Sociology Project Topics

Prevalence , Effects and Strategies for Eradicating Cultism Among Secondary School Students in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State

Prevalence , Effects and Strategies for Eradicating Cultism Among Secondary School Students in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State

Prevalence , Effects and Strategies for Eradicating Cultism Among Secondary School Students in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State


 Purpose of study

The main purpose of this study is to find out the prevalence, effects and strategies to stop cultism in secondary schools. The study is specifically set out to achieve the following objectives

  1. To determine the Reason students in secondary schoolsjoin cults.
  2. Investigate the effects of this social problem in the student’s academic performances.
  3. The extent to which students are involved in cultism.
  4. Determine strategies for eradicating or minimizing it in secondary schools.



Conceptual Framework

Concept of Cultism

It has never been easy to give a comprehensive definition of  the  term  ‘Cult’. This is because the term cultism could be applied to a wide range of groups and could convey different meaning by different users. Okwu (2006) cited Denga (1991) where the author defined cultism as a system of religious belief and  practices or ideology. Also, Orukpe (1998) noted that ‘Cults are a group of people who share and propagate peculiar secret beliefs divulged only to Member’.

Occultism or possession of mystical power is often associated with  cults. The veracity of this is difficult to ascertain because of their secret modus operandi. Cult can be seen as a group of people that are devoted to a particular cause. In real sense cult per se is not evil, it is rather the anti-societal behaviour of its members that make it to be evil and a cause of concern to society.

According to the Free Encyclopedia (2010), the literal and traditional meaning of the word ‘Cult’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Cultus’ meaning ‘Care’ or ‘Adoration’. To the sociologist of religion, the term is used to describe ‘a loosely knit organization not characterized by tolerance and open mindedness in matter of belief and practice, while in the media and everyday conversion the word suggests a spurious, secretive, sinister and harmful group’ (Albatross , 2006).  Lalich and Langone (2006) made the following remarks about the behaviour of cultists – the group displays excessively zealous and unquestionable commitment   to its leader and regards his belief system, ideology and practices as the truth. The authors noted that questioning, doubts and dissents are discouraged or even punished.

Rotimi (2005) asserted that the secret cult phenomenon is not  new  in  Africa. Citing Aguda (1997), the author observed that activities of secret cults, like ‘Human Leopards’ and ‘Human crocodiles’, have been recorded in Central Africa. Furthermore in citing Thomas (2002), the author stated that cultist groups enjoy subtle support and patronage from both government and school authorities. Cult members were sometimes used by politicians for revenge and for setting personal scores. He went on to state that in some cases, past members who had migrated to foreign countries some times remitted money to support their former cult groups.

Campus Cultism

Cultism is an anti-social behaviour which is a deviant act. It is at variance with the established norms of behaviour. It is a non-conforming behaviour which usually contravenes the social rules of an institution in particular and the society in general. In spite of the negative consequences of cultism, it still thrives. Literature showed that secret societies have a mode of operation and  behaviour  by  which they can identify as not only groups but secret groups.

According to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Enactment) Decree 1978 … “A secret society means a cultural or association, not being solely secret signs, oaths, rites or symbols whose meetings are under oath, obligation to promote the interest of its members or to aid one another under all circumstances without due regard to merit, fair play or justice, to the detriment of the legitimate expectation of those who are not members.” The nature of secret  cults is as much practicable shrouded in secrecy by members. This fact was appreciated by Nwanze (1991 and 1994). They observed that they all shared one thing in common. They operated secretly and their activities and sign were decidedly esoteric to the uninitiated.




Design of Study

The type of design used in this study was descriptive survey. In this type of design, investigations were carried out in their natural setting without research manipulation of either the independent or dependent variable. In this present study a survey design is preferred since the study aims at sampling students, teachers, perception of the prevalence, effects and strategies for eradicating cultism in secondary schools in Nigeria.

