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Promoting Good Governance.

Cross Rivers State Assembly says cultism worse than deadly diseases, recommends Death Sentence

TIRED of incessant cultist attacks, Cross Rivers State Assembly is considering death sentence against any member of cult groups apprehended by the security operatives in the state.

As such, the state lawmakers have commenced a process to review the April 2002 Anti-Cultism Act passed into law by the Donald Duke, former governor of the state.

According to a report by Punch, the Cross River State Public Order Prohibition of Secret Cult And Offensive Weapons Bill 2019 was sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Joseph Bassey, in Calabar, the state capital.

“Cultism has become a top killer factor in the state, even more deadly than some diseases,” Bassey said. “The killing of young Crossriverians on campuses is alarming and we must take steps to address it.”

The lawmaker stated further that aside from defining who a cultist is, “this bill seeks to outline a stiffer punishment for any individual who is arrested for involvement in cultism to set as a deterrent to others.”

While serving, former United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon  advocated against capital punishment, saying, “…death penalty has no place in the 21st century.”

In October 2017, Antonio Guterres, the current UN Secretary-General noted that “The death penalty does little to deter crimes or serve victims,” thus appealed to member nations which are yet to forbid the practice to urgently stop executions.

His position was further affirmed by Andrew Gilmour, the UN Chief’s Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights during an event at the UN Headquarters, New York, United States.

Nigeria, recorded a higher number of deaths according to 2017 Amnesty International Global Report on Death Sentences and Executions. The report revealed that 621 Nigerians bagged capital punishment in 2017.

Meanwhile, Bassey argued that the bill would stop arbitrary attacks on campuses which often lead to the death of students.

In his remarks, Elvert Ayambem, the lawmaker representing Ikom II State Constituency, stressed the need for more stringent punishment stressing that it was not enough for the bill to sentence cult culprits to a few years in prison.

According to him, death penalty for one or two persons would deter the rest from the crime.

He emphasised that kidnapping, robbery and cultism have the same endpoint of taking human life, hence the House should resolve on the death penalty for offenders.

“When kidnappers seize a victim and a ransom is not paid, they often   kill the victim. Likewise armed robbers; when they break into a home and there is nothing to rob, they kill the victims.

“Accordingly, the same is applicable to cultists who by the end of the day also kill. So, I maintain that the death penalty is spelt out for any offender,” he noted.

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