From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
No fewer than 500 youths of Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area, Anambra State, have renounced cultism and pledged to be of good behaviour, as the community ended its weeklong annual Nwafor festival.
The repentant cultists, dressed in white jersey, yesterday, converged on the Ogidi town hall from where they marched through the major roads in a peaceful procession. They displayed placards, some of which read, “Say no to cultism; no to hard drugs; no to thuggery and armed robbery.”
Leader of the repentant youths, Ifeatu Okeke, in his remarks, commended a philanthropist and indigene of Ogidi, Dr. Obiorah Okonkwo (Dikeorah), for taking interest in youths of the community, having established a N10 million endowment fund for youth empowerment.
“From today upwards, any youth caught involved in cultism will be arrested and handed over to the security operatives. Do not say you have nothing doing and that is why you engage in it; be part of the beneficiaries of the fund by coming to register and be empowered with money from Dikeorah’s kind gesture because you will not be spared when caught,” he warned.
Chairman, board of trustees of the endowment fund, Chief Sam Mendu Onwa, said: “From cultism, you turn to drug addict, armed robber and assassins, among others. That is the reason we want to save your lives through the benevolence of our son, Dikeorah, who wants you to have something doing so that you say bye to cultism and become self-reliant”
The traditional ruler of Ogidi, HRM Igwe Alex Onyido, said, with the renouncement of cultism in Ogidi, the youths would have a change of heart. He commended Dikeorah for assisting the youths.
On why the renouncement coincided with the period of the festival, he said: “It is a period of mass return of Ogidi men and we celebrate it more than any other festival. So most of the youths, if not all, will be present.”