Area of study

The study was carried out in senior secondary schools in Esan West Local Government Area Of Edo State. Virtually all the secondary schools in Nigeria are under the impact of cultism.



The data collected from the study were presented and analyzed. These were done according to each research question.

RESEARCH QUESTION 1: What are the causes of cultism in secondary schools in Nigeria?



Discussion Of Findings

The main aim of this study was to find out the prevalence, effects and strategies for eradicating cultism in secondary schools in Nigeria. To obtain the necessary data the researcher had to first review some related literature on cultism, drawn up questionnaire which were completed by the students, teachers and non-teaching staff.

Simple random sample and sampling techniques to select 50 students, 30 teachers and 20 non- teaching staff to which all of them responded. In order to carry out the study effectively, the researcher analyzed the collected data by using their mean value and it was observed from the findings that the current wave of cultism in secondary schools were widely distributed to corruption in the society influence from parents who belong to secret society, in born trait of being sadist, broken homes and the fact that those caught in cultic activities are not prosecuted consequently, cultism was discovered to be very common in secondary schools. This was based on the fact that most of this secondary schools students are in their adolescent age or about to enter adult age, it was observed that most of the students misbehavior starts from adolescent age, when not curtailed pose a great challenge to the nation and its entire economy. Furthermore , the effect resulting from this which include destruction of lives and properties of students and the school, engaging in armed robbery, prostitution etc to meet up with their extravagant lifestyle, contraction of diseases, decline in academic performance increase in examination malpractice and arrest , detention and imprisonment of those involved  in  it . The above effects have increased lawless education in our country. In addition, some corrective measured used by institutions like suspension and expulsion have yielded negative or no result. Hence measures like guidance and counseling, establishment of tribunal to try cultist, monitoring and counseling by parents and workshops should be organized during orientation are considered more effective.


The study discovered that cultism among the students of secondary schools is real and urgent solution is needed to be taken by the government and institution at large to curb it. The parents must work closely with the institutions authority to arrive at a lasting solution and. More importantly, counseling services in tertiary institution should be taken seriously and counselors have a major role to play towards helping to implement the programme for the reduction of the incidence of cultism in secondary schools. It was therefore concluded that the following were the cause of cultism in secondary school, they are corruption in the society, broken homes, inborn trait of being sadist, not persecuting those who are caught in cultist activities and influence from parents who belong to secret cults. It can be concluded that the following were the effects of cultism on the students at large. They include increase in crimes like armed robbery and prostitution etc, spread of diseases, decline in academic performance of cultist, increase in examination malpractice, destruction of lives and properties, drug abuse, arrest, detention and imprisonment. The following were the suggested solution to cultism school or institution authority should organize workshops during orientation of new students to enlighten them on the dangers of cultism, every institution should have department of guidance and counseling in order to guide and counsel the students. Also necessary support and encouragement should be provided to this department in terms of finance and materials.


Based on the finding from the data collected from the research. The researcher has come up with the following recommendation so that the cause of cultism can be minimized. The research is of the opinion that cultism among students in secondary schools in Nigeria could be minimized by introducing programmes in the television, radio and other awareness programme such as workshop and seminars designed to enlightened the students on the implications and the danger of joining secret cults. Guidance and counselor should be posted to every secondary school in Nigeria with the duty of counseling the students and staff only. These counselors should report systematically cases of unexplained and unjustified advances of students to female or male teachers, and that of lectures to students. The school administrators should maintain adequate inspection, supervision and monitoring the staff and students on cultism. There should be forum where the students and lectures should discuss the issues of cultism. Parents should train their children in moral and try to meet their needs. They should check the company their children keep and counsel them regularly.

Government should establish tribunal to try cultist and if found guilty should be sentenced accordingly. This will be the detriment to those who have joined or to those who have the the intention of joining the secret cults. They should reduce the high cost of education in Nigeria so that everyone can afford it. Finally churches and mosques and other religious organization should have strong youth forum in other to give youths  opportunity to vent out their issues.


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