20 suspected cult members in police net in Akwa Ibom

The Nigeria Police Akwa Ibom Command, says it has arrested 20 suspected cult members in Onna Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom that had been terrorising the area.

The spokesman for the command, Bala Elkana, disclosed this while speaking with journalists in Uyo on Wednesday.

Mr Elkana, a deputy superintendent of police, said the suspects were picked through intelligence report by crack team of anti-robbery and kidnapping squad of the command.

According to him, the suspected cultists are picked on October 30 with the assistance from other security agencies in the state.

He said investigation had revealed that the suspects were not only into cult activities but also involved in armed robbery and kidnapping across the state.

The police spokesman said the leader of one of the alleged cult groups, name withheld, claimed be a pastor in one of the new generation churches.

He said that the increase in cult activities in Onna was linked to a chieftaincy tussle in Ikot Ekwe community which had been without Village Head.

Mr Elkana said 15 other suspects arrested in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun Local Government Area  for similar crimes had been remanded in prisons in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of the state.

“We have identified some flash points in the state where activities of cult groups are rampant.

“In a well-coordinated operation with the support of other sister security forces, we arrested 20 suspected cult members from two different cult groups.

“There are series of issues with those cult groups. ‘’They are two rival cult groups in Onna Local Government Area.

“The two faction cult groups employ and mobilise many cult members and use them for most of the attacks and other criminal activities,” he said.

Mr Elkana said the suspects would soon be arraigned in court after investigation into their case must have been completed, next week.

He urged youths in the state to engage in productive ventures instead of cult activities, especially as the local government poll was coming up next month.