Bayelsa state Governor Seriake Dickson of has signed the Secret (Cult), Societies and Similar Activities Prohibition Amendment Law 2018 as part of the policies to stem cult activities in the state.
The new law makes it mandatory for offenders to be jailed upon conviction for not less than 20 years, without any option of fine.
Bayelsa state Governor made this decision on Monday, he noted with serious concern the rise in cult and other related activities in the state, especially in Yenagoa and its environs.
He said that with the amendment, the law enforcement agencies have been empowered to deal decisively with suspected cult members and their sponsors.
He explained that the amendment to the law, which had existed since May, 2012, was necessitated by the urgent need to check the rise in cult activities among youths.
He said the amendment was necessary to give the law enforcement agencies more powers to proactively protect lives and property as well as safeguard the future of the state.
The law also empowers the Police and other law enforcement agencies to conduct search on the homes of suspected cultists and sponsors, even without warrant; while buildings and premises used for cult activities, initiations as well as the storage of arms and dangerous weapons will be forfeited to the government.
The law also empowers the state government to destroy such buildings and premises without any compensation to owners.
The governor called on landlords and property owners not to allow criminals and cultists to turn their property into centres of crime and criminality.
He urged Bayelsans to report all suspicious and cult-related activities to the appropriate authorities.