BY GEORGE OKOJIE, Lagos
Worried by the recent upsurge in cult-related violence in the state, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday signed the bill for the Prohibition of Unlawful Societies and Cultism of 2021 into law, approving 21-year jail term for convicted cultists in the state.
The State’s House of Assembly had in February, passed the anti-cultism bill, which also stipulates 15-year jail term for anyone found guilty of abetting cultists and residents who willfully allow their properties to be used as meeting points by cultists.
Sanwo-Olu assented to the bill shortly after the swearing-in event for newly appointed members of the State’s Public Procurement Agency Governing Board and two Permanent Secretaries held at Banquet Hall in the State House, Alausa, Lagos State.
Other bills the governor also signed into law were the Lagos State Audit Service Commission (Amendment) Law of 2019, Lagos State Public Procurement Bill of 2021 and Coronavirus Pandemic Emergency Law of 2021.
The anti-cultism law repeals the Cultism (Prohibition) Law of 2007 (now Cap. C18, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015) and provides for more stringent punitive measures, as well as makes its application all-encompassing and applicable to the general public, as against the restriction of the previous law to students of tertiary institutions.
Sanwo-Olu said the state had suffered the negative effects of unlawful societies and cultism, stressing that the new law sought to make parents more responsible and show more interest in the up-bringing of their children and wards to ensure that they do not become a burden to the society.
Speaking on the appointment of the procurement agency’s Governing Board members, the Governor said their selection was predicated on their track record of integrity, experience and professional competence.