Scholars As Criminals By Okey Ndibe

Okey Ndibe
Okey Ndibe

Last week, I came across a cruel, disturbing story that illustrated a festering crisis in Nigerian education. The story had to do with a young woman’s horrific experience after she made a terrible decision to dabble with a cult in one of Nigeria’s private universities.

I heard the story from a US-based relative who helps pay the student’s school fees. She had received a telephone call from Nigeria after the terrified student finally came forward to confide her woeful experience. The student in question, whom I shall name Miss I, had acquiesced to a friend’s suggestion to join a cult group on campus. Miss I’s friend had painted a seductive picture of glory and power, even academic success, as some of the benefits of membership. But the details that were left out of the picture – the gore, the physical lacerations, and the mental anguish – turned out to be the heart and soul of the experience.

Miss I found out, to her horror, that initiation involved cuts and burns on her body as well as being compelled to engage in blood rites. But even these proved innocuous compared to what came next. She and other female members became veritable sex slaves to the cult’s dominantly male leaders. It was their duty – the female members’, that is – to be available to sate the male members’ depraved sex fantasies, including sessions of gang rapes.

In addition, Miss I had to surrender her money to the cult. The leaders obtained the PIN to her account, granting them unfettered access to her cash. If she needed to use her money for her own purposes, she was obligated to appeal to the men who had hijacked her account. In other words, her ability to use her own money was now at the discretion of her tormentors.

Needless to say, Miss I quickly realized that she had made a frightening choice. She would have made a hasty retreat, but she found out that was not a choice at all. The cult leadership drove it brutally home that turncoats risked horrendous consequences, including blood-curdling scarifications, rapes – and even physical annihilation.

For months, Miss had lived her hell. She was too terrified to contemplate severing ties with the cult and too scared to tell her benefactors – the family that paid her school fees – about her abominable experience. But last week, she could no longer abide her excruciating life. She came forward and confessed to those who pay her fees. Her plea was simple: she could not afford to return to her university. Life there had become simply untenable. If she couldn’t transfer to another university, she was content to forego her education entirely.

What made Miss I’s ordeal particularly resonant for me is that I’ve known the young woman since she was a child. Her mother has served as a longtime cook for a relative’s family. That’s why the family decided to take up the financial burden of paying the young woman’s education.

Miss I’s experience drove home for me a certain moral crisis in Nigerian education. Higher institutions in Nigeria, private as well as public, are plagued by cults that are nothing short of criminal enterprises. The worst of these cults are in the business of violence, sexual predation, and running extortionist schemes. They have redefined the primary mission of institutions of higher learning from education to immersion in the technologies of crime. They are criminals adorned with the mask of scholars. They have turned the academy into a turf for rehearsing for their careers in high crimes.  

The menace of cult-driven crimes compounds the cultural degradation of Nigerian universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. Already, these institutions – private as well as public – are poorly funded, their libraries denuded    of books, their labs bereft of equipment, their lecturers starved of research funds, as well as administrators who are minions of the powers-that-be. There are other problems, including rogue lecturers who exchange grades for sex or cash, thereby ensuring that their institutions churn out graduates who flaunt – in the words of a friend of mine – sexually transmitted degrees.

Of course, the deplorable activities of cults mirror the malaise of the broader society. As a concept, Nigeria is mostly an experience steeped in violence. In many ways, the institutions of the state – the police, customs, State Security Service, the military, and judiciary – treat Nigerians less as citizens than serfs. Law-abiding Nigerians often bear the harshest brunt of the violent, violence-spewing Nigerian state.

The Nigerian environment, then, is a perfect fertilizer for cult groups that fester in academic settings. These cults employ the same tactics and methods of a savaging state. In turn, these cults become breeding grounds for the kind of contemptible fools that are catapulted into positions of (mis)leadership in Nigeria. They assume these positions properly “trained” in the arts of hijacking public resources, raping their victims, and raising themselves to the status of godheads.

