Ebonyi state Ministry of Justice has identified corporal punishment in schools as the cause of the increase in cultism in the society.
The ministry said students and pupils tortured in schools by teachers go into cultism.
The ministry stated this through its gender desk officer in charge of Child Abuse/Trafficking, Barrister Ijeoma Mike Ajanwachuku, during EU-UN spotlight initiative engagement with secondary school teachers from Ezza South.
It was a 3-day programme on ending violence against children, VAC, women and girls, VAWG prevention, response service delivery and case management, organised by National Orientation Agency (NOA) at Osborn La-palm Royal Resort, Abakaliki.
She described corporal punishment as abuse of child’s right and advocated other ways of punishing a child in school and at home.
She said: “There are many ways to discipline a child. You can ask him to write his surename one thousand times and all that. It is an offense when you flog a child. Imagine somebody said that because people are being flogged it made them more responsible and disciplined.
“But we try to make them understand that it was not because of that flogging that made him what he is today. Why we have cultists is because they started to know pain as part of living. So, they join one secret cult or the other and go into initiations and all that.
“The program has gone a long way to make them understand that this corporal punishment is part of violence against children.
“There is a provision made available in a Child’s Righ Law of Ebonyi state 2010 that says beating is an abuse. An offender has got to be punished. If they accept it is a crime they can report as you can’t go into the school and start sentencing a teacher. It is only when they report. But because it is our tradition, it is our culture, it is not reported”.
Speaking on behalf of EU-UN spotlight initiative, the child protection specialist with United Children Fund (UNICEF), Victor Atuchukwu, encouraged men to help see to the end of various types of violence against women and children, saying that men would benefit more when the women and children are happy.
“Men are the highest beneficiaries of this campaign. When our wives, girl friends, sisters, aunties, the women around us are not happy, no matter what we do, we are not happy. Though as men, we go out and drink alcohol and when we come back we continue where we stopped. The problem never goes away. But when they are happy, everybody is happy,” he said.