Re: Simple Means Of Ending Cultism In Ikorodu By Durojaiye AKeem Olalekan

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Re: Simple Means Of Ending Cultism In Ikorodu By Durojaiye AKeem Olalekan

To every discerning minds and lovers of peace, the alarming cult activity and seemingly ‘unusually usual’ daily killing amongst cult groups in Ikorodu, Lagos and the entire country requires deeper retrospection. We need to nip the adrenaline monster in the bud before it consumes all of us.

Before I comment on the fantastic write-up by the Publisher of Blackbox Media, Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni, please permit me to digress a little. I will return shortly.

My cancer treatment and appreciation to all.

In almost a year, I have unfortunately been at the lowest ebb of my life. I have died and literally resurrected. I have not just had bruises, I was technically ‘cut and joined’ many times. I had felt the devastating effect of extremely toxic chemotherapy and other medications and yet I am still very much here. All praises and adoration to the Creator of the worlds and Lord of the universe.

Again, God wouldn’t have come down to assist in person, hence He used (still uses) so many people to render unimaginable support to me on this journey. So many great minds did the unthinkable, went extra miles and in fact took my health challenge as theirs.

The support came from the bottom to top echelon of the society. I wept profusely the day I saw a bank alert of 300 Naira. What made it more touching was that the payment was through cash deposit, not online transfer. I was lucky to have you all. I also have a friend who barely earns N30,000 per month yet still sends me N5,000 every month. These gestures I would never forget in my life.

My appreciation goes to everybody out there who despite the economic hardship and other contending personal needs took the pain to make individual and/or group donations, the majority of whom I have never met nor will ever meet. I also appreciate the effort of everybody that worked with or contributed to the #SaveAkeemDurojaiye Team. I remain hugely indebted to the LASU Alumni Associations (other sub-groups); Cabin Crew Team; Achievers Club; Lagos State University Students’ Union (Executives and students); Former classmates at Moshood Abiola Polytechnics, Abeokuta and United High School, Ikorodu; Ikorodu Ambassador Group; BlackBox Nigeria; Joint Union Negotiating Council FMYSD; Staff and Management of Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development; Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (Umpire body and Unit), IkoroduNotTooYoungToRun group, MSSN-LASU, Sisters of Jannah, Abuja, NASFAT and many other groups. I apologise for any omission.

To encourage other leaders to be companionate, responsive, sympathetic and render help to people in critical need, I deem it necessary to mention a few people who were there especially public officers who visited, called and contributed in great measure. These include Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker, Federal House of Representatives; Hon. Babajimi Benson (James Bond of Ikorodu); Hon. Abike Dabiri-erewa, DG, National Diaspora Commission; Hon. Sinai Agunbiade, Majority Leader, Lagos State of Assembly; Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, Former Deputy Governor, Lagos State; Former Chairman, Amuwo-Odofin LGA, Honourable Ayo Adewale, and my beloved friend and sister, Motunrayo Gbadebo-Alogba, Vice Chairman, Ijede LCDA. I may need to write a book to really exhaust the names I have, but I thank you and others so very much.

It is not yet uhuru, but I have since left the danger zone. I pray may Allah perfect the healing and restore my health. Lastly, my deepest gratitude to my mum, my wife (Ayoola Temitope Omolade), my siblings, my entire family and friends. I thank you all. You made it easy for me. Well done for your continuous prayers, fasting, vigils and psychological support. You are my strongest support base. Together, We shall overcome.


Read Simple Means Of Ending Cultism In Ikorodu By Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni

Seeing the publisher of my favourite online publication devoting a write-up to the disgraceful unabated killing amongst young people in Ikorodu spurred my curiosity to the issue. I surfed the Internet to check for data on how many lives have been lost so far, the identities of the victims, the information/investigation about culprits arrested, the major flashpoints and hideouts, and the time these daredevils perpetrate their evil acts. But sorry to disappoint you, I could not find any detailed report relating to the killings which have been on for almost a decade. Perhaps It is not considered serious enough to be reported as main headlines in national dailies?

My findings were disturbing, thus propelled me to comment on the article. My take: In as much as I absolutely agree with the writer on the negative impact the devilish killings have caused especially in a fast-growing community like Ikorodu, I partially disagree with his submissions on the cause or putting it mildly, he made it too simplistic when he inferred that the age-long traditional praises (oríkì) as ‘ọmọ a ṣe alé jeje bí ẹni tí ó rí obirin ri’ (unrestrained pampering of concubines) had/has something to do with the current moral collapse in Ikorodu. The tradition has been on for centuries, so what suddenly changed?

