How to Eradicate Cultism in Nigerian Schools
One of the most significant challenges facing the educational sector in Nigeria in recent times is cultism. Indeed, the malice of cultism is not peculiar to Nigeria; however, it has taken a new dimension in Nigeria as it has been extended from tertiary institutions to primary and secondary schools.
Cultism in schools is now taking a serious toll on society as it affects the educational and moral standards of students and increases the vices in society, which inadvertently leads to increased crime. Innocent ones are being lured into devious groups and ultimately into vices such as drug abuse, armed robbery, murder, and so on. In place of this, we will be looking at ways to combat and eradicate this menace in society and our institutions of learning and the possible reasons for students joining secret cults.
Factors responsible for joining a secret cult
We can adduce many reasons for students joining secret cults ranging from the thirst for power and authority to peer pressure. In this section, we will be looking briefly at why students join secret cults before moving on to ways to eradicate cultism in schools.
1. Fight against oppression
When cultism initially started in schools in Nigeria, these groups were formed to resist any form of oppression against students by lecturers, school authorities, and even government policies. However, with time, these groups have taken a new dimension and now fight oppression against the “wicked” lecturer, school authorities, or the opposition cult members, thus resulting in an increased cult clash, which inadvertently leads to insecurity.
2. Quest for fame
In recent times, young people now join secret cults in school to be famous and well recognized amongst their colleagues. Some people have argued that most union leaders in tertiary institutions fighting for students’ cause are either members of a secret cult or endorsed by a cult group before gaining power. In addition to the above, there is a general belief that cultists are rich and influential, attracting people who are desperate to get rich fast.
3. Lack of home training
Another reason student joins a secret cult is due to the absence of moral training from their parents, which contributes largely to the quality of products turned over to the universities from primary and secondary schools.
Like any association, something is promised to the members of these secret cults, and most times, it is protection that is promised. Indeed, no student would like to go into school and suffer, and this promise of protection is what is used to lure the innocent ones into joining these groups. Whereas some students join the group knowing full well the type of protection being offered by the cult group, others walk into the group knowing fully that being a cult member covers them under a protective umbrella of a secret association.
Some students’ desire to be above the law also leads them to join secret cults who claim to give them powers above every norm and order within and outside the walls of the school.
The distasteful sweet feeling that comes with harming someone in return for an injury is what propelled some students to join a cult gang. The need to exert revenge on a campus bully, lecturer, or a fellow student who wronged another is a prominent reason for joining among cult members.
This explains why there is always a reprisal attack each time a cult group strikes another. Revenge among cult groups is a horrible game of numbers.
7. Low Self-esteem
Another factor that can lead to joining a secret cult is as a result of low self-esteem. With low self-esteem, students find it difficult to express themselves and, in a way, to express themselves could lead a student with low self-esteem to join a cult group to feel important. These groups provide a good platform for students to get the wrong form of confidence in violence and dastardly acts.
8. Peer Influence
The desire to do what your peers are doing amongst many students also leads to joining secret cults. Some students don’t have the willpower to decide for themselves; hence, they also tag alone not to be left behind when their friend does something. In other cases, the friends who have joined these cults are tasked to bring their friends into the group, and the constant pressure and several promises eventually make them succumb to pressure and join the group.
Poverty plays an important role in the reason some people join secret cults. Some students are lured into these groups due to their financial difficulties, and in the quest to find a solution; they are invited to the cult with promises of being financially buoyant in a bid to entice them into their social group.
The effect of cultism in Nigeria
As a result of the violence and constant fighting, young people’s death has increased tremendously, and this is a worrying sign for the future of Nigeria. Cultist groups in recent times have expanded their membership to include thugs, touts, deviant individuals. Misunderstanding between these groups ends up leading to insecurity within the society. They even go as far as killing themselves over mere issues like girlfriends and the likes.
2. High increase in student dropout
Another effect of cultism is the increasing number of dropouts in schools across the country. In most cases, students are either suspended or expelled for violation of school rules and regulations, and in the end, these affected students end up stopping school.
Politicians and government officials usually recruit young people who tend to be a thug to assist them in their political affairs during elections and campaigns. Even the religious leaders go as far as using them as bodyguards, which makes them misbehave in society, basing their life on the survival of the fittest, which will increase insanity in the country.
4. Theft and Robbery’s
Another effect of cultism is the increase in crime rate, most especially theft and robbery. Members of these groups carry out as a group to do notorious activities as ordered by their toppers (i.e., their Captain, Capon, Don, etc.), mostly in the night. They usually give them the assignment to carry out, robbery, kidnapping, assassination, rape, car snatching, or bather, which need to be carried out within a stipulated period.
Suggested solution to cultism in Nigeria
Cultism has eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society, and if not tackled properly, it will continue with this trend. The following are the suggested solution to cultism in the country.
1. Public campaign against cultism
Different organizations, including the government, schools, religious institutions, and parents, should promote awareness against cultism. Seminars and workshops should be organized to discuss the dangers of cultism all over schools without leaving out the primary schools. This move will help in curbing the spread of cultism in schools and society at large.
Initially, discipline is part of education, and early childhood education largely determines the adult’s character. So, discipline is not a mere whim of parents or teachers, but an inherent component of the educational process, and will affect young and adult life. An undisciplined child – living without restrictions – does not know how to use his freedom. That is, the discipline collaborates in learning how to use freedom. The disciplined child learns to admit the restrictions that others place on him and, consequently, enjoy more freedom. Discipline is important because it helps the child to face the hardships imposed by life. A disciplined child is prepared for a serious and inexorable reality that he will face throughout his life: life will impose severe discipline on him. If he learns this in childhood, he will have no difficulty living a responsible adult life.
3. Government Standard
The government should also make laws to punish cultists for pushing away students and young people from joining these groups. The political leaders supporting them should also be put to judgment because they are damaging other children’s lives to make theirs better; this should not be tolerated if truly we want to curb or eradicate this menace in our society.
From all that we have discussed above, it is obvious that it is important to eradicate cultism in schools to restore peace and security in our society. If the steps mentioned above are followed well, we will reduce cultism to the barest minimum.