BY JAMES AZANIA, BENIN
SOME school-based cult groups in Edo State have come together in an alliance against the spate of kidnappings, armed robberies and other violent crimes in the state.
The cult members, belonging to various fraternities in schools across the state converged at the Sand Beach Resorts, Benin, on Saturday for a summit tagged “Interactive Peace Summit: Strategy for Social Cohesion.”
At the summit, the groups, which came together under the aegis of Rainbow Consolidated Forum said they were not satisfied with the spate of violent crimes and insecurity in the state and vowed to fight the situation.
Some of the fraternities at the summit included the Green Circuit (a.k.a Maphites), Norsemen (aka Vikings), Black Axe, Eiye confraternity, Family Fraternity of Nigeria and Avarian Organization of Nigeria.
Governor Adam Oshiomhole, Oba of Benin, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, the State Security Service, and the Commandant of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps sent representatives to the summit of the cultists.
While acknowledging the damage already done by the activities of the cult groups in the state, the chairman of the Rainbow Consolidated Forum, Donald Edeoghon, said he hoped that their coming together to fight armed robbers, kidnappers and perpetrators of other violent crimes in Edo would yield good results.
He said, “If you remember, for over two decades, inter-group conflicts which often resulted in violent and fatal crisis were the attributes of Edo State communities. Innocent lives, properties of inestimable worth are taken and destroyed on a whim. Armed robbery, kidnapping, thuggery and sundry social vices rose to unprecedented levels; it became dangerous to reside and function legitimately in Edo State, and, in particular, Benin City.”
“Various efforts were made by various groups to check this disturbing trend. Some were sincere while others were not. They failed because their focus was eradicating inter-group conflicts, whereas conflicts are integral part of all human societies. The situation looked bad, but then came the platform of Rainbow Consolidated Forum with a template for all seasons.”