The Enugu State Command of the Nigeria Police Force has arrested 18 teenage cultists during their initiations in one of the bushes in the state.
Parading the suspects at the state police headquarters on Wednesday, the state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Ammani, advised parents to take responsibility for their children’s upbringing to ensure that they do not take to delinquent behaviours.
Ammani, who regretted that children between the ages of 14 and 17 could have been allowed to join cultism at an early age, said that there was a need for parents to join hands with the police and other constituted authorities in the state to check teenage delinquency.
He, however, noted that the suspects, who were made up of 15 males and three females, were arrested by operatives of the Anti-Cult Squad of the police command on March 12 at 12 noon in their initiations ground.
He cautioned parents on the need to ensure that they were not caught in the web of the state law that states that parents would be held liable for any wrongdoing by any child or ward under their care.
Ammani said it baffled the officers in the command how children between the ages of 14 and 17 years find pleasure in belonging to cult groups or confraternity groups.
According to him, they were caught red-handed with machetes, knives and other dangerous weapons as they entered the process of initiating themselves into cultism.
He said: “The astonishing revelation by these children led to the invitation of their parents to the command.
“Parents should take parenting and character moulding of these children seriously and ensure they do not turn out to be a menace to the society.
“Presently, these teenagers will turn out within a few years to be a great terror to the peace-loving people of the state, some turning to armed robbers, highway robbers, kidnappers and finally murderers.
“All these are because a parent failed in his or her responsibility to the child as well as due diligence in monitoring and shaping the child’s lifestyle.”
The commissioner said the parents would sign an undertaking to take good parental care of the children as well as make a periodic report on them as it concerned their change of character and being obedient at home.