The Ebonyi State Government has said it will empower over 145 repentant cultists in the state with a view to engaging them and also dissuading them from going back to cultism.
Consequently, the state has ordered the documentation of the repentant cultists on January 21 and January 22, 2020.
The Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, who doubles as acting Commissioner for Human Capital Development, Uchenna Orji, stated this during an interview with journalists, adding that the 145 repentant cult members had been invited for accreditation.
According to Orji, the documentation, which will take place at the Ministry of Human Capital Development and Monitoring Centenary City, Abakaliki, is slated for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Orji added that the documentation would be matched with intensive training by the Entrepreneurship Development Centre of the state’s tertiary institutions and New Life.
The Chairman, Afikpo of North Local Government Area of the state, Okoh Enyim, said the documentation of the cult members, who recently denounced cultism, was the best that could happen to them.
Speaking in Abakaliki on the importance of the empowerment of the ex-cult members, Enyim stated that the gesture would help to stem the tide of cultism and other criminal activities in the state.
He explained that the state had witnessed bloody clashes between different cult groups, which led to the death of many promising youths and the destruction of properties, adding that on assumption of office, Governor Dave Umahi promised to stamp out such ugly activities in the state.
He said, “Before now, cult activities were on the increase in the state. Every passing month, we heard of cult clashes in the different parts of the state and that led to the death of many promising youths.
“Ebonyi was one of the states, where the activities of cult members were on the increase and became a flash point. But today, one hardly hears of any cult-related activity in the state. It has been identified that peer group influence, idleness and drug abuse are some of the things that lead young people into cult activities.
“The governor, on assumption of office, set up the school evangelism programme with notable men of God as members of the committee. The committee toured different schools to preach against cult activities.
“The governor did not stop at that; he also gave a warning that any political appointee or elected political office holder identified as a cult member would be handed over to the police for prosecution. That goes to show his determination to stamp out cult activities in the state and today; his efforts have yielded much fruit.
“Today, in the different institutions of higher learning in the state, students are now free from intimidation and harassment by cult members. Many other criminal activities have totally been eradicated and people now sleep with their two eyes closed.”