Over 70 cult members in Ikere Ekiti, Ekiti State, have renounced their membership of various groups following the traditional step taken by the town to eradicate the menace.
The Ogoga of Ikere Ekiti, Oba Adejimi Adu-Alagbado, who noted that those who renounced their membership had been made to swear to an ancestral oath in the palace, said many more cultists, who unleashed terror on the community recently, had indicated interest to do the same.
The community witnessed two cult clashes last month, which resulted in the killing of no fewer than 10 persons, a situation that drew the ire of the traditional council and notable indigenes, who resolved to find lasting solutions.
Oba Adu-Alagbado, who spoke to journalists in Ikere Ekiti on Wednesday, blamed the upsurge in cult activities and crimes on the failure of parenthood and the government, adding that the community resorted to self-help to cleanse it due to the failure of the security agencies.
The traditional ruler stated, “When we found out that we didn’t have the police to assist us, we had to resort to our traditional ways of curbing these things. We offered prayers to our ancestors and the owners of this land. We thank God that we are seeing the results.
“I am happy to tell you that more than 70 of them have come here to renounce cultism and they had to be taken through the traditional oath in which case, if you take the oath here and you go back to such activities, you will answer to our ancestors.
“The prayers are still continuing. Even some of them, who are outside Ikere, have indicated their interest to come and renounce their membership of such groups in the palace. They are coming in droves.”
The monarch said the community resorted to the traditional approach because of the failure of the security agencies, including the police, Department of State Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Amotekun Corps and Peace Corps, to nip the incidents in the bud or come to the aid of the town.
Oba Adu-Alagbado added, “You are aware of two serious incidents where lives were lost in this town. Before the first incident, we used our native network of information gathering to get information, which we passed to the security agencies. Unfortunately, we found that nothing was done for three days. That very week, another round of killings by cultists occurred in Ikere.
“Immediately after that, I summoned an emergency meeting and invited the police, the DSS, the NSCDC and other security agencies in the town with my chiefs and other stakeholders in this palace to ensure that there was no recurrence.
“We asked questions. Some of these agencies said that they were not getting information from the people and that was why for three days, they could not arrest a single person. Unfortunately, there was a reoccurrence after we had sent names to the police.
“In Ikere here, we have the police, the DSS, the NSCDC, Amotekun Corps and Peace Corps, and things were happening in this town without them knowing. It is a serious embarrassment. Ikere hosts the headquarters of the NSCDC and the Federal Road Safety Corps in Ekiti State. We have the DSS personnel, who are supposed to gather intelligence.
“With the current insecurity in Nigeria, you wonder what the DSS does. Is it that they gather information and just sit on it and that the appropriate quarters will not use it? It is really sad.
“We are not just going to stay here and wait for the police, who are not doing anything to improve security for us. The oath that those people took here, there is no soap that can wash it away from anybody. A lot of these youths are misled. We are trying to redeem them in our traditional way. They know what it takes. Ours is to encourage them to change.”