The Cross River House of Assembly has commenced the process to amend the Anti-Cultism Act passed into law by the Donald Duke government in April 2002, the
News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The Cross River State Public Order Prohibition of Secret Cult And Offensive Weapons Bill 2019 was sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr Joseph Bassey, on Thursday in Calabar.
According to Bassey, the bill is seeking not only to define who is a member of a cult is but to actually explain who a cultist is.
He added that the bill was expected to stop killing on campuses by cultists.
He said, “Cultism has become a top killer factor in the state, even more deadly than some diseases. The killing of young Crossriverians on campuses is alarming and we must take steps to address it.
“This bill seeks to outline a stiffer punishment for any individual who is arrested for involvement in cultism to set as a deterrent to others.”
Mr Elvert Ayambem, who represents Ikom II State Constituency, argued that it was not enough for the bill to sentence cult culprits to a few years in prison.
Ayambem added that the death penalty for one or two persons would deter the rest from the crime.
According to him, kidnapping, robbery and cultism have the same endpoint of taking human life, hence the house should resolve on the death penalty for offenders.
He said, “When kidnappers seize a victim and a ransom is not paid, they often kill the victim. Likewise armed robbers; when they break into a home and there is nothing to rob, they kill the victims.
“Accordingly, same is applicable to cultists who by the end of the day also kill. So, I maintain that the death penalty be spelled out for any offender.”