Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly have passed the Unlawful Societies and Cultism (Prohibition) Bill, 2020 into law.
The bill was passed during the plenary session held on Monday at the Chambers.
Recall that the bill was entitled “Unlawful Societies and Cultism (Prohibition) Bill, 2020” and submitted by the state government.
Having scaled through voice votes, the House said it would include punishment for parents of cultists found guilty of cultism in the amendment of Anti-Cultism Law submitted by the state government.
The Speaker, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, said the punishment was to further prohibit unlawful societies and cultism in the state, and for other connected 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.
In his contribution, Majority Leader, Hon.Sanai Agunbiade (Ikorodu I), said that sponsors of cultism could not be captured under the bill. He said that some of the cult groups had their sponsors.
He said there must be a proof before suspending any student found guilty of cultism, adding that suspending a student without being proven guilty was already a punishment.
“There must be proof before the suspension. The suspected student should be investigated before the suspension.
“While parents of students who engage in any cult group should also be liable,” he submitted.
In his views, Rotimi Olowo, (Somolu I), explained that cultism was being practiced not only in the schools’ environment.
Olowo noted that the bill should not be limited to schools as it supposed to extend into the society.
He cited the example of Aye Fraternity eight-day celebration held in his constituency, which led to the destruction of property.
Olowo alleged that some police officers were even in the cult groups, saying the bill would nip various cult activities in the state in the bud.
Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu, (Eti-Osa 2), said the bill was presented as if it was a new one, saying that it should be an amendment bill.
Yishawu said the scope of the bill should be expanded, adding that it fell short of its own intendment.
According to him, cultism is what we need to guard against with the information we are hearing on terrorism.
Also, Hon. David Setonji, (Badagry 2), described the issue of cultism as a major challenge for the state due to its devilish ideas causing commotion.
Setonji, therefore, admonished parents to take proper care of their children by ensuring their compliance with the societal norms and values.
“The issue of cultism has been a major challenge to us in the state. There is nothing wrong in associations coming together but when it has to do with devilish ideas causing commotion that is what we are against.
“As a result, parents should learn to take care of their children to ensure that they conform with the societal norms and values,” Setonji said.