Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Delta State Government has warned that it would take drastic actions against schools with pupils engaged in secret cult activities, including shutting down such schools as well as prosecuting teachers and parents of offending pupils.
The state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, disclosed this at a press conference in Asaba yesterday, asserting that the issue should now be of national concern as it borders on the future of Nigeria as a country.
He said that an all-embracing measure would be put in place by the Delta State Government to stem the tide of secret cult activities gradually creeping into secondary and even primary schools and assuming a dangerous trend across the country.
Aniagwu said: “We have directed that the Ministry of Education particularly the departments responsible for the supervision of schools be it private or public to also intensify efforts.
The commissioner said schools must deal decisively with devious behaviour among students to bring law and order in our schools.
“If there is any child behaving in a manner that is not expected of him particularly in the primary and secondary schools, we have emphasised that beyond the need to sensitise, drastic actions need to be taken.
“If any school is found to have wards in cult and nothing is being done about it, government will come down heavily on such schools.
“If you have children in your school and you are looking at them critically you will understand their behaviour and not knowing that they belong to some groups will amount to negligence.
“If you have children who gang up to beat up a teacher you must look beyond the immediate cause of that attack on that teacher to interrogate what must have emboldened them to work as a group to attack a teacher.
“You must also take actions that will make the parents know that they too have not done well.
“It’s quite disheartening and it is the responsibility of everybody to take this as a matter of urgent state and national importance because we do know that cultism is pervasive across the length and breadth of this country.
“Any school where such thing is found to be in existence, the authorities in that school will have to answer and it could lead to closing down of such schools.
“If any school discovers that children under their tutelage are behaving in a manner not expected of children of that age, it behooves on them to know that the responsibility of bringing up those children goes beyond teaching in the classroom to also monitor their behaviour including how they dress.”
He said the State Ministry of Education and relevant supervisory and regulatory authorities had been directed to ensure proper supervision of all schools to nip it in the bud.
According to him, a number of persons, particularly the civil societies, have emphasised the need for parents to up their game and for the society to have a rethink in the management of our youths and young ones.
“But unfortunately there are also a number of elders, parents who obviously have not also lived up to their bidding with respect to monitoring the behaviour and attitude of their children.
“As a government we have directed that teachers must step up their supervisory roles. Teachers are not only to impact knowledge by way of teaching the pupils or the students whatever is in the curricular.
“They must also encourage these students to participate in extracurricular activities like games that will promote camaraderie among students and pupils.
“The right to do certain things does not extend to children; children of certain age are not free to engage in certain actions otherwise those actions would be termed anti-social.
“If you have children who gang up at the age of 12, 13, to attack a teacher, you know that there must be something behind it.
“Where ordinarily will they summon such guts or courage? So, if a child does that, the school must first take concrete action including expelling that child and taking up the parents. These children would take over from us tomorrow as leaders so we must not fail in our duty to bring up children of sane minds.
“What we are suffering today largely stems from failures of the parents of the past and so parents of today cannot afford to fail more because it will lead to the doom of tomorrow.”