Cultism – A Bane To Human Development In Nigeria By Festus Alenkhe

Secret cult groups also known as Cultism were set up many years ago. There is a societal secret cult group which was organized by some prominent persons in Nigeria. There is also the tertiary institution secret cult group which was called campus cult. Both groups were running differently until it got to a point where, if you must do business in government, you must belong to one of the recognized secret cult groups.

The situation, however, forced the then Federal military government to ban public servants from participating or associating with any secret cult group in Nigeria. This however slowed down their activities as all public servants then left the group or participated secretly. Then comes the campus cult which was put up by a group of students in the early 60s to fight what they called campus oppression. It was like a pressure group put in place to oppose some harsh decisions of the school management or lecturers.

The group then was defending fellow students against ill actions of the authority through media engagement, peaceful protests and boycott of lectures. But in the mid-80s, the group then started identifying their colours made up of black, blue, yellow, green, red, white etc. The supremacy of which cult controls the campus arose. This led to the use of dangerous weapons made up of acid, axe, knife, cutlasses and now very highly sophisticated guns to determine the who is truly in charge.

A lot of young undergraduates and graduates have so far lost their lives to campus cultism. Mercenaries were invited from other campuses to launch mayhem on a particular campus on the invitation of the cult group in such a school. Some tertiary institutions have been closed down due to incessant attacks and killings by rival cult groups in the country.

Females cult groups later sprang up. Their weapons were to gang-rape their male perceived enemies at gunpoint and the use of other dangerous weapons. The female cult groups also raised the awareness of Lesbianism on campus as most of them were then luring their female friends into the crime.

Campus cult groups later graduated into primary and secondary schools. Today, we have witnessed both intra and inter-schools cult clash in secondary schools in Nigeria. Two schools were recently closed down in Edo state due to a fiercely inter cult clash. These cult groups now freely operate in some of the schools in the country.

From school cultism, then came community and artisans cult group. These are people who are either dropouts from primary or secondary schools or have never seen the four walls of a school. They were initiated into various cult groups by the graduates who brought the group into the society upon graduation from their various schools.

Today, the artisan and community cult groups now fight for supremacy in society. A lot of their members and even their innocent family members have been killed or incapacitated in the process. Some parents have been killed by the marauders when they don’t find their target in their houses. A recent case was when an 81-year-old grandmother was killed by the invading cult members along New Lagos road in Benin city four years ago when they didn’t find her son at home. The cult members were on a revenge mission over their member that was beheaded and the severed head was placed at the gate of one of the tertiary institutions in Edo state.

Upper Sakpoba road and Oluku in Benin city were recently thrown into a theatre of war as some cult groups engaged themselves in a free for all using dangerous weapons. There was a scarcity of young males in the area due to the heavy fight that period. It took men of the Edo state police command to use the light weapon to bring down the crises. Over 79 of the suspects were arrested and those culpable were charged to court.

But again, some Nigerian youth who are based abroad now have the branch of the various secret cult groups in their various areas where they now practice the act. A lot of young ones who did not join while in Nigeria are now members. They engage in all sorts of illicit activities. The police in those countries have now stepped up their security network to deal with such gangsterism.

A middle-aged Nigerian was stabbed to death and his car burnt in one of the Europe countries by a leader of one of the gangs now arrested and sentenced to prison. The deceased offence was that he stepped on him in a night club as a gang leader referred to as “Capone”.

How can this ugly trend of secret cult activities be addressed? Edo state government some time ago signed a law prohibiting secret cult activities in schools and society. A jail term up to 21 years was signed into law.

However, religious leaders, parents, school administrators and counsellors must play a pivotal role in checking this cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian society. All hands must be on deck to check the violent and ugly trend.

Opinions expressed in this article are solely the writer’s, not ALEDEH’S

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