The recent cult killings in Benin City have vindicated the authority of Ambrose Alli University AAU, Ekpoma. A section of the media has recently blamed AAU management over killings in Ekpoma. No one today is blaming the authority of University of Benin over recent cult killings in Benin City. Many persons have been feared killed in different parts of Benin City and its environs in a renewed clash between rival cult groups. An ad-hoc worker of the Edo State-owned Public Work Volunteer, whose identity could not be confirmed, was killed at his duty post at the popular Third Junction in Benin City. The discordant tune shows that we are simply groping in darkness, which is why mistakes and blunders are being committed. Benin cult killings vindicate my earlier position on AAU killing as published by many newspapers. The killing in Benin caused pandemonium as traders and commercial bus drivers scampered for safety. At Iyobosa Street, off M.M. Way, the cult gang killed a rival gang member.
AAU authority has been vindicated by God of all the allegations levelled against it by its traducers. AAU has been vindicated with recent cult killings in Benin. To correct the erroneous impression, there were cult killings in Ekpoma not AAU. It is wrong to put the blame of cult killing in Ekpoma on the authority of Ambrose Alli University. Cult killing did not happened in the compound of the university in Ekpoma. Today, there are several related cults killing in Benin City and other places in Nigeria. Do we blame universities authority for cult related killings outside the school? I want to correct the erroneous impression that FIVE persons, including graduating students and ex-students of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, were reportedly murdered in cold blood in A Bar Near A Private Hostel in the university town and not the school. A bar near a private hostel is not Ambrose Alli University and we should stop blaming the university authority for an issue that happened in Ekpoma. The youths were said to be having a party in Ekpoma and not inside the university when a fracas that culminated in the shooting and killing of the victims broke out.
Ambrose Alli University was established many years ago, it has over the years produced an intimidating array of great men and women. Few years ago however, the institution became notorious as den of numerous deadly campus cults. The cult storm is over and there is an insight on how the school authorities tackled the menace successfully. There was an incident that truly happened in Ekpoma among friends in a bar. It happened far away from the campus. Because it was not on the campus, of course, the police are the ones to investigate it. We were not at the spot, so we rely on what the police saw and what their investigation confirmed.
The incident, as revealed by the police, took place in an area around Judges’ Quarters, far from the university. It was not cult-related and most emphatically, not a celebration party by graduating students. The university had zero tolerance for cultism and had not recorded any in the past 15 years. Cult activities in AAU do not exist anymore. In the past 15 years, there have not been cult activities in our university. An anti-cult group had been set up by the institution as part of measures to prevent the menace from infiltrating the school.
Today, almost all tertiary institutions across the country has confraternities otherwise known as secret cults, some of which include Supreme Eiye Confraternity, also referred to as Air Lords. Cultism in Nigeria has no doubt taken a new trend as it has relocated from tertiary institutions’ campuses where it hitherto holds sway to the streets in various communities across the country. In Edo State, particularly in Benin-City, the rate at which teenage youths are initiated (blend) into cult groups is alarming, and this has become a major cause of concern to the state government and the law enforcement agents, especially the Nigerian Police, which oftentimes close in and try to stop them during initiations at the odd hours of the night.
The Edo State police command has declared that the killings were cult-related but the university authorities claimed they had nothing to do with cultism. The university’s position is understandable because it does not want to be associated with cultism but the police are best suited to determine the nature of a crime as well as the motive based on their investigation.
In Ekpoma, the host community of Ambrose Ali University (AAU), it is difficult to tell who is a cultist. The town has become a tapestry of cultism, as membership of a cult group is no longer a special privilege enjoyed by students of the university. Locals, including farmers, commercial cyclists, mechanics, electricians and other artisans/technicians are members of one cult group or another.
The renewed cult war, which has left a lot of casualties the street of Ekpoma, Benin City and other major cities in Nigeria has left so many people dead. Cult war is not restricted to only Ekpoma in Edo State. There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is presently on the grip of alarming social vices, notable among which is cultism, following screaming headlines on activities of cultists which have led to loss of lives and wanton destruction of property, almost on daily basis.
Since the introduction of democracy in Nigeria, Nigerians have experienced election rigging, which has also produced the highest wave of hooliganism and violence amongst politicians at the local, state and federal levels. The return of democratic rule in 1999 marked the watershed in the uprising of bloody cult clashes across the country. The dire urge of political dominance impelled political parties and politicians to engage the services of the cult gangs.
A number of these politicians surround themselves with the cult gangs, using them as private armies and bodyguards, and supplement them with the law enforcement agents, who are willing to carry out their commands.Together with these politicians, these students’ fraternities have been linked to violent activities in the country. For decades, these cult groups have flourished following the support and patronage of influential political figures, who are using them as instrument to settle political scores.
The Ambrose Alli University authorities should not be blamed. I want to advise Nigerians to stop blaming AAU authority for killings around Ekpoma. We should blame politicians, tribal bigots and a section of the media on the spread of wrong information about killings around the university town. Nigerian lawmakers should take the lion share of the blame, followed by the citizens and the media. They should all accept their culpability in this peculiar mess instead of blaming the school since the latter has done what is humanly possible within the law. It is unfair to AAU authority for Nigeria’s inability to stop killings because security is a collective responsibility, particularly the different arms of government. The executive, judiciary, legislature and the press as the fourth estate of the realm also has a vital role to play as well as the citizens.
Inwalomhe Donald writes from Benin City
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