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THE MONITOR (Apr 20, 2002)

POLY IBADAN, GPM MOVE AGAINST CULTISM
By Lanre Latinwo and Ayo Esan

THE secret cult activities that have almost paralysed the work at The Polytechnic Ibadan may soon be a thing of the past as the institution management in conjunction with a non-governmental organisation, Global Peace Movement has initiated a move for all cultists on the campus to renounce their membership.

Speaking exclusively with The Monitor on Saturday during the week, the President-General of the Global Peace Movement, Mr. Mike Uyi stated that arrangements have been made to ensure that no form of sanction will be placed on any cultist who comes out to renounce his or her membership.

According to him, the renunciation planned for the three campuses of The Polytechnic Ibadan would be made in the open. The renunciation time-table, Mr. Uyi stated commences on April 22 for Saki Campus. April 23rd is for Eruwa, while it will be the turn of the cultists on the main campus on April 24, 2002.

While he agreed that the number of cultist at The Polytechnic Ibadan is alarming, Uyi said that the renunciation will involve not only the students academic and non-academic staff.

He said those days set aside for the renouncement will be lecture - free, promising that amnesty will be granted by the school's management to anybody who renounces his membership of cults.

Mr. Uyi who disclosed that his organisation has been involved in the resolution of so many crisis in the past, said that the approach has always been the use of dialogue.

He cited his organisation's involvement in Ife - Modakeke crisis and the Offa Polytechnic crisis which was reopened after almost eight months of closure as examples.

"Talking about secret cult in Nigeria, in 1999 we carried out a massive campaign at the University of Ibadan where cultists were called out to renounce their membership and as we are talking now there has never been any occasion in the four walls of the University of Ibadan where a student is killed. It has never been recorded after we have been there", he said.

Describing, the Rector of The Polytechnic Ibadan, Professor Oluremi Alabi as a responsible man, Mr. Uyi said after his organisation's proposal to bring peace to the campus was sent in, he (the Rector) immediately welcomed it based on their past records.

Uyi said his organisation started the campaign against cultism and violence at the Polytechnic Ibadan campus on April 2, 2002 and according to him, banners and posters explaining the sad effects of cultism have since coloured every nook and cranny of the campus.

The campaign, according to him has also taken his team to Agbowo, Apete and Sango area of Ibadan where most students reside. It has also taken the team to Saki and Eruwa campuses where over 1,000 leaflets have been distributed.

On the modalities for achieving its aim, Mr. Uyi said the movement is not on The Polytechnic Campus to intimidate any student, or group of students but wants the school to be free from violence and allow students have a free academic environment without fear of intimidation.

"Our position is to get students out of cultism peacefully. There is the need to get a man in violence out of it peacefully". He also confided that a lot of students were coming to register into Global Peace Movement, and according to him, a branch of the NGO is to be set up at the campus, "so that they can continue the preaching of peace on campus.

"Uyi called on other Rectors and vice chancellors to emulate The Polytechnic Ibadan, Rector, who is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that cultism becomes a thing of the past in the campus.

Also, Uyi noted that the government has sadly made it impossible through the law to prosecute cultism as according to him, the law states that you have to catch a suspected cultists with his regalia or paraphernalia before you can prosecute him.


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