21 August 2001

Nigeria: Benin University Warns Against Cultism

Benin — The Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Prof. Abhulimen R. Anao, has issued a stern warning to newly admitted students of the institution to avoid falling into the temptation of joining secret cults or any undesirable groups on the campuses to have a truly fulfilling academic sojourn in the university.

Anao gave the admonition during the matriculation ceremony for the 2000/2001 academic session of the university at the Ugbowo Campus.

Describing matriculation as the students' subscription to the "oath of obedience and respect to the authority of the institution which comprises sages and scholars," Anao said any student who allowed himself/herself to be recruited into any secret cult would be summarily dismissed.

While congratulating them on their "well deserved" joy as successful, new undergraduates, he said the fact that they were among the 4,000 candidates who were "offered admission out of over 40,000 that were eligible" could become meaningless if they failed to commit themselves to the rigours of serious academic pursuit from their very first week on campus.

"In your case, I must warn that you shall have no right to enjoy your freedom to the point of constituting a nuisance to others," he admonished, stressing, "the university is for a great majority of people a giant leap which demands some special effort or personal adjustment."

He urged the matriculants to regard those vested with the responsibility to oversee and regulate their individual freedoms as "foster parents", noting "the demands which university work makes on you intellectually will also be found to be very much more challenging than any that you had previously ever had to tackle."

The students, however, lamented that "in spite of our management's press statement that was even aired on the network service of the FRCN, such damaging news item could still be carried about the law-abiding students of Auchi Polytechnic," on "Saturday, August 11, 2001."

Describing the FRCN's action as "a deliberate attempt to rubbish our reputation," they stressed that "the only suspect that has anything to do with Auchi Polytechnic (based on reported police investigations) is an === while highlighting the serious accommodation problem facing the university.

"The university currently has about 25,000 full-time students and another 11,000 part-time students; as against this number there are only about 6,000 available bed spaces. Even the 6,000 bed spaces have been extracted with considerable difficulty," Anao said.

Emphasising the commitment of UNIBEN authorities "to combat the menace of cultism so as to eradicate it completely from the campus," the vice chancellor alerted the university community of apparent efforts by some faceless persons "to resuscitate full scale cult activities on the campus," advising the students to "say a resolute 'No!' to whatever alluring offers cult members might offer them under any guise. He said trouble makers would, in the same vein, invite them to join so-called peaceful demonstrations.

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