Like any reasonable association, cultism started with a good cause of maintaining law and order among other reasons. Ironically, cultism has become a major vice in our society especially in tertiary institutions. It is worrying, that an association which started as primate confraternity has increased in size with various groups springing up.
Today, there are an uncountable number of cult groups boasting a huge amount of cultist across Nigeria.
Sadly, the once good association now endangers the life of those whose right it was created to protect. This sad twist, is as a result of those recruited into the fold: armed robbers, drug peddlers and sundry miscreants are now being recruited into the fold.
Also, cult groups have become a good place for breeding armed robbers. This is evident in the rate of cult related killings, robbery, rape which has now become the major activities of cult groups.
Battles among rival cult groups have claimed the life of many innocent people who exercise their fundamental right of movement. Sometime ago, a pregnant woman and student of a polytechnic were killed when a group of suspected cultists stormed onikolobo area of the town and unleashed terror on harmless residents with guns, cutlasses and broken bottles. But for the timely intervention of security operatives the situation would have been a lot more messier.
While some students are coerced into cultism through threat and assault by cult members, some joined in the search for identity that is, students join cult groups in order to be popular and dictate the pace in school activities, mostly student union election. Other reasons are peer group pressure or influence, search for protection, quest for revenge, quest for power among other reasons.
Membership into cult groups is similar in some respect. Initiation into most cult groups is dangerous and life threatening as the male aspiring cultist face severe torture with cutlass and stick while the females are raped and are made to drink strong alcoholic substance all this to test their endurance. It is even more disheartening that young boys around the age of 10 are now being recruited into the fold, endangering the life and future of these young boys, leaving the society at risk.
Unfortunately, security agencies are not doing enough to check the activities of this cult groups. Victims of assault are neglected by authorities, their reports are not taken seriously. Security agencies has been accused of aiding cult members by releasing the detained without appropriate sanction and delaying operation in areas when cult groups attack.
It is worrying that the demons of cultism in some cases were created by the political class. Politicians should stop arming students for violence. Eradicating cultism in our tertiary institution and our society at large involves the collective effort of government, family, and religious institutions. It should be looked from all angles.
- Government should provide infrastructures and recreational facilities in schools, adequate security on our campuses.
- Government should ensure that enough hostels are built in campuses and that hostels are habitable for decent humans as this will discourage cultism.
- Security agents should relate well with students and in doing so, gather intelligence from various campuses.
- Again, if family plays its fundamental role rightly, the society will be a better place for us all
In conclusion, it is said that, “it is the fear of what tomorrow may bring that makes the turtoise to carry his house wherever he goes. If the problem of cultism is not properly checked now, we will be living in a cult-filled society instead of a cult-free society in the near future.