The deceased, who was 16-year-old, is said to have been accosted by suspected cultists at Amarata road Thursday night, who demanded she had over her phone.

Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

Palpable rage is in the air in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital, following the murder of a 100-level student of the Niger Delta University (NDU), Seiyefa Fred, by suspected cultists.

The deceased, who was 16-year-old, is said to have been accosted by suspected cultists at Amarata road Thursday night, who demanded she had over her phone. Though she complied, her assailants allegedly shot her afterwards.

READ ALSO: Three months after cultists’ attacks in Bayelsa no justice yet for teenage victim

A witness account said residents of the area on hearing the shot watched as the cultists ran away while some rushed to the aid of the dying Seiyefa, taking her to the Federal Medical Centre where she was confirmed dead.

“The incident happened at about 8 p.m. beside Zenith Bank in Amarata area. The suspected street cultists, who were on the prowl, shot her and ran away with her phone, leaving her dead on the ground. Residents of the area came out and rushed her to the hospital, but she later passed out. She is currently at the mortuary,” the eye-witness said.

The Bayelsa State Police Command, which confirmed the killing, said the police are on the trail of the suspects.

Police Public Relations Officer Asinim Butswat said the police is working on a lead that would ensure the suspects are apprehended.

“On 8 November, 2018, at about 2030 hours, unknown suspected cultists at Amarata, Yenagoa, shot one Seiyefa Fred, 16 years, while trying to dispossess her of her mobile phone. The victim was immediately rushed to the hospital, where she was confirmed dead. The police have swung into action and are working on a promising lead on the identity of the suspects, and efforts have been intensified to arrest them. The Command has embarked on community engagement meetings with relevant youth bodies in a bid to stem the tide of cult-related activities. Members of the public should continue to assist the police with useful information to combat crime in Bayelsa State,” Butswat stated.

Checks indicate that the upsurge in cult-related activities might be linked to the controversial release of some suspected cultists in police custody by the Bayelsa Police Command.

Several suspected cultists, supposedly leaning on influential figures inside and outside government circles, have escaped prosecution for violent crimes.

Residents angry over the continued impunity of cultists in the state have called on the new Commissioner of Police, Mr Joseph Mukan, and the Bayelsa State government to tighten security and rein in the criminals.

Angry reactions

A group, Egbesu Brotherhood, has criticized the Bayelsa State government for the crime spree of cult killings across the south-southern state. He described the death of Late Miss Fred Seiyefa as unfortunate but avoidable, stating that idleness of the youths was a factor in the crime.

Apostle Bodmas, who recently convened an Anti-cultism rally in Yenagoa, said that the state government should be held responsible for failing in its responsibility to protect lives and property.

According to him Bayelsa has become a breeding ground for cultism, a haven for drugs and a theatre of cult wars and bloodshed under the present government.

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He also stated that the number of deaths and crimes recorded under the Dickson administration are as dire as the situation under the past administration.

“Many persons don’t know what is happening in this state. If they are aware, many would immediately relocate to other states. I say this because a private investigation has been carried out by me as to the cause of the unrest, and the revelations were shocking.

“Cultism and abuse of drugs is on the increase, there is no day that passes in Yenagoa that gunshots are not heard. People are being killed like chickens, yet no reports of arrests are made.

“Worst of all is that the local security outfits have been compromised, creating more internal division and instigating most of the cult killings and crimes being experienced across the state.

Seiyefa friends pay tribute

Meanwhile, many of the deceased’s friends are paying tribute to her on her Facebook page

Ogoriba Philip Kuroyefa wrote:

“Sad Moment. Since last night when the news came that you have left us. Emotionally, mentally it has affected us. The last time I saw you was in church and I asked you to stay a little which you obliged to and waited for some time. I never knew it will be the last time I will be talking to you.”

Tari Yuppie:

“Gone too soon. God will judge them. I miss you.”

Ebisco Daniel:

“RIP Best friend. I don’t still believe that you are gone.”

Godwin Vivian Geena:

“Oh Seiyefa. Why so soon. You were murdered in cold blood. May those responsible for your death never go unpunished. I am so heartbroken. Whoever did this to you will face a horrible death.”

Omeni Dressman:

Life is not fair. I am still in shock. How can you just go like that? May your killers never know peace.”

READ ALSO: Yenagoa: Death toll in cult killings rise