The government of Delta State has threatened to shut down secondary schools in the state involved in cultism.
The Commissioner for Information, Delta State, Charles Aniagwu, gave the warning after recent disclosure that some secondary school students are being initiated into a cult through an act known as ‘snake bite’ where a student allegedly gets a mark on the back of their palm to signify their initiation.
Aniagwu emphasised that the government would not hold back from shutting down any school involved in activities related to cultism.
He added that any student found guilty of the act would be punished as deserved.
The Commissioner also noted that the Ministry of Education also plans to increase its level of supervision to put an end to the mania.
Aniagwu blamed parents, teachers, religious leaders, and stakeholders for not properly performing their duties to their children and wards.
“Let nobody make any mistake to think that cultism is restricted to Delta.
“What we are suffering today flows from the failure of parents of yesterday, so parents of today must avoid such pitfalls.
“Beyond the fact that we have asked the supervisory ministry to increase supervision, the authority in any school where cultism is found will be called to answer,’’ Aniagwu emphasised.
According to The Punch, a Delta state-based activist, Harrison Gwamnishu, revealed an ongoing initiation process in some secondary schools.
Captioning a picture showing the mark on two students’ hands, he wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday, “Check your child if she or he has this mark, If YES, It’s a mark of initiation into cultism.
"The mark is called a ‘SNAKE BITE’. Check your children NOW! IT'S HAPPENING IN SCHOOLS.
"This is happening already in some of Secondary Schools in Asaba, Delta State."
Giving an update on the development in a different Facebook Post on Thursday, Gwamnishu wrote:
"UPDATE ON THE SNAKE BITE.
"From Commissioner of Education Onoriode Sunday
"DTSG Decries Cultism, Other Negative Vices Among Students and Learners
"Delta State Government (DTSG) has condemned what it described as unwarranted activities of some students and learners in primary and secondary schools who were carrying out the initiation of their colleagues into a secret cult.
"The State Commissioner for Primary Education, Chief Sunday Onoriode and her counterpart in Secondary Education, Mrs Rose Ezewu stated this in Asaba while reacting to a trending video from an unknown individual who interrogated some of the students and learners to find out the reason behind the mark on their fingers.
"The sender of the story said the children called the incision mark 'snake bite'.
"In a statement by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (Mr. Augustine Oghoro) on behalf of the Commissioners, perpetrators of the negative act would be fished out and dealt with accordingly.
"The statement noted that the sender of the video narrated how a male teacher in a secondary school in Asaba was almost beaten up by a female student who was involved in the nefarious act.
"The statement stressed that the State Government was investigating the incident and enjoined students and learners to desist from acts connected to initiations and report any occurrence to their headteachers or principal.
"However, parents and guardians are advised to be vigilant and report any untoward development in this direction to the Office of the Ministry of Education nearest to them."
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