Over 500 cultists in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital on Monday renounced their membership of various cult groups allegedly involved in violent crimes in some parts of the state.
The process of renunciation was witnessed by the Leader of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Peter Akpe, the Special Adviser to the Bayelsa State Governor on Oil and Gas/Bayelsa Volunteer, Hon. Bonny Ayah, the Special Adviser on Scholarship and Hon. Jeremiah Owoupele.
Also in attendance were the Chairman of the State Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee, Engr. Igofo-Enieni Samson, the Chairman of the Ijaw Youths Council (central zone), Comrade Tari Porri and the Special Adviser on Security, Spirro-Jack.
The event, which was organised by the state security outfit known as Bayelsa Volunteer headed by Comrade Douye Koroye, was organised as part of the effort of the state government to give second chance to members of cult groups to renounce and avoid lengthy jail term if arrested.
Comrade Koroye explained that the Bayelsa Volunteer with the assistance of the State Government decided that the only proper way is to give youths a second chance at peace and proper lifestyle, noting “nobody will victimise anybody. We are here to renounce cultism and do the right thing.”
Hon. Peter Akpe, who is the leader of the State House of Assembly explained that the decision by the State Assembly and the Governor Seriake Dickson administration to pass the Bill amending the 2012 anti-cultism law was based on the need to strengthen the police to arrest and prosecute suspected cultists.
According to Akpe, “nobody is interested in killing any repentant youths of the state. As you denounce, it ends your era of shame and evil. Cultism will not take you anywhere. Cultism is for the weak minded youths. Anything you take by shedding blood will be taken from you by shedding your blood.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of the IYC, central Zone, Tari Porri, argued that the Youths of the State should shun cultism and focus their energy at emerging a political force by contesting elections into local government councils and state assemblies in 2019.
Porri told the repentant youths that the umbrella body of Ijaw Youths under his leadership has resolved to support any Ijaw youths interested in vying for political positions in 2019,” but what the IYC will not do is involve themselves in the case of cultism or any Ijaw youths arrested by the police over membership of a cult group. “