The General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Maj.-Gen. Jamil Sarham, has accused communities experiencing a high rate of cult-related killings of refusing to give information to the Nigerian Army and other relevant security agencies.
Sarham stated that residents of such community members deliberately hoard vital information that could lead to the arrest of cultists and other criminals within their midst.
The GOC, who spoke on Saturday at a summit on anti-cultism organised by a Port Harcourt-based radio station, Today FM, explained that a collective effort from stakeholders, including community members, was necessary to fight cultism.
“People, especially those in the communities are afraid to give vital information to the Nigerian Army and other relevant security agencies. Such information is necessary and can lead to the arrest of cultists within their midst.
“All of us collectively have the responsibility of ensuring security in our country. When the army comes to a community to save a bad situation, it is the same community people that will say that the Army has come to raid their community,” said Sarham who is also the Land Component Commander, Operation Delta Safe.
Represented at the event by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, the GOC explained that the Nigerian Army was empowered by law to assist the police or any other security agency.
Also, Chairman, University of Port Harcourt Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Dr Austen Sado, said there was an increase in cult activities in Rivers State and Nigeria in general because most politicians were using them to win elections.
Sado observed that most cult groups had become the youth wings of some political parties, adding that cultists in Rivers State were now loyal to various political parties.
In his remarks, the Council Chairman of Ikwerre LGA in the state, Samuelk Nwanosike, said there was the need for the security to be decentralised, adding that as a council chairman, he cannot give the police a directive.