Cultism is a major vice which is common in tertiary institutions in Nigeria today. Cultism itself, according to history, started for a good cause, but over time things have changed. Let us take a look at cultism in Nigeria, the causes, effects, how it all began and solutions to Cultism in Nigeria.
Cultism in Nigeria has become something to worry about in Universities campus and even in the streets, however it was recorded to began as far back as 1952. It started out as fraternities, and they were enclosed within universities campuses with the motive and Godly intentions of maintaining law and order on campuses. It was not until the 1990s that they began spreading to the streets and creeks.
WHAT IS CULTISM?
Cultism can be defined as an anti-social or deviant group of people who have unusual religious beliefs and whose activities contravenes the norms or social rules of an institution that is meant to provide education for such individual. The membership, admission, policy and initiation formalities as well as their mode of operation are done in secret and kept secret with their activities having negative effects on both members and non-members.
Cultism is one of the social crimes committed in the universities, polytechnics, colleges of Education and has extended to our secondary schools. The activities of secret cults in our institutions of higher learning have maimed many innocent groups anytime there’s rival group clashes.
below is an art drawing of a cult group in the middle of a forest during an initiation rites.
WHAT IS A CULT?
In modern English, a cult is a social group that is defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or by its common interest in a particular personality, object or goal.
Cultism Popularly called in the neighbourhood as Secret Cult can be said to be an organisation of which people come together to pledge their allegiances under an oath and have a social bond of commitment and dedication for the good of the organisation.
This set of people carry out their meetings when people are not aware of, especially during the odd hours (Midnight) and far away from residence (in the bush most often time). This individuals keep their activities secret from non-members and people in the society.
[sc_fs_faq sc_id=”fs_faqyofk0mctb” html=”true” headline=”h2″ img=”” question=”TYPES OF CULTIST IN NIGERIA” img_alt=”” css_class=”” ]Who really are the so-called “cultists”? When people talk of student cult groups, they in their sub-consciousness are referring to the following:
- The Pyrates Confraternity
- The Buccaneer Confraternity
- The Eiye Confraternity
- The Neo-Black Movement of Africa
- The Vikings
- The Mafia and lately,
- The Daughters of Jezebel
- The Black Braziers.
HISTORY OF CULTISM IN NIGERIA
Nigerian confraternities were largely the precursor to many of the militant groups in the delta. While confraternities began in the country’s universities, these gangs eventually spread to the streets and creeks of the energy-rich delta region.
Most reports claim that the first manifestation of a campus confraternity (or campus cult) was in 1952.
At that time, Wole Soyinka, Olumyiwa Awe, Raph Okpara, Aig-Imokhuede, Ben Egbuchie, Nathaniel Oyelola and Pius Oleghe (who were known as the “Magnificent Seven”) formed the Pyrates Confraternity at the University of Ibadan. The purpose of the confraternity was to combat societal ills and conformist degradation, which were being exhibited not only by students, but by society at large. According to the Pyrates, the first graduates of the University of Ibadan were elitist, as they were highly privileged since they were the first graduating class of Nigeria’s first university. Most of the university students adopted elitist behavior, imitating the dress of the colonialists and mimicking their culture. Wole Soyinka, who was code-named “Captain Blood,” together with his colleagues felt that the pretenses should be stopped. A notable incident that further provoked the Pyrates occurred after many privileged students organized a demonstration against the construction of a rail-line that was to be built across a road leading to their campus. The students were afraid that improved transportation access to the university would reduce its exclusivity. The Pyrates decided to fight what they believed to be elitist nonsense. They succeeded not only in ridiculing the students’ argument, but also accomplished the construction of the rail-line.
Membership in the Pyrates Confraternity was offered to intellectually promising men with no discrimination as to race, color or tribe. The majority of those who applied to join the Pyrates were not accepted. The activity of members was rigidly controlled and the group promoted non-violent dispute resolution. From 1953 to 1972, the Pyrates was the only confraternity on Nigerian campuses.
