Kunle ADELABU & Wale JAGUN
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Over 200 members of the three main rival cult groups in Ikorodu,; Eiye, Aiye and Buccaneer Confraternities, on Monday, February 12, 2018, surrendered arms, ammunitions and other dangerous weapons to the Lagos Police Command.
This is coming eight months after the repented cultists denounced membership of the deadly groups and formed alliance against crime and other violence acts.
At the exercise, which took place at the Ayangbure palace in Ikorodu, Mr Edgal Imohimi, the Commissioner of Police (CP), Lagos State, hailed the police community partnership for the new trend of renouncement of membership of cult groups by members in Ikorodu division and Lagos State at large.
This list of the voluntarily surrendered weapons includes 15 locally made long guns, 30 bullets, 11 cutlasses, four axes, four double-barrel guns, five short locally made pistols and a sword.
Receiving the youths and the surrendered weapons, CP Imohimi said the voluntary renounciation was as a result of community policing and partnership between the police and the people of the community .
While assuring the repented cultists that the command would do all within its might to ensure Ikorodu was rid of criminality, he said their reintegration into the society has been set in motion.
He said: “Today, we are in Ikorodu at the instance of our royal father and his lieutenants to take over these arms and ammunitions that belong to members of major cult groups who renounced such confraternity.
“We have identified leaders of Aiye, Eiye and Buccaneers, who have come out with their over 200 members to give up arms. What is happening here is that jointly, we are making history.
“All these weapons have been voluntarily handed over by cultists who have renounced membership and have pledged to build Ikorodu and allow peace, security to reign.
“These arms are weapons of destruction and I am happy you volunteered to relinquish them. They would be sent to police armoury.
“I hear there are still few persons in your midst, who do not want to join this drive to shun cultism. Be vigilant. Do not allow them to carryout their activities in Ikorodu.
“I have told my men here to partner you in order to arrest such persons. I know you have fears and uncertainties but I can assure that there is a process. Your renunciation is the first step.
“Thereafter, the Oba will approach the Local Government Chairman to train you in vocational skills before your reintegration into the society.
“There would also be opportunities for soft loans to establish your vocational trade. Ikorodu is the fastest growing part of Lagos State and the world is concerned about what is happening here.
“I hereby call on youths of other communities in Lagos to renounce cultism. I am also appealing to youths to shun hard drugs. If you take these drugs, you won’t have a bright future. Do not allow drug dealers to rob you of your future.
“Anywhere you find a drug dealer in Ikorodu, report to the police and the person would be arrested.”
His Royal Majesty, Oba Kabiru Shotobi, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, said that crime is not in the culture of Ikorodu people and called on the youths to embrace peace
Mr Lanre Olabinjo, the Provost Marshal, Onyabo Vigilance Group and Coordinator, Ikorodu Division For Peace, said renunciations and submission of arms across the division were achieved after several meetings.
On behalf of the repented youths, he pleaded with the governor of Lagos State to provide employment, loans and vocational trainings for them.
He also enjoined the CP to rein in his men to stop what he described as “incessant harassment and extortion of huge amount of money from parents of the repented cultists” which he said could fuel another crisis.
Also, leaders of the three cult groups jointly issued a communiqué, denouncing violence and committed themselves to peaceful co-existence.
According to them, they have abided with the terms of the amnesty programme of the State Government which is is hinged on the willingness and readiness of individuals to surrender their arms, unconditionally renounce cultism and signing an undertaking to this effect.
In return, the repented youths said the government pledged its commitment to institute programmes to assist their disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and provision of reintegration assistance to the individuals.
They, however, implored the government to provide employment opportunities to graduates among them, vocational seminars to untrained members, scholarships for willing members to study and seminar and workshops for willing members.
Also at the event were the His Royal Majesty, Oba Semiudeen Kasali, Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, Mr Muhammed A.A, Assistant Commissioner of Police and Col. BC Ezeh, Commanding Officer, 174 Battalion, Odogunyan, Ikorodu among others.
Kunle ADELABU & Wale JAGUN