Cultism and occultism are among the leading social problems we are facing in our Nigerian society today. These practices are carried out in schools, campuses, organizations, churches, villages, towns, even in the streets to mention but a few. They have taken root and are expanding sporadically into different sectors. They exist in various forms and cuts across all spectra.
In many places, cultism and occultism are considered a normal practice such that one cannot hold a sensible position unless you are a member of one or more secret society. Their practises and activities have caused lots of losses, damages to lives and properties and setbacks to Nigerian people and economy. Several souls have been lost, academics put on hold, destinies in shamble, families kept perpetually in sorrow and the society in general carrying the burden. This menace if left unresolved will destroy more than world war II.
What is cultism and occultism
Proverbs 1:10-19, John 10:10, Ephesians 2:1-3.
Cultism is the act of affiliating and identifying to a group of people who gather for ritual practices in the secret cult where every member is bound with an oath. In this case, everything about their initiations, memberships, policies and activities are executed in the secret. They carry out their activities at very odd hours of the day.
Cultists recruit their members most commonly by invitations, by applications and by force (intense peer pressure). These days, they use charms to bewitch and confuse the descent and ignorant ones to join. The activities of cultists have deleterious consequences on both members and non-members. Accordingly, cultism goes hand in hand with occultism and spiritism as they worship deities.
As I write, there are more than 50 functional male and female cults operating in our Nigerian society. Such groups include: Black Mamba, Buccaneers, Cappa Eiye Confraternity and many others. Our young innocent and ignorant fresh secondary school and undergraduate students are enticed, lured and recruited daily. Therefore there is a huge need to unmask their activities and dangers involved.
Occultism also known as enchantments, sorcery, witchcraft, wizardry, etc on the other hand is the practise of a secret knowledge which has to do with “psychic or supernatural” experience. It is often carried out with the sole purpose of obtaining wealth, personal protection, powers, predicting the future, telling omens, among others. Occults consult demons and spirits for divinations, fortune-telling, channeling, spiritism etc.
Factors that pulls and pushes people into joining secret cults and occults
There are several factors that motivates and entices the youth most especially to identify with cultists and occultists.
- Peer pressure: Influences from peer groups most times are usually powerful and difficult to resist. In Nigeria society, different social groups exists such as age grades, school unions, political parties, trade unions, etc. Many of these social groups have gained popularity and have been hijacked by cultists for example in many student unions, one cannot contest for any position without identifying with one cultist group or another. So to be popular and socially acceptable, one is persuaded, suggested or otherwise encouraged to join secret cult.
- Family upbringing: Statistics have shown that many cultists and occults come from dysfunctional wealthy, polygamous families and broken homes. Children from such families and homes join cults in order to feel loved, affection, protected and provided for. Cultists believe in brotherhood. They defend and protect their own even to the point of killing others. They show loyalty among themselves as people who share something in common. However all they do and promise are deception because once you join them, your freedom will be automatically taken from you. You will be subjected to the will and directives of your cult master.
- Societal and moral decadence: There are lots of chaos in Nigerian society at present. Many cannot think critically to evaluate the situation they find themselves in. Broad-day robbery, drinking of alcohol, smoking of hard drugs, phonography, sexual abuse, bribery, corruption, killings etc. are the order of the day. Due to weakened social and moral powers, more and more people resort to joining secret cults and occults so as to perpetuate more evil. Cultists have ‘god fathers and/or god mothers’ who are powerful and top placed. Once they are caught in any crime, these god fathers/mothers do all that is in their power to release and protect them.
- Degradation of education standards: The Nigerian education system is in deplorable state. This includes poor teaching and working conditions, no electricity, no practical materials, no functional laboratories and equipment. In this capacity, students and staff have ample opportunity and time to indulge in different ill activities. While in cults, they threaten and harass lecturers with machetes and guns requesting for underserved scores. Some lecturers have lost their lives and valuables for refusing to comply.
- Materialism: For the poor that desires quick wealth by all means, cultism is the key. This aids them in kidnapping, blood sacrifice and ritualism, armed robbery, terrorism, frauds, and witch practices. For those in appointed or public elective offices, as a cultist you are free to embezzle and siphon money to buy valuable assets. Nobody dares to question you.