The Emergence of Pseudo-Confraternities
In the early 1970s, several confraternities emerged. In 1972, a member of the Pyrates Confraternity, Dr. Bolaji Carew (code-named “Late Ahoy Rica Ricardo”), and other members were accused of not following the teachings of the confraternity and were unexpectedly expelled. As a result of this incident and other problems, the Pyrates pulled out of Nigeria’s universities. They then registered themselves in Nigeria under the name of the National Association of Seadogs (NAS). Carew later founded the Buccaneers Confraternity (also called the National Associations of Sea Lords). In the formation of the new confraternity, Carew took with him many elements of the Pyrates, including similar attire and symbols of the cult as well as its highly regimented and hierarchical structure. The origin of confraternity violence dates back to Carew’s 1972 saga and the birth of the Buccaneers. After the Buccaneers, the Neo-Black Movement of Africa, also called Black Axe, was founded at the University of Benin in Edo state. After its creation, another confraternity, called the Supreme Eiye Confraternity, also known as the National Association of Air Lords, broke away from Black Axe. During this time, the splintered cult groups introduced a new dimension into confraternity tradition: before carrying out any activities, they would practice voodoo rituals.
Several notorious cult groups also came into being under the military rule of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. In 1983, the Eternal Fraternal Order of the Legion Consortium, also called the Klansmen Konfraternity (KK), was started by five students at the University of Calabar in Cross River state. In 1984, the Supreme Vikings Confraternity (SVC), also called the Adventurers or the De Norsemen Club of Nigeria, was founded by a former member of the Buccaneers.
Nigeria’s Confraternities Spread to the Streets and Creeks
During the early 1990s, Nigeria experienced an explosion of confraternity activities in Nigerian schools, colleges, streets and creeks in the energy-rich delta region. The extreme hooliganism, violence and bloody struggle for supremacy among rival confraternities peaked around this time. The Family Confraternity, also known as the Campus Mafia or the Mafia, came into existence during this period. Today, they maintain a presence in numerous schools throughout Nigeria. Maintaining a low profile, they operate as an imitation of the Italian mafia. Shortly after their dramatic appearance, several students were expelled from Abia State University for cheating on exams and for cultism. This started a shift in the activities of the confraternity group from the university community to the streets and environs of the state.
Another notorious campus confraternity was formed at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) named the Brotherhood of the Blood, or Two-Two (Black Beret). Countless other groups appeared, including the following: Second Son of Satan (SSS), Night Cadet, Sonmen, Mgba Mgba Brothers, Temple of Eden, Trojan Horse, Jurists, White Bishops, Gentlemen Clubs, Fame, Executioners, Dreaded Friend of Friends, Eagle Club, Black Scorpion, Red Sea Horse, Fraternity of Friends and Victor Charlie Boys — the last of which was formed by Professor Augustine Ahiazu during his tenure as vice-chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
During the same era, campus-based confraternities such as the SVC and the KK extended their influence by creating street and creek wings. For example, the KK established a street/creek arm called Deebam in order to fight for supremacy and territory through organized violence, banditry and criminality. In response, the SVC created Deewell; however, when Deewell was ineffective and could not match violence for violence with its rival Deebam, the Icelanders (German) was additionally formed. Well-known cult and militia leader Ateke Tom would later become the leader of the Icelanders (German). The Outlaws, another brutal street and creek confraternity, broke away from Icelanders (German). Other groups, such as the Big Five and the Mbacho, still exist in Rivers state.
There are even female confraternities in Nigeria. During the late 1990s, female confraternities such as the Black Brazier (also known as Black Bra), the Viqueens, Daughters of Jezebel, White Angels and the Damsel, among others, acted as spies for the male confraternities and operated as prostitution syndicates.
Confraternities and their Role in Delta Violence
When discussing confraternities in Nigeria, the gangs referred to exist either in universities, colleges and polytechnics or in the streets and creeks. Almost all of the violent confraternities originated, splintered or derived inspiration from the various university confraternities, as evidenced by similar initiation rites, slogans, symbols and gang-type behavior.
The outpouring of cult activities in the 1980s and 1990s heightened tensions within campuses and led to fierce struggles for supremacy among the groups. Those that were normally peaceful became engaged in acts of violence in order to survive. New members were lured into the confraternity by various spurious means and empty promises. Recruits were enticed by the prospect of having access to money and increased employment opportunities. Confraternities claimed that they could grant new members the powers to defend themselves and loved ones, improve their reputation and social standing and facilitate contact with influential people and those of the opposite sex. These promises were often never realized, but disengaging oneself from the confraternity group after being initiated was extremely difficult — when it did occur, defectors were often killed so that they could not reveal cult secrets.
