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THE MONITOR (May 4, 2002)

FAREWELL TO CULTISM
15 students cultist of the Polytechnic, Ibadan, publicly renounced cultism, breathing air of freedom.
By Ngozi Uwujare and Tolu Balogun

HURRAY! The three campuses of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, heaved a deep sigh of relief when a good number of cultists publicly renounced their membership of the secret societies and pledged to turn a new leaf.

For the second time in three years, The Polytechnic, Ibadan, had organised a renounciation exercise on its three campuses; Ibadan, Eruwa, Saki with the aim of granting amnesty to cultists who were ready to forsake cultism.

15 cultists from unidentified fraternities, pledged to be of good behaviour and contribute to peace on the campuses. They were received with warm embrace by Global Peace Movement, a Non-governmental organisation NGO engaged in spiritually caring for.

There were frequent prayer sessions both in Christian and Islamic way which equally give the institution an opportunity to commit the soul of the students in the school unto the hands of their creator.

The Rector of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Professor Oluremi Alabi told The Monitor on Saturday that "we are ready to fight cultism to a standstill," and "make sure that peace reigns supreme on campus and in the lives of the students."

The Don lammented on the fracas that happened in the campus twice, which prompted the Management to come out with strategies to eradicate cultism within the campus.

Since the face-off in March 7, when a fifty-year-old Micheal Abimbola, a security officer's left hand was chopped off, and two cultists were matcheted to death, the school atmosphere had been tensed, for fear of reprisal attacks.

The management of the institution have adopted new strategies in place in conjunction with a non-governmental organisation NGO whose preoccupation is to maintain peace on campuses.

With this, the Global Peace Movement is running campaigns toward renounciation of cultism within the campuses for the past two weeks. "The campaign has been very effective," he said.

The management also set up another "cultism eradication committee" which was chairman by the head of the Mass Communication Department, Reverend Adegoke Adejumobi.

The committee started its job by planting some gigantic bill boards at strategic points with such messages as; "SAY NO TO CULTISM, IT KILLS" It was so effectively done that every nook and cranny of the campus was touched with the messages. The messages also pass through strickers, banners, T-shirts and flyers. It was little wonder that some students came out openly to renounce their membership of cults though not too many cultists came out, but it was gathered that some did it secretly to avoid embarrassment while some still remain adamant.

The 15 students that came out received standing ovation from the crowd for displaying such courage. The crowd yelled "NO TO CULITISM," "WE ARE NO LONGER INTERESTED IN FRATERNITY".

The Monitor on Saturday spoke with the chairman of the cultism Eradication committee" Reverend Adegoke Adejumobi, who passionately said "Today's renounciation is not to condemn the students but rather to bring them back to light," adding that the management and GPM have really prevail their readiness to make cultism on campus a thing of the past."

"We thank God that 15 students have renounced their membership and this would go a long way to convincing the parents and the Management that cultism would be eradicated but will definitely be a gradual process" he said.

The Public Relations Officer of The Polytechnic Ibadan, Alhaji Soladoye Adewole said "it is time to restore the good image of the campus."

"Cultism can be eradicated, it is a matter of time and a gradual process to purge it out."

The chairman of massive movement of Nigeria Major Soji Obasanjo who was also present during the occasion stated that "we are happy, the way the institution organised the exercise has convinced that the committee and the Global Peace Movement did a tremendous work by allowing the duties to be successful".

Major Obasanjo expressed his satisfaction that the Massive Movement of Nigeria is "100 per cent" behind the institution, "we are ready to support in the eradication of cultism."

Many parents are totally concerned about the exercise that took place today. We need to support the institution so that the image of the polytechnic will be redeemed".

Also the president of students' Union Government Ekumaye Oluwarotimi a.k.a Walter remarked that the Management have done the institution proud. They have allowed those who are in bondage to come out of it, allow students to speak out their minds." He shared the opinion that the renounciation is a gradual process that cultism will soon be eradicated "we still need the effort of our parents including the government to support the mission of this eradicate cultism in campus".

Notwithstanding, some cultists who renounced his membership told The Monitor on Saturday that "we never knew we are totally in bondage. We kill, we intimate student, thinking that we were doing the right thing. Most of us were initiated through friends, using the avenue to terrorise students and lecturers". "Today I am giving thanks to Global Peace Movement including the Management for this special programme for me and my colleagues to renounce our membership," an ex-member has said.

Another "Black axes" cult member, who renounced publicly pleaded that students should forgive him.

"I was ignorants," he said, "I didn't know what I was doing".

"Since I was into cultism, I never had peace of mind. Anytime I saw a policeman, I will start running for my dear life. Likewise anybody look at me as suspect. Today I am saying "NO TO CULITISM" IT DESTROYES AND KILLS."

The Global Peace Movement and the eradicate cultism committee have promised them to be their friends and also to call the remain cult members back home.

Samson Adeoye (a.k.a. Sammie) HNDI Mass Communication Student opined that this is another elaborate and well organised exercise which would make another mark on the institution's history. He urged students to embrace peace and eshew violence.

Adeoye noted that "though this is Eruwa, of this renounciation programme, a reasonable number of student came out but it's as if they are not that free or confident to come out at this recent one. There should be a continuous persuasion and encouragement".

The Public Relations officer of student Union Government Oduola Oladele said that "this is what we are waiting for."

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