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The Bane of Cultism: A Menace To Society

                     

    When O-Dog murdered the elderly korean couple in cold blood after robbing their liquor store, I thought well, this can only happen in 1993 America and not in the 21st century modern Nigeria (I guess I was wrong). Having watched this movie for 48 times, re-watching it this morning moves the figure per view closer to 50 marks for me. Even As a pacifist who shun violent at every corner,there is a lot to be learned from this movie (Menace II Society, Directed by Allen & Albert Hughes starring Larenz Tate as O-Dog).

    

 As a kid growing up, my generation was groomed with the knowledge that education was the key,been social conscious,having cultural awareness and becoming a responsible citizen which can not be said of majority of today teenagers who believe scheming in fraud, hard drugs, prostitution etc is the fast route to wealth. When did our youth turn into a vicious marauding beast on a maniac adrenaline with homicidal tendency? With easy access to Guns (local made & military grade tech), hard drugs and other illicit substances without substantial effort on the part of the society who can not tackle this problems mutilating into a virus attacking our way of life from the inside?. This problem started when every Tom, Dick and Mr Harry decided to be part of a confraternity or own theirs; eventhough they fell short of the required standard to belong to such groups. Now we can't tell who is who, as they all look alike to us. Those that were rejected turned into gangsterism, styled after the America street gang and those who were rejected unleash a rivalry on campuses and on the street with a mayhem which can still be felt till this very moment.

    What is cultism? Is it a secret society (like the Freemason) or a Confraternity (like the Skull)? Are they both intertwine? These are questions that has yet to be provided correct answers to. According to the 7th Edition of OXFORD Dictionary "A cult is a way of life, an attitude, an idea e.t.c that is popular by a small group of people who have extreme religious belief and are not part of any established religion". With this definition, I will allow you to deduce for yourself if it is a Trinity (confraternity ~ cultism~secret society) affair or not.

    Depending on the school of thought you belong to, the Pyrate Confraternity (known as PC) will always serve as a link chain to this menace called cultism which has been plaguing our communities and lives for years. Despite the good intentions of its founding fathers, the great Professor Wole Soyinka (Nobel Laurel) and other six like-mind individuals at the then University College of Ibadan (Sept,1952) to introduce a pressure group to combat westernization, tribalism and Nepotism in the college; No one then, foresaw the grave impact it will have on the NextGen as these Pressure group later became a Fraternity which is directly or indirectly the mother of today's cultism. [For further reading, check "The Origin Of Confraternity In Nigeria" on wikipedia]

    If Man should be held responsible for his actions then shouldn't the founding fathers (even with good intentions) of each known confraternities in Nigeria Colleges be held responsible for their creation? Some will shout "YES!", others will scream "NO!!" But mind you according to the scientist Issac Newton 3rd law of motion "For every ACTION, there is an equal and opposite REACTION". Ignorance is no excuse of the law if you can not predict future outcome.

 There is always going to be a reaction to our actions just like the story of the late Stanley 'Tookie' Williams, Co-founder of the "Crip" gang in America. In his word "the sole purpose was to create a neighborhood protection unit that would serve as a pressure group to protect his fellow black people in Los Angeles from racism and discrimination." Today, the Crip has escalated into one of the worst and most vicious gang in America society and highly noted for luring young black teens into drug trafficking, substance abusers, death squad,extortion,blackmail e.t.c..

