No fewer than 15 cultists belonging to different cult groups have openly denounced their membership of cultism in Diogbe community, Igbo Etiti local government area of Enugu State.
The cultists, whose ages range between 18 and 25 years, before now had engaged in various crimes and vices within the community and its neighbourhoods.
Administering an oath of denunciation and undertaking on the cultists yesterday in the community, the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed Danmallam, urged the repentant cultists to shun acts capable of bringing them in conflict with the law.
Danmallam, who, was represented by the Police Public Relations Officers, SP Ebere Amaraizu, urged the community members to accept their misguided sons wholeheartedly; adding that the police would not accept people stigmatizing them for any reason.
“This is part of the Command’s Police Public Relations Department outreach called Police Campaign against Cultism and Other Vices (POCACOV) programme meant in countering narratives of cultism and social vices amongst youths by turning them to be better citizens.
“Our youths must resist temptation of yielding to negative influences of friends and peer groups if they will become champions tomorrow.
“Also, I will enjoin you to know who your friends are and the kind of life they live to avoid getting involved as well,’’ he advised.
Danmallam described cultism as an envelope containing many crimes such as armed robbery, murder, kidnapping, rape, drug related crime; while advising youths to always reflect on the positive sides of their future.
Earlier, the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Uchenna Anikwe, said that he and his cabinet members had been battling cultism in the last five years in the community and had spent a lot of resources on security.
“Before five years ago when we started to fight this monster called cultism, the community witnessed all sorts of evil and this negative development discouraged our illustrious sons and daughters not coming home then.
“However, today, we thank God that our effort is being crowned by these our misguided sons coming out willingly to denounce cultism and its accompanying evils and be good and peaceful indigenes of the community,’’ Anikwe said.
According to him, for any indigene of the community in any form of cult group, there will be no hiding place for the person or persons any longer in the community.
Mr Nestor Ezema, the chairman of Post Primary School Management Board, said that the state government was fully out to kick-out all forms of cultism and unruly behaviours among students in the state.
Ezema, who was represented by Mrs Nkechi Ngwu, urged everybody especially parents to rise up against unruly behaviours among children and start monitoring the type of friends they keep in school and at home.
Rev Fr Victor Ozioko, a Catholic Priest in the community, admonished the repentant cultists to draw closer to God and learn how to make it in life through the grace of God.
“The church is here to support you in all positive ramifications and draw you closer to God; while for those of you who are willing to learn a trade, craft and skills, the Church will support you.
“I must thank the traditional ruler and others for ensuring that peace and security return to Diogbe and these number of youths are salvaged from destruction,’’ Ozioko, who is in-charge of St. Charles Parish,” Diogbe said.
A resident of the community, Mama Veronica Ugwu, noted that the community had been filled with great joy for their repentant children as well as answer to their prayers for youths to end cultism and other deviant behaviours.
One of the repentant cultists, Kingsley Nwafor, advised youths to avoid evil friends and all forms of “worthless wickedness’’; while being focused in their pursuit in life.