Lagos Assembly to amend Anti-Cultism Law

  • To include punishment for cultist’s parent

As the Lagos State House of Assembly begins the amendment of Anti-Cultism Law submitted by the state government, titled “Unlawful Societies and Cultism (Prohibition) Bill, 2020”, it said it would include punishment for parents of cultists found guilty of cultism in the state.

The House made the position known during plenary in Lagos after the Bill had scaled through the second reading through a voice votes.

The Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, said the punishment was to prohibit unlawful societies and cultism in the state As well as for other connected purposes.

“Parents of cultists found guilty of cultism in the state might be liable for punishment, if the Bill for a law to provide for the prohibition of unlawful societies and cultism in Lagos and for connected purposes is passed.

“Though, we will also differentiate between the types of cultism in the country so that we won’t solve one problem and create another.

“We need to look at the way and manner weapons are used. The existing law should be seriously looked into,” Obasa highlighted.

In his contribution, Majority Leader of the House, Mr Sanai Agunbiade (Ikorodu I), said that sponsors of cultism could not be captured under the Bill, stressing that some of the cult groups had their sponsors.

Agunbiade contended that there must be a proof before suspending any student found guilty of cultism, noting that suspending a student without proven guilty was already a punishment.

He submitted that there must be a proof before suspension, because the suspected student should be investigated before suspension, while parents of students who engage in any cult group should also be liable.

In his submission, Mr Gbolahan Yishawu, (Eti-Osa II), said the Bill was presented as if it was a new one, instead of an amendment Bill, adding that the scope of the Bill should be expanded, because it fall short of its own intendment.

On his part, Rotimi Olowo, (Somolu I), explained that cultism was being practiced not only in the schools’ environment, adding that the Bill should not be limited to schools as it supposed to extend into the society.

Olowo, cited an example with the Aye Fraternity eight day celebration held in his constituency, which led to destruction of property.

The law maker alleged that some police officers were even in the cult groups, adding that the Bill would nip various cult activities in the state in the bud.

Also, Mr Kehinde Joseph, argued that the Bill was not comprehensive enough, stressing that female beggars, who sat along the road were impregnated and they gave birth to children by these guys, so he will also support the proposition that parents of those found guilty of cultism must be also punished.

Mr Yinka Ogundimu (Agege I), said that cultism was very rampant in primary and secondary schools, adding that the Bill should consider punishment for those found guilty, while rehabilitation of the minors found belonging to the group should be looked into.

Ogundimu maintained however, that students in tertiary institutions, found guilty of cult activities must be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.

In his own contribution, Mr Desmond Elliot, representing Surulere I, said the Bill was not robust enough to cater for the larger society in the state, insisting that the Bill looks childish as it is supposed to take care of orientation for the minors found culpable.

Subsequently, Speaker Obasa, committed the Bill to the House Committee on Judiciary, and directed it to report back to the House in three weeks.

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