Cultism: Kalejaiye Advocates Stiffer Penalty For Cultists

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Akin Olayemi

As officers from the Lagos State Police Command begin investigation into the death of a 12-year-old JSS 2 student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, Sylvester Oromoni who was allegedly beaten to death by four Senior students of the same college over his refusal to join their cult gang, a traditional ruler in Otumara Community in Lagos, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye has called on the Lagos state government and the Ministry of Education to inculcate discipline and impose stiffer penalty on suspected cultists in both tertiary institutions and secondary schools in the State.

He noted that enforcing appropriate discipline on students is an inherent component of the educational process, which will affect their young and adult life.

A family member, identified as Perri had brought to the fore knowledge about the death of Oromoni Jnr when he announced the incident on the social media last Wednesday.

Perri had alleged that the deceased died from the injuries he sustained following an assault from students who tried to initiate him into cultism.

Cultism, Kalejaiye noted has eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society and its fast spreading from tertiary institutions to primary and secondary schools.

Reacting to the dastardly act, he said, “Cultism in schools is fast attaining an alarming proportion in secondary schools across the state. And it is now taking its toll on the society as it affects moral standards and the education of the students and also increases vices in the society.

Innocent children and students are being lured into the devious groups and ultimately into vices. The time is now for the Lagos State Government to take drastic measures to tackle the menace in our schools and unravel why students join secret cults.”

He identified peer influence, low self-esteem, lack of home training and quest for fame as some of the factors responsible for increase in the rate of cultism in secondary schools.

“Many parents have failed in their responsibilities of tutoring their children on positive morals. They give preference to journeying on business trips to providing adequate time for the nurturing of their children. Rather than spend time to know the kind of company their children keep, they leave them to the care of the teachers.

While I am not against parents working to cater for the needs of their children, doing so at the expense of their children future isn’t right. We have to strike a balance between work and the future of our children.

Many children fall into error as a result of poor parenting and absence of moral training. The school, alone cannot give the needed moral support the child requires.

Many of the children join cult group as a result of low self-esteem and peer influence. With low self-esteem, many students find it difficult to express themselves therefore they join cultism to feel important and do what their peers are doing.

Poverty is another reason. Students tend to move with bad gang when they are in lack. Many of them are lured into cultism due to financial difficulties and in the search for a solution, they are invited into cultism.

This is part of the reasons I am appealing to the Lagos State Government and the Ministry of Education to see to the construction of Senior Secondary School for us in the Lagos Mainland Local Government. As I speak, in the whole of Ebute Metta, (west) Lagos Mainland, there is no Senior Secondary school. And the effect of this is so alarming to the point that our children had to journey from Ebute Metta down to Surulere Local Government to complete their secondary education.

Apart from this draining the purse of their parents, they are exposed to danger such as cultism, road accidents and so on.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved the construction of the school but I don’t know why the concerned Ministries are yet to commence the project.”

Proffering solutions to growing incidences of cultism, he said, “Early childhood education largely determines adult’s character. A undisciplined child that lives without restriction go outside of moral and discipline to foment trouble and join bad gang. But if a child is well disciplined in childhood, he will have no difficulty in living a responsible adult life.

Importantly, the government should introduce law to deter and punish cultists. I must commend the Lagos State government and the State Lagos House of Assembly for the anti-cultism bill that was recently passed into law. It is not enough to have such law in place, it ought to be implemented. What’s the purpose of a law that has not been put to test?

How many parents and cultists have been prosecuted under the said law? The law should be made more effective to be able to punish parents of cultists and politicians that support them.

Also the court should be encouraged and empowered to make final pronouncement on the fate of cultists and other criminals when it comes to capital punishment.

Why does the court has to wait for the state governor to append his signature to execute death sentence? This is why correctional centres are overfilled. Having gone through the last stage of judicial process, whatever the judge says on capital sentence should be the final. If capital punishments are executed, it will go a long way to deter whoever might be contemplating such crime and the society will be the happier.”

Kalejaiye implore the Lagos State Police Command to thoroughly investigate the four students of Dowen College fingered in the murder of Oromoni Jnr and bring them to justice.

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