Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism
Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

ABSTRACT

This study examined family variables and secondary school students’ tendency to participate in cultism in Calabar Education Zone of Cross River State. To achieve the purpose of the study, five research questions and five null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance. Related literatures were reviewed according to the variables of the study. The survey research design was adopted for the study.

A sample of 596 SS2 students randomly selected from 15 schools in Calabar Education Zone was used for the study. The selection was done through stratified random sampling technique. The main instrument used for data collection was a questionnaire titled:  Family Related Factors and Secondary School Students Tendency to Participate in Cultism Questionnaire (FRFSTPCQ).

Data collected were subjected to statistical analysis using independent t-test analysis and One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The results of the analysis revealed that, family size has a significant influence on students’ tendency to participate in cultism; parental marital status has a significant influence on students’ tendency to participate in cultism; family type has a significant influence on students’ tendency to participate in cultism, and family structure has a significant influence on students’ tendency to participate in cultism.

Based on the findings of the study, the researcher concluded that family size, parental marital status, family type and family structure significantly influence students’ tendency to participate in cult activities at the secondary school level in Calabar Education Zone of Cross River State, Nigeria. It was recommended among others that students irrespective of their family size, parental marital status, family type and family structure should be given the same level of punishment if found guilty of exhibiting cultism tendencies in school. (Word count:279)

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1    Background to the study

Cultism is a social menace that has bedevilled our higher education system, and in recent times has found its way to our secondary schools. It is a reflection of what is happening in the larger society. Cultists now lure innocent students into cultism, claiming to be protecting their interest while others join out of youthful inquisitiveness. Unknowingly, several students are lured into cultists’ traps and discover that they cannot opt out.

Rivalry among secondary school cult groups had led to blood-letting on several occasions especially in the Calabar South area which is part of Calabar Education Zone leading to incessant closure of schools and extension of school sessions.

Parents have been put into perpetual sorrow and pains; teachers perceived as too strict or disciplined are either maimed or killed; so many destinies have been wasted or diverted negatively by these cultists and many are still in this situation. New students now dread school because of either threat to be members or participate in cult activities unknowingly resulting in fear and anxiety.

Secondary schools now seem to be insecure for teachers, parents and other students who are not members, while members are scared of rival attacks. It has also become a major problem for the police officers in both developing and developed countries such as America, Canada and Nigeria. In Nigeria, cult activities had led to wanton destruction of lives and properties at home and in educational activities in our secondary schools.

For example, in Uselu Secondary School, Benin City, Edo State, on the 15th of February 2007, a clash between the Black Axe and the Eiye cult groups left many students injured. On another occasion, in the same school (Uselu) on the 29th of June, 2008, a boy was attacked. He spent several months in the hospital. In Adolor College, on the 16th of April 2008, innocent students were attacked by a cult group beating and taking away their valuables. Recently in Uselu secondary school, on the 16th of June 2009, two girls were rapped as they were about being initiated into a cult group (Grossachieve, 2007).

Uwe and Obot (2000) stated that it is disheartening that what began as a display of youthful exuberance in academic institutions about four decades ago, has now assumed monstrous dimensions, threatening and shaking the foundations of the educational sector. The bright future of the younger generation appears to be bleak and unappealing because of the activities of cultists

The issue of cultism and general insecurity in our secondary schools has been a major source of concern to all well meaning Nigerians. According to Okezie (2017: 12)

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

Entering most Nigerian Universities, you hear names like: the Brotherhood of the Blood {also known as Two-Two (Black Beret)}, the Victor Charlie Boys, Vikings, Second Son of Satan (SSS), Night Cadet, Sonmen, Mgba Mgba Brothers, Temple of Eden, Trojan Horse, Jurists, White Bishops, Gentlemen Clubs, Fame, Executioners, Dreaded Friend of Friends, Eagle Club, Black Scorpion, Red Sea Horse, Fraternity of Friend.

