An Akwa Ibom High Court has sentenced a 23-year-old secondary school student, Emmanuel Thomas, to five years in prison for cultism.
Thomas, who was found guilty of belonging to an unlawful society, “Red Skin Secret Cult Confraternity,” is an indigene of Uruk Uso in Obot Akara Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State.
The accused, a student of Community Secondary School, Mbiase in Imo State, revealed that he joined the cult group because of the challenges his mother had with her landlady.
He was convicted by Justice Okon Okon in Uyo on Thursday after confessing in court that he was initiated on February 29, 2019, in Ematan Street, off Eka Street, Uyo, by a General, who is now at large.
In his judgment, Justice Okon 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 he is in possession of an offensive weapon, is guilty of the offence and is liable to conviction and subsequent imprisonment for seven years without an option of a fine.
“It is 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 this particular offence, the accused, Emmanuel Itoro Thomas, had confessed that he joined the secret cult in 2019 because of the challenges his mother had with her landlady,” he stated.
The court held that the prosecution from the State Ministry of Justice has proven its case beyond reasonable doubts and, accordingly, sentenced Thomas to five years in prison without an option of fine.