<li>Kogi State University (KSU), over the years, became one of the hot topics on the lips of Nigerians, not for academic excellence, but the rate at which cultist activities in the school and its environs proceeds. Government and the school management are not taking proactive measures to curb the menace.
In the olden days, it is the dream of every Nigerian child to make their papers in English and Mathematics while sitting for the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and gain admission into tertiary institutions in order to become a productive living being to their community, nation and the World at large. They were eager to register their names amongst those can differentiate bad from good, right from wrong, read and write so that they can represent this great country tomorrow and I must say that many of them achieved their aims and objectives in this regard.
But today, reverse is the case as a good number of young Nigerians dreaming to pass their SSCE and Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination, gained admission into the Universities, Polythecnics and Colleges, to gain parental freedom in order join different confraternity groups and not to represent their family’s pride.
Our institutions have become den of cultists of which KSU is not left of out.
Kogi State University has never in her rich history been found to associate with a bad reputation as this, in the area of cultism, until lately.
The most important and embarrassing problem facing the institution is the menace and aggressiveness of cult members and cult related activities.
Never before has the potential for destruction of lives and properties on campus been so great or escalated so fast and horrible as we have now. There is hardly no academic session without reported cases of cultism in the institution.
Students have died on the on and off campus as a result of cult related violent clashes.
It is worthy to note here that any organization or institutions that fails in her responsibility, the first person to be blame in that institutions is the manager, and in state, they lay their course on the number one citizen, the Governor, because he is in charge of security and also the Visitor to the institution. Also, questions would be asked; Who is their Governor? Who is their Vice chancellor that cannot put a total end to this ugly menace? It is high time, State Government put an end to this, or cultism would end the institution.
It is no doubt that school is one of the major source of revenue in the state, if the state refused to do something in this regard, the latter would definitely do something just to satisfy their interest and this at detriment of the state and the image of the school.
It is important to note that, after attending to our internal stimuli, the next things is safety, that is to say, no parents will advice his/her child to choose an institution where security of life is not guaranteed, by doing that, it would wreck the state’s pocket and that of the school and its environs.
Last year, bloodshed became one of the trending topics in the state and even beyond. I found it hard to believe until I went to the institution to collect my result.
Towards 4:00pm in the evening, my cousin, Muhammad Isah, whom I stayed with said “Mr. Ojimaojo, let us get going home because anything after to 6:00pm, the school campus and outside school would turn to graveyard, I could not believe it until I witnessed it”. Despite all these measures to curb insecurity, the results seems not to change.
However, the authorities have failed to bring those responsible for those horrific crimes to justice and have allowed a climate of impunity to further fuel the violence. It is high time the state government and school authority took robust actions to stop these attacks by investigating every clash and bringing perpetrators to justice.
The institution and state government has an obligation to protect the people and their seeming failures to provide security for the institution the environment is creating an atmosphere of fear and bloodshed in the community.
The rise of cult related violence is also a result government’s failure to investigate, arrest and prosecute perpetrators, as the culture of impunity continues to embolden further attacks. School residents also alleged that influential politician often provide arms and protections to violates youth groups.
It was reported in November 2019 that 13 students of the University were killed by some people suspected to be cultists in the space of two days.
Among those killed were Oloruntoba Godwin, a 300-level student of Geography and Ajikeye Richard of the department of Accountancy, a 200-level student. Both students are said to be indigenes of Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi state.
It was reliably gathered that the crisis was said to have been ignited when a student of Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja suspected to be a kingpin of a cult group was said to have been killed.
His killing was said to have been fuelled by another cult group linked to the State University in Anyigba, which sparked up provocation, leading to a reprisal attack as the said cult group was alleged to have threatened to kill 12 students in retaliation.
Some of the killings, was learnt to have taken place at the Stadium Road and Our Lady Fatima Lodge where the victims were said to have been brutally murdered and their body parts dismembered.
Investigations revealed that the school authority seems to be indifferent about the whole situation as the killings continue unabated.
When the university PRO, Joseph Edegbo was contacted, he declined comment on the issue, saying it was a “very sensitive issue”.
Recall that Governor Yahaya Bello has ordered the head of tertiary institutions in the state to end cultism in their various campuses before end of February, 2020 or resign from their respective positions, yet, the story still remains as it were.
The Governor held similar meetings with the security agencies, traditional rulers and local administrators in the state.
According to him, the major objective of any government is to protect lives and properties of the citizens, adding that his administration would deal decisively with any head of the institution as well as CSOs who jeopardized his effort in providing security for the people of Kogi State, even as he warned heads of tertiary institutions to sit up and do their jobs properly.
“You are the heads of your institutions; Profile your students, staff and management team. You are to train individuals that will be found worthy in character and learning and not criminals who will disturb the peace of the society,” he said.
Also, Kogi State Assembly Speaker, Mathew Kolawole who ruled on a motion of urgent public importance, appealed to the State Government to rehabilitate all the street lights in Lokoja to curb the menace of hoodlums also called for a review of the law on kidnapping and cultism in Kogi State.
He said: “We are really worried over the spate of cultism in our State. On Monday, we learned that three persons were killed and others injured. The injured victims are currently in one of the hospitals in the state. We can’t fold our arms and allow this to continue in our state”.
The Management of Kogi State University, Anyigba set aside Friday 28th February for repentant cult members including staffs and Students to publicly renounce membership of such fraternity.
This was contained in a circulated Internal Memo on Monday signed by the institution’s Registrar Dr. Y. Abubakar on behalf of the management of the institution.
The Registrar notified that the event was part of the Institution’s plan to stamp out cultism and ensure peace and security on the campus.
Dr. Abubakar stated that staff and students of the institution who are involved in any cult activity should take advantage of the opportunity to turn a new leaf warning that subsequent involvement would attract the full wrath of the law.
It is crystal clear here that, the attendant effects of cultism on the learning process cannot be exhausted as both intra and inter-cult clashes negatively affect the students in a very high proportion.
It sometimes leads to incarceration, rustication or expulsion of both innocent and student members.
The peace on campus is adversely affected whenever there is cult invasion, this may result in suspension of academic activities for sometime. Times without number, academic activities in these institutions have been brought to a standstill due to cult violence.
Campus cultists kill, maim and rape fellow students and even lecturers.
Lecturers are threatened into awarding unmerited scores to cultists who do not attend classes.
Despite the various measures, it appears the proliferation of cult groups and their dastard acts continue unabated perhaps, due to the lukewarm attitude of the government and the university authorities to enforce the harsh rules.
The authorities of higher institutions of learning must show doggedness in their determination to stamp out cultism. They must brace up to the challenges of cultism, which has become one of the most potent evils in recent time. It is time for the state to put her tertiary institutions on their toes to stamp out cultism from the system.
– Ojimaojo Y. Abubakar.