Akwa Ibom State Legislature has in strong terms kicked against cultism in the State’s educational sector and within the political circle.
This was sequel to the last in the series of unrest usually staged by the Students of Government Technical College, Ewet Offot, Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The State witnessed it first ever heated deliberations on the menace of cultism when the Member representing Ibiono Ibom State Constituency, Hon. Godwin Ekpo moved a motion on the “immediate intervention on the scourge of cultism in Akwa Ibom Secondary Schools,’ during its last plenary session.
Presenting the motion, Hon Ekpo noted that moral decadence in the society can be affected by peer group influence, parental upbringing, teacher-student influence and other influences as posed by the environment of a child.
He expressed displeasure towards teenagers in secondary schools carrying axes, cutlasses and other violent weapons in their bags instead of learning materials that would aid their studies.
He said “Most of our Secondary schools students have become more involved in cultism and violent activities than ever before in the history of the state.
“The offers by secret cult group give these teenagers false hope of euphoria and illusion with a sense of belonging to a true family ”
As also contained in the motion, Hon. Ekpo urged security agencies and other relevant law enforcement agencies to deploy their personnel to man violence prone schools during learning hours.
Speaking for the people of Ika/Etim Ekpo, Hon. Mfon Idung condemned involvement of secondary school students in cult related activities, worrying that everyone stands the risk of suffering the consequences as they are bound to emit same negative energy back to the society.
For KufreAbasi Edidem, representing Itu State Constituency, cultism has gradually eaten into educational system at the secondary school level, a threat to societal order.
Describing cultism as a distraction and disappointment to parents, students, churches and the society at large, Hon. Edidem said that no student engaging in cultism ever has peace of mind no enjoy total freedom nor focus on educational pursuit.
He further said there are intrinsic levies and other hidden factors which are un-disclosed to initiates at the point of entry, adding that parents have major roles to play in ensuring their Wards heed the right path that leads to academic excellence.
According to Rt. Hon. Idongesit Ntekpere of Ikot Ekpene /Obot Akara there is need for a thorough scrutiny of the school system as some teachers are equally guilty as charged.
The representative for Eket State Constituency, Rt. Hon. David Lawrence who tends to differ in his perception said the society is creating unnecessary attention to the group, ‘cultism’, he rather perceived that gangsters are the major perpetrators of some of the challenges faced by schools in the State.
Buttressing his assertion, Hon. Lawrence said Cultists are ordinary members of an organised group of Persons who share same ideology while gangsters are the problem of the State and the people.
He blamed Security agents for slacking behind in their duties, while he suggested need for re-orientation for school children in the State on the dangers of cultism.
Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko of Ibesikpo Asutan State Constituency elucidated that cultism started in 1952 in University of Ibadan spearheaded by Wole Soyinka with the aim of maintaining law and order within campuses but the aim of the body has been forfeited, a total departure from its goals.
He said parental guidance is key and the foundation for resistance as some teachers are ardent members of cult groups. He admonished secondary School students with the biblical principles from the book of Job Chapter 36 verse 11.
“we can’t sit down here to blame the students alone. We should start from the home because parental guide is the key. We have to be honest with ourselves; are we doing well as a government to discourage cultism?
“These children do they have what to keep them engaged in school? Some of the teachers are known cultists. What do you expect from the students? Some of the policemen called to address the issue are still cultists. Some parents when these children are growing, you buy gun and give them. What do you expect them to become? It is time teachers should swear to affidavit in a court of law that they are not cultists during recruitment before they are employed.” Hon. Uko queried.
The member representing Nsit Atai people, Rt. Hon. Mark Esset, on his part said: “We should call a spade a spade. There is no smoke without a fire. We should discourage cultists holding any political office because that is the bait they are using to deceive the young Secondary School Students. In March 12, 2018, the State Government signed a Law prohibiting cultism.
“The campaign against cultism should go beyond Secondary Schools. Let it be part of the prayers of the motion that any known cultist should be sanctioned whether elected or appointed.”
According to Rt. Hon. Usoro Akpanusoh, member representing Esit Eket/Ibeno proposed proper sensitization in Schools which Lawmakers should form teams spreading the message across the State.
On his part, the representative for Oron/Udung Uko, Rt. Hon. Effiong Bassey joined his college in condemning cultism within the school system and in governance.
In summation, the House Leader, Rt. Hon. (Sir) Udo Kierian Akpan urged teachers and managements of Schools to fish out the perpetrators tomensure they are expelled and denied further administration in any public schools in the State.
In his ruling, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey referred the motion to the joint committees on Education and Security, Youth/Sports to report to interface with the Ministry of Education, State Technical Schools Board and the State Secondary Education Board and report back to the House within a month interval.