Cult Violence In Bayelsa And Rivers State From 2010-2020

Project and Seminar Material for Criminology And Security Studies

Cult Violence In Bayelsa And Rivers State From 2010-2020


Abstract


This study examines cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers State from 2010-2020. Specifically, the study examines the extent of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States, whether the rate of cult violence has increased in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020, the causes of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020 and finds out measures that can be taken to curb the rise of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 200 responses were validated from the survey. The study adopts the classical strain theory. From the responses obtained and analysed, the findings revealed that the extent of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States is very high. Furthermore, the rate of cult violence has increased in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020. The study recommends thatcult violence 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. More so, counselors should be posted to every tertiary institution 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 lectures, and that of lectures to students.


Table of Content


Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organization of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Criminal activities occasioned by cultism are not limited to Bayelsa and Bayelsa and Rivers State, Nigeria. Cultism has become a universal phenomenon. It exists both in underdeveloped and developed countries. In some countries, they are known as peer groups, organized crimes, and street gangs groups, among others. For instance, Howell and Moore (2010, p.2) disclosed that:

The first gang-like groups began to emerge immediately after the American Revolution ended in 1783, but they were not seasoned criminals; only youth fighting over local turf. The beginning of serious ganging in New York City would commence a few years later, around 1820, in the wake of far more large- scale immigration. The gangs that emerged from this melting pot were far more structured and dangerous. The third wave of gang activity developed in the 1950s and 1960s when Latino and black populations arrived en masse.

Most gang groups metamorphosed to cult organizations with a strong network as the case in Bayelsa and Rivers State. They engage in nefarious activities against their rival members and innocent citizens in their area of existence. Cult members are young people who are knitted for antisocial behaviour, criminal activities, among others. Hence, Ajayi (2015) cited in Oyemwinmina and Aibieyi (2015, p.222) viewed cultism “as a ritual practice by a group of people whose membership, admission, policy and initiation formalities” are unknown. Their modus operandi is done in secret and kept secret by their members. Oruwari and Owei. (2006,p.5) revealed that:

Historically, cults in Nigeria were for the adults in the communities and they were part of the traditional religious systems. Although their activities were enshrined in secrecy, the members were known and revered by everyone in the communities, e.g.the Owegbe cult of the Benin kingdom and the Ogboni cult of the Yoruba land. These secret associations still exist and are powerful in assisting their members to gain political, social, and economic recognition in the country.

Similarly in Bayelsa and Rivers State, before the emergence of the present cult groups, there were traditional cult groups like Oboni, amanikpo, Nwantam, among others in various ethnic extractions. At the same vein, before Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, violent criminal gangs in the city of Port Harcourt. These gangs were known and called Panikers. They were limited to their areas. They install fears on their victims for sexual or economic gains. However, as the number of dropouts from universities who were members of confraternity increased in the late 1990s and 2000s, they resorted to re-establishing cultism in Port Harcourt City. Bayelsa and Rivers State became a hotbed for the recruitment of cult organizations. Agbedo (2019) revealed that “there are over 50 cult groups in existence in Bayelsa and Rivers State, the Deybam, Deywell/Icelander and Greenlander have been blamed for some of the notorious violence recorded in the state of late.”

Initially, the essence of forming local gang groups was to facilitate local drug peddling, which was aimed at making money. Over time, these groups began to contend over who controls drug business in the city of Port Harcourt, particularly in Diobu, Abonnema Wharf, and Port Harcourt Township. This collaborated with Rabasa, Boraz, Chalk, Cragin, Karasik, Moroney, O’Brien, and Peters (2007, p.245) assertion that the drug traffickers fight themselves, “as they vie for control of drug processing centers and transit routes that are used to smuggle drugs, weapons, and gasoline to support their respective agendas.” However, in 2003, these cult groups were integrated into the political landscape in Bayelsa and Rivers State. Shaxson (2007, p.200) cited in Ogele (2020, p.8) noted that:

It was ahead of the next election in 2003, once civilian politics were properly embedded, what matters began to run out of control. In the run-up to those elections, Peter Odili, the wealthy and flamboyant governor of Bayelsa and Rivers State and one President Obasanjo’s strongest supporter, employed Asari to intimidate opponents. Asari eventually split with Odili, and his men fought a bloody battle with the Niger Delta Vigilante, another militia led by the feared warlord Ateke Tom.

