The Bayelsa State Police Command says it has arrested four suspected cultists, who allegedly initiated some minors into banned secret confraternity.
Spokesman for the command, SP Asinim Butswat, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that operatives of its anti-cult unit effected the arrest of the suspects on Friday.
He said the arrest followed credible information from residents of Okutukutu, a suburb in Yenagoa where the initiation took place.
Butswat said that at least three minors aged between 13 and 17, had been identified as new initiates.
“Following a tip off, operatives of Bayelsa State Police Command in collaboration with the vigilante of Okutukutu community, Yenagoa, arrested four suspected cultists on Jan. 10, 2020, at about 0530 hours.
“Their arrest is for allegedly initiating minors into cultism.
“The suspected cultists of ages 29, 21, 23 and 20, all male, are residents of Okutukutu Community, Yenagoa, Bayelsa..
“The suspects were arrested when one of the minors they had initiated informed his elder brother of the alleged initiation.
“All the suspects confessed to the crime and are being interrogated, for further investigation at the Anti-Cultism Unit, State Criminal Investigation Department, Yenagoa,” Butswat said.
NAN recalls that as part of efforts to stem the menace of cultism in Bayelsa, Gov. Seriake Dickson, on March 26, 2018, signed the Secret Cult, Societies and Similar Activities Prohibition Amendment Law 2018.
The new law makes it mandatory for offenders to be jailed upon conviction, for not less than 20 years, without any option of fine.
The Bayelsa House of Assembly had passed the amended bill into law, following increased rate of cultism in the state, especially among secondary and primary school students.
The Bayelsa Police Command had also taken the anti cultism sensitization to schools across the state and urged parents to take their roles seriously to discourage drug abuse and cultism among the youths.