In the late 1990s, all-female confraternities began to be formed. These include the Black Brazier (Bra Bra), the Viqueens, Daughters of Jezebel, and the Damsel. Female confraternities have supplied spies for allied male confraternities as well as acting as prostitution syndicates. Many of them like their male counterparts were products of government institutions and few private institutions where discipline was lacking. Exemplary institutions like University of Ilorin (Federal) and Afe Babalola University (private) rank tops among the no-go areas for these cult members.

 The origin of campus cultism and the date they were formed is presented in Table 1.
TABLE 1

Types of Campus Cults in Nigerian School System

  Year Institutions Cult Names
  1952.

 

University College Ibadan Pyrate Confraternity
  1972 University College of Ibadan by some suspended members of the Pyrate Confraternity. Buccaneer Association of Nigeria
  1983. University of Port Harcourt

 

Vikings Confraternity
  1984 University of Calabar. Eternal Fraternal Order of the Legion Konsortrum (EFOLK)

 

  1982 University of Benin The New Black Movement of Africa

 

  University of Nigeria, Nsukka The Brotherhood of the Black Brigade
       
  1980 Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife. The Family Fraternity otherwise known as Confraternity
  1988 Abia State University Uturu. The Maphites Organization
  1963 University of Ibadan Supreme Eiye Confraternity

Source: Modified from Godgift (2014)

However, a close observation of the school today reveals that there are instances whereby secondary school students are involved in examination malpractice, drug abuse, smoking, disrespect, bullying, truancy, intimidation, harassment of both fellow students and teachers which may likely be as a result of parents not taking adequate care of their children which warrant them to engaged in cult activities in the school. Some are involved in robbery, rape, gangsterism and hooliganism.

These seem to have contributed to the general absence of discipline in public secondary schools in Calabar Education Zone of Cross River State. Teachers’ attempts to discipline such students have rather pegged them against the students. Most of such deviant behaviours are actually getting out of hand. Some students in the secondary schools are getting out of control. The situation is so terrible that if nothing is done about it, it could be dangerous to the entire society at large.

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

The gravity of the impact and consequences of intra and inter cult clashes on campuses have resulted in physical harm on individuals, disruption of the learning process, destruction of university properties and even deaths which all contribute to the breeding of feelings of insecurity. Opaluwah (2000) noted that, cult clashes led to an outburst of violence in secondary schools which left many students wounded, maimed or killed.

In a study carried out in universities in the Middle Belt zone in Nigeria, Smah (2001) reported that 15% of students had either observed or reported cult/gang motivated deaths on the university campuses between one and two times in the previous years.  Yusuf (2006) noted that, at least one hundred students in higher institutions in Nigeria were killed in cult related incident in the year 2006 alone. Apart from physical damage and loss of life, cult activities may also have devastating effect on the learning process itself. Opaluwah (2000) stated that, cult clashes led to the incarceration, rustication or expulsion of both innocent and guilty students and hospitalization of students thereby suspending learning for some period of time.

In addition to the physical damage and disruption of the learning process, life on university campuses where cult activities prevail can be very unpleasant and insecure for those who are not directly involved with them. The author was of the opinion that the psyche of students and the peace of the campus could be adversely affected. Smah (2001) noted that, the feeling of insecurity and fear of cultism were high in Nigeria tertiary education campuses. One worrying development is that, the activities of cults in institutions of higher learning are now influencing groups in other institutions including secondary schools.

Sad enough, members of these secret cults, apart from turning the school into a battle ground, also involve themselves in examination malpractices, threaten teachers for high scores and grades and also participate in other negative vices. Such individuals who participate in cultism most times become school drop-outs and nuisance in the society. It was reported on Daily Champion Newspaper some years ago, that cultists ambushed mourners in Buguma, Rivers State, killing 20 people. The dead were mostly young people, who were in procession of a slain 26 year old youth (Abah, 2002).

