Curbing Cultism in our Society- Jolayemi Farouq Olawale
Cultism, according to Merriem Webster is belonging to a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous.
The reported cases of cultism in Nigeria is becoming alarming. Efforts of past governments to address the situation were not successful as it has eaten deep into the Nigerian society. Every part of the country had its fair share of cultism, especially in the Southern part of he country, while the Northern is faced with Boko Haram imbroglio.
A layman would think cultism has to do with activities of incorrigible associations in higher institutions of learning and that of traditional worshipping societies. Cultism goes beyond that. The Boko Haram sect and the Niger Delta avengers may be viewed as cults because of the membership and secrecy of their operations.
Early this year, the media reported the killing of over 20 people by cultists in Rivers State. Some of the perpetrators of were arrested by yet to be prosecuted due to the lacklustre and lackadaisical attitudes of governments to tackle the opprobrium.
Meanwhile, the educational atmospheres are being disrupted due to the rampant activities of cultists. in mostly higher institutions of learning. Students can’t move freely as the fear of being assailed by cultists ransack their psyche.
For the fear of being molested by cultists, some students reluctantly or persuaded join cultism for protection. They erroneous believe cultism can offer safety than the security agencies. This indicates the failure of government in protecting its citizens.
The most troubling phenomena about cultism is the extent cultists easily brainwash new students and inmates who are members of the secret clubs. The inmates seem to believe in nothing else apart from their activities. The brainwashed inmates end up perpetuating dangerous acts without thinking about the societal consequences.
Surprisingly some students believe that the celebrated Professor Wole Soyinka, a member of the Pirates Confraternity during his university’s day was a cultist. The false assumption influences blind cultists to keep bad attitudes believing they would be celebrated in future like the white-haired professor.
Although, campaigns have been held to sensitize students against this delinquency, but they haven’t been effective enough as Cultism is still rampant in the country. There is an urgent need for an aggressive campaign against the cankerworm through adequate legislation and laws that should be enforced. Arrested cultists should also be tried swiftly with little mercy in order to serve as deterrents.
The government, the citizens and even students must play decisive role in campaigns against cultism. It is only through that that innocent souls will not fall victims of the cunning ways cultists deliberately drag them to their fold. We must kick out Cult activities. We should learn and refuse to be brainwashed by false glamour and power of cultism.
Jolayemi Farouq Olawale
Department of Mass Communication
University of Ilorin