The Lagos State House of Assembly said on Tuesday that it would amend Anti-Cultism Law submitted by the state government by including punishment for parents/guardians of cultists found guilty of cultism.
The House made the submission during plenary in Lagos after the Bill had gone through the second reading through votes of voice.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the new title of the Bill submitted by the state government is “Unlawful Societies and Cultism (Prohibition) Bill, 2020”.
The House Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, said the punishment was to further put an end to unlawful societies and cultism in the state, and for other related purposes.
“Parents of cultists found guilty of cultism in the state might be liable for punishment, if the Bill for a law to provide for the prohibition of unlawful societies and cultism in Lagos and for connected purposes is passed.
“Though, we will also differentiate between the types of cultism in the country so that we won’t solve one problem and create another.
“We need to look at the way and manner weapons are used. The existing law should be seriously looked into,” Obasa said.
Majority Leader of the House, Sanai Agunbiade (Ikorodu I), also said that sponsors of cultism could not be captured under the Bill.
Agunbiade mentioned that most of the cult groups had their sponsors.
He said that proof must be provided before suspending any student found guilty of cultism, adding that suspending a student without proven guilty already served as punishment.
“There must be a proof before suspension. The suspected student should be investigated before suspension.
“While parents of students who engage in any cult group should also be liable,” he submitted.
Gbolahan Yishawu, (Eti-Osa II) also contributed, he said the Bill was presented as if it was a new one, saying that it should be an amendment Bill.
Yishawu mentioned that the scope of the Bill should be widened, adding that it fall short of its own intendment.
In accordance to him, cultism is what we need to guide against with the information we are hearing on terrorism.
In his view of the matter, Rotimi Olowo, (Somolu I), also explained that cultism was not only being practiced in the schools’ environment.
Rotimi Olowo noted that the Bill should not only be limited to school environments but be extended into the society.
He gave example of Aye Fraternity eight day festival which held in his constituency, which in turn led to destruction of property.
Olowo also added that some police officers are also in the cult groups, saying the Bill would curb different cult activities in the state in the bud.
Also, Kehinde Joseph argued that the Bill was not intensive enough.
“If you see what is going on, especially when this COVID-19 pandemic started, female beggars, who sat along the road were suddenly impregnated and they gave birth to children.
“Who are the people that impregnated them?
“Some of these cult guys did so. I will also support the proposition that parents of those found guilty of cultism must be also punished,” he said.
Yinka Ogundimu (Agege I), said that cultism was very rampant in primary and secondary schools.
Ogundimu said the Bill should consider punishment for those found guilty, while rehabilitative measures of the minors found belonging to any cult group should be looked into.
He, however, added that students in tertiary institutions, found guilty of cult activities must be prosecuted to serve as an example to others.
In his remarks, Desmond Elliot, representing Surulere I, said the Bill was not comprehensive enough for the larger society in the state.
According to him, the Bill looks childish . The Bill ought to take care of various orientations for the minors found culpable.
NAN reports that other lawmakers commented turn by turn on the Bill.
Mudashiru Obasa, therefore, committed the Bill to the House Committee Judiciary, and was told to report back to the House in three weeks.