Category: Opinion | Posted date: 2018-12-10 02:55:53 | Updated date: 2018-12-10 03:42:48 | Posted by: Olayinka Olalekan
Cult members among students should be treated as suspected murderers or assassins because they go about with lethal weapons to kill or wreck terrible havoc
It is deadly risky not to fear the monster of cultism in the Nigeria campuses. Cultism, or secret cult is an association or organisation which membership is known to members only and its modes of operation are considered strange or to be unconventional and harmful to members or to non-members. Secret cult members pledge their allegiance to the cult, devoting themselves under terrible and sometimes bloody oath, to support and carryout the activities of the group without objection.
Cultism is one of the major challenges confronting Nigerian education sector today. Over the years, institutions of higher learning have come under palpable pressure of cultism which often informs forms of distraction ranging from frequent student unrest, industrial actions, industrial disharmony to unnecessary elongation of semesters.
Despite the concerted efforts by the government and institutional heads to halt the drift engendered by cultism, not much success has been recorded simply because it is a war against the unidentifiable. While many students may look like ruffians physically and yet are free from unwholesome associations, many gentle and meek ones among them may be deadly active in cultism and yet nobody would suspect. This makes cultism a monster that is very difficult to fight. Except members are caught and confessed others, they remain unknown killers and peace destroyers.
The activities of these groups have caused the death of many of their members and non-members inclusive. Secret cults are rampant in higher institutions in the country and have become a challenge clogging the wheel of education.
The Activities of these secret groups take various destructive form which include Torture, online fraud (Yahoo Yahoo), murder, taking of hard and contraband drugs, indecent dressing, armed robbery, sexual assaults and intimidation of others.
A LOOK INTO THE BIRTH OF CULTISM IN NIGERIA INSTITUTIONS
The birth of cultism in Nigeria schools is traceable to 1952 when the now Prof. Wole Soyinka and six other friends formed a group called the Pyrate Confraternity at the University College of Ibadan according to prof. Peter Adeniyi and three others in their book titled “The chronicle of campus cultism in Nigeria”.
The group was formed to advocate against the discrimination and oppression of the poor and disadvantaged members of the society. According to the source, their activities then were not secret, violent or diabolical. The members were brilliant students who respected the rights of others, but unfortunately, unscrupulous elements were soon found their way into it and thus the purpose of fighting for the right of others was jettisoned. This led to the break up of the group into various groups and the introduction of violence into their activities.
These are some of the groups and when they were formed: The Pyrates confraternity formed in 1952 at the University College of Ibadan, Eiye confraternity formed in 1965 at the University of Ibadan, Buccaneers confraternity formed in 1972 at the University of Benin, Neo-black movement (black axe)formed in 1983 at the University of Benin and the Eternal fraternal order of the legion consortium formed in 1983 at the University of Calabar among many others.
CONSEQUENCES OF CULTISM ON EDUCATION AND THE SOCIETY
The consequences of cult activities on education and the society include loss of innocent lives inside and outside school campuses, increase in crime rate, destruction of valuable school facilities, increase in violence, frequent closure of schools resulting in fall in education standard etc.
THE NEEDS TO DO
- I am of the opinion that there should be serious campaigns against cultism—the type being given to HIV/AIDS. As a matter of fact, cultism is already killing our ‘now’ and future. Many parents have lost confidence in the safety and security of institutions in the country. This is why many students are sent abroad by their parents to study even when the sponsorship of such decision costs them everything they have.
Orientation and re-orientation campaigns against cultism will help enlighten many pupils in the colleges and students of higher institutions on the dangers inherent in joining a secret cult. This, also, will provide the innocent students and youths with information and safe steps to take when they are being invited to join such unwholesome associations. The campaign should be overwhelming.
- It is not enough to just rusticate a cultist or suspected cult members when they are caught from the institutions; they should be made to face the full brunt of the law. Cult members among students should be treated as suspected murderers or assassins because they go about with lethal weapons to kill or wreck terrible havoc.
Cultism has gone beyond campus secret associations—young people and jobless youths on the streets are now involve. In Lagos Nigeria, for instance, areas like Ajegunle, Orile, Ijora, Musin, Ikorodu, Yaba are known to be strong abodes of cultists in their different associations. In 2018 alone, several losses of life were traceable to cult clashes in these areas. The ones on the streets often serve as backbones and supporters on standby for their counterparts on the campuses. When assistance is needed in the situation of cult clashes in the Nigeria institutions, they send for assistance or reinforcement from their members on the streets and from other schools, too.
However, when a cult student is caught and expelled from the school without further prosecution, he goes back stronger to his members on the streets and remains the enemy of peace.
Recently, we have heard of cultism among secondary school students in Ibadan in Oyo state, Akure in Ondo State and Lagos state. Though, this is not yet rampant, but there is need to give rapt attention to the menace of cultism in the Nigeria schools before it severely destroy the education sector and youths the hope of tomorrow of the country. There is need to unmask the wicked monsters before they become another major force against the peace of the whole nation.
- A reliable intelligence should be launched within the campuses and around students areas of the cities by the government and school security managements. These secret groups meet on the land, not on the sea or in the air. They do announce their meetings.
However, it is not that the secret cults are secretive in their entirety; they are known by many students who dare not report them for the fear of what could happen to them (the reporters) after reporting them. They are aware of the danger inherent in reporting them. In this wise, there should be platforms for anonymous reporting by the students or members of the public to the relevant authorities.
If we can be sincere and determined to unmask this monsters, cultism will be reduced to the nearest minimum. It is seen as a status symbol now, and because of this many students and youths are enticed to it. However, if cultism is made to look like a terrible plague, cultists will be made to forcefully surrender to peace.
Olayinka Olalekan Popoola