Friday, 10 July 2015

Origin and History of Cultism in Nigeria institutions

 Origin and History of Cultism in Nigeria institutions

 Origin and History of Cultism in Nigeria institutions
Secret cult could be defined as a set of practices, belief system or idea whose essence is known only to the inner members and excessively admired and defended even to the point of laying down one’s life. It is this doggedness and strong conviction demonstrated by members that reinforce the importance of and awe for the group especially among non-members.

Renown Secret cults in Nigeria include: The Reformed Ogboni Fraternity, Oboni Society (in Ikwerre land), Ekpo Society (in Cross River State), The Odumu Masquerade (in Okrika Land), The Akujane Society (in Igala land), The Ejalekwu Society (in Idoma land),The Eyo Society (in Lagos), to mention but a few.

Origin of Cultism in University Campuses

What is known as secret cult in tertiary institutions started at University College, Ibadan in 1953. it was formed by nigeria’s only nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Aig-Imoukhuede, Pius Oleghe, Ralph Opara, Nat Oyelola and Prof. Muyiwa Awe. Their main objectives included:
  • To abolish convention.
  • To revive the age chilvary.
  • To end tribalism and elitism.
Although the philosophical foundation of this group could be appropriately located in the tales of Treasure Island and the renaissance period of the fifteenth century, their ideas were both patriotic and altruistic as it was not imagined as a secret cult, but simply known as the Pyrates Confraternity  or the National Association of Seadogs. Their objectives which revolved around the maintenance of polite behaviour among people of different background and chivalry, portrayed the dreams of the Founders.

Why did the students decide to form such a group? Nigeria in the 1940s and 1950s was on the verge of gaining political independence. The nationalistic fervour in the country gave a warning signal to the colonialists that the sun was about to set on the British empire. Trade union consciousness and militancy soared under the leadership of Michael Imuodu. Political parties sprang up in the major centres of the country which raised political awareness and questioned the continued stay of the colonialists in the country.

Nigerian students were not left out of this social change. They questioned the conscription of Kings’ college students into the colonial army to fight in the World war II and eventually created a conducive background for the emergence of the popular National council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (later Citizens) (NCNC). The idea of the students was to respond to the demands of the time, enhance cultural nationalism and fight the tribalisation of politics which was given a boost by the Richards constitution of 1946.

It is noteworthy that the group was not to harm, maim, kill and destroy as their cohesiveness and absolute allegiance to rules made it become an elite club, only for the cleanest, brightest and the politically conscious. They teleguided political events and held important positions within the student body like President, Chief Judge, P.R.O and Secretary. Their existence was well known by students and was not associated with weird, horrorful and spiteful character of latter-day confraternities. The Anti Anglo-defence pact with Britain riot and the “Ali must go” students protest of 1978 was ably handled by members of the Pyrates confraternity.

Over the years, due to doctrinal differences and inability of intending members to meet required standards of the Pyrates confraternity, protestant ones started emerging like the Buccaneers, Mafia and Vickings. The early nineties witnessed a boom as every university was plagued with cult explosion such as the Black Axe, Black Cats, Trojan Horse, Black Panthers, the Twelve Disciples, Mgba Mgba Brothers, Eiye, Maphites, Temple of Eden, The Jurists, Klu Klux Klan, The Executioners, Black Beret, Dreaded friend of friends, National Association of Adventurers, Black Scorpion, Eagle Club, Termites, Red Sea Horses, Knight Cadet, Sonmen, White Angels, Amazons, Daughters of Jezebel, and the Black Brassieres.

Names of Different Cultism And Their History

There are many secret societies in our campuses. Campus cults are modification of the mother groups in the wider society like Ogboni, AMORC etc. The earliest form of these cults flourished in Egypt, Greece, Rome and China. These cults are there for purposes, like security of member by the performance of rituals. These campus cults differ in name but their activities are similar.

The association was founded in the University of Ibadan in 1956. They have equally deviated and the outcome is unpalatable for the non initiates called "Jew men." The flag of skull and cross bones is the authoritative symbol of this group. The term "Jolly Barger" was used first in 1700, though "Barger" is used today for Viking members. The black background is the true representative, but red is often used even these days, especially when pirates intend to give no quarter. Their colour is white and red. They are particular greeting form. The Pirate Confraternity is the oldest campus cult in our universities. It was established in 60's in our first generation universities. This is an offshoot of the pirate of England. The history of the pirates is that full of intriguing beginning. The pirates in old English society of the 18th century sail on high seas with their flag of skull and cross bones searching for buried treasures.

