By Bernard Tolani Dada, Uyo –
In its resolve to rid the state of undesirable criminals, Police in Akwa Ibom state have arrested no fewer than 35 cultists belonging to two different cult groups operating in Ukanafun, Etim-Ekpo and Onna Local Government areas of state including a Pastor of one of the new generation churches.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Akwa Ibom State Police Command, DSP Bala Elkana, who disclosed this to newsmen in Uyo during an interview said that the cult groups were responsible for chieftaincy and political tussles in the local government areas.
According to the PPRO, 15 of the cultists arrested in Ukanafun and Etim-Ekpo on October 29, 2017 were charged to court and remanded at the Ikot Ekpene prison, while 20 of the cultists were arrested in Onna on October 30 pending when they will be charged to court.
Elkana who said the arrests were made possible through intelligent reports from members of the public and tactical operation of the anti-robbery and kidnapping squad of the command explained that Ukanafun, Etim-Ekpo and Onna LGAs have been identified as a flash point of cult activities in the state saying that some were traced to be members of the two different cult groups namely the Isakaba and Ekpat cult groups operating in the LGAs.
The PPRO disclosed that while a Pastor in one of the new generation churches in the state, Pastor Victor Ufot Udofia aged 50 is the leader of the Isakaba cult group, a 52 –year- old man who paraded himself as youth, Victor Okon Andrew is the leader of the Ekpat cult group.
According to Elkana, the Ekpat cult group activities have a link with the chieftaincy crisis in Ekwe community in Onna local government area where the people could not install their village head till now.
The image- maker of the Command said members of the cult groups were responsible for series of crimes committed in the three LGAs including armed-robberies and kidnappings
“If you look at the crisis in Ukanafun, Etim-Ekpo and Onna is either chieftaincy or political. But the crisis in Onna is political”, he stressed adding that the two cult groups employed or engaged the youths as members and used them for most of the attack.