Anambra cult killings worry stakeholders

The recent increasing rate of killings within Awka, the Anambra State capital, and its environs has become a source of worry and concern to residents.

The situation has continued to pose serious challenges to residents and commercial and economic activities in the area.

There have been killings in Awka since Easter Sunday as a result of cult-related clashes by rival groups, and the killings have continued almost daily.

Over 15 persons have reportedly been killed at different locations within the area and environs.

On Wednesday evening, one person was shot at a petrol filling station at Aroma Roundtable, Awka.

Again, on Thursday morning, another person suspected to be a state traffic official was also shot dead in front of a motor park, also in the Aroma roundabout.

It was gathered that the control for revenue collection and the town union government is always fueling the crisis.

This development has forced some stakeholders in the area to come together to brainstorm on how to tackle the situation to save lives and property.

One of them, the Chairman of Awka Capital Territory Development Agency, Ossy Onuko, expressed worry over the development while addressing journalists in Awka on Friday.

Onuko said the development, if not urgently addressed, is capable of scaring investors and residents who were already enjoying the serenity occasioned by the state governor’s, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo-led administration.

He said, “The spate of cult-related killings in Awka has forced us to review activities and come up with far-reaching resolutions that we won’t be discussing in the media yet.

“The stakeholders have resolved that we will not allow persons to destroy the effort of the state government towards repositioning and regenerating the city into a model of a liveable and prosperous town.

“We are, therefore pleading with the youths and all those involved in the cult-related killings to turn a new leaf and consider that there is no gain in what they have chosen to engage themselves in.”

Another stakeholder and member representing Awka South Constituency 1, Henry Mbachu, said there was an urgent need to separate cultism from crime in order to tackle the recent gun killings without further delay.

Mbachu regretted that most of the youths joined cultism without having an understanding of what they were into, hence the need for the National Orientation Agency and other relevant bodies to embark on reorientation exercises to educate the people on the dangers of entering cult groups.

The lawmaker, who noted that religious leaders, the media and other stakeholders also had a role to play in combating the situation, said a window period has been provided for those who may wish to denounce cultism to do so and embrace peace.

He said, “Most youths join cultism without having an understanding of what they are into, and it is a worrisome development. Religious leaders, the media, and other stakeholders have a role to play in combating this dangerous trend.”

The Transition Committee Chairman of Awka South Local Government Area,  Chief ThankGod Anago, said the killings in Awka City have metamorphosed into an epidemic level that needs to be tackled using multiple approaches.

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