By Florence Onuegbu
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday, approved a 21-year jail term for convicted cultists in the state.
Sanwo-Olu approved the jail term as he signed the bill for the Prohibition of Unlawful Societies and Cultism 2021 into Law at Lagos House, Ikeja.
He also signed three other bills into law, which were the Lagos State Audit Service Commission (Amendment) Law of 2019, Lagos State Public Procurement Bill of 2021 and Coronavirus Pandemic Emergency Law of 2021.
According to him, the state has suffered the negative effects of unlawful societies and cultism and the new law seeks to make parents more responsible.
He said the new law sought to make parents show more interests in the upbringing of their children and wards to ensure they did not become a burden to society.
The State House of Assembly, in February, passed the anti-cultism bill, which stipulated a 15-year jail term for anyone found guilty of abetting cultists and residents who willfully allowed their property to be used as meeting points by cultists.
The anti-cultism law repealed the Cultism (Prohibition) Law of 2007 (now Cap. C18, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015) and provided for more stringent punitive measures.
It also made its application all-encompassing and applicable to the general public, as against the restriction of the previous law to students of tertiary institutions.
The bill to amend the State’s Audit Law of 2015 was initiated by the executive to address observed flaws hindering the successful implementation of the extant Audit Law, Cap. A13, Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
With the amendments, the Central Internal Audit (CIA) which was a department in the Ministry of Finance would now be a department under the Audit Service Commission.
This was to bring auditors under one body for effective administration and independence of internal auditors in line with best global practices.
The Lagos State Public Procurement Agency Law originally enacted in 2011, formed the legal bedrock for the public procurement regime in the state.
The Law was based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) model which was a properly regulated procurement system standard on international best practices. (NAN)