Cultism, hitherto the familiar concern of most Nigerian high institutions, has now snowballed into the wider society, rearing its very ugly, nasty disturbing head in our cities today. Concern expressed by Plateau State House of Assembly (PLHA) last week, in notion of public concern, calling attention of its ad-hoc Committee on Security, is not only timely, right reading of the times, on matters that are of urgent public concern, and in particular, in the Jos metropolis.
The spate of cultists groups have been on an astronomical rise of late, and if allowed to fester, would create an endemic stubborn structure that will be very difficult to confront. They now intimidate and attack any peace-loving citizen who frowns at their menacing behaviors, attack persons who are returning from work late evening and worst still, confront all whose dress colours coincide with their occultic identity dress colours. They are fast becoming local champions of terror.
Cultism, by orientation is an unorthodox, extremist or false fad or sect who lives outside of conventional society, under the direction of a leader. Their delight or devotion to cultic practices is done with an exaggerated zeal. They are satanic in all ramifications, as the oath of blood is used to uphold allegiance to the false idolatrous activities, particularly in violence and vengeful rage.
Many factors combine to cause the emergence of cult groups, but the general orientation of a society is the first culprit. A society that is materialistic, worships money, power and sensuality cannot certainly do without the occults. Illicit drugs often give them the needed false courage and strength to exhibit their dastardly lifestyles.
And now, this monster, in the midst of the national insecurity of Boko Haram terrorism, herdsmen killings, kidnappings, rape and all forms of violence, if not nipped in the bud, could equally, or sooner assure same menace as the Boko Haram insurgency; a sect insisting to carve, not only a space for their own kind of violent and murderous lifestyle, but denigrating the state, defying the right to life of others.
This matter, we feel very strongly, calls for a collective confrontation on all fronts. It is not something that the government alone can handle. All stakeholders: the government, traditional rulers, religious leaders, policy makers, community and opinion leaders, vigilante, parents and all. It must not be business as usual as these young men could be daring.
The government which must be the anchor of the fight against cultism must design a new strategy of intelligence gathering that should be all inclusive, by latching on the advantage of information communication technology (ICT) in the process. Traditional rulers and their subordinates, review their strategies of vigilance in the communities, or their domains.
Ultimately, the Nigerian government, particularly occupants of transient power, must be sacrificial in their lifestyles to invest in the lives of the young people; they are a growing army of the unemployed, and must be seen to be engaged deliberately, considering their various levels of educational attainments. All segments should be engaged in contributing to the society.