The end to cult related violent killings in parts of Edo seems not to be in sight despite government’s several security measures and the resources so far committed towards tackling the menace. As we speak, the number of cult related deaths in the state this year especially among youths has reached a frightening level that stakeholders fear the situation might get out of hands.
About two weeks ago, another round of cult war broke out in Benin whereby unofficial sources put the casualty figure at about thirty.
The battle is usually between the popular Aye, Eye and Maphites who have their strongholds in the various universities and colleges in the state.
College of Education, Ekiadolor, near Benin; Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma; Auchi Polytechnic Auchi and Ekosodin, the off campus area of the university of Benin are the notable hotbeds of cultism and related evil practices in the state.
The recent one which broke out in Benin, no doubt has caused serious tension in the state to the extent that students of higher institutions and some none student suspected to be members of these dreadful subgroups have now resorted to self exile.
Investigations have revealed that some parents are not left out in the effect of the renewed cult war as some of them have abandoned their houses for fear of attacks.
Sources say that the ongoing cult war started in the university of Benin when a 200 Level student Moses Adesina was shot dead during a Jeans Carnival at the faculty of social sciences of the institution .
The ugly incident on campus later prompted the school management to ban all social activities on campus to stave off reprisal attacks. But recent occurrence which led to the brutal killing of suspected rival group members happened off any campus of higher institutions in the state. A case in point is the brutal murder of a young man in Ekiadolor where there are no students currently on campus.
The flashpoints in Benin include Ugbowo by Osasogie,Upper Mission, Ugbor and Upper Sokponba Road. The recent killing is that of a young man who returned from the United Kingdom on Christmas holiday that was ambushed and shot at severally in silver coloured Mercedes Benz GLK utility vehicle in Benin. The ugly video of the scene showed part of his face,including his right eye opened up by the bullets from his assailants.
In some other cases,the victims bodies are severed before burying them in shallow graves while some other videos showed how the heart of a victim was removed.
The Edo police command spokesman, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor has in a statement asked journalists and citizens to disregard online videos showing the brutal killings, noting that the sources of such videos could not be relied on as they are unverifiable. But that statement did not deny the fact of the renewed cult clashes in the state that have claimed several lives.
The police commissioner in Edo Mr Lawal Jimeta in a chat with journalists after the state security council meeting with the Governor Mr Godwin Obaseki said the police and other security agencies are already strategizing on best way to preventing the clashes and killings.
The commissioner vowed to arrest the situation.
As if the storm was over, but the unexpected happened on Friday at Cook road when a guy called power was shot dead in the ever busy business district,off Mission Road,near New Benin. According to eye witness who did not want his name in the print,
it was a case of lawlessness and lack of respect for human dignity as the killers, three in number rounded up the victim after little exchange of words,brought out a cut to size rifle and shot the young man dead instantly,forcing traders around to run for safety. The painful part of it is that the killers strolled away unquestioned.
Recall that a similar incident happened two years ago when a young graduate was shot at the gate of a private university in Benin. The cases of killings in rural communities, including Igueben,Udo,Ewu and others where several lives have been lost and some missing are numerous to mention.
But the question on the lips of concerned citizens now is whether the security agencies in the state should continue to be reactionary in their approach to the ugly situation or be proactive in tackling vice which has taken out a good number of our productive population. Again, is there no way out out of this unwarranted rivalry and killings?
A recent survey by crime reporters in Edo has revealed that in each family or household there is a possibility that at least one person belongs to one cult group or the other. And if this information is anything to go by, the claim is an indictment on the part of parents who pretend not to know what their children do.
What are the parents doing about their children who are involved in these anti social behaviours? How the cultists get the firearms they unlawfully on their victims is another source of worry because police have in the recent time carried out various mump up exercises of illegally a quoted arms and ammunition. What benefit or pleasure do those involved in cultism and killings derive in destroying fellow humans and how long would this continue?
There is no known book written by anybody in which benefit or gains of belonging to a secret cult group is enumerated as against the peace and progress free men enjoy.
Cultism, is nothing but a self destructive adventure which has sent so many promising young men and women to untimely graves. It also has adverse effect on the socioeconomic life of the state. The productive age group is being wasted thereby causing a drawback in the economic life of the state. Majority of Edo youths are not free from the evil practices. Even some who managed to travel abroad to have a new lease of life find it difficult to return to their fatherland. They still entertain fears of being hunted down by rival groups members. Some prefer to live in jail abroad than to return to the country even if government is offering them all the basic necessities of life. Some who were lured or conscripted our checks revealed are willing to come out of it but are unsure of what becomes of them after taking the risk.
Those in Europe and America are not willing to return to their fatherland but rather prefer to suffer any form of hardship abroad just to escape persecution from cult groups back home. As a means of checking the ugly trend, deliberate efforts must be made by the government to discourage prospective members of these cult groups from joining them. This can only be achieved through the proper education of our children and wards on the dangers of cultism. The time to act is now.