Suspected cultists on Monday showed open defiance to ongoing anti-cultism marches in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital with the shooting to death of a policeman along the Tombia area of the state.
The deceased policeman was killed while on security patrol with his unit at about 5pm on Sunday.
The spokesman of the Bayelsa police command, deputy superintendent of police, Asinim Butswat, who confirmed the shooting of the policeman, said the killers were, however, unable to steal his service rifle.
According to Butswat: “Yes, a policeman was shot dead at Tombia. He was shot while the unit patrol vehicle was caught in a traffic jam. He came down to help with the heavy traffic and was shot by the suspected cultists.”
The killing of the policeman, however, came few days after a coalition of Ijaw youth groups took to streets of Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa state to staged a procession against cultism, sea-piracy, kidnapping, bloodshed, drugs and other violence crime that are on the increase in the state.
The march which started from the popular Tombia roundabout climaxed at the Dr. Gabriel Okara cultural center, as the group sensitized members of the public against social vices and calling for the unity of Ijaw people all over.
Bodmas kemepadei, the convener of the group and leader of the Egbesu brotherhood, urged the youths to eschewed cultism, drugs and social vices which are affecting state negatively.
“The message of Tompolo is that it is time for our Ijaw youths to come together as one big family, the incessant and unending cult killings is worrisome, the youths that are dying are Ijaw people, and it is against our norms for an Ijaw man to kill a fellow Ijaw man, so we say no to these vices in our communities, we are calling on our brothers to give peace a chance, if there is unrest then there can be no development.
“We are also calling on our brothers in the creeks to put an end to the consistent attacks on passengers and market boats, kidnapping and pipeline vandalism, we need peace in Ijaw nation if we must attract investors”
Aluzu Ebikebuna Augustine, convener, patriotism advancement and community orientation network, said all hands must be on deck to fight these acts of violence among the youths.
“The menace of cultism and drug abuse is not something to be left to government or a particular individual or group alone to combat, it is something worth showing our collective displeasure.
“We have come out to send a message to those who have sworn to make our state uninhabitable, to tell them that cultism and drug abuse will only bring pain and grief.
“That is why PACON is here to support this march being led by Bodmas Kemepadei and Egbesu brotherhood against cultism and drug abuse in line with our sensitization in secondary schools”.
Representing the IYC was the Treasurer of the central zone, Comrade Beledanyo Barass, who also noted as follows:
“Today, we are calling on all Ijaws to unite and try to resolve our internal issues as a family, we call for the total neglect of cutism ,drug abuse, political thuggery and also for the immediate unconditional release of the vice chairman Ijaw youth council, Comr. Amiebi Turner, and to also encourage our youths to build their capacity in small and medium enterprises”
Meanwhile repentant cult leaders from the different warring groups in the state and ex-agitators who were also present at the rally, also showed their readiness and willingness to embrace peace and restore the unity of Ijaw people.
The convener thanked the DSS, the police, Hon. Israel Sunny-Goli, Preye Oseke, Hon. Prince Jonah Gabriel, Chief Geoffrey Tare Pondi, High Chief Selky Torughedi alias Gen young shall grow and other leaders who contributed in making the event a success.