News BiteTeachings

ABSU Students Worry Over Rising Cult Activities On Campus

ABSU

Students at Abia State University, ABSU, have expressed concerns over the rising cult-related activities on their campus, saying the menace has become a threat to their safety.

This followed the reported killing of a student of the institution recently, which was attributed to cult-related violence on the campus.

The students are calling on the government to put adequate security measures in place to ensure their security and safety as they continue with their studies.

According to the Student Union Government President of the institution, Chidirim Chinenye, while decrying the menace, called for the deployment of military personnel and the establishment of a military barracks to crack down on the perpetrators to prevent escalation.

He said, “My concern is about the safety of students in the off-campus lodgings, where the majority of the violence has been taking place. We need a military barracks.

“There is a military checkpoint in front of the school, yet, cult activities are on the rise, implying the security is not enough.”

Chinenye urged the students “to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the authorities.”

Also speaking to our correspondent, the SUG Public Relations Officer, Victor Okon, said campus security should be increased to protect students, adding that the contact information for security agencies or personnel should be readily available to all students.

Okon noted the recent killing of a student on campus was due to a lack of security alertness.

“Security enforcement should be increased on our campus. They should bring more security personnel who will always be on alert so that whenever such a thing happens, we can always call on them.

“And also, they should make their numbers available to the general student community because the boy that was killed recently, if when the culprits were beating him, we could have reached out to the security immediately, maybe they wouldn’t have killed him.

“After they had beaten up the guy, they came back to kill him, shot him, and then left. So, if we had security personnel’s number, we would have reached out to them while they were dealing with the boy, and maybe he wouldn’t have been shot,” Okon said.

Recounting his ordeal, one of the students, who preferred to remain anonymous, said cult members’ activities involve extorting students, as he had been a victim, adding that failure to comply results in battering or threats at gunpoint.

He said, “This notorious act is rampant on our campus, as these people walk in groups to look for students to extort, especially during late hours. I’ve been extorted so many times when I was a freshman, but with time I know when and when not to go out.

“Any individual who tries to prove stubborn would be brutally beaten or shot as they are always moving with guns.”

An ex-student, Goodluck Ahamefule, who still lives on campus, told PUNCH Metro that he had once been held at gunpoint as a result of mistaken identity.

Ahamefule noted that if not for the intervention of God, he would have been a dead man and wouldn’t have been able to make a report.

“I was waiting for my girlfriend on this fateful day, around 9pm. It was raining and I couldn’t possibly see who was coming towards me as I noticed a figure approaching me extending his hand for a handshake. Then I saw someone else coming behind him and more people followed. Immediately, I sensed I was in trouble since it wasn’t the first time such an incident had happened; I tried to escape, but there were too many of them for me.

“I was stripped naked as they looked for possible marks on my body, and as I kept begging, saying I was not who they were looking for. Next, I heard they were contemplating whether to shoot me or let me live; I kept praying to God. Well, I’m grateful I’m alive to tell the story today,” he said.

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Chioma Chinaka, told our correspondent that efforts were ongoing to ensure adequate security on the campus.

Chinaka further noted that secret strategies were in place to avert future occurrences, adding that awareness programmes and online campaigns had been ongoing to educate everyone on the woes of cultism.

She said, “With regard to what the police are doing to curb such incidents, we have the preventive and detective aspects of what we’re doing. One of our responsibilities as enshrined in the constitution is the prevention of crime. In the preventive aspects, we are putting up strategies. It is called strategy because it is our own style, our secret way of handling things, and we can’t have it out so as not to destroy our plan.

“But aside from that, we are doing online publicity. If you’re not in Abia State, I do radio programmes for awareness at least twice a month, and these radio programmes cut across all radio stations across the state to educate people to do away with all these things and social media campaigns against cultism.”