An Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo, the state capital, has sentenced a 23-year-old student, Emmanuel Thomas, to five years’ imprisonment.
Thomas, a native of Uruk Uso in Obot Akara Local Government Area of the state, was convicted for belonging to an unlawful society known as Red Skin Secret Cult Confraternity, one of the cults outlawed by the state government.
The presiding judge, Justice Okon Okon, on Thursday held that “by the provision of Section 1 sub section 2 of the Cultism, Offensive Weapons and Violent Behaviour Prohibition Law 2004 of Akwa Ibom State, any person who is a member of a cult whether or not, 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.”
Okon said, “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.”
In the particular of the offense, the accused had confessed that he joined the secret cult in 2019 because of the challenges his mother had with her landlady.
He had also confessed in his extra-judicial statement that he was initiated on 29th February, 2019 in Ematan Street, off Eka Street, Uyo by one General, who is now at large.
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.