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

Secret cult can be defined as an organization where people come together to pledge their allegiances, under an oath and have a social bond of commitment and dedication for the good of the organization. Their activities are kept secret, thus the name “secret cult”, and kept away from other members of the society or non-members of the group. Secret cults carry out their meetings when people are not aware of, especially during the odd hours and far away from residences. This act is cultism and someone who practices it, is a cultist.

Teenage vandalism and hostility has also become the order of the day in secondary schools and the trend seems not to be abating. The major questions in the mind of the researcher are, what could be responsible for the rising incidence of cultism in secondary schools today, especially in Calabar Education Zone? What is the nature of family upbringing that the children are actually getting today? Could some family related variables be responsible for these, since the family is meant to prepare the young ones with ethics that guide their conducts throughout their life time? What was the place of the family in the lives of these students?

The family has been universally perceived as a small but powerful unit, and the oldest institution in the history of human existence that helps in the character formation of the child and moulding of behaviour of the individual in the society. This is because the family is the fundamental and basic social unit for human development and also the primary agent for socialization of children. According to Macionis (2007), the family is a social institution found in all societies that unites people in cooperative groups to care for one another including children. Macionis (2007) also stated that the family is a social unit made up of the father, mother, children and other blood relations.

Shankar-Rao (2012) posited that the performance of the child depends on the family background. It is within the family that the child learns about traditions, customs, norms, and values of the society in which they belong. Highlighting further, Sunil (2011) stated that if any dysfunction is seen in the family system, the functions of the family can be affected. Several family factors determine the functionality and dysfunction of the family. These factors include family size, parental marital status, family type and family structure.

A family may be regarded as large size when the family members are within 9-10 and above 10, while a family may also be regarded as small when the size of family members is within 1-3 and 4-6 respectively (Arthur, 2005). This implies that, family size might increase the risk of a child’s tendency to participate in cultism. The reasons why family size may be linked to negative behaviours or tendencies to participate in cult activities include absentee parents, financial hardship and broken homes (Ngale, 2009). Thus, it may appear that the larger the number of children in the family, the more they exhibit deviant behaviour which may be tendencies to participate in cultism.

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

Chibogu (2015) stated that, secret cult activities are also associated with broken homes, the home in which the husband and wife are not living together for one reason or another. In the context of this work, parental marital status refers to whether parents are married, separated or divorced. Chibogu (2015) was of the opinion that, secret cult activities were associated with broken homes because of the unavailability of unity between such separated or divorced parents.

Most of such parents demonstrate irresponsibility, incompetence, personal inadequacy and lack of unity to exercise adequate supervision of their children. Generally, broken homes, whether physical or psychological, are training centres for delinquent behaviours. When parents who are supposed to demonstrate exemplary behaviours are themselves delinquents or indiscipline, the children may not be better. In homes where parents were not living together for whatever reason, such children may lack parental care, attention and affection; they may tend to get such attention from strangers who would in turn introduce and initiate them into cultism.

Family type refers to the marriage arrangement whether it is one man and a wife (monogamous) or one man and wives (polygamous). Weiss (2007) noted that, emotions within the monogamous family unit are likely to be tense and the relationship between husband, wife and children may intrinsically be unstable depending on the parental mode of discipline. Such conditions affect the children’s psychological and social adjustment to life. Thus, Smath (2006) observed that, a monogamous family survives only as long as its two facial members (the husband and wife) live together as husband and wife since the conjugal relationship is what binds the group.

In addition, family structure can be referred to as various components that make up family system such as father, mother and their children. It can also be referred to as the main pattern in which the family is constituted; it connotes the situation where by a family is intact or broken. This implies a relationship that binds the father and the members of the household.

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

Anderson (2006) stated that the structure of the family and the relationship between its members (intact and broken families) have positive or negative impact on their children’s tendency to participate in cultism. Therefore, children living in the shadows of a divorced family are often bewildered by short comings and by the mere fact that essential relationships and emotions are not promoted or are broken off leading to deviant behaviour which is the manifestation of insecurity steering from an unstable family. The contending issue in school is the threat to life and students’ unrest, resulting in school drop-out. On this note, it is necessary for the intervention of the school counselling assistance and necessary intervention strategies to be adopted in school.

