GOVERNOR Donald Duke of Cross River State has signed the anti-secret cult bill into law, promising to fight cultism with every weapon available to the state government.
Those convicted under the law will go to prison for two years without an option of fine among other provisions.
Under the new law, landlords found to have provided accommodation for cultists will be regarded as accessories to cultism and will be prosecuted along with their cult-tenants and if found guilty such landlords will go behind bars without any option of fine.
Also, principals or heads of schools where cultism is prevalent will be kicked out of such schools while student union governments will be dissolved and the leaders expelled from school.
Furthermore, political thugs who are armed will be treated as secret cultists or armed robbers when caught or picked up by the police as such offensive weapons as guns, machetes, bow and arrows, ammunition, daggers, spears etc, could be used to rob people.
While signing the bill to law, Monday night, Duke explained that, government will not allow a few miscreants in the society to hold the state to ransom or hostage, adding that, the fight to rid "our society of criminal activities is a total one."
Duke acknowledged that the battle was not a new one, since cultism had reared its ugly head for some time, but he said the vice was localised in various institutions until now.
"We must ensure that normalcy and sensibility return to our schools and society. The state has the mind set and political will to fight the vice," Duke said.
He said the society and schools in the state must be reduced to zero cult level, appealing to the state council not to relent in the task ahead. He praised the police and the press for their efforts at tackling the vice so far.
Presently, he said about 500 students of both the University of Calabar, The Polytechnic, Calabar and secondary schools in the state have been earmarked for expulsion in the ongoing battle against cultism in the state.
As at the last count, no fewer than 11 students of tertiary institutions in the state have been killed in the nearly 11 days of cult massacre in Calabar.