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Despite numerous efforts to reduce it, cultism has increased in Nigeria’s primary schools. Cultism has wracked the educational system. It is frequently stated that youth are the future leaders, but one wonders what the future holds for the youth of this country, which has a sizable proportion of its youth as secret cult members.

As a result, it became critical to carefully address the issue of cultism in our primary schools, where logic should take precedence over emotion. Without a doubt, the problem has reached terrifying proportions as cultic violence thrives even more.

The primary goal of this research was to determine the causes, effects, and strategies for preventing cultism in Nigerian primary schools. The study revealed that cultism among primary school students is real, and that the government and institutions must act quickly to address it. To reach a long-term solution, parents must collaborate closely with the institution’s authority.




1.1 The Study’s Background

Cult activities in African primary schools can be traced back to the early 1950s. According to Opaluwah (2000), campus cultism in primary schools began in 1952 at The University College, Ibadan, Nigeria. Professor Wole Soyinka, Nigeria’s only Nobel Laureate, and six others founded the Pyrates Confraternity. Olumuyiwa Awe, Ralph Opara, and Tunji Tubi, Aig Imokhuede, Pius Olegbe, and Olu Agunloye are the other six.

Their primary goals included the abolition of convention; the revival of the age of chivalry and the abolition of tribalism; elevating the social life of the university campus so that orderliness and discipline could be instilled in the minds of students/youths who were expected to be future leaders in Nigeria; and elitism.

Adejoro (1995) lamented that Soyinka and his friends were unaware that they were making history, nor did they accept the fact that student and youth radicalism was receiving a national boost and the unleashing of a national vanguard. The progression was paradoxical to the point where they had no idea they were laying the groundwork for what would eventually become gansterism.

Azelama, Alude, and Imhonda (2000) defined cultism as “an assemblage of people united by certain ideals, or symbols, and whose rites and ceremonies of veneration are unique and shrouded in mysteries with an unbreakable secrecy.” According to Maxey (2004), the term cult derives from the Latin word cultus, which means “to worship or revere a deity.” Thus, it was simply applied to a religious worshipful group of people regardless of the object or person they venerated in its original usage.

Furthermore, Rotimi (2005) cites the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Sociology (1996) anthropological definition of cult as “a set of practices and beliefs of a group in relation to a local god.” A cult, according to the same dictionary, is “a small group of religious activists whose beliefs are typically secret, esoteric, and individualistic.” Cult is defined similarly by Aguda (1997), Ogunbameru (1997), and the Free Encyclopedia (2006).

According to Langone (1988), cult leaders have complete control over the members of the movement, and as such, they use force to subdue them. Because cults are leader-centered, exploitative, and harmful, the author concluded that they clash with and threaten the rational, open, and benevolent system of members’ families and society at large, and that it is an exploitatively manipulative and abusive group in which members are induced to serve the group leader (s). According to these accounts, cults and cultism share certain characteristics.

They are esoteric, secretive, usually consist of a small group of people led by a charismatic leader, and may or may not be religious in nature.

Section 318 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution defines a secret cult as “any association, group, or body of persons (whether registered or not) that uses secret signs, oaths, rites, or symbols and which is formed to promote a course, the purpose or part of which is to foster, the interest of its members and to aid one another under any regard without due regard to merit, fairness, or justice; whose oaths of secrecy and, Campus cults and confraternities have gained undue and unwelcome popularity in institutions of higher learning, and society has borne the brunt of their existence.

Today, these cults are involved in activities that could jeopardize the smooth operation of academic work in higher education institutions. There have been reports of students being murdered in primary schools during clashes between rival cults. Non-cult members are sometimes murdered in order to provoke a cult member or group. Female students are also raped and disfigured for refusing to yield to cult members’ advances in love.

Despite the fact that many people regard cultism as an abode of evil, where all manners of evil are practiced, including maiming, murder, examination malpractice, robbery, rape, arson, intimidation of fellow students and lecturers for good grades, forceful love (girl friends), and clashes of rival cults groups, some students find it fashionable to blend or join cults groups for various reasons.

As a result, social issues associated with campus cult activities warrant further investigation. People feel at ease in a typical school situation because academic environments on campuses are usually very conducive and free of disruptions. According to Arogundade (1994), Amachere (1992), and Oriaku (1992), every student is expected to understand why he/she is in a higher institution, and as such, his/her academic pursuit (aim and objective) must be achieved because he/she has no negative motives.

Education is a critical factor in a country’s social, economic, political, and technological development. As school is for academic excellence, which shapes an individual to the world of honor and dignity, universities are abridged versions of the larger society (Rotimi, 2005). Academic excellence shapes and conditions one’s values and aspirations. Prior to the 1970s, Nigeria’s socio-cultural environment was conservative and non-aggressive.

Tertiary education (at the university or college level), therefore, Primary schools include Universities, Colleges of Education, and Polytechnics that provide education for people at a higher level, according to Hornby (1995). Any society’s greatest asset is its citizens and their diverse abilities. Quality education can help you develop these skills (Thompson, 2000).

