#BounceExclusive: Carrot Or Stick? Lagos Must End Cultism Among Minors
The rate at which under-aged boys and girls get involved in cultism these days is alarming, especially in Lagos.
This issue has been a source of worry to the Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal.
The challenge is that some of these arrested cultists are so young that handling them with the full weight of the law may not be productive.
What are they craving? Are they lost within a maze of wanting to belong and at the same time wanting to be alone?
How do you send a child in his formative years to prison where he gets to mingle with convicted criminals, some hardened, unrepentant and determined to recruit?
Mr Edgal knows better than to let this happen and he told Bounce News that he is fashioning long term solutions to this issue of cultism, especially involving minors.
Perhaps his solutions will outlive his tenure as Lagos CP and become a template with which Lagos can remain unfriendly to gang violence.
This is what he hopes to achieve.
“The problem has been there for so long and I don’t think that you can only use force to solve the problem.
“Arresting them and charging them to court without having a structure for rehabilitation or reorientation will not work.
“That is why I have not stopped our partnership with local communities and I am trying to involve the relevant agencies of government in finding solutions.
“The Special Adviser to the Governor on Social Affairs was in my office recently and this issue was also discussed.
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“At the end of the day, what we intend is to achieve communities that have social cohesion to the extent that it is no longer a norm for youths to be involved in cult activities.
“We are now using the carrot and stick approach in handling this problem.
The CP has indeed been putting action behind these words. Just at the weekend he hosted the Student Union leaders from all tertiary institutions in Lagos state.
His strategy was clear, if students have successfully been able to reduce cultism in their various campuses, then they are the best to work with in dealing with the current trend in Lagos.
“In all neighborhoods in Lagos now, you have young boys between 14, 15, 16, not even up to the constitutionally recognized age of 18 being recruited for cult related activities.
“These young boys, their thinking has not yet been formed, so they are easily indoctrinated, they do not know the consequences of their actions since they are supposed to be under guidance and mentorship, they cannot even be held legally accountable for some of their actions,” he said.
The solution to this problem is to get more young people on the side of the police, especially students who could have some influence on the younger ones.
The meeting went well and with the new pact between the police boss and the students (Lagosians) should expect a new era of peace and order within the emerging Smart City.
Eko Oni Baje ooo!