#BounceExclusive: Your Children In Bayelsa Pay Cultists For Protection
While you may say your life and protection are in the hands of God.
Others might prefer to include security operatives their list of protectors but some students in Bayelsa will tell you they are protected by cultists.
The sad thing, however is that, like the gift of the devil, this protection is not free.
Few weeks after a student was murdered by cultists, more students are opening up, sharing stories of their peril.
When a parent is giving their child money for upkeep in school, little did they know they are paying one cultist salary every month.
Niger Delta University (NDU) located at Ovom in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state is one popular university in the oil state.
Bounce News met few female students in the university and they revealed how they pay cultists for protection.
The two cult groups terrorising residents of the state are the Greenland and Icelanders.
They are street cults which specialise in initiating minors. They rob, fight and kill over the slightest provocation.
Their rivalry battles are usually bloody and many Bayelsa youths have lost their lives in the process.
An experience on Friday highlighted once again the height of insecurity and the danger the female folks face in the state.
The sun rose slowly casting a shadow upon the earth. At about 9:04 a.m., the street was quiet and deserted except for the sound of moving vehicles.
There was a sudden stir in the crowd by the school gate and every eye turned towards the direction of the noise.
A tall, slim and dirty looking boy had seized a girl by the collar of her white shirt, pushing her back and forth while demanding for payment.
The pulling and dragging lasted for about six minutes and the girl, who was later identified as Peremoboere Akaka, a year-two student, tried in futility to release his grip.
She was choking to death and her case was made worse because no one dare step forward to defend her rights.
Fear was not only written on their faces, it had exchanged places with oxygen.
As her struggle got weaker, a girl simply identified as Golden girl made her way through the crowd, whispered to the cultist for some seconds and he immediately released the girl while insisting she must pay her levy.
What levy? you will ask.
After the girl intervened, the victim was taken to a corner and cajoled. She handed 3,000 Naira to the cultist who was popularly called 'Skibo' and resides at Obele.
Bounce News probed further into why this had happened.
A year-three student of the school, Agatha Ufuoma, said she paid the sum of 2,800 Naira as 'protection fee' to some group of bad boys every month.
"Any female student, who refuses to pay, will be robbed, raped and probably killed.
"We dare not report to the police else, we will be in serious danger," she explained, with fear written all over her face.
A male student, who didn't want his name mentioned, confirmed that some of his friends pay dues for safety.
"These boys are ruthless and ready to die at anytime.
"Some of my friends pay them between 2,800 Naira - 3,500 Naira monthly and get protected from rival groups."
The spokesman for the police in the state, Asinim Butswat, told Bounce News that his command was not aware of such acts, apparently because no female student had the courage to report.
He expressed worries over the way students sought protection from cultists rather than the police.
"They should stop conniving with hoodlums and report their challenges to us.
"We always appeal to members of the public to come to us with useful information as the police do not have the strength to cover everywhere," he emphasised.
Currently, these cultists are responsible for the death of about 30 persons in the state since January 2018.
One of their victims, Seiyafa Freed, was shot in front of her apartment weeks ago.
Two young men have been arrested in connection to the murder and one of them confessed he was there the night she was killed.
It was not clear if her death was connected to a refusal to make payment for protection.
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