Cultism In Nigeria
Meaning of Cultism
Cultism can be defined as the practices or activities of a group of people who have extreme religious beliefs that are considered severe. It is a social crime which is very rampant within the school system, although cult groups are everywhere within the larger society
Secret Cult is a group or association whose activities are made hidden from non-members.
Historical development of Cultism in Nigeria
Secret Cults in Nigeria’s higher institutions started as fraternities with sole aim of maintaining law and order on campuses. This is a role performed by secret societies in the adult communities. The cults were in existence with the aim of addressing acts of injustice, victimisation and other issues capable of disturbing the peaceful atmosphere of the institutions.
In 1952, The Pyrates Confraternity (Seadogs) was formed at the University of Ibadan as a student’s protest group. They were against the coat and attitude sigma. The Pyrates being the first known social club in any Nigerian University, saw their mode of dressing as typical example of colonial mentality and therefore adopted a motto “Sworn enemies of convention, a position which portrayed them as a radical students’ group. The group also acted as the corrective organ of students’ union. In this regard, being disciplinary in nature, they fought against all forms of injustices perpetuated either by the university authority or by Students’ Union Government.
The Bucaneers (Sealords) emerged in 1972.
In 1960, another group known as Eiye Fraternity emerged also in the University of Ibadan and was subsequently registered by the authority as a cultural association. ‘Éiye’ bird in Yoruba language is otherwise known as ‘Airlords’ adopted a motto – “No Feather”, “No Bird” and an insignia of “No Love”, “No Peace”. The group was formed to preserve Yoruba culture as regards traditional ways of healing and making things happen spiritually. Every member of this confraternity adopted the name of a bird.
Reasons Why Students Join Cult
- Search for responsibility: Some students join cults in order to perform certain duties for the members
- Search for satisfaction of one’s aspirations and needs: For example, a student may belong to a cult group whose part of their objectives is to ensure high success of its members in academic examinations.
- Search for security: Many students especially females join secret cults for protection against lecturers or other male students. Some males join to secure their female friends.
- Search for social identity: There are also students who join cult groups in attempt to be popular. They want to be regarded as powerful people. For them, it is a way of achieving prestige and greatness. It is their belief that they can influence decisions on campuses and dictate the pace during Students Union Elections.
- Financial Assistance: Some students join with the aim of getting helped financially.
- Injustice: Some students form their own cult groups to seek an avenue to protest injustice in the society.
- Frustration: Some students join cult groups because they want to create an avenue to exhibit and diffuse frustration from families, school, society and poverty.
- Forced Membership - Some students are coerced into cultism through threat and assault by cult members.
Causes of Cultism in Nigerian Institutions
- Parental and Home Background: Students’ participation in cult activities may be influenced by parents’ involvement in similar activities.
- Societal decay: The Nigerian Adult society is materialistic. There is a mad rush to acquire wealth and power. Some powerful members of the society sometimes unleash terror on the helpless and defenseless members.
- Emotional Sickness: Children who have emotional sickness tends to be depressed and frustrated with life. In an attempt to express their anger against neglect, they may join cult groups to unleash terror on the society that has caused them emotional pains.
- Peer Group Influence: Motivation for joining cults may come from peer group influence. Some students have become cultists because their friends lured them into joining.
- Support from staff or lecturer of institutions: In some institutions, officials play the role of grand patron to some cult groups and also sponsor them. The student cultists are used against several members of the community for selfish reasons.
- Inadequate Religious and Moral Education: Some parents have abandoned their responsibilities in the area of moral upbringing of their children because of the craze for material wealth. They hardly show interest in the educational/academic progress of their children. Such parents do not attend parents’ fora and meetings. Schools should also include teaching against cultism in their curriculum.
Cult Groups in Nigerian Campuses
- Black eye
- The Dragon
- Pyrates (Seadogs)
- Red Devil
- Black Axe
- Blood suckers
- Vikings Fraternity
- New Black movement
Some exclusively female cult groups include:
- Daughters of Jezebel
- Temple of Eden
- Black Beret
- Black Bra
Characteristics of Cult Groups
- Illegal possession of arms and ammunition
- Drug abuse
- Violent Crimes
- Sexual Escapades
- Killing of innocent students, academic and non-academic staffs
- Arson, Rape, Extortion, Threats, Physical attacks, Blackmail and other inhuman practices
- Factional struggle and war of supremacy resulting in bloody clashes between the cult groups.
Consequences of Cultism
4. Spiritual Problems
Preventive Measures against Cultism
Cultism is a social crime and their activities are often laden with blood. Therefore, in order to curb it, there should be:
1. A definite legislation that will pass a death sentence to anybody found guilty of cult activities on campuses.
2. Moral education should be made compulsory in the primary, secondary schools and should also be taught in General studies in tertiary institutions in the country.
3. Parents should take time to understand their children, give enough time to listen to them at home and satisfy their emotional, psychological and physical needs.
4. Parents should know and watch the friends of their wards. They should also take time to watch any strange behaviour put up by their wards and also correct them immediately.
5. Aggressive efforts to wage war against cultism in all tertiary institutions should be allowed by Government and religious groups in the country.
BADOO Cult Group
Badoo is a relatively new cult group whose activities have only been reported in some parts of Lagos State. Members of this cult group have been identified with ritual killings, although motive for the killings are yet to be known. However, this ritualists are known for cleaning blood of their dead victims with white handkerchief before escaping.