- Quest for power and protection: Cultists see themselves as wealthier, more powerful and superior to others. They have ‘god fathers and/or god mothers’ who aid and push them in to high positions in private and government parastatals. After graduation, they usually avoid the rigorous exercise of interviews of competency and eventually occupy first positions. In addition this gives them the wherewithal to vie for political positions. They now kill their mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children, friends, etc, nobody is exempt.
Dangers associated with cultism, occultism and spiritism
These practices are anti-God and anti-human and therefore unacceptable. Anyone who indulges in such will surely bring catastrophe to himself/herself, his/her family and the society in general. The Bible says that those who carries out such activities live in rebellion to God, therefore He hates them. Such persons are doomed physically and eternally (Deuteronomy 18: 10-12; Leviticus 20:27; Micah 5:12; 2 Kings 21:6; Revelation 9:21, 21:8, 22:15).
Negative Consequences of cultism and occultism are as follows:
- Destruction, Damage and Loss of lives and properties: This days cultists and occults in our school and society operate with the sole aim to vandalise, oppress, flog, kill, torture and cause havocs. For ten years now, more than 500 lives have been killed and others maimed for life from cultist wars and rivals. Outside the pandemonium rival cultists release on themselves, several innocent people such as family members, friends, lecturers, students, and others are victims. These cult groups operate with dangerous and sophisticated weapons like machetes, axes, guns, acids, charms etc. The story remains the same in virtually all our tertiary institutions.
- Disruption of academic activities on campus: Countless universities in Nigeria have been overwhelmed by cult activities and violence. The threats on campuses, school compound and streets are horrible and brutal. Individuals including students and teachers are physically and mentally injured by cult activities; many are living under constant fear. Cultists themselves are majorly affected by these rivals and clashes; a huge number of them are school “dropouts” who could no longer complete their education. The ones that graduated, for some, it took them several years to complete their education extra years of which many came out with poor results.
- Drug addictions: This include drinking of alcohols, smoking hard drugs such as cocaine, Indian helm. All these lead to stealings, brutality and violent behaviours.
- Sexual harassments and indiscriminate rapes: Rape is an evil, despicable and unpardonable act in our society. Rape victims are made to agonize immeasurably and some are afterward diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Many get infected with sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy among other ills. Female folks are majorly the victims here. Recently, the brutal rape and murder of a 22-year old Vera Uwaila Omozuwa who was a microbiology undergraduate student of the University of Benin in an empty church in Benin City, southern Nigeria, has sparked outrage across Nigeria. Culprits of rape when caught will be sanctioned and maximally punished according to law a with life imprisonment and other related offences such as indecent assault, sodomy etc carries lesser punishment.
- Transmission of deadly diseases: In the process of initiations and oath taking many cult members get infected with deadly diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B etc.
Way Out and Solutions
- Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. If you are caught in this web, you have to run to Jesus to save you. There is no other name under the earth that can save except Jesus. Accept Him as Lord and Saviour and start a walk with him.
- Parent should wake up from their slumber. They should act as model for their children to emulate. They should start on time to teach them moral and values of the society. They should also monitor the activities of their children both in and outside the school. Parents should know the kind of friends they keep and monitor them regularly.
- Churches and mosques should establish strong youth department that would give youths opportunity to vent out their issues.
- The school authority should try as much as possible to enforce law and order in the school and provide basic amenities that would take care of the students welfare and make the environment conducive for studying.
- The government should establish tribunal to try cultists and if found guilty should be sentenced accordingly without fear or favour.
- The institutions and school authorities should also carry out regular check on the students on possession of arms in the campuses.
- High cost of education should be reduced to enable the poor ones meet up their educational expenses, thereby giving most students opportunity to study comfortably. The study has a lot of implications on the students, the institution, society and educational sector in general.
- Government should know that nobody is above the law. Whoever that is guilty of cultism whether he or she is from rich or poor family should be made to face the music accordingly.
- Government should provide the institution with enough fund to enable them take care of their needs, the educational sector should know that education is the key for growth and development of a nation. A nation without good and firm educational foundation is bound to fail. They should provide well equipped libraries and equipment for different laboratories to enable students study with ease.
- Government, institutions, NGOs and parastatals should provide scholarship to brilliant students to study further in overseas.
- Government should provide job opportunities for the graduates.