The Lagos House of Assembly yesterday passed a bill banning the activities of cultists in the state. The bill when signed into law, stipulates a 21-year jail term for anyone found guilty of engaging in cult activities. It also stipulates a 15-year jail term for anyone convicted of abetting cultists or who allows his or her premises to be used for cult meeting.
After its passage, the Speaker of the state assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, directed the clerk of the house, Olalekan Onafeko, to transmit the law to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for assent.
The bill titled ‘A law to provide for the prohibition of unlawful societies and cultism in Lagos state and for other connected purposes’, stipulates that a society shall be regarded as unlawful if its members carry out illegal, destructive activities contrary to public policy, safety and peace of members of the public.
Section 3 of the bill states that: “Any person who is a member of an unlawful society or cult, identifies as a member or solicits for members of an unlawful society or cult, attends a meeting of an unlawful society or cult, whether as a member, or an intending member of the unlawful society or cult, commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a term of 21 years imprisonment.”
The jail term also affects anyone who attends such meetings or does any illegal act which may probably cause a breach of peace, disturb public peace or conducts activities in such a manner as to pose a threat to life and property.
The law further states: “Anyone who forms, organises or combines and agrees with anyone to form or organise an unlawful society or cult, manages and assists in the management of an unlawful society or cult or knowingly allows a meeting of members of an unlawful society or cult to be held in any property under his control, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 15 years imprisonment.”
The 15-year jail term further applies to anyone who intimidates or compels people to join a cult group.
“Any person who injures or uses violence on a person to compel the person to join an unlawful society or cult, commits an offence and liable on conviction to a term of 21 years imprisonment.
“Any person who administers or is present at and consents to the administering of any unlawful oath that appears to bind the person who takes it to become a member of an unlawful society or cult under this law, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to seven years,” the law says.
It also stipulates 21 years for any member of a cult group who sets fire on anything or uses firearm or deadly objects including acid and other chemicals in any manner as to cause harm to anyone.
For students in the state, the law, which prohibits campus cultism, says anyone of them who is convicted would face a jail term not exceeding two years.