It all boils down to a bleak prognosis. At graduation, students are declared “worthy in character and in learning” to be conferred with diplomas in their different fields. But the cults in Nigeria’s academy compel us to wonder about the content of the character of our graduates and the quality of their learning. One shudders to behold students who are versed in the art of raping fellow students, enslaving others, and sowing terror in the hearts of their fellows.

And I fear that there’s little anybody can do to rein in these cults until – unless – there’s a broader, systemic reformation of the society. For these cults are, in the final reckoning, a symptom of a deformed, diseased society.

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

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Hope she is not trying to

Hope she is not trying to decieve her benefactor? She smells unserious. Is she a fool or a dunce? She wanted to graduate without reading/studying. I will blame miss I for "seeking" the "easy" way out. Her benefactor has been wasting resources on a lazy girl. Period. There are still students of poorer background who did not join any cult. Christain/muslim groups abound the campuses and she decided to join a cult.
Someone reading this piece will think cult members take roll calls at the university gates and that everyone is a cultist. Less than 1% of students are in a cult.
This lady in question is a lazy waste pipe and her story should be independently investigated by the benefactor. Parents unashamedly pay for "special" centres for their wards' WAEC/JAMB examination. What do you think will happen when these boys and girls get into the university? Miss I should tell her benefactor the truth on her inability to cope academically.

Society of criminals and criminality

... And we are still wondering who are the kidnappers, armed robbers, treasury looters, ten-for-a-penny judges, election riggers, thieves in high and low places, fraudsters from wharf through NNPC to Aso Rock, illiterate law makers and law enforcers, numerous and varied roadside agberos, certified political touts, wheelers and dealers in shame and infamy and the rest of the criminal gangs and cartels ravaging the wider Nigerian public and how they came into being? Excuse me, please.

Then What Happened?

Okey nwanne m. I hope this story didn't end here. This has to be followed to the end. Police should be brought into this and all those guys should be arrested, brought to the notice of school authorities and rusticated from school. They should also be made to face the wrath of the law to serve as deterrent to others. If not, this story ll be like a manure and fertiliser to cult activities that is looming large and ravaging our Institutions of Higher learning! Thanks for the expose. God bless

Cultism in Nigerian universities.

In the end our universities turn out graduates who cannot write simple applications but brandish first class and second class upper degrees...many become kidnappers, armed robbers, hired assasins and thugs to politicians. any wonder Nigerian degrees no longer command any respect outside our shores?
The vice chancellors, administrators and lecturers are all guilty...we have heard of cases where some VC's use these cult groups to harass and intimidate lecturers they consider threats to their empires and lecturers who use the cults to harass their colleagues and students. The entire mess can be brought to an end when we start holding the university authorities responsible for whatever happens in the institutions they are paid tons of money to manage; demanding accountability from those in authority and getting serious about fighting crime.

You missed Shonekan- 1992 -

You missed Shonekan- 1992 - 1993; Abacha -1993-1998 and IBB was from 1985-1992 and the second iteration of Obasanjo was from 1999-2007

Funny enough ,and more

Funny enough ,and more compounding is the fact that lecturers, senior lecturers, professors, and even VC's are former cultists themselves .remember that most of these campus cult groups were formed from the 60's..most of thier founders have since graduated and sadly ,re-integrated into the system. So you see how the rot cuts across board and only serves to mirror the the actual cabalistic and diabolical nature of The Nigerian society at large..I'ts terrible..really terrible.

Funny enough ,and more

Funny enough ,and more compounding is the fact that lecturers, senior lecturers, professors, and even VC's are former cultists themselves .remember that most of these campus cult groups were formed from the 60's..most of thier founders have since graduated and sadly ,re-integrated into the system. So you see how the rot cuts across board and only serves to mirror the the actual cabalistic and diabolical nature of The Nigerian society at large..I'ts terrible..really terrible.

Where are the vice chancellors, administrators?

