•The butchery that happened in the name of cults must be investigated and punished
Cultism has been with us for long. Indeed, it has become a way of life for many students in our campuses and other tertiary institutions and, regrettably, in some secondary schools. Rival cult groups usually unleash terror in many of the institutions, killing and maiming in the process. In some cases, they hold hostage the school authorities who dare not challenge their activities.
But criminals masquerading as cultists at the Abia State University, Uturu, took cultism to new lows when they beheaded two undergraduates of the university last Saturday night, and thereafter used their heads as goal posts. Their roommate sustained severe injuries from machete cuts inflicted by the criminals. The victims – Ebuka Nwaigbo, a 300-level student of the Department of Estate Management, and Samuel Ethelbert, 300-level student of the Department of Political Science – were living at Chi-Doo Lodge along the Uturu-Afikpo Road.
They were killed by members of a rival cult group who were on a revenge mission for one of their members that was killed last month. According to a source, their murder was as a result of the activities of two cult groups, Burkinafaso and Mafia, that had engaged each other in a battle of supremacy for years in the university.
“Last month, one Collins Agwu, a member of Burkinafaso, was gunned down by the Mafia. His colleagues (Burkinafaso) decided to retaliate by killing members of the Mafia. That night, they came to the lodge on four motorbikes carrying four persons each and they forced themselves in when one of the students living there came out to buy Indomie Noodles. They beheaded their targets while the third person, their visitor, was seriously wounded. After killing them, they carried their heads and bodies in a sack and took it to a playground where they (cult boys) normally play football near the school gate and mounted their heads as goalposts.”
It was horrible that students could behead their fellow students, but to use the heads of their victims as goalposts compounds the bestiality. A university is supposed to be a citadel of learning; it is also supposed to ‘pass through’ those who have passed through its four walls. Unfortunately, some students only pass through the university without allowing the university to pass through them, which is also important. Otherwise, universities would only be awarding degrees to those found worthy in learning. But most citations at graduation ceremonies say the graduates have been found worthy both in learning and character. Regrettably, some of our students, for various reasons, forget the essence of their being in the school by engaging in cultism and other vices that add no value to their lives, or at best turn them to criminals.
A few years ago, many of the cultists in the higher institutions publicly renounced cultism and pledged to turn a new leaf. Nigerians and the government forgave their sins, embraced them and asked them to go but sin no more. Sadly, like dogs, many have returned to their vomit because they see cultism as rewarding since they are hardly made to account for their illegalities.
We welcome the investigative panel set up by the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, to expose those behind the killings. The panel should collaborate with the Abia State Police Command that has mandated its criminal investigation department to probe the killings. We must state, however, that there should be no cover up because we will continue to experience such criminality until we begin to call people who kill in the name of cultism the murderers that they are.
When people who have attained the age of majority kill willfully, they have committed murder and should therefore be apprehended and prosecuted for same. ‘Thou shall not kill’ is a law or commandment that is well known among all the major religions in the country. We are not helping the society when we allow adults who killed to escape justice simply because they are students. (The Nation)