In what appears to be a breakthrough, the Akwa Ibom Police Command says it has arrested 20 suspected cultists in Eket Local Government Area.
The Eket Area Commander, ACP Emeka Nwonyi, made the disclosure at an emergency security meeting with stakeholders on Friday in Eket.
He said the suspects had been terrorising residents of the locality before they were arrested.
Nwonyi said the police command was determined to fish out those perpetrating the act, adding that it would ensure that the arrested culprits faced the consequences of their actions.
“We are on top of the situation; they will not crush us, we will crush them, I feel bad when people don’t give useful information to the police to work with.
“I am appealing to you to give us useful information that will help us do our job effectively,” he said.
The Area Commander assured the people of Eket that the police would protect lives and property in the area.
He lamented that criminal activities, particularly those of cultists, had led to the waning interest in night life.
Nwonyi used the forum to charge traditional rulers, village heads, youth leaders and other stakeholders in the area to expose criminals to the police.
The council chairman, Mr Frank Archibong, on his part condemned the recent killings in Eket and its environs.
“I condemn this act totally, we cannot continue like this as a local government.
“We need practicable solutions in solving this issue. We need solutions that will put lasting seal on this matter,” he said.
He said the essence of the meeting was to strategise and find practicable solutions to ending cultism in the local government area and its environs.
“We will bring ideas on how we can best tackle this menace; but if we allow cultism to continue, it may degenerate to a level that we won’t be able to control again.
“We must begin to check the actions of our children and visitors because investigations show that 90 per cent of the people causing problems are not from Eket but other neighbouring local governments,’’ he said.
He said that the council would also evolve strategies to address cultism in secondary schools in the local government.
Mr Patriot Kings, Director, Department of State Services in Eket, said the department had done a lot to tackle violence occasioned by cultism in the area.
Kings, who said that the meeting was timely, added that all hands must be on deck to check the menace.
He said that the department was strategising with other security agencies to protect lives and property in the area.