They capture helpless crew and vent out of their ruthlessness on them by stealing their cargoes. Privacy was at a time the most common hazards on the sea. In 1718, the activities of this group and the pirates were check-mated by the British men of war. Pirates leaders were offered pardon if they would surrender their ships and gave up their attacks. Just like the way Federal Government is calling upon the various groups to rest their arms and stop their cynic lifestyle. It was in the 19th century that combines team of English and American army to get rid of the coastal areas free of pirates. In Nigeria, it has been easy so that the better part of the 21st century would be pure. Their colour is yellow.

• THE CONFRATERNITY (Mafia Confraternity)
This was founded in the University of Ife in 1972. Their colour is green, and their symbol is a casket with two staffs aligned to it.


This was founded in the University of Ibadan. Their colour is blue, with a carved wooden sculpture as their symbol.

This was founded in the University of Portharcourt in 1982. Their colour is Black and Red. The Vikings are seafarers. The first Vikings raid was in the year A.D 787 when they used slim ships each with a single square sail and long oars to raid the south coast of England. They used various types of musical instruments like battle axe, edge sword to butcher their victims. Vikings is a Scandinavia cult, for 260 years the bold ruthless north men called Vikings penetrated all of England. They built cities in Ireland and gained a powerful province in France. They raided Spain, Italy and North Africa and established a kingdom in Russia.

The north men who settled in Ireland founded a colony in Greenland and also discovered America. These north men are feared and hated as plunderer. In their home land they were honoured as sea adventures. When they left on voyages it was said that they went in Vikings. Experts think that the term may have come from the old Scandinavian word "Vik" meaning "Bay or Greek." The north men are scattered all over the world because of too many people and too little land. They often have good fighting tactics, and making peace with them is often difficult. The first democratic government since ancient Greece was established by two Viking brothers outlawed from Normandy because of murder, they are Leif Ericson. Eric the red was a murder too. Leif sailed to Greenland with 35 north men and reached a place they called Vinland. This is where we call America today. It was founded 500 years ago before Columbus discovered America.

• NEO BLACK MOVEMENT (Black Axe Confraternity)
This was founded in University of Benin in 1984. This cult was formed as a result of the need to have pure black African group that is original and African. They believe in equality and individual freedom. They often display a great loyalty to one another, and it is often run in a typical African way of doing things. Along the line they deviated just like the foreign established ones, they started engaging in fights for supremacy and these fights started to bring chaos in schools. They are fetish oriented and believe in crude way of doing things that are Un-African. They have their headquarters in Benin, and they use dangerous weapons for their attack. This group often appeals to the toughest of the students who believes that black is power.

Other groups include:
The Black beret (B.B), Trojan horse, Temple of Eden, KKK, Osiris.
All their activities are virtually shredded in an oath-bound secrecy. Those cult groups use different colours for identification of their members. Each of these cults have specific name with which they operate in the bush. They are called bush names. Example of these bush names are; Obalende, Utake, Koko etc.
Only initiates call their fellow members these names, and it equally function as a guise to the person's original names, and these bush names acts as a deep cover to their real names!


In 1952, the Pirates Confraternity (also known as Seadogs) was formed at the University of Ibadan as a protest student group. The students' protests were against the coat and attitude of sigma. The Pirate, being the first known social club in any Nigerian University, saw their mode of dressing as typical example of colonial mentality and therefore adopted a motto; "sworn enemies of convention" a position which portrayed them as a radical students' group. The group also acted as a corrective organ of students' union. In this regard, being disciplinary in nature, they fought against all forms of injustice perpetuated either by the University authority or by the students' union government.

The "Pirates Confraternity, with their clarion greetings of Ahoy, dominated the University scene for twenty years before the emergence of the Buccaneers Confraternity (also known as Sea lords) in 1972. It is confirmed that every prominent Nigerian student by then belonged to the Pirate Confraternity and their presence was felt in all the nooks and crannies of the society. They have the seven ladder blades of the Confraternity, which serve as their moral code. For example, "leap before yap" teaches members of the Confraternity the importance of thinking before action. There actions and mannerisms are all symbolical and imitation of the Pirates of the Treasure Island saga. To show the importance of the Pirates then, the University of Ibadan registered the Confraternity as a student Confraternity.

In 1960, a group known as the Eiye Fraternity emerged in the University of Ibadan and was subsequently registered by the authority as a cultural association. "Eiye" means bird in Yoruba language is otherwise known as "Air Lords" and adapted a motto - "No feather, No bird" and an insignia of ''No love, No peace." The members adopted the names of different kinds of birds.

