IN Calabar, Cross Rivers State, many homes were in tears and sorrow at Christmas following the beheading of at least 10 persons by suspected cultists within two weeks. The state, once famous for its tranquility and beauty, has now become notorious for cult wars, with many people losing their lives in violent clashes between rival cults. In one of the savage attacks earlier in December, a man was shot dead and then butchered by suspected members of a rival cult group while standing with a barber in front of the latter’s shop in Calabar. Earlier in the month, one person was reportedly mowed down in his house in Calabar South Local Government Area. According to reports, his head was chopped off and taken away by the assailants.
The frequency of the butchery has created an atmosphere of fear and trepidation in the state. Though the state police command said nobody had been arrested in connection with the horror in which 10 persons were beheaded, it confirmed that members of the Klans and Axe cult groups were behind the carnage. The reasons for the carnage by cultists range from the mundane to the ludicrous. For instance, some persons claimed that the escalation in the internecine war, especially in the metropolis, was over the change of the state’s flag from blue-white-blue to red.
To say the least, the beheading incidents are horrifying. They paint a picture of utter lawlessness. Certainly, the killers have no respect for human life and their dastardly activities should have attracted a crackdown by the security agencies in the state. The gory tales in Calabar are a reminder of the fact that the Nigerian society is gradually morphing into an animal kingdom where a few young deviants derive joy and happiness from the agony of other citizens. The state government and the law enforcement agencies must quickly collaborate to end the carnage and restore the state to its former status as a land of tranquility and beauty. Again, the ugly trend shows that family values have collapsed in the Nigerian society. Institutions like the home, schools and traditional bodies that should serve as the building blocks for virtues are themselves in the throes of degeneracy. This is why the Nigerian environment has become a theatre of the absurd.
All the relevant state organs should arrest the slide into anarchy. The government should create opportunities for youths to be gainfully employed, while parents should pay more attention to their wards instead of pursuing wealth acquisition, profligacy and ostentation. No society can progress without good character. On their part, the police should stamp out the criminal activities of the cult groups. Unless and until there are serious consequences for those responsible for the dastardly acts in Calabar, their horrific activities will persist.
The state government and the law enforcement agencies must quickly collaborate to arrest the carnage and avert possible resort to self-help by the law-abiding citizens of the state.