CLEEN FOUNDATION PAYS ADVOCACY VISIT TO NIGERIAN POLICE FORCE (NPF) AND THE AYANGBURE OF IKORODU (OBA OF IKORODU)
CLEEN Foundation’s Lagos team and the Chairman of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) Lagos State paid an advocacy visit to the Divisional Police Officers in charge of Ipadkodo and Igbogbo Central Police Divisions in Ikorodu. Mrs.Blessing Abiri, the Program Advisor with the CLEEN Foundation introduced the PREVENT project on Serious Organized Crime (SOC) which has identified Ikorodu as a community with a high rate of reported crimes particularly cultism. The project is a 3-years pilot study designed to understudy these issues and design programs through which to engage the youths.
In the meeting with the police representatives, they commended the CLEEN Foundation for choosing Ikorodu, a town that shares a border with Ogun State. Cultism was identified as been prevalent in the following localities of Shagamu, Ijede, Imota, and Igbobo, but with the effort of the police over the past year, they have tried to address the issue and restore law and order in the communities. The driving factors for cultism were identified to include- seeking supremacy of turf by cult groups and satisfying personal ego. It has been observed that cultists kill just to count numbers and politicians are sometimes culpable in this social menace, as they use them to terrorize their opponents. Moreso, some of the cultists in Ikorodu are not indigenes of the LGA but outsiders who come in to commit these crimes and disappear.
During the deliberation, it was revealed that the high rate of unemployment; peer pressure and socio-cultural practices like traditional blood-rituals for wealth gain; lack of access to affordable housing and poverty are the major contributors to the alarming rise in cult activities in the area. Sadly, the culture of silence is a major hindrance to effectively curbing the vice of cultism as most parents and communities with intelligence on the activities and identities of these criminal elements are afraid to speak up whenever they are attacked due to threats to their lives.
Suggested recommendations to addressing the problem of cultism, included:
- Improving access to quality and low-cost education for all.
- Increase community awareness on the ills of cultism.
- Creating job opportunities and affordable housing for young people who are low-income earners.
- Engaging parents or heads of households in all interventions targeted at curbing this menace.
It was also noted that some youths do not want to work which is why there are half-baked artisans but when they are made to know the need for skills and certification, they will be better informed in decision making in this regard.
The CLEEN team also visited the palace of Oba Ayangbure of Ikorodu to introduce the project. The Oba expressed immense gratitude for the project, adding that there are graduates among the cultists in the community. The Oba pledged his support for the project because it will improve the quality of lives’ of his community members. Lastly, his Royal Highness, advised that intensive public awareness community engagements and jingles be employed in passing across the message, while efforts should be made to engage the local vigilante group leaders, who know and can identify the cultists.