P.M. News (Lagos)

15 July 1999

Africa: Seadogs Condemn Cultism

Lagos — The National Association of Seadogs (NAS) has stood up in fierce condemnation of the spate of lawlessness in the country's institutions of higher learning through the activities of campus cults.

In a press release signed by its National Capon, Mr. Ben Oguntuase, NAS described the students as "setting themselves out as the last symbol" of militarism in a civilian setting.

Seadogs expressed concern over the seeming inability of the government to contain "these social miscreants who hide under the umbrella of darkness and membership of shadowy student groups otherwise known as secret cults to unleash mayhem in our schools." They insisted that "the student body needs to be urgently de-militarised and re-positioned for civil decent conduct."

While castigating the defunct regime of General Sani Abacha for fanning the embers of cultism then as a tool to smear the name of Professor Wole Soyinka, one of the founding members of the association, the release called on the federal government to take immediate steps to sanitise institutions of higher learning.

It recalled that way back in 1990 when the association organised the first national seminar on the way out of campus secret cults, copies of the proceedings and recommendations which were submitted to the government were left by government in "its usual fashion" to gather dust in disused corners of a shelf.

The association charged the government to take a drastic approach to tackling the problem of cultism in order to restore the standard, dignity and environment of scholarship. The organisation also advised that all groups should be encouraged to come forward for registration with the school authorities.

The body further appealed to the media to strengthen its role in exposing agents of evil on campuses.

by "denying them cloak of anonymity," suggesting that cliches such as "names withheld" should not be part of style in reporting cult issues.

The association issued a communique of its representative forum held recently at Awka welcoming the recent actions of President Olusegun Obasanjo. It noted that the president has acceded to some of its demands made to him before his inauguration and specifically expressed joy at the on-going inquiry into the action of past governments, especially the area of human rights violation.

"NAS welcomes the decision to release the body of Ken Saro-Wiwa for proper burial" requesting further for compensation and formal post-humous apology to him, his family and deprived people of Ogoni.

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