Troubling insecurity profile: Necessity to cut the wings of cultism in Southern Nigeria

Insecurity profile in Nigeria has grown to become a household character in the present featural definition of the Country. The trouble has grown to bear branches of disturbances assuming variant forms. The woes of terrorism ravaging Northern Nigeria, have had its fair impact extending to other parts of the Country. The rising spate of banditry in the Northwest has further grown to compound the woes of terrorism which have ridden the North-east. However, while banditry and terrorism continue to ravage the North, the South has not been spared from its own variant forms of insecurity. The scourge of kidnapping, robbery, gangsterism and cultism have been the bane of the South.

Most recently, the spate of the rise in the profile of mounting troubles from kidnapping, robbery, gangsterism and cultism in the South has become worrisome. The collapse of Police infrastructures following the #ENDSARS campaign has further exacerbated the preponderance of the spreading wings of insecurity in its variant forms in the South. The interlocking connectivity of kidnapping, robbery, gangsterism and cultism holds a strong linkage in the threats that these variant forms of insecurity forces portend against the society. One major brand of the pillars of insecurity which holds strong nexus to the other variants of crimes brewing security threats in the South is the menace of Cultism. This menace has grown over time in the region with lamentable records. The troubling state of the menace of cultism most recently has become a stronghold against peace and tranquility in the Southern part of Nigeria.

The preponderance of the offshoots of the troubles of cultism have continued to evoke fears and panic in the South. Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo are   South-west States which have continued to suffer disturbances from cult activities.  This is just as Rivers in the South-south has also been drenched in the profile of increasing cult clashes.  In Lagos, Agege, Ajah/Ibeju-Lekki, Mushin, Fadeyi, Oshodi, Ketu/Mile 12, Ikorodu, Apapa, Bariga, and some areas in Alimosho among others have been on records with brutal cult clashes which have led to loss of lives with attendant irreparable damages. In Osun, towns where cult activities have attracted records of preponderance include Osogbo, the state capital, Ilesa, Ede, Iree and Ile-Ife. The toll-gate border between Lagos and Ogun States along the Lagos-Abeokuta express-way, have recently become the home for several cult groups.  It is quite insightful that the outplay of cult clashes are usually accompanied by several other criminal misadventures which includes robbery, arson and destruction of properties. The aftermath of cult clashes have always been recorded to leave behind regrets and losses with lasting effects on the society.

The necessity for the Government to wade into the degree of the spread of the tentacles of cultism in the Country is alarming. It is paramount for the government to adopt stiffer security measures against the menace of cultism in the Country, particularly in the South. The spreading wings of cultism in the South if left unchecked without the utmost possible attention required, portends great threats against the Country at large. The preponderance of the spread of the menace holds grave consequences against the atmosphere of peace and tranquility which is paramount for business environment. The capital loss that visited several businesses owing to avoidable clashes related to cult activities, particularly in the face of #ENDSARS protests which was hijacked by cult related gangs, constitute great loss to the economy. The experience of  robbery attacks by armed groups during the COVID-19 lockdown between March and May, particularly in areas in Lagos and Ogun States were unsavoury experiences that speak to the threats that the menace of cultism portends to the society. The fact that cult groups are usually armed with such weapons as riffles and matchets among others, which are instruments for perpetrating crimes, speaks to the threats that the proliferation of these weapons among  rising membership of cult groups portends to the Nigerian society.

It is therefore essential that the Government actively take as a matter of priority, the necessity to address the subject of the preponderant spate of cult activities across the Country. While the menace has found deeper root in the South, it is not out of place to state that just as the woes of terrorism in the North has its sphere of effects in the South, hence the entire Country, the menace of cultism also bears the potency to spread its tentacles across the Country, with its effects felt in the entire Federation.

The present socio-economic state of the Country reflects a bleeding and unhealthy status which demands healing. It is therefore key for the Government to address the troubles of insecurity by stemming down its branches in their variant forms in the Country. As the rising phenomenon of the variant forms of insecurity in the South becomes more alarming, the Government should deploy both forceful security architecture and strategic orientation measures against the menace of cultism in the Country. It is paramount that the Government constitute a stronger operation to track down cult activities in the Country. The operation should give priority to hot spots in the South under the ravaging clouds of cultism. In addition, the Government should urgently commence an awareness campaign to orientate the public, particularly the Youth and the Adolescent on the dangers of cultism both on personal makings and the society at large.

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