The Oxford Concise
Dictionary of Sociology (1996) gives the sociological definition of cult as a small group or religious activities whose beliefs are typically secret, esoteric and individualistic. Lexical Webster Dictionary defines secret cult as a group of people who share a common cause and whose mode of meetings and agenda are unknown to the public and where inhalation Into rank and file Is usually done in secret.
Gunrunner (2004) defines cultism or secret cult as any form of organization whose activities are not exclusively kept away from the knowledge of others but such activities are carried out at odd hours of the day and they often clash with the accepted norms and values of everyday life. Oxford Advance Learners’ Dictionary defines cultism as a system of religious worship especially one that is expressed in rituals.
In summary, cultism can be defined as a ritual practice by group of people whose membership, admission, policy, and initiation formalities as well as their mode of operations are kept secret with their activities having negative effects on both members and non-members alike CAUSES OF CULTISM Search for responsibility: some students Join cults group in order to perform certain services for the members. For example, some students may engage In cultism In order to fight for perceived injustice in their campuses against their members. Search for satisfaction of ones aspirations and needs: some students also engage In cults group in order to satisfy their desires, aspirations and needs. Example of this is that a student may belong to a cult group which part of her objective Is to ensure the success of her members in academic examinations. Search for security: Many students of tertiary Institutions, especially the female students Join cult groups In order to protect themselves while some male students Join to secure their girlfriends. – Search for social identity: There are also students who Join cult group for popularity.
They want to make name and to be regarded as powerful people. For these students, to belong to a cult group is a way of achieving prestige and greatness. They believe that they could influence decisions on campus and that they could. Effects/ consequences of cultism The attendant effects of cultism on the learning process cannot be exhausted as both intra and inter-cult clashes negatively affect the students in a very high proportion. It sometimes leads to Incarceration. Rustication or expulsion of both innocent and student members (Appaloosa 2009) or they may spend more than the required number of years for graduation (Goggled 2008).
Cult activities (which Include killing, maiming, raping of fellow students and even lecturers) may disrupt the academic calendar of the nation institutions of learning (Goading 2008). The peace on campus s adversely affected whenever there is cult invasion, this may result in suspension of academic activities for some time (Appaloosa 2009). This singular activities can affects studying in the university concern. A lot of lives and properties have been destroyed through cult violence (Meeker 2004). Young undergraduates who are supposed to be leaders in future have fallen victims of trigger-happy cultists Miami 2008).
Another effect of cultism is that, before and during examinations, students are always organizing night vigil and prayer for a successful end of exams and or semester. They always sleep with one eye closed (Goading 2008). And because of (this) frequent cult disturbances and insecurity, some parent’s now prefer off campus accommodation for their children in tertiary institutions for fear of being victims of campus cultists’ rampage (Meeker 2004). Some members of cult groups are caused bodily harm that may result to physical injuries and or death especially during their initiation ceremonies.
Closely related to this is the fact that some of them risk health problems because of harmful drugs such as marijuana, cocaine among others they take. Cult rope often subvert (or undermine) the genuine students’ unionism and destabilize university administrations, which do not condone their nefarious activities (Goading 2008). Roles of government and individual in preventing cultism in Nigeria Over the past two decades, various attempts have been made to deal with the problem of cultism. The various measures taken include the enactment of decree 47 of 1989 that pronounced a number of Jail term for any cultist found guilty (Fijians 2006).
Also the Federal Republic of Nigeria under Chief Loosening Bassoon in 2000 issued a three- onto ultimatum to all vice-chancellors to eradicate cultism from the campuses. Some higher institutions also set up anti-cult groups consisting of the student body itself and some security agents to monitor and check the activities of cultists on campus (Jay I. A, Sundays H. T and Jealous F. M). Despite the various measures, it appears the proliferation of cult groups and their dastard acts continue unabated. However to curb this menace, the following are veritable.
Government and non- governmental agencies and the media should step up their campaigns against elitism and its destructive tendencies. The evil nature of cultism should be explained to young people in schools at all levels through assassination, seminars, workshops, symposium, posters, handbills and public lectures. Parent should desist from being members of secret cults and also prevent their children from Joining bad group. Religious and moral instructions and education should be re-introduced in all spheres of lives and the decadent society should be spiritually reawakened by Joint effort of parent’s, religious organizations, and government.
Parent’s should be more Gilligan concerning the activities of their children within and outside the home. Also, there must be improved facilities and improved living conditions on campuses so as to minimize perceived strain in the social system which underlines cultism on the campuses (Dewlap 2005). The school authorities of higher institutions of learning must show their readiness and determination to eradicate cultism. They must brace up to the challenges of the cultism, which has become one of the most potent evils of chancellor of the Nigerian universities to adopt a common and uniform approach to loving the problem of cultism.
The issue of former cultists who sometimes return to universities as staff must be looked into. Students who do not belong to cults and some security agents can be organized into anti-cult vanguards or groups to watch or monitor and check the activities of cultists on campus and report cult members to the university authorities or to law enforcement agents. This meaner that school authorities as posited by Jamie (2008) must intensify armed patrol and surveillance on campuses