Cultism…A menace in our schools and society at large.

by feferity

Lagos moves to tackle cultism…

Long before the State thought of the dangers of losing the cultism fight, festered unshackled in the society, Professor Abisogun Olabode Leigh (OFR) had successfully fought the menace while serving as the Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU).

Pro. Abisogun Leigh. Former VC, Lagos State University, Ojo.

Professor Leigh decided to tackle headlong, the menace of the cultism. He took the battle directly to the different groups that have been tormenting the University before he became the Vice Chancellor.

The turning point, according to the retired University administrator was the 'arrest and burning of two suspected cultists by the students'. The students had claimed that the suspected cultists were apprehended inside the deep swamp at the back of the main campus in Ojo area of Lagos State. According to him, all pleas by the School's authority and the Divisional Police Officer were rebuffed. 'At a point the DPO alerted me to the danger of further staying within the vicinity trying to persuade the obdurate students as they were armed and could escalate the crises,'

‘I left grudgingly. But the following morning, we found the carcases of the suspected cultists outside, very close to the main gate, already burnt beyond recognition’. Professor Leigh who was appointed the Vice Chancellor by the then Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in year 2001 retired in 2005. He knew he had little time to make history and set out to work. He had a good support from an Assistant Registrar. With this assistant, he was able to get the key members of all the cult groups in the University.

He sought the support of the Directorate of State Security Services (DSS). He got the support. He was able to herded the key leaders of the cult groups to a meeting at Airport Hotel, Ikeja where he was able to coaxed them into an agreement of non violent, non cultism activities in the school. Surprisingly, the tactics worked. And LASU was freed from the incessant killings that have dominated the news coming out of the school for more than ten years previously.

The symbol of Cultism

This singular effort however, got the Federal Government to honour the Professor with the National Honours of the Officer of the Niger Award in 2007. But, the cultism pushed out the university, might have landed with more venom in the streets of Lagos State. Now it is everywhere. All miscreants are members of one cult group or the other. Therefore, In an attempt to curb the activities of cult groups in Lagos State, the State  has passed a law prescribing stiff penalties for cultists. The Bill  was passed into law by the State House of Assembly and signed into law by the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The law In an attempt to curb the activities of cult groups in Lagos State, the State  has passed a law prescribing stiff penalties for cultists. The Bill  was passed into law by the State House of Assembly and signed into law by the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu. The law In an attempt to curb the activities of cult groups in Lagos State, the State  has passed a law prescribing stiff penalties for cultists. The Bill  was passed into law by the State House of Assembly and signed into law by the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The new law, “Prohibition of Unlawful Societies and Cultism of 2021” seeks to combat cultism in Lagos State by giving stiffer punishments to convicted cultists and those abetting them. The law stipulates 21-year jail term for convicted cultists and 15-year jail time for those found guilty of abetting cultism.

It is not hyperbolic to deduce will all finality that cultism and its odious practices have permeated all the strata of the Nigerian society, especially in the Southern hemisphere. From Ekiti to Rivers, from Akwa ibom to Lagos States. No citadel or cathedral is immune. Sadly, these cult groups have spread outside the Ivory Towers and are now active in secondary schools, mechanic workshops, motor parks, residential areas. Boys, girls of impressionable ages, just out of infancy, are daily lured and recruited into these nocturnal groups.

Most often, the news one get to here is either the violent struggle for supremacy between different cult groups or violent clashes with innocent victims. These cult groups come in various forms and names. There Eiye Confraternity, there is Buccaneers, there is Black Axe, these strictly for boys and Daughters of Jezebel, Dark Angels, Mermaids for girls  The fight against cultism may be outside the purview of legislation.

It is not hyperbolic to deduce that cultism has permeate all strata of the Nigerian society, especially in the Southern hemisphere. From Ekiti to Rivers, from Akwa ibom to Lagos States, all one get to here is either the struggle for supremacy between different cult groups or violent clashes with innocent victims. These cult groups come in various forms and names. There Eiye Confraternity, there is Buccaneers, there is Black Axe, these strictly for boys and Daughters of Jezebel, Dark Angels, Mermaids for girls  The fight against cultism may be paying the purview of legislation.

A group of (suspected) cult activist

It is not hyperbolic to deduce that cultism has permeate all strata of the Nigerian society, especially in the Southern hemisphere. From Ekiti to Rivers, from Akwa ibom to Lagos States, all one get to here is either the struggle for supremacy between different cult groups or violent clashes with innocent victims. These cult groups come in various forms and names. There Eiye Confraternity, there is Buccaneers, there is Black Axe, these strictly for boys and Daughters of Jezebel, Dark Angels, Mermaids for girls  The fight against cultism may be sadly outside the purview of legislative enactments. It is deeper.

While the law tried to tackle cultism and its  aiding and abetting cultism, little attention is paid into why the groups keep growing by the day despite the stiff penalties. Mr. Gbenga Akinolu, an Ikeja based legal practitioner blamed ‘ our social system and even justice administration for the growth of such violent groups in the country’. He also blamed  ‘the political system that allowed thuggery and hooliganism to thrive so much’ He wondered how the newly enacted legislation would work in ‘face of political godfatherism and patronage’.

Also Pastor James Adeyera wondered ‘why the government cannot legislate on the bigger cult groups, especially the Ogboni Aboriginal group and the Reformed Ogboni Confraternity’. According to the Pentecostal pastor, ‘if the father groups still exists, because most politicians and influential members of the society are members, to curb the variant violent groups would be difficult’. But Professor Leigh disagreed. He believed his model could be adopted at the societal level with equal success. He wants the youths to be properly mobilized and orientated and then set them up in a positive engaging tasks.

Leaving thousands of young, vibrant youths to waste their energies on gaming, betting’s, or outright idling away is a sure fire for disaster and tragedy, says Mrs. Oluwasola Williams a School proprietor. She lamented that several youths are engaged in the nocturnal activities out of ignorance.

She also blamed poverty and lack of opportunities for the persistent rise of cultism in the country.

*Photo credits: Google images

© Feferity Media Group 2021

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