Three occasions but all intricately related:
Exactly eight years ago. 1pm. Ajara Grammar School, closer to Badagry end of the Lagos- Badagry Express Way.
I looked out of the right rear window of the car to behold a most bizarre scene: The long axis of this high school laid back from, and parallel to the highway, leaving an ample play ground in front.
As a large number of tutors and students crowded on all floors of the 3-storey main building, the play ground below was equally filled to the brim with students…male and female who played on so casually and so intensely, as a line of male students in mufty moved in a diagonal through the crowd!
The boy leading the line held a long swagger stick…his staff of office and a symbol of his authority! The surprising element was that the crowd of students around played on as if absolutely devoid of concern or fright…suggesting that this anomaly was accepted and embraced as the norm!
Of course the male procession was a cult! I had hitherto heard people talk about cults even in our high schools but this was a hands on experience for me!
I have seen teenagers behave so badly and so confidently as to suggest their membership of a cult.
In my late teens, on two different occasions, I had been divinely used to prevail on other teenagers to shelve plans of gang-raping helpless girls who were so unlucky as to escort boyfriends into a room. It mattered not if the boyfriend was a gentleman. He was easily intimidated and overpowered by a gang of stronger boys who would otherwise rape his girl in his presence.. Often in the open. In broad daylight!
I don’t recall exactly what I said to these two gangs of rapists to persuade them but I somehow did!
In my practice years, a male nurse on errand for me to Alaba electronics market in Lagos returned with tales of woe. He was ordered to kneel down by a gang of boys who brazenly raped a lady in his presence… Right there on the bare floor. In the open. In broad daylight! They even asked my errand if he’d like to have a go! His refusal got him more punishment. They said the girl dressed too scantily!
Trusted teenagers use drugs without busy parents ever suspecting. The latest fad is Coke and Tom Tom. Tons of the spicy candy are dissolved in the soda. They also experiment with other drugs. And vices: armed robbery, thuggery…usually by succumbing to peer pressure. All intricately related!
The solution derives from closer attention, scrutiny and care of our kids and wards! But how can a parent whose numerous portraits in cult robes so recklessly adorn his home have the will…or the moral standing….to admonish his child to refrain from teenage or college cults?
Teenagers simply get promoted from one age group of cultists to the next…teenage to college…college to adult…cults.
Cultism has somehow so regrettably, evolved as our way of life!
Hardly can you progress in the Nigerian clime without belonging to one cult or the other. Hand signs and gestures. Emblems and insignia in different guises. They pervert justice everywhere… Police stations. Courts. Government offices. Private companies. In promotions. Contracts. God save you if they approach you and yooururn down their invitation….
They say they’re simply “helping” one another.
Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)