By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ado-Ekiti—The Ekiti State House of Assembly yesterday passed a law prescribing the death penalty for anybody found guilty of engaging in cultism, while also revising upwards punishment for those aiding and abetting the practice.
The House also passed the 2017 Revised Appropriation bill into law at plenary on the floor of the House, at the Assembly Chamber in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, yesterday.
The Secret Cult (Abolition and Prohibition) (Ammendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced by the House Leader of Business, Hon. Akinyele Olatunji, who called the notice of the House to the incessant killing of students by cultists at the higher institutions in the state, especially the Ekiti State University, EKSU, in recent times.
He said Ekiti State was known for peace and that “we will not allow any group to turn it to death trap area.”
He expressed appreciation to “the peace-loving governor of Ekiti State, who has taken urgent steps to forward the bill to the House.”
Speaker of the House, Hon. Kola Oluwawole, said: “We cannot fold our arms while some people would constitute themselves as a menace in ending lives of innocent people of this state.
”It is an everlasting sorrow for someone to lose his child or relative. The bill will reshape the lives of our youths. It will touch those who intend to join any secret cults and those who intend to take another person’s life.
“Those people that we are representing will have peace of mind that their lives and those of their children are safe. The bill considers very seriously the negative consequences of such action because of the irreparable loss of lives involved.”
The original bill was said to have been promulgated during the first term of Governor Ayodele Fayose, was amended from the previous seven-year imprisonment for convicted cultist to death penalty, while the punishment for people who aid or abet the crime rose from five-year imprisonment to life imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the report of the House Finance and Appropriation Committee on the State 2017 Revised Appropriation Bill formed the basis of the passing of the bill into law.
The revised estimate stood as N93,091,856, 034.41, as against N94,456,399,143.40), as approved in the original budget of the year.
According to the lawmakers, the importance of the bill was to re-allocate funds to projects that were of paramount importance to government and to accommodate other important projects that were hitherto not in the approved budget, “so as to re-strategize toward achieving a better result in the area of revenue generation; to address any other issue of importance observed during the course of implementing the budget under review.”