    Never has the nation risen as one on this issue until the case of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) massacre in 1999, where 5 students including the then SUG secretary general known as Afrika was killed and scores wounded by suspected cult members. Before this heinous act, the general public thought cultism was a flamboyant club for the elitist and academically incline students at higher institutions across the country; unknown to them that due to suppressed, little or no coverage on the media part of those military junta's days, we were kept in the comfort of our oblivion. No one truly knew the extent to which it has stretch its tentacles from campuses into every fabric of our society, from the creek/slum to people in high places. 5 out of 10 young people between the age of 12 - 24 years in most part of the country presently belongs to a notorious cult group or another and yet the appropriate government apparatus does not have any vital statistic that can serve as a database source of information for the public and its security agencies. It should be noted that Nigeria Confraternities are the major precursor to many of the militant group in the Niger Delta regions and source of inspiration to most teenage street gang is the West too e.g the old Badoo gang, One Million Boys, Awawa e.t.c. Only in the North has little clut violence been recorded and that could be due to the presence of the military battling Boko Haram terrorism.

 

A STATE OF EMERGENCY

    The carnage of cultism has spiral out of control and our civilization is at the brink of been declared a lawless state. With the government weakness on the issue been glaring and unbearable, nonchalant parents are running scared as their children are been lured into this evil organized crime empire; now everyone of the above are either ending up as sponsors or victims. I sometimes wonder what life awaits a recent secondary school leaver or dropout to aspire been affiliated with such sinister groups when they should be busy thinking about getting an admission to further their education? Is it for power (to what extent?), fame (which is a rarity) or immortally (when death is a 95% certainty)?. With the present government engulf in politrick every seconds daily and most parents on the 9 to 5 jobs 7 days a week (add recession to that). I wonder what the future hold for these young ones who after finding solace in a street cult, premature death might cut their dreams short.

   What is this country turning into when bricklayers, mechanics, touts, truck pushers and other uneducated/unskill laborers can boldly beat their chest and claim membership of a registered organization? Maybe that is why the crime rate are more rampant in less or under privilege environ. It is no conspiracy but the misguided principle of some fraternal individual who take to the street to create nuisance with other fellow miscreant; or how will an uneducated tout know the subtle slang of a confraternity if he was not been told or taught? Now they suffer from identity crisis. This is one of the main reason places like Ikorodu, Somolu, Sango Toll gate, Mushim e.t.c on the mainland are hot zones for violent related crimes compared to the Highbrow areas of Lagos state. Believe me, sleeping with both eyes wide open has become a norm for the residents of these areas (mainland), as revenge killing and pillaging is the new order of the day.

  Are fraudsters the main concern of our security agencies, that they decided not to pursue this bane of cultism? Why are the Nigeria Police Force more interested in "stop & search" than investigating this pressing issue that has been ravaging our peaceful existence? Are there no agencies setup by the government to bring to justice the people perpetuating these cult clashes on our street on a daily bases? Too many questions, yet no concrete answers. Parents and the society at large are also guilty by association, since we know the individuals who indulge in this deadly act and still will not inform on them due to kinship, fear or reprisal. I kid you not, if a suspect can be release after been caught in a crime; will you have the courage to inform again on such individual? Your guess is as good as mine. Nobody wants to be label a snitch!

  Until the national bodies of each confraternities accepts the full blame of its foot soldiers which they vehemently deny exist, progress can not be made in reducing this ills affecting our society. The paradigm will not shift if they keep on been in a state of denial and distancing themselves from this stigma as their name which they take GREAT pride on will continiously be dent whenever an henious act is done by anyone associated with their organization. To the layman on the street all confraternity regardless of their name is the same in his eyes, if one commit a crime then its all who are guilty. To counter this menace, renown and renounce members of all confraternities should be brought together in a think tank forum to share thoughts and brainstorm on a successful way to curb this evil that is affecting our co-existence of a peaceful society.

  On a final note, we all should beheld accountable for this monster that was birthed mistakenly as the impersonators, agitators and executioners that made our street a war zone for battles and new ways to try criminal tactics are well known to the people around them. Who out of FEAR, REPRISAL or KINSHIP will decide to stay mute, turn a blind eyes and watch the carnage continue. We need a reality check to wake up from our slumber for enough is enough, its time to say "NO!" And put a full stop to this Menace II Society.



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Albert Hughes America Bane of Cultism Larenz Tate Nigeria

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