When a new recruit joins a cult group, he is inculcated with respect for spiritual fortification and trained in common tactics of physical combat, such as hand-to-hand combat and the use of firearms. Violent cult groups acquire their weapons from several sources, including wealthy patrons and politicians and chiefs who hire them for specific purposes. Other sources include friendly governments at the state and local levels, captured weapons from rival groups, attacks on security forces and exchanging stolen oil for arms.
In order to sustain their activities, confraternities frequently swing their loyalty and actions in the direction of sources of money. Most of the confraternities have been blamed for taking hostage foreign oil workers and collecting ransom in the Niger Delta. Numerous militant groups such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) employ confraternity members as combatants. For example, the head of the cult group The Outlaws, Soboma George, doubles as a MEND commander.
CAUSES OF CULTISM IN NIGERIA
There are various causes of cultism in Nigeria today. It has been discovered that both Students, lecturers and even parents join cult for reasons best known which few will be highlighted below;
- Peer pressure : Pressure from peers and friends can make even a descent person do awful things. In my advice, I will encourage you to conscious while making friends and you choose your friends well.
- Threats : Threats from lecturers and even Students tends to be another alarming reason why people join cults in Nigerian Universities. I have seen it on campus where Students are threatened by lecturers that they’ll fail a particular course. This in most cases lead to descent Students joining cult just to be safe.
- Oppression By Authorities : If the Government bodies oppress the citizens, they will surely rise a group of people to fight against the Government bodies to curb the oppression. I’ve seen various cases where citizens had to fight against the Police.
- Fame : You will agree with me that cultists are always given that certain respect in the society, although it’s not a respect but fear. Nobody wants to offend a cultist or get in issue with them.
- Ignorance In Management : Most Schools fails to understand there are many reasons why Students join cults, in most cases they fight corruption in the wrong way.
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EFFECTS OF CULTISM IN NIGERIA
Cultism is no doubt a social menace to Nigeria societies. I have always campaign against cultism and cultists and their activities has destroyed the Nigerian youth especially those in higher institutions such as Universities and Streets.
Here are the obvious effects of cultism i know having dealt with people who gave up cultism.
- Psychological and Emotional Damage
- Loss of Lives and Properties
- Fear and Insecurity In the society
- Fall in Education Standard and Academic Performance
- Drug and substance Addiction
- Loss of Moral Values. Cultism leads to loss of values in young people.
SOLUTIONS TO 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.
7. Government Standard : The government should make a law to punishment anybody involving in cultism. Politicians should discourage youths from political thuggery.
Yeah, I have elucidated on Cultism In Nigeria, how to identify a cultist, Types of Cults we have in Nigeria, Causes of Cultism In Nigeria, Effects of Cultism In Nigeria and possible Solutions to Cultism In Nigeria.
The study discovered that cultism among the students of tertiary institutions is real and urgent solution is needed to be taken by the government and institution at large to curb it. The parents must work closely with the institutions authority to arrive at a lasting solution.
More importantly, counseling services in tertiary institution should be taken serious and counselors have a major role to play towards helping to implement the programme for the reduction of the incidence of cultism in Nigerian institutions. It was therefore concluded that the cause of cultism in Nigeria has been explained above, few we can also say are; corruption in the society, broken homes, inborn trait of being sadist, not persecuting those who are caught in cultist activities and influence from parents who belong to secret cults. It can also be concluded that the effects of cultism were analysed above, some of which includes; increase in crimes like armed robbery and prostitution etc, spread of diseases, decline in academic performance of cultist, increase in examination malpractice, destruction of lives and properties, drug abuse, arrest, detention and imprisonment.
Lastly, The following were the suggested solutions to cultism In Nigeria; Institution authority should organize workshops during orientation of new students to enlighten them on the dangers of cultism, Government should educate the sub-bodies on how to relate with citizens, every institution should have department of guidance and counseling in order to guide and counsel the students. Also necessary support and encouragement should be provided to this department in terms of finance and materials.
Do you have any conclusion on this topic? do not go without dropping a comment. Your view is mostly welcome and if necessary will be added to the article.