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Sanwo-Olu signs anti-cultism law, includes punishment for parents of convicted cultists

Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu [Twitter/@jidesanwoolu]
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Credit: Pulse Nigeria

Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has signed the bill for the Prohibition of Unlawful Societies and Cultism, 2021 into law on Monday, March 15, 2021.

The new law repeals the Cultism (Prohibition) Law of 2007 and provides for more stringent punitive measures for convicted cultists who now face 21 years imprisonment.

The bill generated controversy last year when lawmakers deliberated on a provision that would punish the parents of convicted cultists.

Lawmakers argued that parents need to take proper care of their children by ensuring their compliance with societal norms and values.

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“Parents of cultists found guilty of cultism in the state might be liable for punishment,” Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, said when the bill was passed last month.

While the provision on punishment remains vague as the bill has not been made public yet, Sanwo-Olu said on Monday that the law will compel parents to be more responsible and show more interest in the up-bringing of their children.

He said this will ensure that those children don’t become a burden to the society.

The law stipulates a 15-year jail term for anyone found guilty of abetting cultists.

The new law is applicable to the general public, as against the previous law which was restricted to students of tertiary institutions.

Sanwo-Olu also signed the Lagos State Audit Service Commission (Amendment) Law of 2019, Lagos State Public Procurement Bill of 2021, and Coronavirus Pandemic Emergency Law of 2021 on Monday.

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