed that about 14 suspected cultists were in the custody of the police.
He said while some of them had been arraigned and remanded in prison custody, others were awaiting prosecution.
According to him, the suspects risked 10-year jail term if convicted as provided by the state’s anti-cultism law.
He alleged that some of the cultists were involved in some cases of cult-related violence that left few people dead.
Mr Opara further disclosed that some notorious kingpins who existed in the wanted list of the police had been arrested.
He said they were the reasons behind pockets of criminalities in some parts of the state,especially the state capital.
Describing them as criminal contractors, he said they readily made themselves available for criminal operations.
He named one of them as Ogbogire and said it took the police a long time to apprehend him.
He said on the day he was captured at Biogbolo area of Yenagoa, the kingpin behaved like a monkey as he jumped 12 roofs of buildings only to be caught later by the police.
“He behaved like a monkey. He jumped from one roof to another trying to escape. In fact he jumped about 12 roofs before he was eventually caught”, he said.
Other notorious kingpins, according to Mr Opara, are Razor and Small Boy Danger adding that since they were nabbed, most parts of the city had been calm.
He said both Razor and Small Boy Danger were linked to the cult killings at Agudiama and Akenfa insisting that apprehending them was not an easy feat.
He said most cultists also engage in armed robbery as their source of income.
He described the Swali area of Yenagoa as a hideout for criminals but said the SARS unit of the command had conducted many operations to sanitise it.
“The SARS has been doing a nice job. It has been sanitising Swali. Swali right from time has been notorious. The area has been given us problems coupled with one market completed and allocated by the government but persons to whom the market stalls were allocated refuse to occupy them.
“So, the hoodlums have converted the place to a safe haven from where they operate. But we raid every night. That is why the place is a bit sanitises. Generally speaking, the town is safe. There are night clubs booming and people are moving around without molestation.”
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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