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This study situates the incidence of campus cultism in Nigerian HEIs in the broader area of higher education student activism. Starting with examination of commonly known forms of student activism, the study contrasts the cults in Nigeria’s HEIs with traditional student activist organizations. It notes that the cults are not only unlike traditional student activist organizations but present serious threats for the wellbeing of their members, institutions and society. Thus, it examines the origins and development of the cults to explain why and how they attract and maintain their membership. It concludes that campus cultism is due to social, economic, educational and political grievances, adding that cults attract students because the students have needs that predispose them to affiliate with activist organizations. The study identifies these needs before arguing that, to be effective, efforts to control cultism must address the needs that attract students to the cults.
Keywords: Campus cultism; Education management; Legal control