REHABILITATION OF EX-CULTISTS IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title page i
Table of Contents vii
Statement of the Problem 6
Objectives of Study 7
Research Questions 8
Scope and Limitation of Study 10
Significance of the Study 10
Research Methodology 11
Source of Data 12
Data Analysis 12
Literature Review and Theoretical Framework 14
Theoretical Framework 22
Structural Functionalism Defined 23
Historical Antecedent of Cultism 28
Causes of Cultism in Tertiary Institutions 36
Modes of Operation of Secret Cults 42
The Processes of Initiation in Black Axe 46
Secret Cults Activities over the years 49
Types of Secret-Cults in Tertiary Institutions 65
Some of the Secret Cults Symbols/Colour 69
Social forces and Cultism 70
Educational Sector 70
Other societal forces 71
Social Control Mechanisms and Secret Cult 71
Cultism in Tertiary Institutions and Rehabilitation
of Ex-Cultist: A Contemporary Focus 80
Conclusion: Rethinking the Rehabilitation of
Ex-Cultists in Tertiary Institutions in Delta State 99
Major Findings 99
Appendix 1: Questionnaire 108
Cultism and its attendant problems have assumed a threatening dimension in recent times in the Nigerian society. More disturbing is the fact that cultism cuts across all facets of the society, including the educational institutions in the country. The immediate consequence is that the Nigerian universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and secondary schools have become centres of violence, instead of centres of learning that they were hitherto known for. Indeed, some scholars like Gimba Abubakar (2002) commenting on the deteriorating standards of tertiary education referred to cult activities in the universities as offering “Bachelor of Science” in violence and “Master of Administration” in cultism.
This situation prompted Eneji (1996) to have remarked that “almost every passing day, there are new stories of devilish acts perpetuated by secret cults on campuses”. He added further that from the universities to polytechnics, colleges of education and other tertiary institutions of learning come stories of violence, torture and unwarranted intimidation executed by members of secret cults.
It is common place to see that most Nigerian newspapers and magazines have become “bulletin boards” for reporting the daily exploits of members of secret cults. In fact, tertiary institutions are now breeding ground for cultists operations. Within the framework of cultism, justice is replaced with “Jungle Justice”, peace by tales of horror, love by brutality. Intimidation, tortures and extortions abound and morality seems to have been driven into outright decadence. In the same way, academic excellence has been relegated to the background. Unfortunately, all efforts to tackle the social menace, cultism in Nigerian tertiary institutions, especially in Delta State have defied all solutions. The efforts of the Government and the managements of this citadel of learning are like putting off the fire without identifying the sources of the fire.
Cult clashes in Delta State tertiary institutions have often led to the destruction of lives and property, brutal rapes, maiming and kidnapping. They have been a major threat to the effective pursuit of academics in the institutions of higher learning in Delta State and beyond.
The ravaging problem posed by cultism brings to the fore the numerous social problems that characterize modern and traditional societies like ours and this culminate to efforts by sociologists and other related professionals coming up to proffer solutions to the unpleasant socio-cultural conditions which tend to have unpleasant consequences for humanity.
Taking a clue from the above analysis, cultism could be well described as a social menace due to its associated morally questionable conducts – murder, prostitution, rape and sexual harassment, armed robbery, etc.
Cultism as manifested in secret cults is a set of practices, beliefs or ideas whose essence is known only to members and exclusively admired and dependent upon by many, even to the extent that members would want to lay down their lives. It is this doggedness of members that reinforces the importance of and awe of the group, especially among non-members.
Honestly speaking, cults membership involves close group membership such as the Ogboni secret cult among the Yoruba of the South Western Nigeria, now the Refined Ogboni Fraternity, Ekpe secret cult among the Efiks of the Southern part of Nigeria, Asigidi found in the Benin Area of Edo State, etc. with their different ways of carrying out their activities in their area of jurisdiction. The most disheartening thing is that what is happening in the larger society has been transferred into the tertiary institutions in Nigeria and the Delta State axis in particular.
This social dynamism has caused a social disorganization, intellectual stagnation, and a crimogenic society where anxiety and fear of the unknown stand in the way of capacity building and national development.
The quest to curb the attended problem of cultism has led to the identification of several causal factors such as government ineptitude, poor family background, staunched self development and social disorganization in all facets of life.
In the past different efforts have been made by government, non-governmental organizations and managements of tertiary institutions to bring order to cultists activities on campuses. However, all these strategies adopted by these responsible bodies have proved moderate success as cultists’ activities in Delta State tertiary institutions have become more sophisticated and unpredictable with the glaring challenge of rehabilitating those ex-cultists who renounced their membership in their different cults.
The issue that captures the minds of sociologists and other professionals is whether we should fold our hands and pretend not to see these promising youths who have renounced cult membership rot away, or should we ignore those ex-cultists to their fate?
Statement of the Problem
Ex-cultists in tertiary institutions suffer some psychological setbacks in relation to their fellow students on campuses. Initially, at the time of initiation and active participation in cult’s activities, they were on top of the world. They were terrorists to their schoolmates and victims but with the new change of status as ex-cultists, their power and influence begins to dwindle. They sometimes feel alienated from their old friends and sometimes feared to be victimized by opposition camps and even their former cult members.
Some of the envisaged problems faced by ex-cultists are given below:
- They are unable to think critically and logically.
- They are sometimes prey and victims of cults members and opposition camps.
- They suffer from fear due to impaired thinking and consequently anxiety of the unknown.
- Inability to do well in academics and other areas of life due to threats from former cult members.
- Loss of respect and identity among their school mates.
- Inability of school management to cater for their traumatic and psychological problems.
- They suffer from emotional stress.
- They are unable to be well re-integrated into the academic community.