By Okon Bassey
A student in Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Itoro Thomas, 23, has been sentenced to five years imprisonment for cult membership.
The court found the convict guilty of belonging to an unlawful society known as ‘Red Skin Secret Cult Confraternity’.
Thomas, a native of Uruk Uso in Obot Akara Local Government Area, was convicted by Justice Okon Okon of the state High Court in Uyo.
Justice Okon said the judgment was passed by the provision of Section 1 sub-Section 2 of the Cultism, Offensive Weapons and Violent Behaviour Prohibition Law 2004 of the state.
The provision stressed that: “Any person who is a member of a cult group, whether or not he is in possession of an offensive weapon, is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven years without an option of fine.
“It is a trite law that where a confessional statement of an accused is tendered in evidence without any objection, the statement will be deemed to have been made voluntarily and its content will be deemed to be true with no amount of subsequent argument against it, vitiating its admissibility.”
The accused, Thomas, had confessed that he joined the secret cult in 2019 because of the challenges his mother had with her landlady.
He also confessed in his extra-judicial statement that he was initiated on February 29, 2019, in Ematan Street off Eka Street in Uyo, the state capital by a man known as General, who is now at large.
After listening to the submission, the court held that the prosecution from the state Ministry of Justice has proven its case beyond reasonable doubts, and accordingly, sentenced the accused to five years in prison without an option of fine.