Unfortunately, despite the Federal Government’s best efforts to provide its citizens with high-quality education, the opposite is true. Many social vices plague Nigerian educational institutions. Cultism is undoubtedly one of the social vices confronting primary schools today.

Cult activities have been prevalent in our primary schools, resulting in constant harassment of students and staff, as well as property destruction. Secret cults’ nefarious and nocturnal activities have also resulted in the untimely death of cultists as well as innocent students and staff/lecturers at our institutions of higher learning.

According to Thompson (2000), students join cults for a variety of reasons, including protection, a sense of identity, deception, family background, Western media, and role models. The researcher suspects that there is more to this than meets the eye. Only further investigation will reveal the reasons for this.

Higher education institutions should be centers of academic excellence and moral uprightness; academic pursuit cannot be pursued in an environment marred by bloodshed and hooliganism. What social issues are associated with secret cult activities in primary schools? Cultism in our primary schools, according to Arogundade (1994), Amachere (1992), and Oriaku (1992), has resulted in riots, maiming, raping, rivalry, robbery, looting, and radical student bodies. The extent of their heinous trends needed to be determined further, and if not checked, could cast serious doubt on the future role of our universities.

Cultism awareness is being raised among parents, and students are being encouraged to join approved religious groups such as Scripture Union in schools for morals, spiritual awareness, and security in God. Moral upbringing is extremely important in one’s life, as the saying goes, “Direct the child in the way he/she should go, and he will never stray from it” (Olabisi, 1993).

Another option is to refer secret society members to guidance and counselling units for counseling. Indeed, education is an all-around efficiency that focuses on the child as he can be rather than as he is. Discipline of wards from childhood and periodic counseling of students will make them realize and be ashamed of their past mistakes. In addition to these, Ugbendu in Olabisi (1993) explained that the majority of new intakes in higher education institutions are adolescent in age, a stage in which they are subject to psychological fluctuations while searching for their personalities.

The researcher embarks on this study as a result of meaningful individuals and the media observing that the issue of secret cult disturbances in contemporary Nigerian secondary schools is becoming a progressive social menace and a national issue. One might wonder if the location of the University is a factor in secret cult activities that occur in primary schools.

According to Rotimi (2005), students are drawn to cultist groups for a variety of reasons. He observed that, in general, the social environment in Nigerian schools provides an inspiring environment for secret cults to thrive. These may include a lack of vibrant student unionism, individual/private universities with lax security, the erosion of

traditional academic culture, the absence of intellectual debates, and all other activities associated with traditional campus culture. The researcher is looking into whether higher education institutions in urban areas are more involved in cultism than those in rural areas, or what effect location has on secret cult activities.

1.2 Problem Description

Primary schools, as institutions, are places where teaching, learning, and research into societal and global problems begin. The presence of school cult activities in our primary schools poses a serious threat to the achievement of this noble goal.

Cult activities have resulted in the deaths of students and even lecturers on campus. According to newspaper reports, many other primary schools in Lagos State live in constant fear of cult activities in the school. Observers believe that if these negative trends are not identified and addressed, our primary schools’ future role as agents of social change and national development will be jeopardized.

Many researchers and educators are concerned about the eradication of cultism in our primary schools because the number of students joining cults in primary schools is increasing.

1.3 Study Objective

The primary goal of this research is to determine the causes, effects, and strategies for preventing cultism in primary schools. The study is specifically designed to achieve the following goals:

Why do primary school students join cults?
Examine the impact of this social issue on the academic performance of the students.
The degree to which students are involved in cultism.
Develop strategies for eliminating or reducing it in primary schools.

1.4 Research Issues

The study will seek answers to the following research questions.

What are the reasons for students’ involvement in cultism?
What impact does cultism have on a student’s academic performance?
What kinds of behaviors does cultism exhibit that have an impact on societies?
Can cultism be eradicated from our primary schools?
What steps should be taken to combat cultism in our primary schools?

1.6 Importance of Research

The study is significant for the following reasons.

This research will benefit individuals, students, parents or guardians, the educational sector, and society as a whole.

The study’s findings will enable educational administrators to devise strategies for dealing with issues that will aid in the abolition of cultism in universities.

It will also serve as raw data for future researchers who may wish to conduct similar research in the future.

1.7 Field of study

The following is the scope of the study as stated by the researcher.

As the title suggests, the research focuses on the prevalence, causes, effects, and treatments of cultism among primary school students in the Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.

Because of time constraints, the researcher has limited the study to primary schools in the Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State. It will exclude all other primary schools in the state. As a result, the generalization and conclusion will be valid only to the extent that they apply only to schools in the Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.8 Study Restrictions

Respondents’ Attitudes

The unwillingness of some management to divulge strategic information in the name of confidentiality was a limitation to the study, and some of the respondents showed a negative attitude toward the study because there was no financial benefit attached, while others refused to supply the necessary information, most likely due to their ignorance of the study’s main purpose.

Materials for research are not readily available.

Because this was a new area of research in Nigeria, the researcher encountered a scarcity of research materials, which invariably slowed the pace of work. This limitation was mitigated by subscribing to online journals for research materials.


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