Twelve new cult groups have emerged from different parts of Akwa Ibom State as a ploy to outsmart the law that proscribed the old groups.
The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uwemedimo Nwoko, said this during a three-day seminar for investigating police officers at the Akwa Ibom State Police Command, Ikot Akpanabia, Uyo.
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, had four months ago banned 23 cult groups through the anti-cultism law passed by the state House of Assembly.
Addressing the participants at the closing session of the seminar on Thursday on the theme, “Diligent prosecution of criminal cases,” Nwoko informed the police officers that a new set of cult groups with different names from those that had been outlawed by the government had emerged.
He said the cultists had been operating from different council areas; recruiting and initiating new members daily.
Nwoko said his office was compiling the names of the cult groups and studying their activities, after which it would take legal steps to arrest the situation.
“The police will need enough time to investigate these new cult groups and know their operation before clamping down on them,” he said.
He urged the policemen to make the best of the knowledge they acquired during the three-day training in their operations.
Speaking with journalists, Nwoko said out of 113 cultism-related cases in the state, the police had secured 49 convictions while the rest were pending in court.
He appealed to investigating police officers to back up their case files with the passport photographs of the suspect for identifications in court.
He narrated an incident where some cult members were sentenced to death by the could only for other members of the cult group to begin trouble, threatening law officers during the court sitting.