It was the continuous rise in the number of cult activities in secondary schools in Calabar Education Zone of Cross River State that prompted the researcher to undertake this study to find out if family variables have any influence on students’ tendency to participate in cultism.

 1.2       Theoretical framework

The following theories provided the framework for the study:

1.2.1    The psychoanalytic theory by Sigmund Freud (1905)

1.2.2    Anomie theory of Deviancy by Emile Durkheim (1858)

1.2.3    Social learning theory by Albert Bandura (1977)

1.2.1    The psychoanalytic theory by Sigmund Freud (1905)

This theory was propounded by Sigmund Freud in 1905. The theory stated that there is a normal sequence of development through a series of what he called psychosexual stages. Each stage focuses on a different sexually excitable zone of the body (erogenous zone): the way the child learns to fulfil the sexual desires associated with each stage becomes an important component of the child’s personality.

According to Freud (1966), failure to pass through these stages in the normal manner    causes various psychosexual disturbances and character disorder. The stages are oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. At birth, sexual energy called libido, which influences psychosexual development, is biologically determined. Its importance to this study is the notion of regression and fixation, which occur as a result of unresolved crisis at each psychosexual stage.

This theory is very relevant to this study because it provides an understanding of why some children have the tendencies for secret cultism. For example, a child’s drinking alcoholic and hemp smoking may result from fixation at anal stage. Other disorderly, impulsive and disruptive behaviours can be associated with problems encountered during toilet training period that is anal stage.

A child within the latency stage who uses his energy to fight and cause havoc in the society stands the risks of being a sociopath, likewise a child whose parents do not permit to burn up his energy properly for example, through play. The implication of this is that, the poor growth and development through the stages identified by Frued (1966) result in the antisocial behaviours of children as a result of family variables. Among such antisocial behaviours is secret cultism. In essence, cultism is a product of disrupted or distorted psychosexual development of children.

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

1.2.2    Anomie Theory of Deviancy by Emile Durkheim (1858)

The Anomie theory was propounded by Emile Durkheim in 1858. The theory states that Anomie (lack of social or moral standards) exists when there are no clear standards to guide behaviour in the society. This may be as a result of structural tension and lack of moral regulations in the society which occur when available rewards in the society do not match with the aspirations held by individuals and groups in the society.

This makes people feel disoriented and anxious. Thus, the disparity between desires and fulfilment can only be felt in the deviant motivations of members of the society like cultism. ‘Anomie’ is therefore one of the social factors influencing dispositions to deviant acts such as cultism. On the other hand, Durkheim (1968) undertook a close study of the society focusing on deviant behaviour of members. He concluded that, deviant behaviour is a social fact which is inevitable and a necessary element in modern societies.

The assumption of the theory is on the believe that people in the modern age are less constrained than they were in the traditional societies. It is because there is much room for individual choice in the modern world, it becomes inevitable therefore that, there must be some levels of non-conformity, thus children indulge in free choice like joining cult groups.

Durkheim (1968) asserted that, it is not impossible for all persons to be alike and hold the same morals in the society. This, according to the scholar, is because the immediate physical milieu in which each of us is placed, the hereditary antecedents and the social influences vary from one individual to the next which point to the family also. These factors consequently diversify consciousness, hence deviant behaviour which is bound up with the fundamental conditions of all social life.

The scholar averred that rapid changes in the structure of the society such as the transformations from the traditional agricultural society to the modern industrial society and from feudal to capitalist system have caused Anomie within the society. In a nut-shell, while the traditional way of life was changing to modern or while the mechanical solidarity was dissolving, the regulations of the traditional norms and values lost their effects on individuals.

