Commissioner of police in-charge of Delta State, Alkali Baba Usman is, no doubt, facing a herculean task. Aside the incessant criminal activities of cultists in major areas of the state, he is also saddled with the onerous task of checkmating the nefarious activities of not just other criminals but, the recent uprising amongst some agitators for the creation of sovereign state of Biafra.
From all indications, he has lived up to expectations and is poised for an onslaught against all forms of crime and criminality in the state. He spoke with our Crime Editor, Emma Nnadozie, recently, in Asaba. Excerpts:
INTRODUCTION: Cultism has become a social dilemma. Some refer to it as a religious or social group with socially deviant or novel beliefs and practices. The group owes uncommon allegiance to their leaders. The struggle for influence, hegemonic supremacy, control and protection among cult groups is the fundamental and primary cause of the skirmishes and orgy of cult related killings and maiming of perceived enemies.
Another factor that has prompted cultism is land speculation and speculators. There is also clannish behaviour, these are people who, for the sake of vengeance, gather and unleash attacks on people.
In Delta, we have taken the war against cultism to their camps. We have had diligent clamp down on cults in different locations.
In Oghara, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad raided cult hide outs and arrested 48 members. At Agbor, another cult hot-bed, about 9 cultists were arraigned recently and are facing the wrath of the law. At Jesse, about 13 members of Sparrows Junior Eye, SJE, were arraigned in July, 2015.
More so, at Ibusa, cult members engaged a SARS team, threw stones at their Hilux van and damaged the back and front windscreen. At the end, two of them were nabbed. As a follow up, the command monitored and arrested 33 male and 2 female members of Supreme Vikings confraternity also at Ibusa. At Okwe, we nabbed 9 suspected Aiye 1977 A.S,H. Dodorima cultists during their meeting.
On the whole, over 252 cultists have been arrested since the beginning of this year and majority of them have been prosecuted and convicted. We also succeeded in dealing with several cult-related killings. For instance, last September at Obiaruku, one Ife Akachukwu, 21, was shot by rival cultists while another unidentified boy was found dead after sporadic gunshots by rival cultists groups.
At the same Obiaruku, one Albert Onukaba, 28, was killed by suspected cultists. The three incidents showed that rival cultists were on a vengeance mission.
At Kwale, the story is the same. One Ifinwa Analuwe, 20 was stabbed to death by suspected rival cultists while in another incident, the acting chairman of Uvwie LGA, Chief Stella Otiotio was attacked by armed irate Uwvie youths suspected to be cultists when she ran into them while collecting illegal tolls and levies from unsuspecting members of the public. In addition, we arrested six suspected Aiye cultists in Warri.
We will not relent in our fight against cultism. In this regard, we appreciate the cooperation of well-meaning individuals and stakeholders in the state for quality information which has helped in stemming cult tide in the state. I would also appreciate security agencies and the local community vigilante groups for their various efforts at curtailing cultism and other violent crimes in the state.
I must add that the motivation and encouragement from the IGP and AIG Zone 5 cannot be overemphasized. Of particular note is the interactive session on Police Community Partnership in crime Prevention and Control for Credible Youths held recently in Asaba by the AIG Zone 5.The youths who came in their numbers were sensitized on the need for synergy and collabora-tion in crime prevention and control.
Necessary for mention is that response time to distress calls has been reduced to five minutes due to the command’s effective communication network and strategic deployment of our men. It is also important to mention that the level of cooperation has increased proportionally with the command’s achievements and this has bestowed public confidence and trust on the command.