Ridwan Oliyide & Aminat Gusanu
Ogun State has in recent times drawn attention to itself as the epic centre of cult activities.
From Abeokuta to Sagamu and Ijebu Ode, different cult groups have several times unleashed mayhem usually against rival cult groups while causing despair amongst residents in the state.
The increasing cult activities have been linked with the high rate of drug abuse amongst youths in this state.
In 2021, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. General Buba Marwa (rtd), said about 17% of those in Ogun State engage in abuse of drugs and other substances.
Even the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Committee in a 2018 survey has ranked Ogun State as the worst in the prevalence of drug abuse in the South West.
22.4 per cent with the number of drug addict at 4,382,000 The survey revealed that
While the entire South West region, which comprises Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Oyo, Lagos and Ekiti states, had no fewer than 4,382,000 drug addicts representing 22.4%, Ogun takes the lion share of 17%
In March, customs intercepted 18 Units of Cannabis Sativa: 64 sacks and 824 wraps of weed concealed in books, bread and coconut.
The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun had on different occasions issued warning against criminal activities in the state, his warnings however seemed like innocuous menace to the hardened criminals.
Despites setting up the state security outfit, the Amotekun Corps, re-launching the state joint security outfit, code-named OP-MESA, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, donating 55 patrol vehicles, 200 bullet proof vests, 20 helmets and communication gadgets to police as part of efforts to stem the tide of insecurity in the state, cultists still went on prowl.
Investigations by PLATFORM TIMES revealed that no fewer than 64 persons were killed in various clashes between and among cult groups in different parts of the state between 2019 and 2022.
In 2022 alone, Ogun State Police Command paraded no fewer than 100 suspected cultists.
In what seems like a resurgence of cultists’ activities in 2023 and on the first anniversary (March 24) of the death of a dreaded cult leader ‘Tommy’ in Abeokuta, no fewer than 16 persons were reportedly killed by the Eiye and Aiye confraternity groups across the state.
Late April 2023, two persons were reportedly killed in a cult clash that took place in Sagamu, Ogun State while one policeman was also shot in the clash.
At least 24 suspected members of the Eiye, Vikings and Aiye confraternities were arrested in Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Igbesa, Agosasa and Sagamu
On Tuesday, 10 members of the dreaded Eiye confraternity who have been terrorising Sagamu and its environs in recent times were arrested during the operation clampdown on cultists embarked upon by the state police.
The State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said their arrest was in response to the recent upsurge in cult killings across the state.
The Special Adviser on Security to Governor Dapo Abiodun, Olushola Subair has attributed the rise in cult clashes to the aftermath effects of drug abuse among youths in the State.
Subair made this disclosure recently, while speaking at a public event organised the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital.
His words “The issue of drug abuse has been a very disturbing one especially here in Ogun State. We have had issues of cultism, there was disturbance at Sagamu and this hoodlums are always energize by the use and abuse of drugs, it embodies them to make them to do some things that are unimaginable, they see there fellow human beings as mere rat that can be triumph upon”.
“While these people are unemployed they look for every means at which they can satisfy themselves and some of them result to the use and abuse of drugs, that’s why I see this particular conference as a very timely one and should come at this time that we are having it”.
He advised ” there should be more sensitization, more advocacy programmes that will serve as deterrent mechanism and this should be deployed targeting on educating the vulnerable that are prone to drug use.”
Also speaking at the event, the NDLEA Ogun State Commander, Ibiba Odili stressed the need to empower stakeholders with the right knowledge and skills required to combat drug abuse at work place and in the society at large.
Odili said “To tackle the current substance abuse challenges collectively it is imperative for stakeholders to be adequately empower with the right knowledge and skills required for advancement.”
“Multiple studies have shown that the issue of substance abuse in work places impact negatively on the productivity, health, safety and social issue among staff in the general work environment which in turn also will affect the larger society in diverse ways” she added.
On his part, the Zone H, NDLEA Zonal Commander, Segun Oke said that drug abuse poses a threat to productivity and public safety.
Oke emphasized that the abuse of drugs may lead to accidents that may cost lives.
“Drug abuse in the workplace not only poses risks to productivity but also to public safety
“If one law enforcement person is under the influence of drugs, it is a risk to his colleagues because with their arms, and even to himself, he can do what we call accidental discharge and even harm members of the public,” he added.
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