The Ekit State House of Assembly has passed a law prescribing death penalty for anybody found guilty of engaging in cultism, while also revising upward punishments for those aiding and abetting the practice.
The House also passed the 2017 Revised Appropriation bill into law at plenary on the floor of the House, at the Assembly Chamber in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, on Tuesday.
The Secret Cult (Abolition and Prohibition) [Ammendment] Bill, 2017 was introduced by the House Leader of Business, Hon. Akinyele Olatunji, who called the notice of the House to the incessant killing of students by cultists at higher institutions in the state, especially the Ekiti State University (EKSU) in recent time.
He said Ekiti State was known for peace and that, “we will not allow any group to turn it to death trap area.”
He expressed appreciation to, “the peace-loving governor of Ekiti State, who has taken urgent steps to forward the bill to the House.”
Speaker of the House, Right Hon. (Pastor) Kola Oluwawole, said, “we cannot fold our arms while some people would constitute themselves to menace of eliminating the lives of innocent people of this state.
“It is an everlasting sorrow for someone to lose his child or relative. The bill will reshape the lives of our youths. It will touch those who intend to join any secret cults and those who have the intention to take another person’s life.
“Those people that we are representing will have peace of mind that their lives and those of their children are safe. The bill considers very seriously the negative consequences of such action because of the irreparable loss of lives.”
Others who also spoke, including the deputy speaker, Right Honourable Olusegun Adewumi; Honourable Titilayo Akerele, Honourable Sina Animasaun, Honourable Dayo Akinleye, Honourable Cecilia Dada and Honourable (Dr) Samuel Omotoso, agreed that it took a lot of efforts to raise a child from the cradle only to watch him killed in the name of cultism.
They added that the bill was right as well as the House’s decision for its express passage.
Honourable Afolabi Akanni from Efon, particularly, called the attention of members of the House to the activities of “Yahoo and 419 boys” who he said wanted to turn Ekiti State to their hiding place.
He said security agencies should be awake to their duties over the menace.
The original bill, said to have been promulgated during the first term of Governor Ayodele Fayose, was amended from the previous seven-year
imprisonment for convicted cultist to death penalty, while the punishment for people who aid or abet the crime rose from five-year imprisonment to life imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the report of the House Finance and Appropriation Committee on the State 2017 Revised Appropriation Bill formed the basis of the passage of the bill into law.
The revised estimate stood at Ninety-three billion, ninety one million, eight hundred and fifty six thousand, thirty four naira and forty four kobo. (N93,091,856, 034.41), as against the sum of ninety-four billion, four hundred and fifty six million, three hundred and ninety-nine thousand, one hundred and forty three naira and forty kobo (94,456,399,143.40), as approved in the original budget of the year.
According to the lawmakers, the importance of the bill was to re-allocate funds to projects that were of paramount importance to government and to accommodate other important projects that were hitherto not in the approved budget, “so as to re-strategize methods towards achieving a better result in the area of revenue generation; to address any other issue of importance observed during the course of implementing the budget under review.”