Cultism is one of the several problems facing the Nigerian schools today. The activities of these groups are many ranging from deaths of members and non members alike, torture, drinking of human blood, taking hard drugs, holding meetings in remote places like thick forest, armed robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping and many other crimes.
Cultism can therefore be defined as the practice of secret activities that are purely known to members alone. Besides, their modes and operations are secret.
In most recent times, the activities of these groups are violent, very disturbing to the community and the government. This is why there are calls from every nook and cranny of this country to do something urgent about this menace, cultism.
What then are the causes of these groups? How do they become widely spread across the Nigerian schools?
The following are some of the reasons or factors responsible for cultism in Nigerian schools.
1. Influence of Peer groups: Many students join cult groups as a result of pressure from friends who are already members. They make them believe that joining cult groups will make them have many benefits ranging from power acquisition and getting all they want for themselves.
2. Need for power: Many students also join cult groups in order to feel superior and more powerful than other students. Yes! Their erroneous belief that joining cult will make them more powerful and untouchable is largely responsible for cultism today.
3. Need for revenge: Students also join cult group to seek protection and revenge or any intimidation or harassment earlier on meted on them by rival group.
4. The Need for recognition is another reason why many students join cult groups. For instance, many want to be recognized as “big boys or big girls” on campus. This egoistic nature of man (pride) to join cult which ultimately has forced many to early graves.
5. Another reason why students join cult group is parental influence. Many parents have given their children or ward the courage that they are solidly behind them and that no matter what happens, they are always there for them. This gives the student the spirit of boldness to join cult group.
The consequences of cultism are many ranging from the following: (i) Death of innocent lives during clashes between one rival group and another.
(ii) Destruction of valuable properties both within and outside the campuses.
(iii) Bad image both to parents and the society at large.
(iv) Increase in crime waves: such as kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, torture, murder and others.
(v) Frequent closure of schools as a result of clashes between rival groups is another serious consequences of joining cult groups.
(vi) Expulsion from school because they tend to be more involved in cult activities than academic enterprise.
(vi) Serving Jail sentences: This is another consequence of cult activities in our schools today. Most of the victims end up in prisons across the country.
How do we curb these nefarious activities of these cult groups? There are many ways to prevent cultism in Nigerian schools. Some of these ways are:
1. Wider campaign on the danger of cultism. This campaign should be vigorously taken to schools through seminars, workshops and other relevant mediums. This will help to discourage potential cult members from joining cult group.
2. Effective Security System should be introduced in schools. This will help also to protect students from harassment and intimidation from violent cultists.
3. Bringing Children up in the ways of the Lord: This will inculcate in them good moral values and the fear of the Lord to shun violent crimes.
4. Punitive measures: should be meted out against cult members. This will serve as deterrence to others.
5. Change of academic exploits will help curtail or prevent cultism in Nigerian schools. For instance, academic performance should be based on greater percentage of lectures had for a particular course. This will bring seriousness into academic enterprise rather than things of cultism.
6. Avoidance of bad company is another preventive measure in curbing cultism in our Nigerian schools. This will prevent innocent students from being compelled or influenced by already members into the activities of cultism which are purely destructive and violent.
In conclusion, wider campaign should be taken to all levels of concerned individuals. Parents, lecturers, school authority, NGOs and the government at large should employ a more stringent and potent measures aimed at curbing the menace of cultism in Nigerian schools.