Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun has declared cultism and social menace in the state as acts of terrorism, warning that his administration would deal with suspected cultists as terrorists.
The governor, who made the declaration at the Akarigbo’s Palace in Sagamu on Friday at a stakeholders security meeting, said his administration has had enough and was ready to deal with the matter once and for all.
“I am declaring cult members and cult activities here as an act of terrorism, I am taking these as a test of this administration’s will.
“I have sounded a note of warning at times past, I am resounding a fresh note of warning to all cult members, to their parents, to their landlords, to their sponsors.
“From today, we are considering cult members and other criminals as saboteurs to the economy of not just this local government area, this town but this state. We will consider them as terrorists, I will deal with them as such.
“I have instructed our law enforcement agencies to smoke these people out, I have told the Commissioner of Police that he has no other job until every single member of this cult is found out,” he stressed.
Abiodun disclosed that his administration would establish a Joint Intervention Squad made up of the military, Police, Department of State Security, Civil Defence and local vigilante to deal with cultism and other related crimes, especially in Sagamu.
The squad, the governor said, would be provided with necessary equipment while its headquarters would be sited in Sagamu Local Government Area of the state.
“Reports show that there has been a prevalence of cult activities in Abeokuta North, Abeokuta South, Sagamu, Ikenne and Odogbolu particularly, we have been dealing with these issues over time.
”But in the last few weeks, we have began to see an upsurge in the cases of inter-cultist rivalry that has resulted in clashes and killings of innocent people,” he said.
The Akarigbo of Remoland and Chairman, Ogun State Council of Obas, Oba Babatunde Ajayi, in his remarks, said that people of diverse culture and religion had co-existed in the town for a long time.
Ajayi said he wondered why few elements in the society should disrupt the peace and progress the town had enjoyed in the past.
He said that the town could not continue to accommodate violence, noting that it was unacceptable.
”What is happening now is not in our culture and it is not in our interest. We have co-existed as brothers and sisters for a long time.
”It is time for parents and guardians to talk to their sons and daughters. Together, we shall overcome these trying times,” he said.
Also speaking, the Seriki Hausawa of Sagamu, Alhaji Garuba Inua, while narrating an incident of a cult clash, said that the crisis was between rival cultists and not a case of inter ethnic skirmish.
He pointed out that the Hausa and Yoruba communities engaged in cultism.
Inua said that his people were ready to work with other stakeholders in restoring peace as they had adopted Sagamu as their own.
Also, the Iyaloja of Sagamu, Mrs Folashade Oduwaye, expressed displeasure on the development.
Oduwaye said the people were now living in fear and no one was safe due to the nefarious acts of hoodlums.
She urged stakeholders to work together to eradicate cultism in the town.