FCE Okene’s zero tolerance for cultism

Cultism in tertiary institutions in Kogi state in recent times has become a source of worry and concern as cult members maim and kill colleagues at will without anybody strong enough to question their nefarious activities.

This ungodly behaviour however, has  caused panic and  apprehension among  parents whose children are studying in the state-owned tertiary institutions in Kogi state.

OYIBO SALIHU in this report takes a look at the concerted effort put in place by the provost, Federal College of Education (FCE) Okene, Dr Umar Hassan, to maintain the institution’s zero tolerance to cult activities.

Governor’s standing order

Irked by the incessant killings in the state-owned-tertiary institutions, the state governor,  Alhaji Yahaya Bello, recently gave a standing order to all head of institutions  of higher learning in the state  to brace up in tackling cultism and other related social vices in their institutions or risk being sacked by the government.

Apparently, available records shows that the FCE Okene, which was established in 1974, has never recorded a major security breach like cultism and other social vices on the campus.

This record was achieved as a result of some proactive measures adopted by successive administrations in the college to curb any unforeseen situation, which today has placed  the citadel  of learning as one of the institutions in the country that has zero tolerance for cultism and other forms of social vices.

However, the recent matching order given by the governor of the state that tertiary institutions should put their act together in the eradication of cultism created another opportunity for the management of the college to reiterate on its quest to maintain cult-free institution.

One of the steps taken last week by the college  was a  maiden  Security Summit organised by the institution  where critical stakeholders in security matters were invited to chat ways forward for the enhancement of peace and security of life and property in the college.

Those that graced the occasion were representatives of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NDLEA, ACE global security, representatives of Vigilante Group of Nigeria, traditional rulers and community leaders.

Speaking at the summit, the provost of the college, Dr Umar Hassan solicited for areas of collaboration with security agents in the state to avert uncertainties in the college.

The summit with the theme: “Sustaining a cult-free environment”, according to the provost, was at the instance of the matching order given by Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello, that all forms of cult-related activities and other social vices in tertiary institutions across the state  be stamped out to create a peaceful environment for sound academic activities.

Security tops priority

Declaring the summit open in the institution, the provost revealed that the college, in view of the order, has reconstituted its college security committee and also inaugurated cult-free committee to deal decisively with all forms of security challenges in the institution, stressing that issues of peace and security are top priority of his administration.

“That is why on my assumption of duty as the provost of this college, I deem it very important and as part of our strategic initiatives, to establish a synergy of mutual cooperation and information sharing with security agencies in the state.

“It is pertinent to mention that since the establishment of the college in 1974, we have never recorded a major security breach like cultism and the like on our campus. This is because we have adopted various kinds of proactive measures to curb and nip them in the bud.

“Also at the moment, I am glad to report that the college is having a very robust security partnership with virtually all the security agencies in the state. Moreso, we have intensified effort to illuminate the campus at night by installing 45 solar street lights. Also  plans are at advanced stage to install additional ones and to provide 24-hour electricity on campus, knowing full well that cult activities are mostly carried out in the dark.”

The provost, who stated that the institution has zero tolerance for cultism and other forms of social vices, warned students and staff of the college not to indulge in the unlawful activities, stressing that whoever is caught would  be dismissed  from the college and handed over to security agents for prosecution.

The special guest of honour at the occasion and the state commissioner for education, Mr Wemi Jones, in his remark, lamented that many tertiary institutions across the country had been ravaged by incessant cult activities that continually distract academic activities, and urged the management of tertiary institutions in the state to brace up to the challenge of tackling cultism on their campuses.

The commissioner who was represented at the summit by the zonal education inspector in charge of  Kogi central, Malam Sadiq Yakubu, described cultism as barbaric, and advised students not to indulge in it saying, “it is inimical to the life and future of the youth”

“Cultism brings suffering, sickness, brew diseases and cause untimely and shameful death. Parents should do the needful in inculcating morals in their children so that the society can be a safe place for the people,” he advised.

Also in a paper titled, “Self discipline against cultism”, presented by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Okehi local government area,  CSP George Clement, the police officer charged the students and the staff of the college to imbibe self discipline so that the institution can be free of social vices.

“If you want to achieve success in life, you must be self-discipline, avoid bad company, mind the way you dress, give your studies much attention and channel your youth exuberance to good causes rather than involving in cultism,” he warned.

Politicians cautioned

The police officer, who graduated from the institution in 1990, cautioned politicians against using the youth as instrument of destruction. He advised youths to always resist the temptation of being lured with money to cause mayhem in the society.

Expectedly, the Ohi of Eika, Alhaji Shehu Umar, a first class chief , who spoke on behalf of other traditional rulers, attributed cultism and other social vices  to poor upbringing of children by  parents.

According to him, some parents have been carried away by their businesses and the job they do without checkmating the activities of their children on daily basis.

“Parents should brace up and live to expectation in the way and manner they train their children. Cultism today is not only in tertiary institutions, it can be found in both primary and secondary schools and all these are happening because of nonchalant attitude of some parents toward their children.

“It is high time parents should mind the type of friends their children keep and monitor their movement. Parents should ensure the children are at home in the evening and teach them and train them in a godly way,” the royal father advised.

Speaking further the monarch advised head of schools, colleges and tertiary institutions in Kogi state to invest vigorously on sporting activities in order to engaged the youth and discourage them from engaging  in all forms of social vices in the school.

Cautioning students against the menace of cultism, the chief security officer of ACE Global Security, Mr Otori Jimoh, advised the students who are members of any cult group to come and renounce their membership and submit their weapon, saying the summit was set aside as a period of amnesty.

“The punishment students are likely to face if they fail to renounce their membership and are caught in the act are outright expulsion, imprisonment and such students will be blacklisted to secure admission in any tertiary institutions in Nigeria and Diaspora.”

Speaking on behalf of the students, the president of Student Union Government (SUG) of the college, Mr Michael Friday, reminded the students that the institution was known to be cult-free, urging students to strictly adhere to the laid-down rules and regulations guiding the conduct of students in the college.

“On our part as leaders of the students, we will ensure that cultism and other social vices do not have a place in this college. We will not relent in our effort to ensure that our institution maintains its cult-free status.”

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