Welcome to myschoollibrary! In our Social Studies lesson today, we will be looking at the topic ” Cultism “. Do have an awesome time studying with us!

Lesson Note

Subject: Social Studies

Class: JS2

Topic: Cultism

Learning Objectives: The learners should be able to do the following by the end of the lesson:

  1. Explain the term cultism and how it originated;
  2. Identify the causes of cultism;
  3. State the consequences of cultism;
  4. Suggest solutions to cultism.


What is Cultism?

Cultism is the act of participating in cult activities. It includes membership and involvement in the activities associated with cults. A ‘Cult’ is basically a special kind of association of men or women. Such an association is characterised by a set of practices that are usually not carried out in the open. The activities of cults are carried out in exclusive locations and at unusual times without being exposed to non-members.
Cults in Nigerian educational institutions, however, do not only keep their activities away from public knowledge their membership is also confirmed to members of the academic community, mostly students. Their activities, like those of other cults, are usually secret, disguised and are carried out behind public view.

Origin Of Cultism

The first secret cult in a Nigerian university, the Pirates Confraternity, also known as National Association of Sea Dogs, originally began as a Confraternity. It was founded at the University College, Ibadan ( now the University of Ibadan) in 1953. It was formed by the first African Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and a few others popularly known as G7. The original aims of the association were very lofty and noble. They aimed at protecting future Nigerian leaders who would be very proud of their African heritage. They also wanted to revive the age of chivalry.
Those who joined cults at that time were among the brightest and the most politically conscious among the students. Confraternity were part of the social life of the university which existed then. Like Greek clubs in American universities, they sought to promote moral uprightness, patriotism, community service and high academic and intellectual standards. But all of these noble ideals were later abandoned and these confraternities have become the major source of violence and insecurity in campuses. Today, confraternities in tertiary institutions do not only carry out their activities in secret, they swear to paths of secrecy and are involved in blood covenants or agreements. The identities of members are usually unknown to both students and staff. They have increased in number and it seems there is no way to remove them from the campuses. Notable among secret cults in higher institutions are: Pyrates Confraternity, Black Eye, Vikings, Buccaneers, Mafia, Dragons, Black Beret and others. The female cults include Temple of Eden, Frigates, Barracudas, Daughters of Jezebel and others.

Causes of Cultism

A number of factors account for the increasing number of cult groups in Nigerian schools. Some of these factors are:
i. Nature of Family Life in our Society Today: Some students come from backgrounds where they did not receive love and care. In some of these homes parents are either separated or so busy in their work life that they do not have time for their children. Such children grow up without imbibing the fine values of our society. So they are attracted by the macho or cruel values of cults.
ii. Peer Pressure: Some students are influenced by their mates into joining cults. Students are not able to exercise integrity in the face of pressure from their friends to do evil.
iii. Foriegn Values: The tendency to join a cult is also promoted by the kind of values promoted in foreign films that students watch on television. Some of these films promote violence and gangster behaviours.
iv. Militarisation of the Society: Also because Nigeria was ruled by the military for many years, military values of force and violence began to spread into the campuses. This contradicts democratic values of dialogue, tolerance and consensus building that make for peaceful coexistence.
v. Drug Abuse: Many students have become exposed to the use of hard drugs. Under the influence of drugs, they carry out violent and wicked acts that inflict pain and injury on their fellow students.

Consequences of Cultism

a. Violence: In Nigerian tertiary institutions, there are a variety of cults. Many of them behave as violent gangs that inflict pain on fellow students. There is hardly any tertiary institution which has not suffered the adverse effects of the activities of secret cults which have been characterised by violence. In some instances, students lose their lives when cults clash. This is why cults have become a major source of worry to those who run such tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
b. Disruption of the School Calendar: Cults create instability in the school system. When cults clash, they disturb the peace of the campus. They kill and maim. Sometimes innocent students get caught in the crossfire, the university is closed and studies suspended until peace and calm returns to the campus.
c. Breakdown of Social Values: Cults disregard the value of civility and mutual respect and freedom on which the school environment is built. They undermine the social values of caring for one another and of forgiveness. Cults promote values of vengeance and lawlessness.
d. Criminal Acts: Cult members, because they have access to firearms, also get involved in such crimes as intimidation and armed robbery.
e. Expulsion: Cults are not legal in the schools. Any cult member that is caught taking part in crime is usually arrested, tried and, if found guilty, punished by the government. Generally, if anyone is identified as a cult member in a school, that person is likely to be expelled from school.

Solutions to Cultism

The first solution to cultism is to educate the youth on the evils of cultism. Young people, at an early period in their lives, should be informed about the bad effects on both the individual and the society of being a member of a cult. The fact that they keep their activities secret shows that there are certain things about them that are illegal or that the society frowns at. They involve themselves in violence, molestation of other students, intimidation and even murder.
Second, a family should try and remain as a single entity where love, care and concern for members are expressed. Husbands and wives should avoid divorce, because children who grow up in broken homes become easy targets for initiation into the membership of cult groups.
Third, youths should be advised to resist the pressure from their friends to belong to these groups. There is the tendency for young people to feel ‘left out’ when they are not members of cults. Their peers who are members make those who are not members feel inferior, unimportant and not having a ‘manly’ character. All these are not true. Youths should be brought up with moral character and values and with the religious training of love for God and of fellow human beings.
Those who renounce cult membership should be protected both by the community and the country to remove the fear of being attacked by others who feel bettered by their former colleagues.
Also, stiffer penalties should be handed down to those found to be members of cults, although this measure should be a last resort for those diehard cult members.


Done studying? Take a test with the following questions:
1. What do you understand by Cultism?
2. What are it’s causes?
3. Would you say cultism has been a good thing to the Nigerian society? Give reasons for your answer.
4. How can the problems of cultism be solved in Nigeria?

Were you able to answer those questions? Kudos!!

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