Cultism in Nigerian Schools: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention -By Aniekpeno John Inyang

Filed under: National Issues |

Cultism can be defined as the practice of activities that are associated with Secret Cults. Secret Cults are organisations whose membership and modes of operation are considered to be unconventional and known to members only. Secret cult members pledge their allegiance to the cult, devoting themselves under oath to support and carryout the activities of the group without objection.

Cultism is one of the major vices confronting the Nigerian educational sector today. The activities of these groups have caused the deaths of many (members and non-members inclusive). Secret Cult groups are rampant in higher institutions in the Country and has become a smear on the proper development of the Nigerian youth.

The activities of these groups take various destructive forms which include:

1. torture
2. Advanced fee fraud
3. Making painful inscriptions on the bodies of new members.
4. Voodo ritual practice
5. Murder
6. Drinking of human blood,and urine
7. Taking of hard drugs
8. Holding meetings in unconventional places such as cementries, forests, river sides etc.
9. Indecent dressing
10. Intimidation of others
11. Armed robbery
12. Sexual assault
13. Kidnapping.

INITIATION PROCESS

The initiation process of Secret Cult groups are extremely dangerous and life threatening. The males are made to go through different forms of torture where they are severely beaten with sticks and matchets to test their endurance. The female intending members are usually raped by several young men. On survival of the above, both males and females are made to drink alcoholic substances mixed with blood as a form of oath taking to pledge their allegiance to the group.

CULTISM IN NIGERIAN SCHOOLS

Cultism in Nigerian schools dates back to when Wole Soyinka and a group of six freinds formed the pyrate confraternity at the University College, Ibadan. According to the founder of the group, the group was formed to advocate against the discrimination and oppression of poor and disadvantaged members of the society.

The activities of the group back then were not violent. The members were brilliant students who respected the rights of others, unfortuanately unscrupulous elements found their way into the group and thus the purpose of fighting for the right of all was jettisoned by the group. This led to the break up of the group into various groups and the introduction of violence into the activities of cultism.

In 1972 the Buccanneers Association of Nigeria was founded by former members of the pyrate confraternity. By the 1980s, there was cult explosion in higher institutions throughout the country. The following are some of the common cult groups identified in Nigeria and the year they were formed.
Pyrates confraternity Formed in 1952 at the University College, Ibadan.

Eiye confraternity Formed in 1965 at the University of Ibadan.

Buccanneers confraternity formed in 1972 at the University of Benin.

Neo-black movement (black axe) formed in 1983 at the University of Benin

Eternal fraternal order of the legion consortium formed in 1983 at the University of Calabar

Supreme Vikings confraternity formed in 1984 at the University of Calabar

OUTBREAK OF VIOLENCE

The emergence of different cult groups led to the introduction of violence as a key component of cult activities. Right from the point of initiation, where members are tortured almost to the point of death to the exercise of their daily activities, violence is the all encapsulating factor of cult activities. Many have died, others have been maimed as a result of cult activities.

These cult groups started unleashing terror in the Nigerian universities because each group wanted to prove their supremacy over other groups on Campus. they carry out revenge killings on rival groups, intimidate other students and lecturers into carrying out their will. There have been incidences where cult members attack their victims in broad daylight with dangerous weapons much to the dismay of onlookers.

The following are reported incidences of Secret Cult activities around Nigerian Schools:

May, 2017, At the gate of the Benson Idahosa University, Benin, an only child of a Pastor was reportedly killed by a Cult Clash while many others were wounded from the Clash (http://nigerianobservernews.com/2017/05/pastors-only-child-killed-in-biu-cult-clash/)

June, 2017, A Student of the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) and other unidentified persons have been killed in a cult clash between the Vikings and KKK confraternity in Ogoja Local Government Area (LGA) of Cross River State. (http://dailypost.ng/2017/06/12/crutech-student-others-killed-cult-clash-ogoja/)

It was reported on March 14, 2016 that two students of Abia State University were beheaded as rival cult groups clashed on campus.(http://opera.pulse.ng/communities/student/abia-state-university-clash-6-other-deadly-university-cult-clashes-that-happened-this-year-id4806039.html)

April, 2014, At the Ambrose Alli University One Student was shot dead during a clash by rival cult groups. (https://www.dailyschoolnews.com.ng/ambrose-alli-university-cult-clash-student-shot-dead-by-rival-cult-groups/)

April, 2017, An inter-rival cult clash between members of Vikings and Buccaneer at the Ebonyi state University left a Final year student dead (http://dailypost.ng/2017/04/18/one-dead-two-injured-cult-members-clash-ebonyi-university/)

All these point to how disastrous Cultism canbe be and why urgent steps need to be taken to curb the menace.

