By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
Speakers at a one-day seminar on cult activities have warned against their involvement, saying it could destroy their future.
According to the experts, which include senior police officers, seasoned crime reporters and cleric, cultism do end in unrealisable life ambition, involvement in criminal activities and leading one to become a prisoner.
They therefore implore the youths to shun the act, emphasising that its consequences are devastating.
The resources persons spoke at the seminar, organised by the Youthslens Movement of Nigeria, with the theme “The Nigerian Youths and Cultism Today” ,held at Lagos State Police Command Officers Mess, Ikeja.
The youths who where drawn from Primary Schools and Higher Institutions were advised to stay clear of friends that could lure them into cultism and other crimes.
The guest speaker, Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge Ota Area Command, Ogun State,ACP Monday Agbonika posited that cultism could affects ones academic negatively, lead to school dropout, armed robbery, raping, prostitution and other vices.
He urged parents to be alive to their parental responsibility and prevent their children from joining bad gang.
” We must talk about parents, parents should do their best, society values working contrary to normal norms. In Lagos Island, it is difficult to separate cultism and area boys”, he stressed.
Informing that cultists lure their target with different tricks, Agbonika said they also have a way of identitying themselves sometimes through their dresses, hair styles and sign language.
” Only those who are their members that can understand them, not all persons that have same hair style is a cultist”, he added.
According to the police chief, one of the challenges why cultism strive in campuses is because policemen are not allowed to enter university for operation, except they are called upon.
Speaking further, he said there is connection between crime and people living where crime are being perpetrated, adding that pear pressure also attract people to join cultism.
In addition, he said ” revenge over issues can cause youths to join, emotional instability, family problem can cause one to join cultism and political thuggery”.
He therefore commended the organiser of the seminar Mrs. Juliana Francis, saying such is the only way to catch the youth young and check the menace of cultism.
While also speaking at the occasion, the Lagos State Police Command spokesperson, a Deputy Supritendent of Police Bala Elkana said cultism is a serious problem to the society.
He posited that the involvement of many young ones makes it menace to be very serious.
Elkana advised parents to live an exemplary life for their kids to emulate.
” Whatever the kids wish to become in life can only be by themselves. The most painful thing to me as PPRO is to parade young persons who supposed to be leaders of tomorrow as cultists or criminal .
” It is not about taking cultists to court but addressing the root causes of cultism attracting young people into it.”
Another speaker at the event,Pastor Darlligton Ajitemisan warned that crime has no gain, adding that it can lead one to prison.
” I have been into crime since I was three year- old selling drugs on the streets of Lagos untill I graduated to become adult.
I cannot talk about prison without talking about what took me to prison. I have been going to be prison at the age of three. I was trained an assassin, a professional killer, I was a small boy in prison, I was doing all these things because of how I grew up seeing my parents fighting”, he disclosed.
“There is all kind of things going on in the prison, there is homexuality , if you think you go to prison and come out to be a better person, you are lying, the prison will change your thinking, No matter what your religion is, I have served in four different prison in the world. I have also been to Kirikiri prison.
“I have also been to all different police stations. Whoever that enters prison, will come out as a harding criminal, and other crimes you don’t think you will find yourself in.”
Pastor Darlington, who is the Chaplain of the Prison Service, further said many crimes such as armed robbery, assassin and other violent crimes are organized in the prison.
“My fear is that prison in Nigeria have is a master destroyer. Prison is supposed to be for reformation, and correctional center, But when you have warder officials who are not educated, they feed on the inmates. Nigerian Prison needs proper funding to make it the real correctional center.” The convener of the programme, Mrs Juliana Francis, said the number of young people in cultism gave birth to the idea of the programme.
The idea behind the program is for the young ones that had been taught about the danger of cultism to forward same message to their friends and relatives . They have no reason to join any crime, even when there is no food at home and they don’t have parents.
“No reason is acceptable for any young persons to join cultism. They should know that their choices have consequences. Any negative action they are involved will affect their family members and their future. They should know that life is no competition in life, Parents must keep on talking about it to their children.”