By Kudirat Musa
Abuja – No fewer than 10,000 people have been killed in cult-related violence within and outside school campuses between 1996 and 2019, according to Mr Ike Onyechere, Founding Chairman, Exams Ethic Marshall International (EEMI), an NGO.
Onyechere made this known in Abuja on Monday at a news conference on the imperatives for stamping out Campus Cultism, Exam Malpractices and Sex-For-Grade menace in the country.
Onyechere said that there was need to produce a new marshal plan of action for stamping out cultism and sex-for-grade tendencies, saying that the organisation would be hosting a National Consultative Conference of Education Leaders on combating campus cultism and sex-for-grade from 9 to 13 December, 2019.
“Over 40 different cult groups, with a total of over 12,000 chapters, operate in school campuses across Nigeria. These gangs have killed at least 10,000 people between 1996 and 2019.
“Hundreds of thousands have been injured, harassed, raped, arrested, detained, suspended and expelled. Lecturers are being intimidated and blackmailed by cultists into awarding unmerited grades, fueling examination malpractices and academic dishonesty.
“The matter is being made worse as cult operations have spread to primary and secondary schools,” he said.
Onyechere also called for consensus among education stakeholders on the dangers of exam malpractice, campus cultism and sex-for-grade menace to education, students, staff, families, society and the nation, saying that the commitment to stamp them out must be total.
He said that some highly intelligent parents and educated people charged with the responsibility of administering the education system were justifying their active participation in, or aiding and abetting, of exam malpractice, campus cultism and sex-for-grade, or through the conspiracy of silence.
He called on education stakeholders, including heads of governments, political leaders, proprietors, educational administrators, parents, lecturers, teacher, staff and students to work hard toward curbing the menace.
“Stamping out campus cultism and examination malpractice in Nigeria’s educational institutions requires prioritisation by the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government at federal and state levels.
“It should be a top priority in the programmes, projects, agenda, vision and mission statements of all education stakeholders, including education ministries, regulatory agencies and institutions,” he said.
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to issue an Executive Order empowering heads of tertiary institutions to deploy all necessary legal, security and administrative measures toward stamping out cultism in their institutions.