The parents of people found guilty of cultism in Lagos State might be liable for punishment if a bill for a law to provide for the prohibition of unlawful societies and cultism in Lagos and for connected purposes is passed into law.
This was part of the submission of some lawmakers at the Lagos State House of Assembly during plenary on Tuesday, while discussing a bill sent by the Attorney General of the State and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN).
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, said there was the need to differentiate among the various types of cultism in the country.
Obasa said: “There is need to differentiate amongst the types of cultism in the country so that we won’t solve one problem and create another.
“We need to look at the way and manner weapons are used.
“The existing law should be seriously looked into.”
Obasa therefore committed the bill to the House Committee on Judiciary, which was directed to report back to the House in three weeks.
In his contribution, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, representing Ikorodu 1, said sponsorship of cultism could not be captured under the bill, adding that some of the cult groups have their sponsors.
Agunbiade, who said that limit of the jurisdiction of the offences could not be limited, referred to Section 12, adding that there must be proof before suspending any student found guilty of cultism.
He said: “Suspension of students without being proven guilty is already a punishment.
“There must be a proof before suspension.
“The suspected student should be investigated before suspension.
“Parents of students who engage in any cult group should also be liable.”
Gbolahan Yishawu, representing Eti-Osa Constituency 2, said the Bill was presented as if it was a new bill, adding that it should be an amendment bill.
Yishawu added that the scope of the bill should be expanded, adding that it falls short of its own intendment.
“Cultism is what we need to guide against with the information we are hearing on terrorism,” he said.
In his view, Rotimi Olowo, representing Somolu 1, explained that cultism has gone beyond schools environment.
Oluwo said: “This should not be limited to schools.
“It should extend into the society.”
He cited example of Aye Fraternity’s 8/8 celebration held in his constituency that resulted to destruction of property.
Olowo posited that some police officers were even in cult groups, saying the bill will nip various cult groups in the state in the bud.
Hon. Kehinde Joseph posited that the bill was not comprehensive enough.
Joseph said: “If you see what is going on, especially when this pandemic started, female beggars, who sat along the road, were impregnated and they gave birth to children.
“Who are the people that impregnated them?
“Some of the guys did so.
“I will also support that proposition that parents of those found guilty of cultism must be punished.”
Hon. Yinka Ogundimu, representing Agege 1, emphasised that cultism is very rampant in primary schools, saying that while looking into the punishment of those found guilty, rehabilitation of the minors who belong to the group should be considered.
Ogundimu said students in tertiary institutions found guilty must be prosecuted.
Desmond Elliot, representing Surulere 1, opined that the bill was not robust enough to cater for the larger society.
Elliot said: “The bill looks childish to me.
“The bill is supposed to take of orientation for the children.”
Hon. David Setonji, representing Badagry Constituency 2, said the issue of cultism is a major challenges in the implementation of laws.
Setonji said: “We have laws and we need to empower the security agencies to implement the existing laws.”