The Police Command in Anambra says it will leave no stone unturned to rid the state of cultism and crimes associated with it, as Christmas and New Year approach.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr John Abang, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Awka.
NAN reports that 80 suspected cultists were arrested from different parts of the state between Sept. 1 and Sept. 21 by men of the Special Anti-Cult Squad (SPACS), led by CSP Uche Oyinnaya.
Abang had said that SPACS recovered dangerous weapons, including two pump action pistols, 10 machetes, two daggers, one double barrel gun, two locally-made pistols, three live cartridges and cult materials.
He said that 40 of those arrested had been charged to court, 15 screened out and released unconditionally and five under-aged placed under police supervision, while 20 were still undergoing investigation.
The commissioner said that among the suspects was a 16-year-old boy, who was arrested with a double barrel gun in a school compound in Igbo-Ukwu, Aguata council area of the state.
“SPACS, during the period under review, raided various hideouts and black spots where cultists are suspected to be hibernating at various locations within the state.
“The areas include Ogidi/Nkpor axis, Awka/Amansea axis, Onitsha /Nkpor axis, Oba/Nnewi axis, Nsugbe/Nkwelle-Ezunaka axis, Ogbunike/Abagana, Nawfia, Nimo/Abagana axis, Ifitedunu/Awkuzu axis, Amikwo, Nsugbe/3-3 axis and Ebenebe /Ugbenu axis.
“From all the raids carried out, a total of 80 suspects were arrested, out of whom 40 suspects were charged to court, 15 suspects screened and released unconditionally, five placed under police supervision for being under-aged and 20 still under investigation,” he said.
The commissioner blamed the rise in cultism in the state on parental failure, adding that parents were no longer monitoring the movements of their children and the kind of company and friends they were associating with.
Abang said a strong and friendly rapport between parents and children could reduce the involvement of the under-aged in cultism. He, however, warned that any person with proven case of cultism practice would be not only be arrested but prosecuted and be subjected to appropriate punishment.
The police commissioner promised to support SPACS with personnel and logistics to make them brace up for the task.
Aban said that he had discentralised the operations of SPACS across the eight area commands in the state to burst any hideout and arrest suspects anywhere in the state.
According to Abang, cultism breeds many forms of crime in the society, and more importantly, with the approach of the Yuletide.
“We expect a surge in crime due to increased activities but as the Boys Scouts will say, we are ever ready to make Anambra very uncomfortable for cultists and criminals of any guise,” he said. (NAN)