Civic Education | Meaning Of Cultism, Effects And Origin In Nigeria

In this article, we\’d be exploring some real facts you need to know about cultism; including its effects and origin in Nigeria. Cultism has become a major social problem in Nigerian secondary and tertiary institutions. According to Premium Times, between 1996 and 2019, more than 10,000 people were killed in cult-related violence within and outside Nigerian school campuses.

The data above doesn\’t include the hundreds of thousands that have been harassed, raped, injured, suspended, repelled by the school or even gotten arrested by law enforcement agencies.

So far, there are more than 40 cult groups with a total of over 12,000 chapters operating on Nigerian campuses. This figure is very alarming, considering the rate of growth, and the fact that it\’s spread even to secondary and primary schools.

What is Cultism in Civic Education

According to, cultism is ‘the practices and devotions of a cult.

The Free Dictionary defines it as ‘a religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.

Oxford Dictionary on the other hand defines it as ‘a small group of people who have extreme religious beliefs and who are not part of any established religion.

Finally, we\’ll look at Oxford Reference which defines cultism as ‘a fragmentary religious grouping, to which individuals are loosely affiliated, but which lacks any permanent structure.

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When you talk about something being religious, you\’re not just saying associating it with popular religious beliefs; but something that has to do with a range of social-cultural systems, including designated behaviours and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations. Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacredness, faith, and supernatural being or beings.

In short form, cultism can mean a ritual practice by a group of people whose membership, initiation, policies, and activities are not done in the open.

Characteristics of Cultism

Below are some of the characteristics of cultism in Civic Education:

  • It is usually practised in the secret.
  • It is a religious or spiritual convention.
  • Cultism has an impact on the lives of individuals.
  • Its policies are unknown to the general public.
  • A group of individuals practice the belief.
  • Its people have a common value.

Effects of Cultism

Let\’s explore some disadvantages and consequences of cultism in the Nigerian educational system:

  • Insecurity: Imagine living while not knowing what danger is going to happen the next day. Cultists live their lives not knowing of the next clash or cult fight.
  • Family threat: When you talk about insecurity, you also have to extend it to their respective families. A lot of people related to alleged cult members have been killed in their homes by rivals in the case of clashes or fellow cult members in the course of power tussles or other things.
  • Poor academic performance: The academic system is already hectic, now, imagine combining it with cultism. So many bright students have dropped in grades after occupying themselves with nocturnal activities involved in cultism. These activities in the long, or short run tend to negatively affect their academic performances.
    Also, cult members sometimes, abandon their examinations due to the fear of getting killed by rival cult groups or picked up by security agents.
  • Expulsion/rustication from school: All academic institutions are actively involved in the fight against cultism, hence, the groups tend to hide their activities. Students with very bright futures have gotten their ambitions cut short after getting caught by the authorities.
  • Disrupted academic programme: Sometimes, the activities of cult groups go beyond affecting individuals to even affecting the academic environment. In some cases, you could see academic activities being held at a standstill in order to curtail the activities.
  • The threat of law enforcement agencies: Law enforcement agents are being posted to tertiary institutions to tackle cultism in schools tends to get them arrested or even shot at. When this happens, the arrested members tend to mention their counterparts, who on their own part, will have to either answer to the station or abandon their programs.
  • Restrictions: When one takes an oath to join a cult group,  they tend to lose their liberty and freedom. You have to obey whatever the cult authority instructs you to do or risk getting punished, even if it goes against societal norms.
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Types of Cultism in Nigeria

Below are some types of cultism that exist in Nigeria.

  • Buccaneers
  • Black Axe
  • Green Beret Fraternity
  • Daughters of Jazebel
  • Black beret fraternity
  • Klu Klux kan (kk) confraternity
  • Mgba Mgbo Brothers
  • Black Bra
  • Musketeers fraternity
  • Temple of Eden Fraternity
  • Pyrates confraternity
  • Black Cats
  • The Barracudas
  • Cappa Vendetto
  • The Amazons
  • Eiye confraternity
  • The Soires fraternity
  • Red Sea Horses
  • Neo-Black Movement
  • Royal Queens
  • The Canary
  • The Scorpion Fraternity
  • The Frigates
  • Knight Cadet
  • The Wairus
  • Maphites
  • Lucifer knights
  • Sun men
  • The Mafioso fraternity
  • Ostrich fraternity
  • The Dragons
  • Panama
  • Oasis of the silhouette
  • Sea Dogs
  • Mafians
  • Third Eye Confraternity
  • Himalayas
  • The Vikings
  • Vipers
  • Trojan Horse
  • White Angels


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