Nigerians in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria are worried about the growing cases of cult-related violence in the state as some young persons have been killed by suspected cult members.
On Sunday, April 18, three young men were shot in cold blood by suspected cultists in different parts of Awka, the capital of Anambra.
At about 6 p.m. WAT on that Sunday, a young man was shot at Unizik Junction on the Enugu-Onitsha expressway. An eyewitness said the victim was killed as he came down from a commercial bus from Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital.
“The assailants who escaped may have traced him from where he was coming from,” the eyewitness said.
A similar incident occurred at a popular bar in the High Tension Area of Awka where an upcoming comedian was murdered. Miss Anne, a neighbour of the victim, told HumAngle that the deceased was a graduate of Engineering who was cool and easy-going.
She said the neighbourhood was in shock over the sudden death of the Comedian and wondered what would have led to his murder at his prime. On the same night, a popular gym instructor, Anthony, was killed near Anambra Azikiwe University School Gate, Ifite.
Uche Eze, an eyewitness, said the armed group arrived at the victim’s location around 8 p.m. WAT and shot him in the head, right in front of his mother. Eze said Anthony was a local politician who was doing well as a young man.
Anthony’s friend on Facebook who mourned his death said “I regret that such a promising young guy like Anthony is gone.”
“For those of us who knew him personally, we wonder who would have perpetrated this heinous crime against him, having in mind that Anthony is calm, cheerful, focused and goal-oriented,” the friend wrote on Facebook.
“I sympathise with members of his family, particularly his mother who witnessed the death of his son helplessly, the agony is unimaginable,” he stated.
HumAngle reports that suspected cult killings have become a menace in Awka, despite the series of the arrests reportedly made by police in the state.
On Wednesday, April 7, two youths were shot dead in Awka in what locals said was a cult war. Toochukwu Ikenga, police Spokesperson in Anambra said preliminary findings suggested that the deceased were killed by members of a rival cult group.
On Thursday, April 8, Ikenga announced that two suspects allegedly involved in a rival cult fight in which four people were killed in Awka were arrested. According to him, the suspects were arrested following the Wednesday shootout at Tempsite, Okpuno, Awka.
Residents are stricken with fear as they wonder if the killings were actually cult-related or outright assassinations.
James Ononuju, a social commentator, said “the Anambra State Government and the Police Command may have finally lost the fight against cultism in the state.”
Ononuju blamed the prevalence of cultism on lack of employment and unhealthy rivalry among transport unions, especially commercial tricycle operators.
He said “unlike in the past when cultism was obtainable in tertiary institutions, almost every young artisan in Awka had become a member of one street cult group or the other.”
“It is a sad commentary, youths are killing themselves daily as if they are in a movie. On Sunday night alone, three were gunned down and there was a report of another on Monday morning,” Ononuju told HumAngle.
“Government has to take drastic action and parents too should find out the companies their children keep.”
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