Anomie theory has core implication for this study (family variables) because the theory highlights the structural weaknesses of the societal norms and values which lead to deviant behaviour (secondary school students’ tendency to participate in cultism). The theory thus places the family very clear as the primary agent of socialization where the child learns how to conform to laid down norms in society, failure of which may lead to tendencies to participate in cult activities.

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

1.2.3    Social learning theory – Albert Bandura (1977)

Social learning theory was propounded by Albert Bandura in 1977. Bandura’s social learning theory posits that, people learn from one another through observation, imitation, and modelling. It provides an understanding of how family orientation furnishes the introductory setting for children to learn rules and values in real life system. In social learning system, learning may occur through direct experience or through modelling. Observational learning can occur without performance by the observer and without extrinsic reinforcement to the observer.

It could be facilitated by such factors as the model’s nurturance and power, as well as consequences of reward or punishment. Furthermore, these learned response patterns are symbolically coded, retained for memory representation and may serve as guide for behaviours on later occasions such as the tendency to participate in such activities like cultism.

The theory has implication for the present study because children observe the attitude of their friends and adults through which they learn good habits, role behaviours, ethics, values and morals. More so, the other related variables like number of siblings and the social, psychological and physical environments the children encounter at home make cult activities appealing to them.

1.3   Statement of the problem

There is a growing challenge the Nigerian society is currently grappling with. It is the case of secret cult activities with its attendant problems. However, the problem of this study is the tendency of secondary school students participating in these activities. There are pointers that, the average child in school will participate in cultism: a close observation of the school today reveals that there are instances whereby secondary school students are involved in examination malpractice, drug abuse, smoking, disrespect, bullying, truancy, intimidation, harassment of both fellow students and teachers. Some are involved in robbery, rape, gangsterism and hooliganism.

There is a general absence of discipline in public secondary schools in Calabar Education Zone of Cross River State. Teachers’ attempts to discipline such students have rather pegged them against the students. Most of such deviant behaviours are actually getting out of hand. Some students in the secondary schools are getting out of control. The situation is so terrible that if nothing is done about it, it could be dangerous to the entire society at large.

This tendency has given many scholars, parents, teachers and educational administrators as well as Counsellors reasons to be concerned. Cultism has soared so highly that the resultant indiscipline has culminated in misconduct of various degrees. Due to this problem, many students have become suspicious of one another for fear that they may belong to rival cult group or harm them because they do not belong at all. Teachers are afraid to discipline wayward or stubborn students.

Disturbing again is the fact that, media reports show a seeming increase of cult activities among secondary school students especially in the Calabar Education Zone. Several attempts have been made to tackle the trend. Scholars, teachers, parents, Counsellors and school administrators have remained consistent in their outcry against this evil trend. However, the problem remains unabated.

It is in the light of these, that the study sought to investigate the influence of family variables and students’ tendencies to participate in cultism in secondary schools in Calabar Education Zone of Cross River State, Nigeria. In essence, do family variables influence students’ tendencies to participate in cultism?

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

1.4    Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of family variables on secondary school students’ tendency to participate in cultism in Secondary Schools in Calabar Education Zone of Cross River State, Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. determine the influence of family size and students’ tendency to participate in cultism.
  2. investigate the influence of parental marital status on students’ tendency to participate in cultism.
  3. assess the influence of family type and students’ tendency to participate in cultism.
  4. find out if the family structure influences students’ tendency to participate in cultism.

1.5       Research questions

The following research questions were raised to guide the study:

  1. To what extent does family size influence students’ tendency to participate in cultism?
  2. How does parental marital status influence students’ tendency to participate in cultism?
  3. How does family type influence students’ tendency to participate in cultism?
  4. To what extent does family structure influence students’ tendency to participate in cultism?

1.6       Statement of hypotheses

The following hypotheses guided the study:

  1. Family size does not significantly influence students’ tendency to participate in cultism.
  2. There is no significant influence of parental marital status on students’ tendency to participate in cultism.
  3. Family type does not significantly influence students’ tendency to participate in cultism.
  4. Family structure does not significantly influence students’ tendency to participate in cultism.

