By Umoh-Obong Kingsley
Not less than 500 students in Akwa Ibom have risen to lead a campaign to tackle the alarming menace of cultism and other social vices in schools across the State.
At the one-day sensitization conference organized by the Ethical & Attitudinal Reorientation Commission (EARCOM) for principals and students of selected secondary/technical schools, held at the Governor’s Office Annex, Uyo last Wednesday, the students, drawn from 10 secondary and technical schools in Uyo, the students promised to hold diligently and jealously the future of Akwa Ibom State.
Among them was Ndifreke Bassey Samuel, a student of West Itam Secondary School, Ekit-Itam, Itu LGA, who represented recently Akwa Ibom State in Kano State and Nigeria in South Korea in a science project competition on Organic Soil Management.
Chairman of EARCOM, Dr. (Mrs.) Dorothy Thompson, in her tone setting during the sensitization programme, stated that the choice of the 10 schools, 50 students each, was to drive a change of mindset, character and moral values among the secondary school students across the state.
According to her, “We decided to select 10 problem-prone schools which we have known, and many cases have been reported, to sensitise them so that they can be ambassadors of peace in the state.”
She said EARCOM aims at making the students change agents and ambassadors of the peace that Akwa Ibom is adjudged the most peaceful state in the country, courtesy the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel.
Commissioner for Education, Prof. Nse Essien, in his remark, described the seminar as timely and apt following the recent menace of cultism ravaging schools in the state, and reminded the students that being a socially responsible demands preserving what one has, adding that “Everyone has a duty of being responsible but not everyone takes the responsibility seriously.”
Speaking on the dangers of cultism, Pastor Runcie Mike of the Evening Church, noted explained that cultism happens at the ignorance of the teacher or principal, saying that a cult meeting can happen in a class without the knowledge of the teacher, and charged teachers and principals to be vigilant.
On his own part, former President of the National Association of Akwa Ibom State Students (NAAKISS) Worldwide, Elder Isaac Michael, while giving recipe to reject the deceptive devices of cultists, urged the students to be contented with what they have, realize their first priority in school, and be conscious of their choice of associates.
He also charged them to be confident in themselves, identifying inferiority complex as what leads to having bad company.
Other topics treated included ‘the power that frees from bad company, drugs and rape’; ‘Cultism is the worst war against oneself’; and ‘the regrets of not listening and the pains of confinement’, delivered by Pastor Michael Onah of the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Ministry, Akwa Ibom State; Sarah Maximus Doto, representing DPO, A Division, SP Edwin Egabueze; the Controller, Nigerian Correctional Service Centre, Mr. Alex Dita, represented by his Deputy, Emmanuel Asaka, respectively.