The growth of cultism in Nigerian tertiary institutions continues to undermine the commendable effort of the government and school authorities. The evolution of cultism did not turn out well as it was planned. During its early days in the university of Ibadan, in 1952, the founder Professor Wole Soyinka the Nobel Laureate Prize winner started with a group of his friends and named the cultist group Pyrates; they would never have imagined that they have just birthed an ideology of brutality that will endure beyond their control; another cult group named the buccaneers without the original goals to strive against tribalism and encourage new ideas,partnership, and knighthood started and ushered in a new era of rivalry, intimidation, and bloodshed. Great efforts were made to keep all cults in the secret but how the occultic ideologies manage to become so popular and out of the hidden is a mystery; although, it is known that new cultists are enticed into joining due to peer pressure, desire for revenge on intimidation, to get power, to bully e.t.c. Till Today, no Nigerian institution can boast of a perfect measure on how to avoid cultism in higher institutions. However, there are notable signs you can use in identifying a cult member or group.
As it become evident that the violence from the cult activities will not affect only the cultists, but also the dedicated students, school authorities, and society at large, it has become important to enlighten parents, prospective undergraduates, students and members of the society on how to be cautious about the activities of cultists.
How to Avoid Cultism in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria
We have compiled in this article a few interesting measures on how to avoid cultism in higher institutions from graduates and school authorities with many years of experience in universities and polytechnics systems with high rates of cultism.
First we recommended five important aspects for the government and the school authorities to consider, then we proceed with information for students and prospective students on how to avoid cultism in higher institutions; as well as how to deal with confrontations.
For government and school authorities
- Cultism in higher institutions can be discouraged if the government and school authorities could make arrangements to ensure that the budget for conducive hostels and lodges are made and then the constructions are made on campuses to encourage students from different economic classes to live comfortably. The school authority should follow the completion of the hostels by dissuading all students from staying outside the campus. This way, the overall activities are monitored and cult activities that can affect other students are greatly hindered within the institutions.
- government and school authorities should include recreational and other similar activities to promote positive engagement with students. If students engage in activities that instil in them a sense of worth, and make them feel assured of a good future, they are less likely to get carried away with occultic group promises.
- The school authorities should protect the students from any form of political indoctrination by avoiding political campaigns on campuses and preventing all avenues for such. The politicians in Nigeria are known for funding and benefiting from the activities of occultic students, especially during elections.
- Security for Students. In the same vein as the first recommendation that the government and school authorities should make students live on campuses, they should provide adequate security on campuses at least for the proper protection of non occultic students.
- The government and school authorities should set up a well integrated information and interrogation system that involves students too as volunteers, together they can relate with other students to find information on suspected cultists. Also adequate protection and befitting rewards should be provided for volunteering students to encourage them to be more effective, and others to be willing to get involved.
How to Avoid Cultism in Higher institutions for Students
If you have not read our articles on how to identify a cultist in school then you should definitely do so. To avoid cultism in higher institutions you must know the right things to watch out for. The list below is based on what you must watch out for if you don’t want to get into any form of trouble with the cultists in your school.
1. Avoid Late Nights Parties
If you have heard the word combination “Catch them young”. The cultists probably use this popular word combination more than everyone else, and they know exactly where to go to achieve their goals. Freshers welcome Party in the night is one of the most targeted events for recruitment purposes. If you must party and you can’t deal with being religious and attending parties arranged by students’ religious bodies like NCCF and MSSN, please do it during the day and don’t exceed 8pm there if it extends. Also you should make sure that you ask about the organizers and the availability of security.
2. Night Class
Night classes are very important for you as a student to excel and reach your study goals, but ensure that you are intelligent while going about it. Don’t just go out to classes at night to read as a fresher in a new location, ask about the route to night classes and how things go as regards crime and cult activities. In most cases you should try to walk in groups and avoid unnecessary wandering at night. You don’t want to bump into a cult in a meeting session or be in a position where you will be an easy target for harassment and extortion.
3. Make Enquiries before Choosing Accommodation
Ask a lot of questions before choosing accommodation. Cultist clashes usually occur in some places more than in other places. Don’t worry, nobody would criticize you for asking to protect yourself from cult activities and other crimes It is that rampant around higher institutions in Nigeria. Ask about how secure the locations can be and consider the advice properly before choosing accommodation
4. Watch your Friends
There is a saying, Show me your friend and I tell you who you are. It is crucial to select your friends wisely. You can do whatever you want but you will save yourself a lot of problems if you avoid being close to people who exhibit some of the signs of cultists. There are many obvious lifestyles that give away a cultist or someone with a high possibility to commit crime. Most tattooed students are cultists—although not all, they usually go out at night and when they eventually go in the day they go in cliques, they relate with their friends in a weird language and make unique handshakes that they share with you, and so many more.
5. Mind your Dressing (Be Colour Conscious on Certain Days)
You probably have heard of people that get harassed and told to pull their clothes in public. That is because the person is dressed in a way that is peculiar to a cult gang dominating the area and has provoked them. Dressing up in a single bright colour or black can draw unwanted attention; blue,red, yellow, and black are colours you should avoid wearing as the single colour. Mind your hairstyles too.
6. Be wise and Avoid Confrontations
If you happen to experience this, I’m sorry it is a completely unfortunate situation to be in but you have to be smart. Don’t follow your desire—that desire can put you in big trouble. If you have a clash of interest in a partner for a relationship with any cultist, you have to set your priorities right. For cultists it doesn’t matter if you are bigger and can infringe terrible pain on anybody, always remember that they don’t forgive or forget, it is what they believe they live for, they will continue to get back at you until you lose the loss may easily include your own life and the one of your loved ones that are innocent.
7. Don’t Be Vulnerable
This is another very important thing to know. It doesn’t matter if it is in the day or at night, if you are stuck in an environment with rampant activities of cultism you should be prepared for unprovoked confrontations. Learn to keep your nerves under control. Newly initiated cultists get ordered to “obtain” harass and collect possessions vulnerable looking people. If you find yourself in this situation, be smart and address him or her in a moderate manner not showing confrontation and not showing weakness, then look at your surroundings. If you are certain that he is alone, you can keep talking while you walk away.
In summary of the above, the ministry of education has done well in sensitizing people about cultism, the school authorities also make it a crucial part of the freshers orientation program to inform new students about the danger of getting involved in cult practices and the consequence that follows. The menace of occultic ideologies seem to have evaded the efforts, and shows other measures should be implored. It lies in the hands of the government, school authorities and students to implement the recommendations mentioned above. It is only then that the institutions can be hopeful in the cause to eradicate cultism.