By Ike Uchechukwu – Calabar The Nigerian Navy Victory Ship (NNSV) has apprehended over 42 suspected cultists during initiation at Akpabuyo LGA of Cross River state. The suspects who were arrested by naval personnel were handed over to the Cross River Government for further investigation and prosecution.
Briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Calabar, the Commander of NNVS, Rear Admiral Vincent Okeke, said the suspects were arrested on Sunday, May 24 through an intelligence report by concerned persons. Okeke represented by Capt. Ibrahim Gwaska, said the “informants” tipped off the navy standby team that the suspects were gathered in Akpabuyo local government area of the state for initiation and other nefarious activities.
According to him, intelligence gathering revealed that it was evidently clear that there was going to be a clash between the Klans and Black Axe confraternities. His words: “We are here to do a routine handover of 42 suspects to the Cross River Government representative, in a swift move, the base responded through a tip-off and cordoned the area in Akpabuyo.
In that raid, we arrested 61 suspected cultists. “On arrival, preliminary investigations were been conducted and having concluded the investigation, 42 out of the arrested 61 persons were confirmed to be cultists accordingly.
“It is on this regard that we will be handing over the suspects to the state government and officials of the Anti-Cultism and Kidnapping Unit for onward investigation and prosecution,” he said.
In a related development, on May 24 2020, the navy also arrested a wooden boat laden with 130 drums of palm oil smuggled from Cameroon alongside 10 suspects The State Security Adviser, Southern Senatorial District, Mr Ani Esin, who received the suspected cultists, lauded the Navy for a job well done.
Esin hinted that the Navy acted swiftly on the tip off that was given to them. Esin said: “As a state government, we are doing our best in ensuring that the issue of cultism is dealt with squarely. “We are going to hand over the suspects to the relevant security agency for onward investigation and prosecution.
“For few days now, we have been on operation with other security agencies in making sure that all suspected cultists are arrested and prosecuted accordingly, ” he said.
Esin thereafter, handed over the suspects to an official of the Anti-Cultism and kidnapping Squad, Mr Ogini Chukwuma for further prosecution.