Wednesday 20 September 2023

The Ilesa cult Tribune Editorial Board

TERRIBLE things are happening in Ilesa, Osun State, where no fewer than four persons were reportedly killed in a bloody fracas between two rival cult groups in separate incidents last week. The victims, were said to have been shot dead during a gun duel that lasted about 40 minutes between the two warring deadly group members who made the affected communities a battlefield and disrupted both commercial and other activities in the ancient town. Armed with guns, cutlasses, broken bottles, knives, daggers, axes and other dangerous weapons, the outlaws descended upon their perceived rivals and threw the town into commotion. Apart from those reportedly killed, about eight persons were severely wounded and taken to  hospitals.

The development caused panic and fear across the length and breadth of the town as even those who witnessed the crisis and managed to escape the bloodbath expressed worries about their fate as the cult groups continued their onslaught. The Imo, Irojo and Bolorunduro areas of the town witnessed continuous gunfire as  residents of the area scampered for safety. The state police command’s public relations officer, Mrs. Yemisi Opalola, confirmed the incident, even as residents of the town lamented that they could no longer sleep with their two eyes closed due to the wicked acts of the deadly ones. In a swift reaction to the incident, the state governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, directed the security agencies to act immediately and bring the lawlessness to an end.

It is saddening that the general insecurity in the country is being further exacerbated by massive cult clashes in Osun State, leading to the reported death of four people. Although the state government instructed security agencies to immediately act to stem the ugly tide, it has to be said that the frequent and incessant outbreaks of deadly clashes is in itself likely a sign of inadequate attention to security concerns by the government. Although cult clashes predate the current government, it is a fact that a society with appropriate structures in place to maintain law and order, with the structures working and functioning as intended, cannot be having the recurrent relapse into disorder as signaled by deadly cult clashes.


We expect the state government to do more than the release of statements to sue for peace, and get the security agencies to restore order and arrest all those involved in the clashes for necessary and appropriate punishment. Cult clashes could not have been perpetrated by ghosts or aliens from outer space. It should, therefore, not be too difficult for the security agencies to identify and fish out those involved if they are indeed serious and committed to doing that. They should track down these criminals and make it possible for law-abiding citizens caught in the outlaws’ crossfire, as it were, to have a breathing space and to go about their lawful activities without panic. They could place a bounty on the criminals to encourage those with useful information on them to come forward. On their part, residents of the state who have information that could help in unmasking and stopping cultists in the state in their tracks should feel free to share the information at their disposal with the security agencies.

The people of Osun State do not deserve to be made to bear additional problems arising from cult violence. They cannot carry the burden of deadly cult clashes with the existing privations and economic meltdown in the country. We expect the state government to ensure that the security agencies truly rise up to the occasion by quickly putting a stop to the clashes and ensuring that the perpetrators are arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law. Non-state actors should not be allowed to make the state ungovernable.

The Ilesa cult clashesy.. By Tribune Editorial Board


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