Where are the vice chancellors, university administrators etc.? Is there nobody paid to run the damned place? Nigerian big problem… accept no responsibility of anything but, must be paid regardless. A lot of wrong in that country could be fixed in a heartbeat if we apply the principles of responsibility, crime and punishment.

Why we MUST divide this continent Nigeria

n the 2007 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, Imo State produced more candidates seeking admission into the universities than all the 19 Northern states put together. That is not just shocking but dangerous. The top five states with the highest number of candidates were Southern states. They are as follows: Imo 93,065; Anambra 64,689; Delta 61,580; Edo 57,754; Akwa Ibom 47,928; while the lowest five states were Northern states as follows: Sokoto 3,925; Taraba 3,832; Zamfara 2,904; Jigawa 2,541; and Yobe 2,516.----The trend remains virtually the same year after year. For example, last year, the top three states were Imo (123,865 candidates); Delta (88,876); and Anambra (71,272); while the last three states were Northern states.

What hapened 2 Miss I, is exactly what is hapening to the SS&SE

What happened to Miss I, is exactly what is hapening to the oily SS&SE. Raped, deprived of its resources, dumped, neglected, their oil blocks(accounts) owned by foreigners from North & West etc. Just like miss I, the SS&SE must refuse 2 go back to Nigeria.

1960-1966 -Tafawa Balewa -North
1966-1966 -Aguiyi Ironsi(6mths)
1966-1975 -Gowon Yakubu -North
1975-1976 -Murtala Mohammed -North
1976-1979 -Thief Obasanjo -West
1979-1983 -Shehu Shagari -North
1983-1985 -Terrorist Buhari -North
1985-1999 -Thief Babangida -North
1999-2008 -Thief Obasanjo-Ole -West
2008-2011 -Yar Adua Musa -North
2012-2019 -Great Jona (1.5mth)

North =39yrs
West =12yrs
SE =6months
SS =1.5 yr

Higher institutions and the vicious cycle

Nigerian education at the highest level is further undermined by the ease with which public officials and private persons relocate their wards abroad to get the best education for them. Many 'lecturers' have escaped abroad as well. As we speak, they are helping to build those foreign universities. These universities in turn collect millions of our oil money to build their institutions. It is a vicious cycle.

The rot we are in

This is the rot our students are swimming in. We all know it and those who should have done something about this because they are the ogas at the top, just move on because their children study abroad. I weep for the so-called leaders of tomorrow.


The gory picture painted by Okey Ndibe is, to say the least, frightening.

Something is wrong with us Nigerians

Thank you Okey for this article. It is pretty obvious that these criminals (students) grew up with no direction and proper parenting. The question is: How did things get to this level in Nigeria? Our leaders have some share of the blame. However, the parents have the greater share. Is there a gene in adult Nigerians that they pass to their kids that make them behave this way? We cannot talk about poverty because most countries in West Africa are poorer than Nigeria, yet cultism does not exist in their universities. Something is definitely wrong.

Try CU for a change

Covenant University stands out as a beacon of hope. It has no cults.

"And I fear that there’s

"And I fear that there’s little anybody can do to rein in these cults until – unless – there’s a broader, systemic reformation of the society. For these cults are, in the final reckoning, a symptom of a deformed, diseased society". Okey Ndibe

Nigeria, Nigeria-who is going to save her? She is under the chokehold of powerful crooks and rulers-GEJ, Sambo, Emirs, Obas, IBB, Tinubu, Buhari, Danjuma, Dangote, all the governors, senators, judges, the educated elites, Abati, civil servants, etc., Who is going to save her?

Stupid Girl

Stupid Girl from poor background wan go show off for school. Anuofia. You bet she claims her mother is the "cook" to her family and the benefactor in America her "mother". Thats the bane of our society...false life. Nwa ogbenye ekwero nobu ogbenye welu nwayo gua akwukwo. Idiot girl. Throw her away ka mmadu fu uzo. Na only she dey campus? Did she not know to avoid them? As for the nuisance called ndi cult, that is a story for another day but just get this: they graduate from cultists to kidnappers.

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