Cultism in Nigeria: Causes, Effects and Solutions— Prior to Nigeria’s independence in 1960, there were numerous activistic movements aimed at ending imperialist authority over the Nigerian people. Of course, some expressed their desire for a united Nigeria as a liberated country in a more friendly manner than others.
Wole Soyinka was one among those who desired that Nigerians instill the ideals of their ancestors. He desired to see youth take pride in their ancestors and thereby develop a sense of belonging and nationalism. This was the primary objective of the world’s first social association (cult group), The Pirates Confraternity Elite of the University College, Ibadan, which was founded in 1952 by the aforementioned Wole Soyinka.
This was historically significant for Nigerian youths who were equally enthusiastic about the nation’s liberty and the rights of their actual citizens. However, as the group expanded in size, so did egos and self-centeredness. There was no longer a shared purpose, and certain members of the society disregarded the primary agenda, which resulted in the unit’s disintegration.
Members who rebelled against the Confraternity’s ideals were expelled and created a new organization called the National Association of Seadogs in the 1970s. Fast forward to modern times, and the origins of all notable secret societies are inextricably linked to the division and its attendant goal. What began as a nonviolent Social Association soon morphed into a militaristic structure of people engaged in deviant behavior and, quite simply, criminality.
As time passed, these cult groups shifted their focus away from the primary objective of preserving their country’s legacy and toward safeguarding their own self-interests. These cults began to spread throughout tertiary and, more tragically, secondary institutions. Cultism grew outside educational institutions as youths remained invested in the heinous behaviors.
However, what is the primary message sent by any secret society? Regardless of how much cult organizations compete with one another, the group’s common objective is to safeguard the individual interests of all members using all means necessary. The unity of agenda is solely for the purpose of defending any member’s interest, regardless of whether it results in the destruction of people and/or property. How quickly time has passed.
All cult groups are now recognized as unholy associations, and any involvement will result in legal sanctions and prosecution. Indeed, cultism is nothing more than an organization of criminals that has been outlawed in schools and throughout the majority of our country.
The Origins of Cultism in Nigeria
It is not nitpicking to point out that Cultism is not an unusual decision for anyone to make. The terrible aspect is that there are several elements that should not be dismissed as trivial that lead a person, male or female, to join a secret society. Consider the obvious causes:
1. Inadequate parental upbringing: It is well established that any child who becomes involved in cultism comes from an unbalanced home. It could be for a variety of reasons: the parents are divorced, neither parent has enough time to devote to their children, or the youngsters are not properly trained, monitored, or cared for.
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It goes without saying that if parents fulfill their roles properly, their children will avoid encountering undesirable company or feeling more appreciated elsewhere. They will not look to antisocial organizations for security, affection, or confidence.
2. Peer pressure: A great deal has been said about this element. Peer Pressure cannot be ruled out, much more so when it comes to adolescents, who are notorious for being rebellious and seeking acceptance from their friends.
Similarly, the majority of pupils are coerced into entering the system against their choice due to threats from their peers who are already members.
3. Inadequate orientation of students and the wider public: The majority of people arrested for homicide, rape, armed robbery, and the like are associated with Cultism in some way.
This is why a big number of young people are joining secret groups. This is because not only students, but also the broader population, receive insufficient training and orientation. Until sufficient education is provided to students and youngsters in general about the risks of cultism, this practice will continue indefinitely.
4. A fabricated sense of poor self-esteem is another reason that youth join cults. All of this is done in an attempt to feel safe among scary coworkers as a way to conceal their vulnerabilities.
Cultism’s Effects in Nigeria
The ramifications of cult involvement are limitless and unavoidable. Apart from the long-term reputational damage that comes with being easily identified with former membership in a secret society, there are more grave repercussions. Among them are the following: Destruction of life and property.
This occurs when rival cult groups collide, resulting in serious injuries or, in the worst-case scenario, death. Not only do these killings occur within cult groups, but they also result in the death of innocent people.
The latter is more likely to occur when the victim remains uninterested in joining the cult despite repeated demands. School activities are disrupted as a result of the serious threat these criminal acts pose to the institution as a whole.
This eventually results in a loss in academic performance for not just the students who engage in these practices, but also for the students who are continuously fearful of future attacks.
They have no assurance of safety in an institution intended primarily for educational purposes. Cultists destroy or vandalize property as a means of expressing their unhappiness with a policy. Staff is scared into carrying out their orders. These activities are not limited to classrooms.
Cultism also plays a significant role in society’s top important figures. Whether in the traditional, professional, or political sectors, a sizable portion of the upper class finds security in Cultism. How can such individuals be expected to discourage such behavior in schools and elsewhere?
Alternatives to Cultism
Finding a solution is not a difficult task. The question is whether the remedies proposed are even remotely practical. Over the years, brilliant writers and speakers have argued persuasively that certain rigorous restrictions should be implemented to permanently reduce Cultism. These include legal safeguards, suitable sanctions, and successfully prosecuted cases.
Others have advocated for stronger restrictions against cult behaviors at educational institutions. According to the most recent information available to this writer, a special administrative tribunal should be established to hear cases involving cultism in schools.
While these are all valid considerations, the fact is that cultism is a crime, and like other crimes, regardless of the laws against heinous behavior, the crime rate does not decrease steadily. This is not to say that government and private individuals should rest on their laurels in their desire to eradicate cultism. It is simply a repetition of the saying “Charity begins at home.”
Parents and guardians are responsible for instilling discipline in their children. They should maintain a close eye on their company and advise them appropriately. They should be more attentive of what their children watch, where they go, and which schools they attend. They should also educate their children about what is and is not morally acceptable. This also implies they should let their wards to speak without reprimanding them excessively for sharing their opinions and perceptions.
Making a youngster feel stupid over even the smallest issue will continue to be a relationship breaker between parents and children. It will cause children to seek protection and assurance from other sources, despite the fact that it is an antisocial organization.
Youths across Nigeria should receive enough orientation on the hazards of cultism. And, of course, to top it all off, vocalize the repercussions of engaging in a cult group activity in accordance with the Government’s harsh requirements.
Cultism, in this writer’s honest opinion, is a subset of terrorism. It is a cankerworm that has infiltrated the fiber of a democratic society. This is not just because it entails an objective that runs counter to the overarching goal of forming a government dedicated to ensuring the peace and welfare of its citizens.
It is hazardous because it takes the lives of members and innocent citizens alike. Everybody has a role to play in putting an end to cultism. Governments, educational institutions, parents or guardians, academic staff, and adolescents themselves can all make significant contributions to accomplishing what many believe is impossible.
While it may seem impossible to eradicate Cultism completely, if we all act in accordance with our capacities, whether by strongly writing or speaking against it, or by using a higher power to silence those who are engaged, we will go a long way toward bringing it to an end. What we are experiencing is quite significant.
To combat the problem, the government and institutions are enacting legislation and rules, accordingly. Other orientation programs have been accelerated in order to dissuade kids involved from continuing and those not yet involved from succumbing to the temptation.
One thing is certain: even individuals who commit these unfathomable atrocities are youthful, vigorous, and, quite frankly, vital to a society’s social growth and development. The government should create job possibilities for qualified youth and place them in positions of comfort. That will demonstrate that there is always an alternative to wrongdoing and that there is no reward in endangering yourself or your fellow humans. Will Cultism ever come to an end? There is always a chance.
However, this article has been helpful in discussing Cultism in Nigeria: Causes, Effects, and Solutions.