Building Effective Alternative and Securing a Peaceful Future for Youths in Cultism: Experience From Nigeria

Building Effective Alternative and Securing a Peaceful Future for Youths in Cultism: Experience From Nigeria

Goka M. Mpigi (Akwa Ibom State University, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2574-6.ch023
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Cultism has been identified as the most critical source of indiscipline and insecurity in many tertiary institutions of learning in contemporary time. The prevalence of this menace in the nations' campuses of higher institutions has assumed a disgraceful and disheartening dimension. The peace, serenity, and orderliness characteristic of academic environments the world over has been replaced by anarchy, fear, and terrorism imposed on our institutions by members of secret cults, who not only indulge in voodoo rituals at cemeteries, but also engaged one another in fierce combats, which makes campus life unsafe. This chapter suggests an alternative means of securing a peaceful future for the youths through religious and moral education as a means of averting the further spread of these vices. It seeks to build a culture of peace by allowing people to imbibe values and attitudes that reflect respect for life, human dignity, and right to life.
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Cultism in contemporary societies especially the developing ones constitute a popular culture and pose some challenges to conventional social norms and values. This probably explains why they engender intense questions concerning the morality of their existence and possible impact in the society. It would be a mistake to assume that cults are primarily a modern phenomenon. They are as old as recorded history and have been noted in many different societies (Aiyebola, 1992). Contemporary interest in cult activities became only amplified during the late 1960’s and early 70’s as numbers of educated youths abandoned traditional lifestyles and embraced beliefs and practices that were culturally unprecedented.

The specter of cultism has become the bane of higher education in Nigeria today. Thousands of Nigerian youths in the Nation’s Schools are possessed with the natural youthful instinct to explore the world of the unknown and belong to them’ (Akorede, 1997). But the sad story is that many never return alive. The fact that secret cultism in higher institution in particular and schools in general is a fallout of the existence of cults in Nigeria Society as a whole is no longer news. It is as much a colonial heritage as it is traditional. But what may have added a new dimension to the cult Saga is the involvement of females and Secondary School Students in this nocturnal enterprise. Secret cults on campuses today are traceable to the establishment of the pyrates confraternity at the then University collage, Ibadan in 1959 by one of the most accomplished Nigerian today. He is Professor Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate and “Founder and Sole Spiritual head” of the National Association of Seadogs (otherwise known as the Pyrate Confraternity). From the University of Ibadan, the phenomenon spread and was accepted by other institutions (Denloye, 1992).

Professor Wole Soyinka’s concept of confraternity when he formed the Pirates confraternity in 1959, was a deviation from the stated definition in that, the group was more secular than religious (Denloye, 1992). Nevertheless, the rudiment reason for the formation of this group was for some good purpose which makes it not an into deviation from lexical definition. Today another deviation has taken place because the good intention for Soyinka’s formation of the fraternity had been brutally and systematically ridiculed with the emergence of pseudo and nocturnal groups. Modern day confraternities epitomize the peak of holding citizens to siege, threats to, and actual murder of innocent students and other citizens by a handful of dastard students who choose to go by the name secret cult. As we speak, there are over fifty secret cult groups in higher institutions, collages and schools spread nationwide (Emmanuel, l996). Students in search of demonic upliftment instead of academic pursuit, having found the university campuses as veritable Shrines, have ceased to learn and have fallen headlong into occultism, voodoo, witchcraft and evil worships. In Nigeria, cultism has become an acceptable culture among the youths. It is most prevalent in educational institutions especially secondary and tertiary and most recently in communities. Virtually all the six geo-political zones of the country are affected. Expectedly, the existence of this vice in schools and communities has given a new definition to human existence, relationship and development in all strata of the Nigerian state. It is a known fact that the decay in morality among the Nigerian youths has contributed immensely to the growth and prevalence of this menace. This chapter seeks to suggest that religious bodies should adopt peacebuilding education as a means of averting the further spread of this vice. Peacebuilding education as suggested is the process of acquiring the values, knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills and behaviours that enable one’s harmonious living with others and the natural environment. It seeks to build a culture of peace in the communities allowing people to imbibe the values and attitudes that reflect the respect for life, human dignity and rights to life.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Obtain: To seize someone else’s money or property using fear or a weapon.

‘G’ Man: The ‘G’ man is a very powerful member of a cult group who is always on the know of things.

Take Up: To deal with someone.

Fraternity: Fraternity in this case means that clandestine group that is strictly for boys only.

Iron Man: An iron man in the cultist terminology refers to a member armed with a gun.

Lord: This indicates a powerful fraternity officer.

HIT: Hit is a word used in describing how to deal with someone violently or to kill someone.

Initiation: Initiation here involves the rituals of admission of new members into the cult group.

Choirmaster: Choirmaster at singing sessions during outing or performance by cult members.

Confraternity: This refers to cult groups that has as members both boys and girls.

Capone: The Capone is the head or the overall Lord of the fraternity.

Stake Of: The term ‘stake of’ is used when cultist surround someone.

Cults: By cult in connection with this study, we refer to groups characterized by some kind of faddish devotion to practice that is significantly apart from the cultural mainstream.

Secret: Secret refers to a thing, practice, or activities carried out or kept secret, or hidden from the view or knowledge of all persons except the individuals concerned or members.

Calibre Man: A caliber man is a member with a serious backing from within and outside the group.

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