Posted by News Express | 6 April 2018 | 1,527 times
Nigerians resident in the North-Central geo-political zone have blamed the rising wave of cultism in the area on desperation to make money without hard work.
Some of the residents made this assertion while responding to a survey by the News agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the reasons why youths, especially engaged in cultism.
They said that youths joined secret cults to become rich, be influential or even pass examinations without studying their books.
Dr. Jose Buzun, a Lecturer at the University of Jos, said that cultists were mostly influenced by political, economic, social and psychological factors.
“Part of the strategy for wooing new students into secret cults in tertiary institutions is to tell them that it will offer them the opportunity to wield massive influence.
“The students are also told that they will be able to pass their examinations with high grades, using some invisible instruments of coercion to influence lecturers and other people in charge of recording marks.”
He said that students not willing to cooperate were always warned of dangers of such “stubbornness”.
Buzun, a psychologist, advised parents to train their children to fear God in order to withstand such pressures from their seniors and peers.
He also advised parents to observe the behaviour of their children when they are on holidays.
“Parents should pay attention to their children; they should look out for strange attitudes like quick anger, extraordinary quietness and a general sense of withdrawal.
“They should also look out for bangles, tattoos and other signs that may indicate that the children may be involved in constant communication with some close friends even deep into the nights,” he said.
Another Plateau resident, Adamu Alti, said that cultism was becoming increasingly attractive to people seeking flashy cars and houses.
He advised people to be wary of the friends they accept into their lives and also advised parents to cry out anytime they suspected that their children were behaving strange.
“There may be the temptation to shield the child because he is your offspring, but that will not help. It is better to cry out so as to get some assistance,” he said.
Residents of Jalingo and environs in Taraba, who spoke on the menace, said that it was largely caused by the conviction that those in it were influential and could always have their way.
Mr Oluwole Jones, a journalist, told NAN that members of cult groups included university lecturers, who would always try to help lazy students to pass examinations using illegal means.
Ezekiel Haruna, a student, said cultists were also motivated by the desire to make quick and easy money without working hard for it.
“Some cultists engage in armed robbery and extortion to acquire wealth and share same with their members.
“If one is their friend, they flaunt their wealth to him to cajole him into joining their group so as to also benefit from such riches,” he said.
Aminu Abdullahi, a Muslim cleric, blamed cultism on poor upbringing and the influence of drugs.
He accused parents of failing in their responsibility to instil discipline and morality in their children.
“Children that are not morally strong are likely to be exposed to drug abuse and other social vices.
“Once they are involved in such anti-social vices, it is very easy for them to join cultist gangs immediately they are out of their parents’ sight,” he said.
But Raymond Joshua, a development worker, said that the quest for power, recognition and protection were responsible for membership of cult groups.
According to him, students engage in cultism to have influence and authority over others in the academic environment.
Malam Dauda Bala, a parent in Minna, Niger State, noted that peer influence was one of the major causes of cultism in higher institutions.
“Sometimes, even if a child is upright and decent, he or she may likely be influenced by other students to join the dangerous groups,” he said.
Dauda advocated proper campaign against negative effects of cultism.
He also called for effective security in schools, and severe punishment for cultists as part of the measures to tackle the menace.
A NAN correspondent, who visited some schools in Nasarawa State, however, found that the era of cultism appeared to be in steady decline.
Further checks revealed that measures adopted by managements of the tertiary institutions and other stakeholders were responsible for the declining activities of cultists.
“Generally, the activities of cultists went down when students themselves realised that there were no benefits to being a member.
“A lot of them ended with regrets and resolved to distance themselves,’’ Murtar Wakil, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia, told NAN.
He said that the institution had always sanctioned cultists by expelling them.
“During the orientation of new students, the school usually tell the new intakes to steer clear of cultism because of its implications. That has yielded much fruits over time,” he said.
Similarly, Abubakar Ibrahim, the Spokesperson, Federal University, Lafia, told NAN that the institution had not recorded any case of cultism since its establishment about seven years ago.
He however, said that the school had continued to warn the students against cultism in view of its dire consequences.
“Management has always been very clear about this. The consequence of cultism is expulsion in addition to being handed over to law enforcement agencies for prosecution.’’
Also commenting, Dr. Rebecca Umaru, Provost, College of Education, Akwanga, told NAN that the institution had zero tolerance for cultism and other vices.
“We have stepped up efforts at ensuring that we check the background of candidates before accepting them for admission here. Anyone with doubtful records has no place here,’’ she said.
Meanwhile, Mr Samuel Ejembi, National Coordinator, National Campus Cult Eradication Foundation (CCEF), an NGO, has said that the group is rehabilitating many cultists to make them useful members of the public.
According to him, the NGO is working in conjunction with the Nigeria Police Force to eradicate cultism and rehabilitate cultists.
Mr Kingsley Samuel, an ex-cult member and former student of Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia, who is being rehabilitated by CCEF, said he joined the group right from when he was in the secondary school.
“I was a member of ‘Vikings’ cult. I joined the fraternity through the influence of friends. I gained nothing throughout my membership and eventually pulled out,” he told NAN.
Samuel advised youths who were still in one cult group or another to denounce their membership before it was too late.
Similarly, Audu Bako, another ex-cult member, expressed regret ever joining such group, saying that he was influenced by his friends who promised to protect him and also ensure he had good grades.
“There is nothing to gain. None of the promises was fulfilled,” he said. (NAN)
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