By Edidiong Udobia, Uyo
True story 1
Some time last year, a youth corper who served in a certain secondary school around Ifa Atai, flogged one of his students for doing something wrong. Later that day, the student in company of other friends, went to the corper’s house and shot the guy. Luckily for the corper, he took only one bullet on his leg while escaping so he survived.
True story 2
Very recently, a JSS1 one student (male) in one of the secondary schools within Uyo metropolis, was bullied by a JSS3 student (male). During interrogation, the JSS3 student confessed that someone outside the school paid him N100 (one hundred naira) only, to come and beat the JSS1 boy but when he came, he had pity on boy because he knows him. So, he asked the boy to pay him (the JSS3 boy) double (N200) of the money the outsider paid. The JSS1 boy agreed but only to pay in instalments, but the boy was not paying regularly so he had to bully him.
True story 3
A week ago, I was chatting with some students in a secondary school in Uyo, when I saw two senior students shake hands and “clawed”. I called them close and asked them the meaning of the “handshake”. They said it’s just a handshake and it meant nothing. So, I asked them to do it again so I could snap them. They shouted No and started pleading. I asked them if they are aware that cultism is now prohibited in Akwa Ibom? They said No, so I opened my phone and showed them the text of Governor Udom’s proscription of cultism. After reading it, one of them asked me if someone can be imprisoned because of that law and I said yes. Immediately, I saw a combination of fear and remorse on their faces.
The summary of the stories is this, cultism has invaded our secondary schools. It’s has gone beyond the control of teachers, because from my findings, most teachers are very afraid of confronting the students for obvious reasons.
What should be done?
There is so much that needs to be done to tackle this menace. It’s very sad that at such early stage, these children have been caught in cultism. It is therefore our collective responsibility to “uncatch” them. But beyond just talking, a few like-minded young people will be launching the “uncatching them young” campaign in the next coming weeks. Let’s go save our children.