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Cultism is the ritual practices of a group of people whose negative activities, membership, policies, meetings and operations are kept secret from other members of the society. Cultists have signs and symbols that can only be interpreted by their members.


Cultism in Nigerian institutions is traceable to the formation of Pirate Confraternity by Professor Wole Soyinka in 1952 at University College, Ibadan now University of Ibadan. Today, there are many cult groups within and outside the school system such as Black Eye, Buccaneers, Black Axe, Daughters of Jezebel, Vikings, Red Devils, Mafia, Trojan Horse, Amazon, Temple of Eden, etc.



Many reasons have been advanced for the formation of cultism in Nigeria. For example, the Ogboni confraternity was a sacred cult among the Yoruba people in the pre-colonial Nigeria. Their duties were both political and religious. However, today different reasons are responsible for cult membership.

  1. Family Background: Children whose parents are cult members can easily influence their children to become members of the cult.
  2. Peer Pressure: People of same age groups, friends and colleagues can influence and pressurize their peers to become a member of their cult. This is usually common among youths and students.
  3. Poverty: The desire to become rich can compel people to join a cult. They believe when they become members of cult they will be made rich.
  4. False Security: Many people have become members of a cult because of false or fake security. They believe their cult will provide security for them against any attack or opposition. Hence, they join the cult.
  5. Unemployment: The high rate of jobless with the attendant frustration has forced many youths into cultism. They feel they could earn a living from cult activities and membership.
  6. Poor Leadership: The inability of leaders to deliver on their promises is another factor responsible for cultism. They see cultism as a shield where they can hide and fend for themselves.
  7. Broken Home.
  8. Exposure to Foreign Values.



  1. Violence in the society.
  2. Breakdown of law and. order
  3. Increased crime rate.
  4. School dropout.
  5. Bad image of self and the nation.
  6. Problem of insecurity.
  7. Decrease in moral values.
  8. Health challenges.
  9. Death.



  1. Good parental upbringing.
  2. There should be proper enlightenment campaign and seminars on the havoc of cultism.
  3. Provision of jobs, particularly for our teeming youths.
  4. Establishment of sports and recreational centers.
  5. Establishment of skill acquisition programmes.
  6. Cultism should attract stiff penalties/punishment in order to deter others.
  7. Intervention of religious organizations and NGOs on campaign against cultism.
  8. Institutions of learning should make strict laws against cultism in schools.


See also

national unity and integration






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