Gone are the days when secret cult groups were only found on university campuses. These days, the membership of cult group is alarming as it has found its way into Nigerian secondary schools across the country. Security experts are actually worried that if urgent steps are not taken, cultism might creep into primary schools sooner than later.
It was on the night of Monday July 10, 2017, around 10:20pm when I had a personal experience of cultists unleashing mayhem on helpless Nigerians in Ajegunle, Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area.
A group of men had marched down the street to Nosamu junction, Boundary market, Ajegunle, where Saheed Adona, now late, and his friends were relaxing, enjoying the night view and the cool natural air. On sighting the crowd, who were on a mission known in their language as ‘HIT’, Saheed was left alone as his friends took to their heels for safety. Before anyone could raise an alarm, Saheed was butchered beyond recognition by the cultists, leaving a trail of blood behind.
Although, men of the Nigerian police force who came to calm the situation did their best, the cultists were still firing gunshots into the air to scare people away. It was a dreadful moment for residents of the area, as the policemen struggled to make their presence felt amid multiple gunshots by the cultists.
Youths between ages 12 and 20 are lured into cultism due to peer pressure and parents acting indifferent by failing to report observed behavioural changes in their children to security agencies.
Recall the mass beheading of innocent Nigerians by cultists that took place in 2015 in Omoku, Ahoda, and neighbouring communities, all in Rivers State that drew national and international attention. Also not forgetting the emergence of Badoo, that turned Ikorodu area of Lagos to its killing field. Parents and guardians should be alarmed over the rise in threat to lives, killing, rape, arson, and robbery in Nigerian communities, directly or indirectly linked to cultist behaviour.
A security expert noted that a cult group is a gathering of individuals under an allegiance, an oath and a social bond of commitment and dedication for the good of the group. It was further noted that the failure of parents to educate their young ones on the shades of cultism, is responsible for children who do not know any better, getting pressured into the group. By the time most parents realize what is happening; their children would have gone deeper into it.
Emmanuel Etu, one of AJ’s elite, said “cultism is one word that has been entrenched in the psyche of people of Ajegunle because of the hazardous experiences we had in recent times. We have watched cult groups unleash irreparable loss, anguish and pain on people and we all turn away as if it is a normal thing.
“The rate of killings in our community has become unbearable. In my own opinion, it is time to call in the security agencies to intervene with more zeal as more and more of our youths are blindly initiated into cult groups without knowing its implications”, he said.
According to him, cult groups can be very subtle and deceptive at the initial stages, in that it is usually formed for positive purposes like social advocacy, humanitarian and charitable endeavours, promotion of social, cultural, physical and mental development, and fight against oppression of her members on campuses but soon take another course, becoming so violent and deadly as a result of being infiltrated by unscrupulous elements.
Another resident, said realizing the havoc wrecked by cultism, residents must all play their part in ensuring that the evil that has truncated the ambitions and dreams of many promising youths of Ajegunle, gets eradicated for good.
He advised that the starting point is for the youths themselves to shun this destiny destroyer, rise up against it and put their time, intellect and talent to good use. The government and its security agencies have a major role to play in halting these activities before things gets out of hand lace.
The youth on their part should stop seeking groups to confer self confidence on them. As a youth, remember your destiny is in your hands. You either choose to make it bright or you destroy it as may happen through cultism.