Emotion ran high amid suspicion by members of Anambra State House of Assembly, last week, when a member moved a motion portraying the state as a hotbed of rival cult clashes. OKEY CHRIS reports
Incessant cult clashes
Last Thursday’s sitting of Anambra State House of Assembly members was rancorous as a motion moved by a member representing Ihiala I State Constituency, Hon. Chidi Udemadu, insisting that Governor Willie Obiano, should be called to direct the State Commissioner of police, Garba Umar, to urgently take measure to checkmate the spate of killings emanating from rival cult clashes in the state.
Five lives lost
Udemadu, in the motion, alleged that his constituents were having worries and sleepless nights over the issue of cult crashes, which has even led to loss of lives of five youths aside properties, within a month as reported by the media.
He also disclosed that there were similar attacks in some parts of the state like Onitsha and Obosi, and as a result, some of his constituents have been sent away from their homes.
He said, “We all know that most of our youths spend their lives on hard drugs. But we often beam our lights on secondary schools and universities as if they are only places where cult activities are on. Going by recent developments, you will discover that in our state, most of Okada (motorcycle) riders, motorists (drivers) and others belonged to one cult or another. I have firsthand information of what I am saying”.
Surprisingly, this assertion threw the assembly into chaos with members, including Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Rita Maduagwu, who asked him if he belongs to one of the cult groups.
“No! But I have firsthand information because I represent them. Therefore, the police and relevant security agents should be mobilised to my constituent because more people fall prey to these people. Could you imagine that around Total/ Orlu Road, three young men machete one man in broad daylight? On enquiry, we discovered that the young man was killed by a rival cult group,” he insisted.
The motion was supported by Hon. Harford Ikechukwu Oseke of Awka constituency II and House of Assembly Deputy Speaker. But Hon. Ikem Uzoezie of Aguata II State Constituency, argued that the opening statement of the motion was wrong and should be corrected to read ‘in some parts of Anambra’ because his constituency has no record of cultism in the past 20 years.
Hon. Kingsley Iruba of Nnewi South I, while exonerating his constituency and Nnewi II (where Speaker Maduagwu hails from), advocated that the motion should read “in Ihiala Local Government Area” so that security agents would focus on the area rather to divert their attentions to the whole of Anambra State which is most peaceful.
At this juncture, the Speaker sought the opinion of Hon. Chidi Udemadu, the mover of the motion, who further claimed that he married at Ekwulimili (Nnewi South I where Iruba represents) and was aware of some recent killings there. This did not go down with Iruba, who demanded for a retraction.
As Udemadu was retracting his statements on Hon. Iruba, Hon. Uzoezie, harping on order 40 of the House of Assembly Rules and Procedures, said that the same mover of the motion should appoligise to him for also addressing him in an “unparliamentarily language.”
It was then, Speaker Rita Maduagwu intervened, explaining to Uzoezie that his colleague has also pleaded for his mercy. She calmed both parties, pleading that they should not allow the motion to die a natural death.
Contributing, Hon. Paschal Agbodike of Ihiala I State Constituency, said that he was in support of the motion but it should be addressed to only Ihiala II constituency not the whole Ihiala Local Government Area, because his constituents were living peacefully. This argument brought yet a thunderous noise from members trying to pass one message or another.
“Which order? I have the floor. I won’t agree that the cult crash affects the whole Ihiala local government area. My constituent is peaceful and Anambra remains the most peaceful state in Nigeria. I won’t allow anything that will affect investments opportunities in my constituency. People are coming to invest in our state especially in my constituency. And generalizing the situation in Ihiala II will scare them away from us,” he insisted.
But Speaker Maduagwu, argued that Agbodike no longer has the floor, reminding him that his immediate response has caused a confusion rather to daunt the already tension. The Speaker beckoned on Sergeant at arm to come so that they will move out of the chamber.
Hon. Godwin Okafor of Awka Constituency I, however, called on the Speaker’s attention to the two amendments proposed for the motion so as to enable them chose one for passage. The Speaker, then, asked her colleagues to choose between the amendments proffered by Uzoezie that it should be restricted to some parts of the state or that it should be restricted to Ihiala local government area as proposed by Iruba.
Uzoezie’s amendments received six votes “Yes,” while Iruba’s own got five “Yes.” Hon. Lawrence Ezeudu of Dunukofia constituency, supported the motion and it was passed as a motion calling on Governor Willie Obiano, to direct the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, to take proactive measure to address the spate of killings emanating from rival cult clashes in some parts of the state.