REASONS WHY STUDENTS JOIN CULT GROUPS

There are many reasons why students join cults, the following are some of the reasons:

1. Quest for power: Many students want to feel superior and more powerful than other students, so they join cult groups to give themselves this false feeling of superiority.

2. Desire for revenge: students also join cult groups to seek revenge against someone who intimidated or harassed them. They hope by becoming members of rival groups they can take revenge on those who intimidated them.

3. Search for protection: Students also join cult groups in the quest to be protected from being intimidated by others especially cult members. After joining these cults they soon discover that they are not being protected at all but instead their lives have been kept on the line.

4. Quest for recognition and popularity: People also join cults in order to be recognized as “big boys or girls” by others and also become popular among student communities.

5. Peer group influence: Many students join cult groups following persuasion from their friends who are already members. This is why it is very important to keep the right company of friends at all times.

6. Desire for brotherhood: students also join cult groups to form part of a brotherly relationship, where members pledge their allegiance to love and defend each other.

7. Perfect bad habits: Students who have learnt bad habits from an early age easily join cults groups as a cover to perpetuate their bad character.

CONSEQUENCES OF CULTISM

The consequences of cultism are in two ways which are:
1. Consequences on the society
2. Consequences on the individual

1. Consequences on the society: These are the consequences of cult activities which are suffered by the society at large they include the following;

i. Loss of innocent lives: Cult activities bring about the loss of innocent lives which may come about during violent cult clashes with other cult members or the police. This innocent citizens who are killed may other wise have become valuable members of the society.

ii. Destruction of valuable properties: Cult members are always prone to destroying valuable properties in the society in the course of their activities.

iii. Increase in crime rate: Cult activities bring about the increase in crime rate, this is because cultists engage in all sorts of crime such as raping, murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery. All these make the society unsafe for living.

iv. Increase in violence: Cult activities also breeds the nature of violence in youths. Youths who become cultists do not place any value on human life, and rather than resolve conflicts amicably resort to violent means to solve problems which in turn breeds more violence as the saying goes ‘violence begat violence’.

V. Bad image:cult activities gives the society bad image.

Vi. Fall in education standard: Frequent closure of schools and destruction of valuable school properties as a result of cult activities results to the fall of education standard.

2. Consequences on the individual

i. Death: many cult members end up paying the ultimate price for belonging to such groups. On a daily basis cult members kill each other on grounds of supremacy and revenge.

ii. Loss of limbs: Cultists also lose their limbs during violent clashes with other cult groups. These cultists use dangerous materials to carryout their atrocities, in the process maim those targeted.

iii. Destruction of health: Cult members engage in different forms of drug abuse and careless behaviour. These actions tend to destroy the body system and cause adverse health conditions.

iii. Poor academic performance: Cultists also experience poor academic performance in school. They skip lectures and have no time to read their books. This explains why many cultists end up spending more years than expected in the University.

V. Bad reputation: Cultists have a bad reputation wherever they go, no body regards or respects them. They are always despised by their families and the society at large

Vi. Expulsion from school: Tertiary institutions have very low tolerance for cult activities and so any student found belonging to a cult is usually expelled from the school.

Vii. Prison time: Belonging to a cult group is a criminal offense and so any individual found to belong to a cult is made by the courts of law to face prison time.

Viii. Lack of peace: Cult members lack peace as they are always on the lookout for rival cult groups. They hardly stay one place because they fear for their security.

IX. Spiritual problems: The voodoo ritual practice by cult groups bring untold spiritual implications on their well being. They face all manners of spiritual attacks in the course of their lives.

X. Shame and embarrassment: Cultists bring a lot of shame, embarrassment and pain to their families. Parents are being tagged as bad parents or parents of armed robbers. Cultism has also made many parents loose their children to ultimately death.

WAYS OF PREVENTING CULTISM

There are many ways to Prevent Cultism, the following are some of these ways

1. Proper campaign on the negative effects of cultism: Individuals at all levels in the society should be properly educated on the negative effects of cultism. If individuals, particularly, students learn of the effects of cultism they are less likely to want to indulge in it.

2. Effective security in schools: School administrations should ensure that they provide effective security measures in school environments to protect students from harassment and intimidation from others, when this happens students will not feel the need to seek protection by forming or joining cult groups.

3. Good parental upbringing: Parents should put in good effort in bringing up their children so as to ensure that they don’t imbibe bad characters that encourage violence. Children must be taught the values of good morals.

4. Severe punishment for cult activities: Authorities at all levels must ensure that they met out severe punitive measures on acts of cultism to serve as deterrence to others.

5. Encouragement of academic exploits: Everyone in the society must join hands in providing conducive learning environment For students as well as supporting activities that encourage learning, this will make students focus more on their education and be less distracted by other things such as cultism.

6. Avoidance of bad company: Students must avoid keeping bad friends, so they don’t get influenced into indulging in negative behavior.

 

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