Cultism is derived from the Latin word 'Occulere' meaning something hidden, concealed, mystical, secret, etc. Cultism is a kind of engagement by people whose goals are not genuine.

Cultism is a demeaning factor that has affected the progress of Nigerian universities. Their activities have gone pass secret mission to open activities in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Tertiary institutions in Nigeria are faced with attacks by cult groups almost on every semester. The lives of about 5000 lecturers and students in 2003 went down the drain due to the attacks of cultists across Nigeria universities (Okwu, 2006).

Cultism in tertiary institutions in Africa started in late 1949. Cultism attacks in universities of Nigeria started in the first premiere university; University of Ibadan in 1952 by the popular Nobel Laureate- Professor Wole Soyinka and six other people who formed the Pyrates Confraternity. The other six include Olumuyiwa Awe, Ralph Opara, and Tunji Tubi, Aig Imokhuede, Pius Olegbe and

Olu Agunloye. Their purposes for forming cult group are scrapping convention, fighting tribalism, revive the social life of students in campus and elitism. Adejoro (1995) in his work complained that the supposed good plan by Wole Soyinka and his friends turned out to be evil hunting the society still date. Maxey (2004) defined cultism from the Latin word ‘cultus’ which means to worship or acknowledge a deity. Thus, meaning a form of religious worship. Cults in Nigeria University indulge in arm robbery attacks, rape, kidnapping, assaulting of lecturers, etc. The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria section 318 defines cult as a group of people, registered or not that make use of signs to promote their interest which is usually held in secret. The diverse activities of cult groups have gained undue popularity in tertiary institutions.

However, cultism is known to be a dreadful group to join, but it is quite surprising to still see students join the group. They join for various reasons like the feeling to belong (bad peer pressure), to avoid being intimidated, to gain power, to gain respect from lecturers and fellow students, to oppress, etc.

Cult groups in tertiary institutions recruit and initiate their new members into the group. Members are lured into the group based on their physique, financial capacity and family background. There are occasions where members are recruited in tertiary institutions; examples include parties, picnics, intimidation, etc. before new members are received into the group, they are interviewed and made to undergo some dreadful assignments.

Tertiary universities under study include polytechnics and universities. There is need to create awareness about the activities of cultists in tertiary institutions in other for students to be aware of them and their activities, most especially prospective students. It is also pertinent to enlighten parents so they can start in good time to caution their children about the operations of cultists.

Moreover, that is why this study is carried out to review the activities of cultism and ways of curbing their activities in tertiary institutions.  




Over time in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, a supposed learning environment that ought to be serene has been turned to a battle ground. Cases of clashes between cult groups disrupt the learning activities in school; it can put lectures on hold, stop students from going to school. Students who lodge in the school hostel are scared of going to the class at night to study due to cult activities.

Due to clashes by cult groups, innocent lives are lost, property destroyed and disrupt of peace and orderliness in the school. In addition to these, cases of sexual harassment by mostly the female students are on the increase.

However, students are equally made not to dress to their taste because they are scared of wearing some certain colours that are termed colours of these cult groups. By implication, students are made to study and learn in perpetual fear.

All these are some of the problems associated with cultism in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.


1.3   OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY                          

        The major objective of this study is cultism in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, a case study of Lagos State University.

                Other specific objectives include:

a)   To examine the impact of cultism on the educational system of Nigeria.

b)   To examine the relationship between cultism and the economy of Nigeria.

c)   To identify ways of curbing cultists activities in Lagos state university.

d)   To investigate the rate of cultism in Lagos state university.


        The following research questions are generated to impact of cultism on the educational system of Nigeria guide this study:

a)   What is the?

b)   What is the relationship between cultism and the economy of Nigeria?

c)   What are the ways of curbing cultists’ activities in Lagos state university?

d)   What is the rate of cultism in Lagos state university?


H0:   There is no impact of cultism on the educational system of Nigeria.

H1:   There is an impact of cultism on the educational system of Nigeria.


This study is meant to inform, educate, sensitize, and enlighten the general public, school administrators, government, and policy on cultism in Nigeria universities.

General public here comprises parents and children. This study is meant to inform and educate parents to caution their children to desist from cultism. Also, children are warned not to indulge in cultism as there is more to loss than gain from their activities.

School administrators need to mobilize the presence of security personnel to help ensure the security of students. also, a law like immediate expulsion should be meted on any student involve in cultism.

The government has a role to play in curbing cultism; therefore, this study is coming to remind the government to put the right measures in place to eliminate cultism from tertiary institutions.

Finally, policy makers should enact laws kicking against cultism in Nigeria tertiary institutions.

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other work or study.




This study is restricted to the risk, resources and education- public and private financing of higher education in Nigeria.

Limitations of study

  1. 1.        Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
  2. 2.        Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.




  • CULT: A small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous.
  • CULTISM:  The practices and devotions of a cult. It is a noun used to describe a cult, a religion, or a religious sect that is considered extreme or false and typically follows a charismatic leader.
  • TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS: Tertiary education as including universities as well as institutions that teach specific capacities of higher learning such as colleges, technical training institutes, community colleges, nursing schools, research laboratories, centers of excellence, and distance learning centers.



Okwu, O. J. (2006). A Critique of students vices on the effect on quality of graduates of Nigeria tertiary institution



Maxey, Al. (2004). Reflections.


Adejoro, B. (1995). Lagos SAR students interview. Yaba College of Technology.

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