By Gloria Eladoko
Campus cults have become the most potent cause of insecurity in the institution of higher learning. It is elevating the challenges facing the average students to new and dangerous dimensions. Several reports showed that between 1997 to 2012 hundreds of students were expelled or suspended from their various institutions, while some were arrested and detained by law enforcement agencies. Some of the arrested students were charged to court and eventually jailed. Cult could be defined as a religion or religious sect or movement generally considered being extremist or false, with its followers often living in unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian charismatic leader.
Cultism in Nigerian institution could be traced back to the 1953/54 academic session where by seven young men started an organization called the Pirates Confraternity at the University College, Ibadan now University of Ibadan. According to Awe, (2004) none of the six men is active in the organization any longer except one novelist whose views and current links with the confraternity are well known, while two among them are now dead. According to Atolagbe, (2003) observed that the objectives of the original seven founding the pirate confraternity were: “having identified the constraints militating against the attainment of a just society” they resolved to combat social ills such as colonial mentality, tribalism, corruption, elitism.
It was observed that for almost 20 years of the confraternity was the only student organization of its kind within the university system in Nigeria. It is however by 1972 as schism occurred within the confraternity, some of the members were expelled and they promptly started a rival organization, the buccaneer’s confraternity. About the same time an informal association of friends who got together in Nmadi Azikwe Hall of IU in 1965 was transformed into the Eiye Confraternity.
Anyone with spiritual insights will not fail to agree that the seeds of evil and the decent into decay violence have been planted even when the benign confraternities were being founded. The first fraternity identified itself with “pirates” and the breakaway association identified itself with “buccaneers”. Buccaneers belong to armed robbers operating on the high sea.
That is the history of cultism in the Nigerian institutions now let us dept into main concern. Cultism in Nigerian institution play a major role in increasing the level of thuggery among Nigerian youths most especially graduates that engaged in doing violence act, especially criminal damage. They damage public property deliberately without afraid of any trial because they belief that their association or group will protect them from any persecution that will face them. Students involved smoking and alcoholism, and no one can question them because of their authority in their cult group.
Strange marks in the body of student also shows sign of membership of cults association; for this reason parents should take good care of their children. A cultist shows no respect to constituted authority, because he always thinks that he overpowered everybody, that’s why you will see many people or students doing what they like at any place they like. As cultism has been identify as the major factor responsible for the rising rate of violence and crime in Nigeria.
Students, who lack the confidence to face the rigors and challenges of academic work, seek refuge from cult group in order to obtain favorable grades through intimidating and blackmailing. The students lack the feeling and belief in their own ability to do things and be successful. That is to say the students have no any confidence in their school in the aspect of learning.
Also, some parents don’t give good attention to their children, while some of their children bring home with them bad behavior that the parents suppose to investigate, they will end up turning blind eye on it. Despite that, on the other hand, some parents are working so hard to see that they persuade their children to avoid and shun away from cultism and violent act in general but since most of the students that are studying in tertiary institutions most especially universities are staying in the campus, they find it difficult to regulate the behavior’s of their children. Lack of parental care and lack of monitoring breed contribute immensely in the cause of these vices in the society.
The reasons behind the involvement of some students into cult group are to avoid harassment and intimidation by other cultist, to be regarded as super stars or high flyers, male cultist believe that no female student on campus can resist or refuse their love advances and that some also erroneously believe that they must pass their examination whether they work hard or not. While other people join cult group because of other reasons.
Consequently, the students that are involved in the cult group whenever discovered are officially ask to leave the institution they are studying in after all the suffering they experienced and hardworking from primary to the higher institution. Cultist families are always in stage of danger as at any time the member of that group can sacrifice one of his family members.
Moral education should begin in the home. In other words the role of parents especially mothers is crucial in the proper upbringing of their children. Some young people pick up bad habits like smoking, alcohol consumption and promiscuous life styles from home. Children from broken homes are victims or particularly vulnerable in matters of this nature.
The primary and secondary schools the boys and girls attend before they go to the university have a role to play in ordering the scale of presences of their students.
It is advisable for all students, lecturers, parents, government to join hand in resolving this menace by working together to bring up worthy and morally upright children who would lead our country in the future.
Gloria Eladoko wrote in from the department mass communication, Bayero University, Kano.