Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday offered amnesty to all cultists who are willing to renounce membership of their secret societies or cultist groups.
He, also, asked all parents and guardians to encourage their children and wards to shun all forms of crime and violence, assuring that the state government would come up with policies to give youths greater opportunities.
Ambode disclosed the plan yesterday in Ikorodu, where he addressed thousands youths during the on-going One Lagos Fiesta, noting that the state government “has perfected plans to rehabilitate all youths involved in one form of criminality or the other in 2017.”
The fiesta, which started on Saturday in five administrative divisions of the state, was attended by members of the State Executive Council, political leaders and traditional rulers among others.
He explained the decision to grant cultists amnesty if they renounce their membership of illegal groups,” saying it was designed to make them live normal lives and contribute meaningfully to the society.
He, therefore, lamented the rising trend of cultism and other crimes across the state, especially in Ikorodu, noting that that the state government had capacity to fight or deal with such crimes.
However, he said, the state government offers all cultists who volunteer to quit secret societies to encourage those willing to turn away from their old ways and embrace new lives.
He acknowledged that the state government has recently been having challenges with cultism and kidnapping in Ikorodu area.
But tonight, we are going to strike a deal. We are going to say no to cultism. Then, we are going to encourage all youths to renounce cultism.
“We are offering amnesty to any youth who is a cult member and is ready to renounce cultism. We are devoting 2017 to rehabilitate all those who have been doing bad things. We will provide money. We will also provide jobs.
“We encourage all youths to shun cultism and violence. Wherever you find somebody that is not doing anything well, you can either tell the monarch here or come to us. We will give you protection. We offer you money and then we are going to offer you automatic jobs.
“So, we all agree to say no to domestic violence, kidnapping, rape and no to cultism. Once you sign on, we would offer you anything that you want,” the governor told the youths.
He, therefore, emphasised the importance of education and hard work, thereby encouraging the youths “to strive very hard to be educated, and thereafter pursue their dreams.”
He referred to an entertainer, Mr. Folarin Falana (a.k.a Falz), noting that he “is a lawyer. It is highly essential for the young ones to be educated before thinking of other things in life. What I brought to youtonight is to let you know that education is very important.
“You can be who you want to be. If I am not a governor, I will be an accountant. If I am not an accountant, maybe I will have been an entertainer because I love music. I love arts, I love entertainment. That is why I want to encourage all of you, firstly, we must all be educated and then you can now use you creative talents to be who you want to be.”