Thankfully, we are both grass-rooters with deep native cum street intelligence. I must say, the root causes of young people engaging in cultism in Ikorodu is totally similar to the general causes of perennial insecurity in every part of Nigeria. Unplanned pregnancies, kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, early birth, prostitution and even poor parenting are all symptoms of a failed society and the collapse of moral standards. Some of these cultists came from reputable homes with established family history.

I strongly believe that our society has failed in its role to shape the future of the new generation. It has failed in showing that it is capable of equipping young ones and also in forcing any recalcitrant or deviant to toe the line of reason. The traditional institution which in the past contributed immensely to maintaining social order and community cohesion is currently in shambles. Gone are the days, every older person in the community was technically seen as an adopted brother, sister, father or mother. They voluntarily performed the role of social police. In fact, you dare not misbehave in their presence, otherwise, you will get beaten black and blue. To the society then, everyone born in an environ was an ambassador of the community. What do we have today? Unfortunately, people who had good parenting, quality education, better exposure and now occupying the top positions in the society have turned to scavengers feeding on poor and vulnerable people.

Read also Democracy Day: #OurMumuDonDo By Akeem Durojaiye

They promoted and flaunted wealth gotten through illegal means without commensurate hard work. They exploited the weak and vulnerable who needed just token to feed, to assume positions of authority. It was not long before people adopted the way of the new moneybags as a better way of life. Suddenly, the young ones started seeing their retired parents who didn’t steal when in service as failures. That singular act murdered the age-long respect for honour, integrity, good family names and indirectly, peace.

The obas and local chiefs who are supposed to be the custodian of culture and symbol of moral uprightness are now merely political appendages with many of them using cultists to get and retain their position and also ‘deliver’ votes to political godfathers. I remember some years back when Cultists were assembled at the Oba’s Palace for peace talks. I saw the pictures that came out of the meeting and I was worried. Why would anybody call peace talk to unite cultists? Wrong signals were passed that these guys cannot be tamed. So if you desire to gain the attention of those at the top, just join one of the dreadful groups and be brutal. Like Buhari like others.

Another cause is the role of political leaders which the writer perfectly dealt with. But I need to add that, especially in Lagos and maybe Oyo State, the elevation of thugs to become role models is devastating and it is leading Lagos to Thomas Hobbes’ state that is brutish, nasty and solitary, where might is right. When we were growing up I hardly heard names similar to Oluomo, Sego, Kunlepoly and others in this category. Our political leaders have successfully turned these people into role models. This must urgently be addressed.

Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the failure of political leaders to equip and empower the security forces to tame these monsters has also exacerbated the problem. All these cultists are known, they are members of the community and their hideouts are not difficult to discover. Then what is the problem? The law enforcement agencies can use intelligence gathering, infiltrate them and get them to face the full wrath of the law. In international law, deterrent is a good strategy. Seeing what happened to those prosecuted, other young ones will dare not toe this dishonourable path. No kid gloves in this kind of situation.

The media too should play its role by putting this issue on the front burner as the writer has done. Investigative journalism and community cum development centred journalism is critical especially in developing countries like ours. At this time, we should have data of who does what in our neighbourhood and the names of their fathers. Security outfits should embark on comprehensive profiling of affected areas, criminals, flashpoints and people’s movement in Ikorodu.

I agree in toto with every other measure you suggested, such as job opportunities for youth and empowerment programmes.

Therefore, I wish to recommend that leaders at various levels should:

● Promote attitudinal reorientation through sporting activities.
● Increase investments in behavioural change communication and intellectual competition.
● Encourage young people to emulate those who have made a positive impact in their community through documentaries, visual libraries, and photobooks.
● Create a monument/place where young people can visit to read about people who have made their community proud.
● Sponsor excursions to such monuments at intervals.
● Organise life skills development and learning sessions towards social re-engineering for young people, young parents, youth leaders and community leaders.
● Incorporating religious leaders into the task of reviving the moral and religious standards by enjoining them to give sermons during the Sunday services and Juma’ah prayers on living a responsible life.
● #FameofShame should be promoted by social crusaders to include names of leaders who patronise cult groups before, during or after the election

The solution to an issue of this magnitude cannot be exhausted, hence the onus is on all of us to speak up when it matters. Kudos to Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni for bringing this on. My suggestions, I guess can be replicated or modified to suit any community experiencing security challenges in Nigeria. Thank you for taking the time to read.

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