From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The leadership of Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja has suspended end-of-examination celebration on campus until further notice.
The Rector of the Polytechnic, Dr. Salisu Ogbo Usman who announced this while briefing journalists in Lokoja on the development, over the weekend, said that the decision is not in anyway an attempt to cut short the joy of our law abiding students who have every reason to mark an important milestone in their lives, but to curtail the dangerous criminal dimensions that have been introduced into the celebrations recently.
He said; “As a Management, we have no reason whatsoever to go against such celebration if conducted with civility and decorum.
“In times past, including mine as a student, examination celebration was all about handshake, hugging, and other merriments devoid of social upheavals.
“Instead, what we now have in most cases is the despicable use of water (both dirty and clean) mixed with soap, kerosene and other dangerous chemicals to immerse colleagues who have just graduated.
“In the name of such celebration, students even drive recklessly on campus and causing avoidable accident; a clear instance was a case of a female student who almost lost her legs in Kogi State University Anyigba in 2017 as a result of such careless driving.
As if such practice is not worse enough, students have further resorted to hitting and jabbing themselves with heavy “booths”, falling in the process and uttering all manner of jargons familiar only to a people belonging to outlawed groups or societies.
“The worst of it all is that it is in the process of such “celebration” that students openly show their respective cult groups through what they term “flying of colour”
“Further, we have strong information that it is this period that members of cult groups are invited from other institutions and places for the handing over of batons of leadership and celebration of their “successes”; whatever that means.
“Worst still, the celebrations have taken a more dangerous dimension that students now mark end of examination with gunshots on campus in company of their respective cult groups.
“Consequently, institutions across the country have considered the trend as not only worrisome but also dangerous; and have accordingly banned the practice at various times.
“In Kogi State Polytechnic, for instance, there were reported cases of sporadic gunshots at the end of examination in 2019; an indication of cultists demonstrating their respective strengths.
“The highpoint was a particular case of cultists that came with guns looking for a Lecturer on the campus.
“The 2019 celebration eventually ended tragically as it claimed the life of a student at the back of the Matriculation Ground.
“This time, we have credible information that arrangements have been concluded by suspected cult groups to avenge the 2019 killing by using end- of-examination celebration as a launchpad.
“We have also been informed that some external mercenaries and old students who are suspected leaders of rival cult groups have been invited and have been around for the past 5 days rehearsing the execution of their plan.
“As a Management, even as we are working closely with relevant security agencies who are on the close trail of these suspects, we have every responsibility to be proactive.
“Therefore, even as we could have loved our law abiding students to have celebrated their end-of-examination in a decent manner (through handshake and hugging) as was the practice, we are constrained by security concerns to stop any form of celebration on campus until further notice. The Rector explained.