Cultism is rising among our youths and this is worrying. The members live in our communities, attend our schools and colleges. Some are as young as 15 years or even less and are mostly boys. Sometimes, they are our sons who have finished school and have nothing to do. Some join these cults and gangs because of idleness, laziness or poverty, although it does them more harm than good in the end.
For some of them, it is a way of rebelling against authority or a society that has failed them. Sometimes it is also a way of feeling grown up or removing themselves from the reality of unemployment. Whatever the reason, it is sad and ugly. Society is in distress and our young men are dying or becoming irresponsible.
Once, cult members operated in the dark, where no one could see them. But now, they manifest in the day, smoking marijuana, beating up people and shooting guns at burial ceremonies, football matches and other community events, without fear of the police. Recently, at a nearby community, the cultists engaged in a gun battle with themselves at a funeral and, later, in a market. Men, women and children took to their heels, scampering for safety to avoid being hit by stray bullet. But not everyone was lucky to escape unhurt.
This is scary, especially now that elections are in the air. These jobless youths are ready tools in the hands of ruthless politicians, whose sole aim is to win votes. The cultists are available for hire at anytime and for anything. Just pay them!
But we want to remind politicians that any bad seed they sow will grow to haunt them in the future. We urge them to think twice before they use these young men for their dirty jobs.
Whatever they cannot use their own children for, they should also not use these jobless youths. They should remember that once they have hired and armed them as thugs, to do wicked deeds, it becomes hard, if not impossible, to disarm them when the elections are over. These are the people who later become hardened criminals, armed robbers and kidnappers. We have had experiences in the past to learn from.
We urge parents, guardians and the entire community to be vigilant, and to report any criminal activity to the police. Parents should not allow themselves to be silenced by their children. They should continue to do their parenting job, speak out against evil and warn their children not to allow themselves to be sacrificed at the altar of anyone’s political ambition.
The church and the schools also have a responsibility to guide youths aright and to speak out against deviant behaviour. Our royal fathers and traditional rulers must do their part in keeping watch over their community, not minding the consequences.
The police and other civil security organisations owe it to the people to protect them. Many a time, they know who these cult members are and where they operate. Some of them aid and abet criminal behaviour, to their own shame. Whereas we are not suggesting that a youth should be arrested for supposedly being a cult or gang member, any proven case of crime, violence and indecent behaviour should be investigated and perpetrators punished, without delay. Cults and cult activities must not be allowed to overrun our communities. A stitch in time always saves nine.