These two groups later fell apart; hence, contentions between these groups created chaos and have continued to date with their affiliates in other parts of Port Harcourt City, suburbs, and Bayelsa and Rivers State large. Oruwari and Owei (2006,p.7) disclosed that:

No one who knows the extreme cases of violence associated with the two groups can deny this tag. The rivalry between them holds parts of the Bayelsa and Rivers State and Port Harcourt under siege for months. Although both leaders claim to have a liberation agenda and claim to protect the interests of their communities, the Bayelsa and Rivers State and (in the case of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force) the interest of the Niger Delta region, the rivalry is about territory, and territorial claims.

The quest to conquer new space led to the spread of cult groups in Bayelsa and Rivers State. The politicians took advantage of the division and began to empower one group against the other. Afterward, the leaders of various cult organizations began to gain prominence in the political space in Bayelsa and Rivers State. They became willing-tools for the power elites. However, the power elites lost control of their boys occasioned by the inability to fulfill election bargains. The power elites could not retrieve the firearms released to them. Port Harcourt was almost thrown into anarchy. Consequently, in 2004, Dr. Peter Odili signed into law the Bayelsa and Rivers State Government on the prohibition of secret cult and related matters. According to the law prohibiting secret cult “any person who is a member of a secret cult … whether or not the person is in control of an offensive weapon … is liable on conviction to imprisonment for ten years without an option of fine”(Onah, 2007). The aborted six months regime of Sir Celestine Omahia in 2007 witnessed an intensified warfare between the federal troop and cult members in three days after the gang kidnapped his mother.

At present, Bayelsa and Rivers State has witnessed a rising wave of cult conflicts leading to scores of death, destruction of properties in the Bayelsa and Rivers State. Poroma, Kpaa, and Abel (2018, p.76) noted that “this development has equally degenerated to the suburbs of the State, to the extent that different parts of the State have been bedeviled by different types of arm conflict. In recent times, the use of arms has fueled crisis and insecurity in Omoku, Ahoada, Ogbakiri, Rumuekpe, and Ogoniland.” The Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area is the worst hit in terms of the cult-related war in Bayelsa and Rivers State. Ogba clan was turned ungovernable because of the cult war between Icelanders and New Greenlanders. The communities in and around Ogba were sacked and scores of deaths and destruction of properties worth millions were recorded. For instance, on September 25th , 2015, two communities (Omoku and Obrikom) in Ogba became “ghost towns as residents have fled for safety from a cult clash which… lasted for two days…seven persons were… shot dead in Omoku and six in Obrikom”(Channels Television, 2015). Similarly, the killing of 16 people by gunmen in the early hours of the New Year in 2018 while returning from church service was attributed to cult war (BBC, 2018). Amnesty International (2020) reported that “at least 60 people were killed in 2019 alone in various communities of Bayelsa and Rivers state, especially; Khana and Gokana local government areas.”

On several occasions, these cult groups have engaged security agents in gun battle leading to causalities recorded on both sides. Sadly, the security agents over time have been borderless over the maintenance of peace and order, which ought to be their statutory obligations. The major challenge which has contributed to the spread of cultism in Bayelsa and Rivers State is the backing or patronage they receive from the political class. For instance, whenever these cult boys are arrested for a criminal offence, their patron calls for their release. The cult leaders (overlord) control the activities in these deserted communities. The government’s primary and secondary schools, markets, skills acquisition centres, electricity projects, among others are in deplorable conditions occasioned by lack of maintenance by the local and state governments.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

In Bayelsa and Bayelsa and Rivers State in particular, cults have served as a gateway to all kinds of criminality and violence, including militancy. These groups and networks of groups have wide geographical penetration in the state and are heavily armed. In Bayelsa and Rivers, as well as Bayelsa state, cult groups overlap with street gangs, criminal syndicates, youth associations, and other militias. From the more notorious Deebam, Deywell, Greenlanders and Icelanders, to the lesser known Doctor’s Squad, Italians, Blood Hunters, Junior Vikings, Bermudas and others, cult groups have proliferated in Bayelsa and Rivers State with reach into villages.

