OVER the course of penultimate weekend, news came of the massacre of no fewer than 13 students of the Kogi State University, KSU, Ayingba, Kogi State, by alleged cultists.
According to the reports, the killings were reprisals staged by an unnamed cult whose leader was murdered by a rival group in the KSU. Nine students, including a 200-level female student and her boyfriend, were reportedly killed on the KSU campus and at different locations within the Ayingba town. Many who escaped with injuries were hospitalised.
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Although concrete facts of this story were mostly shrouded, the KSU Public Relations Officer, Joseph Edegbo, did not offer any comments when contacted other than to admit that the issue was “very sensitive”. However, the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Busari, confirmed that indeed three students, not 13, were killed in cult-related bloody incidents.
It is highly callous and disappointing that the university’s authorities did not bother to officially clear the air on this brazen invasion and murder of three or 13 of their students.
That this story did not stir a major outrage in the larger Nigerian society is a reflection of the rapidly-dwindling worth attached to human lives in the country.
Nigerians appear to have lost much of their human empathy and revulsion to news of young people’s lives being snuffed out on university campuses due to the unceasing violence and killings we have come to be accustomed to. How things have changed!
Some 30 or 40 years ago, this sort of incident would have led to massive protests throughout the Nigerian university system with students demanding for justice. Students took pride in being identified as “radicals” and “militant activists”, ever willing and ready to take on university and government authorities when the human and academic rights of students and Nigerians were breached.
Students saw themselves as hope for a better Nigeria and they started from their university days to prime themselves for that role. But these days, students’ union leaders have sold themselves over to the ruling political forces. Cultism has become the recruitment grounds to gain quick footholds in the structures of ruling political parties. The outlook for the future is bleak and frightful.
We call on law enforcement agencies, working in tandem with university authorities and the students union, to mount a massive manhunt for the cult groups that perpetrated the killings in KSU and bring them to justice.
Cultists cannot just walk into a university compound, take the lives of 13 or even three students and walk free.
Something drastic must be done to uproot cultism not just in the institutions of higher learning, but also the society at large. It is destroying the souls of the youth and endangering the future of the country.