The Lagos State Government says it is determined to rid the state of cultists’ activities following the arraignment of 70 suspects on Thursday.
A statement from the state Ministry of Justice revealed that the suspected cultists were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Olufunke Sule-Amzat of the Ogudu Magistrate Court, for conspiracy to commit a felony and for holding a meeting of an unlawful society suspected to be AIYE Confraternity.
The 70 suspects cultists, with ages ranging between 19 and 40 years, were charged with three counts by the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the ministry.
They were earlier arrested by officers of the State Police command who acted promptly on a tipoff given by members of the public on Friday last week, where the suspects were caught holding a meeting at Elemoro area in Ajah axis of the state.
In count one, the defendants were accused of conspiring to commit felony contrary to and punishable under Section 411 of the Criminal Law, Cap CH. C17 Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
In count two, they were alleged to belong to an unlawful society suspected to be AIYE confraternity, an offence contrary to Section 42(a) and punishable under Section 42 (b) of the Criminal Law, Cap. CH.17 Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015, while they were said to have attended the meeting of the said unlawful group, contrary to the laws of the state in the third count.
After the charges were read to them, the 70 defendants pleaded not guilty, while their lawyer urged the court to grant his clients bail on the ground that the offence for which they were charged are bailable.
In response, the prosecution team led by a director at the DPP, Mr Yakub Oshoala, did not oppose the bail application but urged the court to remand the defendants in prison pending the satisfaction of their bail conditions.
In her ruling, Chief Magistrate Sule-Amzat granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N100,000 each and two sureties in like sum.
The sureties, according to the Magistrate, must be responsible residents, in gainful employment with evidence of paying tax for three years in the state, and one of which must be a blood relation of each of the defendants.
The matter was adjourned for trial on dates starting from April 11.
Reacting to the development, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, said the state government would not relent until cultism and other social vices are stamped out in the State.
“To this end, the arraignment of the 70 suspects will serve as a deterrent to those who may want to engage in the act of cultism,” he said.
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