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.
In short, it is not an exaggeration to say that the Nigerian schools have turned to war zones where all forms of criminality are put into practice as a result of problems of cultism prevalent in them.
Cultism can therefore be defined as the practice of secret activities that are in most cases brutal and known to members alone. Besides, their modes of operations are purely secret.
In most recent times, the activities of these groups have become too violent, very disturbing to the community and the government alike. Again, what used to be prevalent in our tertiary institutions has gradually spread to secondary and is now entering primary schools. This is why there are calls from every nook and cranny of this country to do something urgent about this menace, cultism.
In this post, we shall look at the problems of cultism in Nigerian schools, the causes, consequences and remedies.
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.
- 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, carrying the big babes on campus and getting all they want for themselves.
- 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 in Nigerian schools today.
- Need for revenge: Students also join cult group to seek protection and revenge any form of intimidation or harassment earlier on meted on them by rival group. But little do they know that man has no protection but God.
- 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) pushes a number of students to join cult group which ultimately has forced many to early graves.
- Another reason why students join cult group is parental influence. Many parents have given their children or ward the notion 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, fulfillment and confidence to join cult group.
What are the consequences of joining cult group? The consequences of cultism are devastating and many ranging from the following:
(i) Death of innocent lives during clashes between one rival group and another. Many innocent students have died as a result of the activities of this unwholesome act.
(ii) Destruction of valuable properties both within and outside the campuses. Most valuable properties including setting gigantic buildings ablaze are in most cases the handwork of cultists.
(iii) Bad image both to parents and the society at large. No parent has ever come out boldly to identify with rival group rather it brings shame and disgrace to the family.
(iv) Increase in crime waves: kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, torture, murder and other forms of violent practices are shameful work of cultism.
(v) Frequent closure of schools as a result of clashes between rival groups is another serious consequence of joining cult groups. Students who involved in cult groups are the non serious students who may not even enter lecture throughout their duration. They cause mayhem in and around campus making lives and properties unsafe. The authority may see the urgent need for closure of schools when this barbaric act prevails.
(vi) Expulsion from school because they tend to be more involved in cult activities than academic enterprise. Rather than engage in serious academic work, they are more concerned about causing problems on campus. Most schools management views it as unwholesome acts which must not be tolerated in a friendly and academic environment. The result of this is expulsion of cultist from the institution.
(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. Many of the victims are in most cases arrested, tried and sentenced accordingly.
No reasonable man or woman engages in any activity that will smear the image of the family or brings the family to shame. This is why this undignified act should be discarded.
How do we then remedy the nefarious activities of these cult groups? What must the government, the parents and all concerned stakeholders do to solve the problem of cultism in our schools?
There are many ways to prevent cultism in Nigerian schools. Some of the remedie are:
- Wider campaign on the danger of cultism. This campaign should be vigorously taken to schools through seminars, workshops and other relevant mediums on the danger of joining cult groups. This will help to discourage potential cult members from joining cult group.
- Effective Security System should be introduced in schools. This will help also to protect students from harassment and intimidation from violent cultists.
- 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.
- Punitive measures: should be meted out against cult members. This will serve as deterrence to already cult members and discourage potential cult members from joining cult group.
- 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 work rather than engage in violent crimes.
- Avoidance of bad company is another preventive measure in curbing cultism in our Nigerian schools. Parents should warn their children not to join bad gangs that could ruin their lives. 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.