1.7       Significance of the study

This study may be significant to school counsellors, parents, curriculum planners, teachers, psychologists, sociologists, security agencies, and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) to enhance their efficiency in curbing the menace of secret cult in educational institutions as well as the entire society. School Counsellors may find this research study worthy for their counselling sessions with parents and care-givers, school authority as well as the students themselves. This is because the counsellors may have more understanding about students’ delinquent behaviour and how to address it.

On the part of parents, the results and recommendations based on this study may equip them with enough information on their roles and responsibilities in redirecting their wards and children’s energy towards productive venture and meritorious academic work than involving in perilous, worthless and unscrupulous demonic activities in schools.

This study may equally reveal to school authorities the evil of cultism through re-education using the Information Technology System (ITS) that depicts the horrors in cultism. On that part of the government, the study may facilitate the ban on cultism and enforce close monitoring of students’ and teachers’ activities both within and outside the schools. Finally, it is hoped that, the findings and recommendations may be rich enough to contain the prospect of restoring the educational system to its enviable position.

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

1.8       Assumptions of the study

This study was based on the following assumptions:

  1. The subjects’ responses to the items on the instrument reflected their true perception and their answers were honest.
  2. It was assumed that the respondents varied in their family sizes
  3. It was assumed that the subjects varied in their family type
  4. The subjects were from different family structure
  5. The variables in this study were measurable

1.9       Scope of the study

The research work on family variables and secondary school students’ tendency to participate in cultism was delimited to only senior secondary school two (SS2) students in Calabar Education Zone of Cross River State, Nigeria. The study covered the seven Local Government Areas that constituted the Calabar Education Zone. The sub-independent variables were: family size, parental marital status, family type and family structure. The dependent variable was students’ tendency to participate in cultism.

1.10     Limitations of the study

As a result of carrying out this study, the researcher encountered several constraints.

The findings and generalization of the study only apply to public secondary schools. This study finds it difficult to be applicable to private schools based on their differences in the infrastructure and scheme of learning/teaching and as such, it was only limited to public secondary school students which limited the researcher’s scope of study.

There was scarcity of relevant local and foreign literature on secondary school against the variables being investigated. Despite these limitations, the study was successfully carried out.

Some of the school sampled were in interior locations with very poor transportation network and it was not easy to get there. The researcher strongly believed that the number seen and used for the study formed adequate representation of the whole students taking into consideration all the heterogeneous subsets of the subject and the information gotten from them was valid.

Based on the nature of the topic investigated, some of the respondents may have reluctantly provided information that may not necessarily reflect their real choice. This could have affected the result slightly.  Admittedly, the generalization made with respect to the findings of this study is limited to the education zone that was used.

1.11     Definition of terms

Family size: This refers to the number of children and all other members of the family. It may be large or small based on family cycle.

Parental marital status: This refers to whether parents are married, separated or divorced.

Family type:    This refers to the marriage arrangement whether it is one man and a wife (monogamous) or one man and wives (polygamous).

Family structure: This refers to the main pattern in which the family is constituted. As used in the study, it connotes the situation where by a family is intact or broken.

Family variables: It refers to family background factors such as family size, marital status, family type and family structure.

Cultism: It is a system of devotion or worship expressed in ritual and other deviant behaviours resulting in maiming, rape, oppression and so on. 

Family Variables and Secondary School Students’ Tendency to Participate in Cultism

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

This chapter focused on literature related to the variables under study.

The review will be presented under the following sub-headings:

2.1.      Family size and students’ tendency to participate in cultism

2.2       Parental marital status and students’ tendency to participate in cultism

2.3       Family type and students’ tendency to participate in cultism.

2.4       Family structure and students’ tendency to participate in cultism

2.5       Summary of literature review

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