By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA—WORRIED by the increasing level of cultism among youths, particularly in the secondary schools in parts of Anambra State, the leadership of Awka Development Union Nigeria, AUDN, has decided to tackle the problem headlong by assembling secondary school pupils in and around the Anambra State capital for lectures on the vices of cultism.
Cultism among secondary school students had become such that the students operate in groups and attack opponents at the slightest provocation. Many lives had been lost in recent times and the anti-cult unit of the Nigeria Police Force had had to arrest many of them and charge them to court. It was, therefore, not surprising that the leadership of Awka Kingdom stepped in to find a solution to the problem.
That was why, for several hours last week, AUDN brought together university teachers, ministry of education officials and other stakeholders to drum it into the ears of the students the evils of cultism. Apart from cultism, the lecturers also dwelt on drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, abortion, armed-banditry, examination malpractice, truancy, improper dressing, prostitution, among others. According to the lecturers, the negative vices were the reasons for the rise in criminal activities among youths in the country.
In the words of AUDN President-General, Chief Amobi Nwokafor, a committee has been set up to handle security breaches in the area. Part of the programme, he said, include the setting up of skills acquisition programmes to engage the youths in meaningful ventures. The exercise would also help the youths to identify and make career choices that would enable them become useful members of the society. Nwaokafor also said the idea was to disabuse the minds of youths in Awka from activities inimical and detrimental to their dreams and aspirations.
To further promote the growth of education in the area, Chief Nwaokafor announced the establishment of youth education empowerment scheme by his administration. The programme is targeted at the children of the poor who cannot afford to sponsor their wards in school.
He said: “There are worrisome issues in Awka which my administration intends to address. We have discovered that many youths in this town are dropping out of school, which is why they are getting involved in cult activities and drug abuse. AUDN has therefore taken a decision to correct the anomaly from the primary school level to the tertiary level. The various education programmes championed by AUDN will redirect the minds of youths to more noble causes.”
According to him, the education empowerment programme, which took off last year with 50 persons benefiting from the scholarship scheme, has been increased to 100 students for 2019 academic session, adding that the intention was that by the time his tenure would end, enough ground would have been covered. Details of this year’s scholarship award showed that two slots went to each of the 33 villages in Awka, while the rest were on merit. Also the beneficiaries were handed cheques covering their school fees and out-of-pocket allowances.
Nwaokafor also hinted of a plan to set up a body to be known as ‘Preservers of Awka Heritage Foundation’, which would take over the education empowerment scheme. He explained that the Foundation would be pivotal in the developmental plans for Awka town as the seat of government of Anambra State.