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Cultism and violent behaviours in tertiary institutions in Nigeria

I Gboyega


Youth violence on campuses of tertiary institutions has increasingly become a worrisome scenario for University administrators, governments and members of the civil society. Our tertiary institutions are subsets of the various macro societies and they are a reflection of society's increasing use of violent methodologies to resolve conflict frustrations and conflict situations. Nigeria, with over one hundred and fifty tertiary institutions, has witnessed unprecedented violent behaviours occasioned by students' involvement in campus cultism. Peace on campus has been shattered due to this development of violent behaviour. Blood-letting arising from either murder or manslaughter has become pervasive. Over 33 students' lives were lost between 1986 – 1996 while more than 7 members of the academic staff were also killed. This paper discusses: (a) the beginning of cultism in tertiary institutions in Nigeria with particular reference to the traditional societies which prepared the way for campus cultism, (b) the reasons for the emergence of fatal cultism on campus, (c) various factors that encouraged students to join cults, (d) names of violent cult groups and their members, (e) procedure for initiation and recruitment into cultism, and (f) factors that have sustained cultism in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The paper concludes with the effects of cultism on tertiary education and proffers ways of combating the menace that has threatened the administration of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

Zimbabwe Journal of Educational Research Vol. 17 (1) March 2005: pp. 39-53