Cultism is the membership and operation of cults. It involves secret activities where the members behave in ways that are not acceptable by society. There are many cults in Nigeria especially in tertiary educational institutions and some secondary schools making life unbearable for those who go about their affairs peacefully. Their operations are secret and the locations in which they hold their meetings are solely known to their members only. Most times, they operate at night.
Table of Contents
CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTISM
- Members wear expensive clothes. They are bold and daring and want to enforce their will on people.
- New members are initiated secretly and both old and new members perform rituals and swear to oaths of secrecy.
- They assist one another in all situations and promote members’ interests not minding reason, justice, fairness, legitimacy and appropriateness.
- They have signs, symbols and passwords which are meant to be used and recognized by members only.
- They look kind, quiet and generous but they are deceitful and hypocritical and can become violent and deadly at any time.
- They carry different types of arms which can be tucked away in their pockets or bags.
- They drink alcohol and other hard drugs excessively.
- They are womanizers.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CULTS
There are many cults in higher institutions and they are said to be more than 40 with different symbols. Examples of some of them are:
- Blood Suckers
- Vikings Fraternity
- Eiye Confraternity
- Black Eye
- Black Cat
- Red Devils
- Green scorpion
- Black Axe
- Trojan Horse
Some of them are gender-based meaning that they are strictly for female membership. Examples are:
- Daughters of Jezebel
- Temple of Eden
- Hot Brassiere
- Black Beret
ORIGIN OF CULT GROUPS
Cults have existed in Africa for a long time. The Ogboni Fraternity was prominent among the Yoruba people. It is a group of elderly men whose major duty was to check the excesses of the traditional rulers to ensure that they do not overdo things. Some other cults have existed in Nigeria like Ekine, Ekpe, Okonko and others. Cultism can be traced to the Pyrates Confraternity formed at the University of Ibadan in 1952 by some male students. Their objectives include:
- To compel the colonial government to stop imposing foreign culture on Nigerians, so that Nigerians could be themselves.
- To work for Nigeria’s independence.
- To correct the ills of the society by fighting corruption, indiscipline and tribalism.
- To encourage humanitarian activities such as blood donation and collection of money for charity.
However, some members behaved badly due to the nature of the confraternity and so were expelled from the group. They formed their own groups which became rival groups to the Pyrates. From 1980 till date, campus cults have continued to grow in number.
WHY STUDENTS JOIN CULTS
- Family background: Some parents who were former campus cult members have their children attracted to cults. Some parents also encourage their children to join some of the cults that they like.
- Economic hardship: Many parents fail to provide for their children in the higher institutions as a result of poverty. Some of the parents are also too busy to attend to their children for one reason or the other. Cult members offer their members financial assistance and such offers are attractive to indigent members.
- Misconception: The older members of the cults give prospective members fake reasons that undue advantage will be given to them over the other students in academics, social life and abundance of alcohol, drinks and the likes.
- Peer pressure: Some people whose friends are cult members convince their friends to become members too.
- Curiosity: A lot of information have been disseminated about cults and so many people become cult members in order to confirm what they have heard.
- Lack of self-confidence: People who have lacked affection and have unfulfilled desires may join cults in order to secure affection, popularity, protection and gain strong support from members.
- Unemployment and the promise of future employment . Since there is lack of employment, some students fall prey to the older cult members with the promise of providing them with employment on condition that they join a particular cult.
CONSEQUENCES OF CULTISM
- Cultism promotes violence. They attack other cult members to gain supremacy with arms and ammunitions.
- They are potential murderers because they kill members of rival groups or anybody they feel is against them.
- They break law and order as they disregard school regulations and enact their own laws.
- Their activities disrupt school activities.
- They distort the values and practices of society like murder, immorality, violence , crime, drunkenness, drug abuse and so on.
- They end up having serious mental ill-health especially madness.
GOVERNMENT ‘S POSITION ON CULTISM
In order to curb cultism in our institutions of learning, government has done the following things:
- Fresh intakes are made to sign a matriculation oath, pledging not to belong to any cult while in school and to be of good conduct.
- Any student found to be in any cult would be expelled from the school
- Those arrested would be charged to court and if found guilty, sentenced to jail terms.
SOCIETY’S POSITION ON CULTISM
- Society at large frowns at cultism. People avoid those who are identified as cult members.
- Responsible parents disallow their children and wards from associating with cult members.
- Cult members are always accused of crime or theft in the neighbourhood, whether they are guilty of it or not.
- Responsible employers do not offer cult members employment .
- Parents should pay attention to their children’s upbringing and educate them on the acceptable ways of life.
- Students should be encouraged to join religious groups and develop the fear of God in them.
- Sports and recreational facilities should be provided in schools to engage the students during their leisure time.
- Regular seminars should be organized in schools to enlighten students on the dangers of cultism.
- Voluntary organizations should make their programmes more interesting to attract membership.
- There should be effective counseling units in schools that can assist initiated members to even denounce their membership and also stop intending members from registering.
- Institutions of learning should enact laws against cultism and enforce the laws.
- Religious groups should organise programmes against cult practices.
Choose the correct option from each list lettered A –D
- Campus cult members are ……..(a) hostile towards themselves in the group (b) hostile towards their group members (c) hostile towards members of rival groups (d) hostile towards loyal members
- A cult can better be regarded as …. (a) a cult in which the members are religious (B) a group that has a secret symbol of love ( c ) a group of secretive people who love expensive dresses (d) a secret, extreme secretive group in which the members behave unacceptably.
- Generally in Nigeria, cultism operates mostly in —– (a)primary school (b) secondary schools (c ) second-hand educational institutions (d) post-secondary schools
- The origin of cultism in Nigerian institutions can be traced to —- (a) Pythogora’s Confrontation (b) Pyrate’s Confraternity (c ) Pyrates Confrontation (d) Pythagora’s Confraternity
- The government and the society —- (a) sympathise with cultism (b) synchronise with cultism ( c) are against cultism (d) are of cultism
- Explain four characteristics of cult groups and their members.
- Your friend in another part of the world has written you a letter, asking for the origin of cultism in Nigeria. Write a reply, explaining how cultism is said to have started in Nigeria.
- At the end of the your reply, write a list of ten cult groups which operate in Nigerian institutions.
- Why do students become members of cult groups? Give four reasons.
- a. Your fifteen-year old cousin has heard of cultism but does not know what the expression means. Write a brief explanation of cultism, hoping that your cousin would read it and understand the term.
- Explain two consequences of cultism.
- a. Does the Nigerian government support cultism?
b. Suggest two ways of preventing cultism