At present, these violent cult groups have established their cells in all parts of Bayelsa and Bayelsa and Rivers State. Their networks are very strong and leadership centralized. Stubbs (2017) revealed that “conflict and violence force people out of their communities, leaving them without resources or means to start afresh. They stall the lives of millions of people, depriving adults of their dignity and children of their childhood.” Empirical evidence has proven that some of these cult-related conflicts are prompted by resource competition, chieftaincy wrangling, contestation for supremacy by cult groups, political competition, among others.

The cult-related conflicts have continued to soar in these State. In 2016, Chief Nyesom Wike, the Executive Governor to Bayelsa and Rivers State offered Amnesty to cultist in the state. Most of them surrendered their arms and vowed not to go back to their various cult groups. Sadly, the situation is still unabated. Hence, in 2018, Chief Nyesom Wike signed a law prohibiting Secret Cult and Similar Activities No.6 to eradicate secret cult activities in the state. Despite these extant laws, the wave of cultism has continued to soar in Bayelsa and Rivers State. “Law enforcement is dysfunctional” (Rabasa et al, 2007,p.232). The government lacks the political will to tackle cultism


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The primary objective of this study is to examine cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States from 2010-2020. Specific objectives of this study are:

  1. To determine the extent of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States.
  2. To find out whether the rate of cult violence has increased in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020.
  3. To find out the causes of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020.
  4. To find out measures that can be taken to curb the rise of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions will be answered in this study:

  1. What is the extent of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States?
  2. Has the rate of cult violence increased in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020?
  3. What are the causes of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020?
  4. What are the measures that can be taken to curb the rise of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Ho1: The rate of cult violence has not increased in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020.


1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will be of use to the Nigerian government and relevant authorities in the different states of Nigeria by obtaining detailed information on the nature, patterns, and causes of cultism in tertiary institutions and better ways to address the problems of cultism all through Nigeria. Similarly, the information will assist the government in developing effective control measures to control cultism. Additionally, this study will serve as a source of information for researchers, students and other academics.


1.7 Scope of the Study

This study focuses on cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers State from 2010-2020. Specifically, this study focuses on determining the extent of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States, finding out whether the rate of cult violence has increased in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020, finding out the causes of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020 and finding out measures that can be taken to curb the rise of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States. Selected residents of Yenegoa and Port Harcourt will serve as enrolled participants for this study.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.

Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Cultism:

This is a devotion to the doctrine or a cult or to the practices of a cult.


1.10 Organization of the Study

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers State from 2010-2020. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was to critically study cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers State from 2010-2020. The study specifically was aimed at determining the extent of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States, finding out whether the rate of cult violence has increased in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020, finding out the causes of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020 and finding out measures that can be taken to curb the rise of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 200 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all selected residents of Yenegoa and Port Harcourt.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings, it is concluded that:

  1. The extent of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States is very high.
  2. The rate of cult violence has increased in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020.
  3. The major causes of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States between 2010-2020 included; influence of peer group, parental background, parents that are in cult influence their children to be cultist, students with inborn trait of being cultist, and decay in social life.
  4. Measures that can be taken to curb the rise of cult violence in Bayelsa and Rivers States include: government and non-governmental agencies should step up their campaigns against cultism, favourable policies and laws should be enacted, parents should desist from being members of secret cults and also prevent their children from joining bad groups and parents should be more vigilant concerning the activities of their children.

5.4 Recommendation

Based on the conclusions, the researcher recommends that;

  1. Cult violence 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.
  2. Guidance and counselor should be posted to every tertiary institution 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 lectures, and that of lectures to students.
  3. The institution administrators should maintain adequate inspection, supervision and monitoring the staff and students on cultism.
  4. There should be forum where the students and lectures should discuss the issues of cultism.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Finally churches and mosques and other religious organization should have strong youth forum in other to give youths opportunity to vent out their issues.
  8. The university authorities should beef up the security department and equip them with modern/sophisticated tools and also uphold the truth and be more sincere when handling campus cult issues.
  9. The university authorities should allow all clubs and societies in the university to register with them and highlight their objectives.

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