By Folorunso Fatai Adisa
“Although force is often used, it is not essential. Many cults woo their victims with love, rather than brutality”—Kathleen Taylor
The menace of cultism has attained its zenith among the youth and the evil that comes with it is currently taking its toll on us. From the Dowen boys to the current cult-related killings in Abeokuta and Sagamu, it is no longer arguable that, like Macbeth, we have murdered peace: thus, there is no sleep for us. When the heart is dark, the day appears like night. Nothing good comes from the muzzle of a gun except violence, chaos, bloodshed, grievance, and sorrow.
A cultist is like a moving vessel of violence that is searching for a harbor to berth and birth their evil products. Lately, Ogun State has proven to be the safe harbor for killings despite the Governor’s commendable huge investment in the security architecture of the state, there have been rising security concerns that span from ritual to cult-related killings and so on.
On Thursday, November 25, 2021, a Divisional Police Officer Ignatius Alimeke of Adatan Police Station, Abeokuta, and three students were reportedly injured following clashes involving rival cult groups operating in two public secondary schools in Ogun State. Similarly, tension and apprehension hijacked the peace of Abeokuta city on 25 March 2022 following the gruesome murder of a young man identified as “Tommy” who was allegedly reported to be a member of the “Eiye cult” and was hacked to death by members of a rival cult.
As though the aforesaid was not bloodcurdling enough, the dreadful and dastardly maiming activities of cultists moved to Sagamu, Ogun State, where no fewer than eight persons have been reportedly killed during a renewed supremacy battle between members of Eiye and Aiye confraternities. The fresh killings occurred on Sunday 27 March 2022, a few days after seven persons were killed in different parts of Abeokuta, the state’s capital.
Visibly, one of the social problems in Nigeria today that accounts for the prevalence of evils among us is cultism. It is a major contributor to the moral meltdown that has befallen Nigerian society, the outcome of which manifests in violence, inhumanity, and our descent into anarchy, a nation of inanity.
The cultism problem has invaded our society such that it has become a joke and is considered woke. That is more reason we have comedians who glorify cultism in their skits and almost all youth now find the phrases, “Na cultist you dey follow argue?”, “You wan collect wotowoto from cultist” and so on, fancy and as the latest fad. It is so unfortunate that rather than address this problem comprehensively, the authorities often prefer to look the other way while cosmetic solutions are being sought for a situation that deserves a set of knee-jerk and decisive actions.
Education, in the sense of what we have reduced it to in Nigeria, seems to have failed to stem the tide as cultism continues to be a monster in many institutions. We have lost our moral compass. Whether we like it or not, poor parenting— as the family is the first agent of socialization— has greatly contributed to this disturbing development.
The family has totally failed in its duty to inculcate morals and social values in its offspring; which is partly due to economic difficulties and institutional breakdowns. As a result of this, most children grow into youth lacking appropriate upbringing and knowledge of social norms which has led to the astronomical increase in the numbers of miscreants, street urchins, cultists, and rapists prevalent among the youth in the society.
There is no bigger corruption than exposing the youth to lifestyles that are injurious to healthy wellbeing and peaceful co-existence with others. Our leaders and our security chiefs are not doing enough in the aspect of securing the lives and property of the citizens. Whereas securing lives and property is needed for meaningful development. Wherever lives and property are in danger, development dwindles.
Cultism must be stamped out of the society; it is worse than CoronaVirus because its impacts ultimately on the social fabric are not less devastating. Thus, serious wars should be waged against cultism to save the current generation from sinking deeper into its degeneration and restore peace to our society.
Finally, even though on Friday, January 21, 2022, the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun took a commendable stride by donating over 15 patrol vehicles, two Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) vehicles, communication gadgets, and other crime-fighting equipment to the security operatives in the state; I hope he takes stricter measures against this disturbing development as residents of Ogun State are feeling the heat of these killings and we do not want to be mistakenly hit in their— rival cults — reprisals. As we comb around the streets for something to eat, we do not want to be eaten and hit (by gunshots).
Folorunso Fatai Adisa, a Communications Specialist, and Public Affairs Analyst, writes from Abeokuta.