Parents of persons found guilty of cultism in Lagos State may be liable for punishment if a bill for a law that prohibits unlawful societies and cultism in Lagos and connected purposes is passed.
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, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN).
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa said that there was a need to differentiate among the various types of cultism in the country.
“There is a 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,” he said.
Obasa further 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 that sponsorship of cultism could not be captured under the bill, saying that some of the cult groups have their sponsors.
Agunbiade who said that the limit of the jurisdiction of the offences could not be limited referred to Section 12 and said that there must be a proof before suspending any student found guilty of cultism.
“Suspension of students without proven guilty is already a punishment.
“There must be proof before suspension. The suspected student should be investigated before being suspended. Parents of students who engage in any cult group should also be liable,” he said.
Gbolahan Yishawu, representing Eti-Osa Constituency 02 said that the Bill was presented as a new bill but said it should have been an amendment bill.
He added that the scope of the bill should be expanded if it falls short of its own intendment.
In his view, Rotimi Olowo representing Somolu 1 explained that cultism has gone beyond the school environment, maintaining that the bill should not be limited to schools but be extended into society.
He cited an example of the Aye Fraternity 8 Day celebration held in his constituency that resulted in the destruction of property.
Olowo posited that some of the police officers were even in cult groups, saying that the bill will nip various cult groups in the state in the bud.
Hon. Kehinde Joseph posited that the bill was not comprehensive enough.
“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 you punished,” he said.
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 looked into.
He said that students in tertiary institutions who are found guilty must be prosecuted.
Desmond Elliot, representing Surulere 1 opined that the bill was not robust to cater for the larger society, saying, “the bill looks childish to me. The bill is supposed to take care of orientation for the children.”
Hon. David Setonji, representing Badagry Constituency 2, said that the issue of cultism is a major challenge in the implementation of laws.
“We have laws and we need to empower the security agencies to implement the existing laws,” he added.