By Africa Today
A Bill for the prohibition of secret cult and offensive weapons on Tuesday passed second reading in the Cross River State House of Assembly.
The bill which is sponsored by Member representing Calabar South 11 and Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Joseph Bassey seeks for an amendment of the bill earlier passed by the State Assembly, in April 2002 and assented to by then Governor, Donald Duke.
Presenting the bill on the floor of the House, the Bassey passionately argued for the amendment of some sections of the Bill stating that “since the passage of the Bill, more than a decade ago, no one had been convicted or punished for secret cult activities even as cultism activities continue to fester in the State”.
Members who unanimously lamented the security situation across the State called for stiffer penalties for offenders which according to them should serve as deterrent to others.
Specifically, Mr. Elvert Ayambe, Member representing Ikom 2 State Constituency called for the death sentence on offenders while arguing that secret cultists, armed robbers and kidnappers are all murderers and should be treated same way.
Meanwhile, Nelson Ofem, Member representing Yakurr 1 opined that there was an urgent need to reorientate the younger generation and steer their minds away from these vices.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams emphasized the urgent need to address the secret cult menace in the State while committing the bill to the House Committee on Security directing them to hold a wider and publicised public hearing which should have representatives from all the Local Government Areas in the State.
The Security Committee was given 3 weeks to report back to the House.