The Nigeria Police in Cross River State on Wednesday paraded 55 suspected cultists and recovered three human skulls from them.
Parading the suspects, Commissioner of Police, Cross River State, Abdulkadir Jimoh told newsmen in Calabar that the security architecture of the command has been rejigged to put the police ahead of criminals in the state.
His words: “On Monday I got information that suspected cultists were driving dangerously, hoisting the black and red flag disturbing the peace along Goodluck Jonathan Road and driving towards 8 Miles. They were seriously pursued and intercepted at 8 Miles.
“When they were arrested and brought to the Headquarters, we have 51 of them in number. Forty-six are males and five are females. The suspects confessed to be cultists from Akpabuyo local government en route to Akwa Ibom.
“Upon searching them, three fresh human skulls were recovered from their masquerade regalia. Two Hiace buses, two motorcycles, five machetes, and three red flags with human skulls drawn on them were recovered from them.
“They all confessed to being members of Nnabor Confraternity and they were the people responsible for the series of kidnappings and other vices in Akpabuyo local government and by extension some parts of Calabar Municipality.
“The Command will undertake a forensic analysis of the skulls to determine whether they belong to some of these people that have been declared missing or some off the victims they have killed in heinous crimes. They have been profiled and the will face the wrath of law,” he said
He added that:”Prior to my arrival there had been complaints about insecurity such as kidnapping, cultism and other vices in the state. One of the disturbing local governments in my brief which I received in Abuja and here is Akpabuyo.
“Most of the kidnap cases are reported from Akpabuyo local government. As aa result of this I decided to conduct a security survey on Sunday (August 16, 2020). I went to see things for myself, interviewed some people, met with agents of government and the police.
“The information they gave me I have upgraded it into to actionable intelligence that a group of people are planning to disrupt the peace of the state or Abia. They will move to another state to cause mayhem under the guise of cultural troupe.
“This is a strong warning to heads of various cult group operating in state to have a positive change of mental attitude and turn a new leaf or face the full wrath of the law when caught as he will not hesitate to deal decisively with these heartless group of persons no matter their connections.
In the same vein, four other suspects were also arrested for Cultism by the Operatives from Anti kidnapping/ Cultism and during interrogation, all of them confessed to be members of Vikings Confraternity.
One of the suspects, Mike Okon Asuquo said it was barely a masquerade troupe, adding that he was born into it.
Asuquo said: “All these masquerades, I was born to see them from our great grandparents. I don’t know anything about human skulls.
“We took this masquerade from our community town hall. We rented it.