No fewer than 500 youths on Monday converged on Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, and denounced their membership of various cult groups in the state.
The youths, who are from different local government areas in the state, said they were motivated to renounce their membership following various opportunities created by Governor Seriake Dickson for youth empowerment.
They lamented the evil of cult activities, saying they were deceived to join the secret groups by some of their leaders. They, however, thanked the state government for bringing them out of darkness. They also vowed to assist security agencies and the state government in fight crimes in the state.
The youths took their stand against cult activities at a brief ceremony organised by the Chairman of the Bayelsa State Volunteers, Mr. Douye Koroye, at the BSV’s office in Yenagoa.
The repentant cult members were received by Koroye, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Boma Sparo-Jack; Majority Leader, State House of Assembly, Dr. Peter Akpe; the Central Zone Chairman, Ijaw Youths Council, Tare Porri and other Dickson’s aides such as Jeremaiah Owoupele and Bonny Aya.
Koroye declared that the youths, who took anti-cultism oaths administered by Spero-Jack and signed denunciation forms, would be enlisted into the special squad of the state volunteer service.
He said Dickson required the youths to steer clear of crimes to enable them to achieve their potential and contribute positively to the development of the state.
He said the amended anti-cultism law passed recently by the House of Assembly was a demonstration of Dickson’s commitment to end cultism as it strengthened punishments for convicted cultists.
He said persons, who voluntarily renounced cultism with a sincerity of purpose, would not be punished, adding that the state required peace for development.
Akpe, in his remarks, urged the youths to rise above cults and take advantages of the various opportunities in the oil and gas sector.
He said Dickson was doing everything possible to destroy “the cancer called cultism”, adding that cultism is demonic since its activities take place mostly at night.
Addressing the youths, Akpe said, “Cultism will take you nowhere and that is why your decision to renounce it is in the right direction. It is a killer of destiny. It is a destroyer of lives. Nobody in his true senses will decide to stab and shoot people. It tells you that there is an evil force behind you.”