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Fear At Nigerian Tertiary Institution As Authorities Keep Mum Over Rising Cultism

Students and staff members of the Federal Polytechnic Ede, Southwest Nigeria, narrated how the activities of cultists on campus affect their security as authorities fail to take proactive measures.

Concerns are growing about the security situation at the Federal Polytechnic, Ede, Osun State, Southwest Nigeria, as students alleged some of their colleagues of exhibiting acts of cultism.

Multiple sources including officials at the institution told HumAngle that cult-like actions such as harassment, bullying, open use of illicit drugs, and flaunting of occultic paraphernalia are now rampant at public places on their campus.

The Polytechnic management, however, told our reporter to disregard concerns of students, saying “cultism thrives in all Nigerian institutions.”

Nevertheless, students believe that authorities’ silence on cultism is no longer golden. They shared a video clip of an instance, where cultists (Sea Lord Confraternity members) were parading the campus with their uniform, with our reporter.  

The cultists had a public parade after their examination in early August and the video clip had long hit the social media space.  They were seen rallying from the school’s main gate to the sport complex, where they had their meeting, to celebrate their last paper.

Sea Lord Confraternity members at Federal Polytechnic, Ede. Photo: Concerned Students.

Our reporter who visited the campus in October also witnessed the activities of some cult groups in the open. Aside from bullying non-cult members, they also rob them of their valuables, sources told HumAngle.  

“The culprits, despite demonstrating in front of the Administrative building of the School, have continued to carry out their activities in the open without being punished,” one of the students who spoke under anonymity because of fear of attack said.  

“Most of the vices like drug abuse, armed robbery and insecurity witnessed in the school environs recently have been traced to these guys. They usually fight against one another as well and this is threatening the safety of students and staff in the school.”

Another student who preferred to be identified as Ridwan recalled that one of his classmates was attacked two nights ago for his refusal to join a cult gang.  He said the victim has since been taken to his parents in Osogbo, capital of Osun State for proper medical care.  

A lecturer who does not want his name on print because of fear of victimisation also told our reporter that “no lecturer has the will to disrespect any of these boys.  We have our children and we can’t afford to be cultists’ prey.  We have raised our concerns to the school management long before they became rampant and fearless but no proactive measures were taken.”

An indigene of the community where the Polytechnic is situated, Quasim Adio, said fear grips most residents of the community anytime two different cult groups engage themselves in gun duel.  

“We only hope the school authorities have what it takes to address this issue. The harassment is getting out of hand in the community.” 

Punishments for various offences at Ede Polytechnic. Photo: Concerned Students.

HumAngle obtained a copy of the polytechnic rule and regulations against social vices.  The rules and regulations from the office of the Directorate of Students’ Affairs “forbids possession of materials and insignia of cult groups and outlawed clubs, associations and societies.”

Any student involved in this illicit activity is expected to be expelled from the school. 

The institution’s public relations officer, Sola Lawal, said journalists should focus more on reporting positive aspects of the school than issues relating to insecurity. 

“What do you stand to gain from reporting this? Cultism is our age long tradition in Nigeria. No amount of campaign calumny can bring us down and cultism is not peculiar to our institution alone.  Report the brighter side of our institution,” he said.  

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Adejumo Kabir

Kabir works at HumAngle as the Editor of Southern Operations. He is interested in community development reporting, human rights, social justice, and press freedom. He was a finalist in the student category of the African Fact-checking Award in 2018, a 2019 recipient of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, and a 2020 recipient of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. He was also nominated in the journalism category of The Future Awards Africa in 2020. He has been selected for various fellowships, including the 2020 Civic Media Lab Criminal Justice Reporting Fellowship and 2022 International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) 'In The Name of Religion' Fellowship.

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