The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Niger state Council, has raised alarm over a new form of crime involving minors being lured and initiated into cult activities by their masters who usually send them to heaps of waste site as scavengers.
Members of the union in the state expressed the fear in a Communique signed by; Aisha Wakaso, Mathew Jwantu and Onifade Abayomi, the Communique drafting Committee and, Usman Muhammad Chiji, the Council Secretary after the Congress meeting in Minna.
The Journalists noted that the kid scavengers, age 5 and 13 with marks or incisions on their arms,were being sent to garbage heaps by their masters on a daily basis to scavenge for particular items which they normally sell to bring returns at the end of the day while a good number of them, adding that a good number of the kids also served as spies and stealing from compounds for their masters.
The communique, therefore, called on security agencies, to as a matter of urgency, keep eagle eyes on the rising abuse of minors and young scavengers roaming streets in the name of sourcing for scraps but with underground ploy to burgle people’s houses and other ungodly acts.
“This army of kids and initiation into cult by invisible pay masters is another kind of crime and a challenge that needs urgent attention of security agencies”.
“Increasing number of kid scavengers on a daily basis working for some faceless pay masters only means another army of criminals in the making,the Journalists alerted to the society.
According to them, relevant authorities in the state must be urgently look into the issue,vwith a view to stemming the trend and bringing whoever is behind them to book.
“Many of the kid scavengers are visible, loitering around homes when the occupants have gone to work or businesses, at garbage dumps searching for nothing in particular, this could be another form of security threat to state, if not checked, they added.
The journalists also expressed sympathy for increasing number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), sent out of their ancestral homes by armed bandits, the deplorable condition in the camps and called on humanitarian agencies/well to do Nigerians and foreign donors to come to their aid.
They said the call became necessary because the state government alone could not cater for the welfare of millions of th6 IDPs whose homes and life time earnings had been destroyed by armed bandits hibernating in 8 out of 25 local government areas of the state.
The Journalists added that they were also worried by the lapses on the part of government agencies in the entire security operations and called for the creation of security situation room for the prompt tracking and tackling of prevalent security situation and for the rescue of all abductees.
While expressing plans to reward persons who contributed to the growth and development of journalism, journalists and as well humanitarian gestures in the state, the union said it was also worried over encroachment into its properties.
It, therefore, warned those involved in such act to retrace their steps in their own interest.
Edited by Felix Ajide