Amnesty coming for cultists, others in Lagos, says Sanwo-Olu



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Amnesty coming for cultists, others in Lagos, says Sanwo-Olu

 Precious Igbonwelundu and Oziegbe Okoeki



 

THE Lagos State government on Tuesday moved to rid the nation’s industrial hub of cultists and other criminal elements. It offered to grant them amnesty.



Breaking the news after State Security Council meeting, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said considerations were on the table by his administration to offer criminally-minded elements a window to turn a new leaf.

He said the amnesty window would be made open before the end of the year, advising cultists to take advantage of the gesture to avoid the wrath of the law.

According to the governor, the Council came up with the amnesty idea after it discovered cultism as the greatest security challenge confronting the Centre of Excellence. He said: “The security council believes we can open up the period of amnesty for them. We want them to come forward to turn a new leaf.  I do not want to use the word rehabilitate.”

The Nation reports that a similar window was offered cultists by former Lagos Commissioner Imohimi Edgal last year which saw over 700 renouncing their membership of various cult groups while assorted firearms, other dangerous weapons were recovered from Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Bariga areas of the state.

No fewer than 20 persons have been killed, several others injured and properties worth millions vandalised in cult clashes across the state since September.

Also, hundreds of suspected cult members have been arrested mostly during raids carried out after each clash.

Notable of such clashes were that of one Aliu Lamidi, 29, who was hacked to death on October 21, at Chukwuma Hotel in Babashola Street, Itire. Several vehicles were set ablaze during the clash.

Six persons were also killed during cult clashes involving Aiye and Eiye cult groups at Ikorodu and five others were murdered at Oworonshoki within a week in September.

There was also a violent clash at Ajah within the same period.

Sanwo-Olu assured law-abiding residents there was no cause for concern on the ongoing Exercise Crocodile Smile being conducted by the Nigerian Army, adding that it was aimed at ensuring their safety and security.

The governor said there was intelligence on the presence of criminals around Atlas Cove and jetty areas, assuring them that these were being closely monitored to prevent pipeline vandalism.

He said the government would take closure of street gates seriously because of breaches, adding that Community Development Associations (CDAs) and Community Development Committees (CDCs) would be communicated over the issue.

Sanwo-Olu said: “The police have asked those who want to engage in street parades and carnivals during this festive period to seek permission.

“We want to keep all the gates open during the day and ensure that they are manned at night.  If they are found under lock and key, notices will be given to them and thereafter such gates will be removed.

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On the menace of motorcyclysts, the governor said the government would aggressively enforce the Executive Order on one-way.

“We will continue to aggressively pursue forfeiture and arrest of Okada and vehicles flaunting the law. Okada are restricted to some areas and they must maintain such. They should avoid routes they are not allowed to ply under the law,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu promised to act on articulated vehicles parking under bridges, under powerlines and other unauthorised places.

The governor urged residents to exercise patience as regards the traffic situation in parts of the state, noting that the police, LASTMA, officials from public works and road construction workers were doing their bits to ensure free flow of traffic in and around construction sites.

He said Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) who have been returned to the roads in the state would function between 12noon and 3pm.

The governor assured residents that they VIO would not operate at traffic peak periods.

Amnesty coming for cultists, others in Lagos, says Sanwo-Olu

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