The community policing strategy of the Lagos State Police Command monday paid off again as over 200 youths from different cult groups renounced cultism, just as they surrendered their arms and ammunition.
With this recent renunciation, the number of cultists that have called it quits with cultism in Lagos has skyrocketed to 860 in the past six months under the present police leadership.
The youths drawn from the Aiye, Eiye and Bucanneer confraternities renounced their membership at the palace of the Ikorodu monarch, Oba Kabiru Shotobi.
Also surrendered were 15 locally made long guns, 30 bullets, 11 cutlasses, four axes, four double-barrel guns, five short locally made pistols and a sword.
Receiving the youths and the surrendered weapons, the state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, said the voluntary renunciation was as a result of community policing and community partnership.
While assuring the repented cultists that the command would do all within its might to ensure Ikorodu was rid of criminality, he said their reintegration into the society has been set in motion.
He said: “Today, we are in Ikorodu at the instance of our royal father and his lieutenants to take over these arms and ammunition that belong to members of major cult groups who renounced such confraternity.
“We have identified leaders of Aiye, Eiye and Buccaneers, who have come out with their over 200 members to give up arms. What is happening here is that jointly, we are making history.
“All these weapons have been voluntarily handed over by cultist who have renounced membership and have pledged to build Ikorodu and allow peace, security to reign.
“These arms are weapons of destruction and I am happy you volunteered to relinquish them. They would be sent to police armoury.
“I hear there are still few persons in your midst, who do not want to join this drive to shun cultism. Be vigilant. Do not allow them to carryout their activities in Ikorodu.
“I have told my men here to partner you in order to arrest such persons. I know you have fears and uncertainties but I can assure that there is a process. Your renunciation is the first step.
“Thereafter, the oba will approach the Local Government Chairman to train you in vocational skills before your reintegration into the society.
“There would also be opportunities for soft loans to establish your vocational trade. Ikorodu is the fastest growing part of Lagos and the world is concerned about what is happening here.
“I hereby call on youths of other communities in Lagos to renounce cultism. I am also appealing to youths to shun hard drugs. If you take these drugs, you won’t have a bright future. Do not allow drug dealers to rob you of your future.
“Anywhere you find a drug dealer in Ikorodu, report to the police and the person would be arrested.”
Earlier, Shotobi said criminality is alien to Ikorodu, thus why youths were being encouraged to renounce publicly.
He assured that their legitimate demands would be presented to the governor for action.
Leader of Onyeabo Vigilante group, Lanre Olabinjo said the renunciation took several meetings with the various cult groups, appealing that the youths, most of whom were graduate, be gainfully engaged.
Speaking on behalf of the repented cultists, Aiye leader, Afeez Sholebo alias Chiny said they signed an undertaking to never return to cultism.
He said, “Our demands to government is that we should be employed permanently. There should be vocational seminars, scholarship to study in any institution in the country, infrastructural development of Ikorodu.”