Death Penalty for Cultists: Open letter to Cross River House of Assembly

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Introducing the Death Penalty into the anti-cultism laws of the state is a derogation from international law and a waste of legislative ink.

Honourable Speaker sir,

It has been reported in the media that the Cross River State House of Assembly (CRSHA) which you preside over has commenced amendment of the state’s anti-cultism laws to introduce death penalty for cultism.

It is heartwarming that the spate of cult-related killings in the state finally got the attention of the house, sir, considering the number of youths killed daily as a result of cultism. According to your deputy and the sponsor of the bill, capital punishment will stem the trend.

While I commend the house for even broaching the issue, I must point out that cultists, as the house is pretty much aware, have for a while now been having a free rein in the state, killing and maiming without the faintest inkling of reprimand from the government. And true to their dare, there has been little or no arrests or prosecutions for their actions.

We are daily assaulted with news and gory images of cult-related killings in the state, while the state security apparatus looks entirely clueless. Or so it appears. The problem, sir, clearly is not that existing laws are weak. There seems to be more.

Recall that in 2009, governor Imoke ordered government officials to denounce cultism, saying his administration will no longer hobnob them.

Hardly ever! If cult violence is rarely investigated and perpetrators arrested, how then, sir, does the house blame cult-related violence on ineffective laws, when we have hardly enforced existing ones?

Without sounding immodest, sir, cultism is the result of political exploitation in the country. It is nurtured and oiled by the political class, and deployed for their supremacy battles.

At the end of elections, politicians further ‘empower’ these boys by deploying them to motor parks, markets and other revenue-generating points.

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