By Eyo Charles, 26 August 2015
Calabar — Renewed nocturnal and nefarious activities of hardened cultists, including kidnappers in Cross River State, have given many, including state government officials, sleepless night.
This is why the speaker of the state House of Assembly, John Gaul Lebo, said that the planned review of state laws by the Assembly will make the twin crimes in the state punishable by death, through hanging, and make the state unsafe for criminals, especially kidnappers and cultists.
He said: “The upcoming review of the state laws will ensure that Cross River State is not a fertile ground for criminals such as cultists and kidnappers, who flock in here from other states. Penalty for convicted kidnappers and cultists would be death by hanging, once the laws are reviewed.”
He stated this during a media chat to keep the public abreast with activities of the 8th Legislature, adding that cultism was related to kidnapping.
He said that kidnappers were operating in the state because of the obsolete and weak laws, frowning at penalty for kidnapping which presently attracts only one-and-a-half year.
Buttressing the speaker’s worry when he spoke as he paraded suspects at the state’s police command, Calabar, Henry Fadairo, the Commissioner of Police in the state, said 10 suspects from two rival cult groups, namely, Baga Vikings and Black Axe, were arrested for allegedly stabbing one Emmanuel Sunday, reported to be a member of Black Axe, to death at a club house in Ogoja.
One of the suspects, Mr Richard Effiok, 30, confessed that he stabbed his girlfriend, Bassey Udoh, 23, to death on May 22, on Nelson Mandela Street in Calabar.
He said that he had to stab her because she refused to collect N1,000 he gave in appreciation for her rendering sexual service to him but she insisted he had to pay her N5,000.
“Bassey is my girlfriend, we have been dating for two years now but I can’t really say if I was tempted by the devil to kill her. When she refused to collect the N1,000, we quarreled, and this led to a fight and I brought out a sharp kitchen knife and stabbed her. I regret my actions, I wish I have not killed her.”
Following this renewed upsurge of cultic rivalry, murder and other criminal activities in the state, Fadairo ordered a clamp down, recently, resulting in the arrest of 150 suspects, 14 of which, he said, were hardened criminals.
According to Fadairo, in the last three months, four persons were arrested for kidnapping, adding that they have made useful and confessional statements.