The "Eiye" Confraternity was formed to preserve Yoruba culture as regards the traditional ways of healing and making things happen spiritually. It was the opinion of the founding founders of the Pirates Confraternity that being a graduate should not prevent a Yoruba man from "talking" to "ogere afiokoyeri" (Mother Earth) to spew forth water with fish swimming in it even in the desert or to talk to a dying child to come back to life by talking to it through its ears, or by performing the duty of a midwife where there is no maternity by "talking" to the recalcitrant baby to come out to the world and spare the life of its mother.

In the 60s and 70s, the "Pirate" and "Eiye" Confraternities were not noted for violence. They socialize freely with their fellow students. The members were intelligent and easy going. They were brilliant youths who professed their faith with extreme eagerness without trampling on the fundamental rights of their colleagues and members of the public. They never displayed the level of crudity and barbarity that has become the vogue among the cultists of the present day Nigeria. The history of the University of Ibadan, shows that the bulk of the first class and second class upper honours students are usually found among these groups of students. He claimed that the first seven founders of Buccaneers are all Ph.D holders. Research shows that the Confraternity has about twenty four Ph.D holders, two hundred and fifty Masters degree holders and about seven hundred and ninety First Degree holders with about 78 Lawyers.

The Pirates have also done well in academics. Apart from having the first Nobel Laurete from Africa, they produced distinguished academicians all around the globe. The two groups have their students Magazines - The Pirates published the "Scorpion Magazine", while the Buccaneers published the "Water Serpent Magazine." The University of Ibadan saw the Confraternities as part of the University tradition. For example, the University provided the Confraternities with trucks and some amount of money for their drinks. They actually made the "Rag Days" colourful.

In the Nigerian Universities of today and in other tertiary institutions, there is now a drastic change. This started in 1982 with the emergence of the Black Axe Movement, also known as the "Neo Black Movement" from the University of Benin.


There are many types of cults in the Nigerian tertiary institutions as of today. From the University of Benin, there emerged in the 80's the Black Axe Movement. From the University of Ife, there emerged the Maphites who are Seafarers. From the University of Jos there emerged the Vikings which also started as Seafarers with no proper definition or character. The new cult groups in the tertiary institutions now include the Eiye Family, The Mafia, The Dragon, The Belf Boys, Red Fox, Klaman, Jurists and so on. There are about thirty-six different cultic groups in the Nigerian campuses as of recent. There are also female cult groups such as Daughters of Jezebel, Black Bra, Virgins and the Amazons. They are always in conflict with rival groups and they always strive to undo each other!.

Effects of Cultism in Nigeria

As earlier noted, the emergence of cult groups in our tertiary institutions was not a result of divine disobedience, but a precipitate of socio-economic conflicts. Conflicts that were energized by the capitalist character of our mode of production. There was, therefore, a need to find relevance within this changing order. Gradually, the cults constituted themselves into a protection group that fought and advanced the rights and privileges of their members including passing exams, acquiring babes, accommodation, e.t.c.

 The possible effects of cultism on the learning process cannot be exhausted as both intra and inter-cult clashes negatively affect students in stupendous proportions. Cult clashes lead to an outburst of violence on the campus which leaves many students wounded, maimed or killed as the case may be. It sometimes lead to the incarceration, rustication or expulsion of both innocent and guilty students. There is no gainsaying the fact that when any of the aforementioned happens, the learning process, the psyche of students and the peace of the campus is adversely affected. In cases of closure, hospitalization, suspension or incarceration, the resultant effect is that learning  is suspended for some period of time, possibly a year or more.

 Some cult clashes are so catastrophic that loss of infrastructure and other resources will be colossal and eventually the funds that would have been expended on the provision of other facilities and infrastructure on the campus will be used in replacing the damaged ones. The concomitant result of the waste of capital is reduction of the quality and quantity of education as there will not be enough money to purchase the necessary learning equipment nor to cater for the education of many.

 The solid existence of cult groups within the university community has completely made life unsafe and meaningless for both staff and students as female students who refuse the amorous advances of cult members are disdainfully manhandled. Lecturers who insist on merit for passing exams are openly attacked and disgracefully beaten up or sometimes killed, thus paving way for the free reign of fear, violence and a palpable feeling of insecurity. This ruinously comatose situation is a veritable recipe for academic immorality, national impotence and ruin as it is an inescapable truism that no nation can rise or develop beyond the capacities of her tertiary institutions and if her future leaders, the youths, who according to Benjamin Disreali, are the trustees of posterity, are trained in such a milieu, nothing then awaits such a nation but A FUTURE THAT IS BUILT AND STRIVES ON VIOLENCE.


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