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Cultists caught in the act

Posted by By Goddy Osuji, Enugu on 2005/06/06 | Views: 819 |

Cultists caught in the act


While their colleagues were burning the midnight oil and thinking of how they could excel in academics, nine university students have been caught by the police after spending a night in the bush learning how to handle guns and unleash terror on fellow Nigerians.

While their colleagues were burning the midnight oil and thinking of how they could excel in academics, nine university students have been caught by the police after spending a night in the bush learning how to handle guns and unleash terror on fellow Nigerians.

The students from Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, had just been initiated into the Black Beret Fraternity. But they didn’t know somebody was watching as they engaged in an evil exercise inside a bush near Nike area of Enugu, where they had made a bonfire and were shooting sporadically.

The police were alerted by the onlooker. And this led to the arrest of the suspected cult members at a check-point in Idodo, along Enugu-Abakaliki road, as they were retiring form the initiation ceremony.

At the parade of the suspects, police spokesman, Mr. Mike Abattam said, "the nine students were among the 15 who left the institution in the evening of May 21, and went to a bush near Nike area of Enugu for the initiation ceremony that lasted till the early hours of the next day."

According to the police, members of the cult have been involved in car snatching in Enugu in the past. They were loaded in a bus which the police stopped and searched. All the suspects had black masks some of which were trimmed with red ribbon.

One of them, Ede Emmanuel, a 400 level Sociology student said frustration led him into the cult.

Also paraded was Augustine Akpoketa, a student of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) who is a member of the Vikings fraternity. His arrest followed a surprise raid on cultists at a hideout at Independence Layout, Enugu.

When his room was searched, a forged diploma certifcate purported to have been issued by the university, a forged stamp seal used in forging the certificate and forged office stamps bearing the names of the university’s registrar were recovered. Also, one Innocent Ogbaji was held for forging the seal. He admitted engaging in the production of the forged certificate and seal for the cult member on the understanding that Akpoketa was genuinely sent to him by the school authority. "He paid N4500. If I knew he was fake I would have collected more. When he came, he said that his boss was not around to bring the authorization when I demanded for one. So I decided that since there was no authorization coupled with the pressure he mounted on me, I would not give him the two jobs. I gave him the seal only, as I waited for the authorization. Surprisingly, he came back with some policemen with handcuffs and arrested me," Obaji said adding that "afterall, my son is there in the school (ESUT) if it is what I do, then I would have done it for him instead of him going to school to waste time and money."

Chijioke Chilaka, a 400–level computer undergraduate told Daily Sun that he was convinced to join the Black Beret with the impression that it could pave the way for him after graduation. "They claimed that they help their members get into position after graduation as well as helping members get good employment. I pray that God will give my parents the spirit to forgive me," he said.

Chilaka Chimezie, from Imo State, said: "I was forced to go into the cult by members who threatened me and I could not resist because that will be the end of the person."

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