The Police in Anambra, Southeast Nigeria on Monday said they have arrested four suspected cult members and recovered incriminating items including a pump-action machine gun from them.
The command said one of the arrested suspects had been on their wanted list for cultism related offences.
Haruna Mohammed, a Superintendent of Police and Public Relations Officer of the Command said the suspects were harvested from different hideouts across the state by operatives of the Special Anti-Cult Squad (SPACS).
Mohammed said the suspects had confessed to being members of Black Axe and Vikings Confraternities.
“Command Anti-Cult Unit raided various hideouts and blackspots following intelligence reports and arrested three suspects as follows; Nwabuwanne Maduka 22, Anayo Ikechukwu 21, and Gozie Okoye, 37,” he said.
“Suspects were arrested at Amawa village Ogbunike in Oyi LGA of Anambra State and they voluntarily confessed to being members of cult groups, exhibits recovered in their possessions included one pump action gun.”
The fourth suspect, one Chukwuweike Ndupu, 26, a native of Atani, Ogbauru Local Government Area who resides at Oye Olisa, Ogbunike in Oyi LGA has been on the Police wanted list in cult-related cases, the police spokesman said.
“He has voluntarily confessed to being a member of Vikings confraternity and exhibits recovered in his possession included one locally made single barrel pistol and one live cartridge.”
Mohammed said the cases were under investigation and those culpable would be charged to court while urging members of the public to provide timely information for prompt response in a time of emergency.
Cultism has been a source of major security concern in Anambra.
Professor Au Nnonyelu of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Business School Awka, at a recent Media Symposium in Awka noted that the prevalence of cultism in Anambra was a big question mark to the claim that the state was the safest in Nigeria.
Nnoyelu blamed the spate of cultism on poverty and unemployment which had resulted in a struggle for access to control resources that were non-existent.
He called on Anambra State Government to urgently address the issue of youth unemployment as a way of controlling cultism in the state.
“It is for contestation among the youth for resources that are inexplicable, the government has to address it because it is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode anytime soon,” he said.