I set out on visits to university campuses in Nigeria, exploring how the phenomenon of violence in the nation itself is related to the brutalisation of life within our intellectual sanctuaries. I am truly impelled by the fear that civilised existence on our campuses is on the verge of extinction.


WALESA CLIFFORD was 18 years old – a student. She did not know her boyfriend was a CULT member, When she ended the relationship, he bathed her in Acid. Unable to afford continuing hospital treatment, she was taken back to her village – in effect, to die.

More than 80 students have died in gruesome cult attacks over the last two years on campuses, yet -

There has not been a single CONVICTION.

These are students – killed by other students.

I MET THE VICE CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY BENIN WHO HAS DIRECT EXPERIENCE of cults…. He described a campus killing that was , to use his own word – gory.

VICE CHANCELLOR

It is very gory to see a human flesh cut to pieces.
It was my baptism of fire.

I understand one person held one hand and the another the other hand.

Then from behind – what ever it was an axe or machete.

They practically scalped this guy.

They cut his head open and flipped it – like a cap.

So that the brain matter and everything splattered around the building, up to the third floor.

Its not that they wanted to just kill and kill and walk away..

A gun shot would have done the same thing.

They wanted to make a statement.


VICTIMS

That account is one of many such incidents on university campuses It is a deliberate statement from cults to the victims and classmates - who watched him hacked to death in broad daylight – a message of terror and control.

Cult names reinforce this terror; Names such as THE BLACK AXE, EIYE, THE BUCCANEERS, DAUGHTERS Of JEZEBEL.

These secret Cults who abuse the very word ‘fraternity’ – have brutal initiations rites, undergone with the effect of alcohol and drugs.

They will mix blood, a blood of every member. And they will drink it . Evil is real.

The Vice Chancellor’s guess is that cult members number 2 to 5 percent of the student population. Opinion vary. The Police estimate about 10,000 cult members operating in cross- campus networks –

These cults - debasements of the idea of student fraternities - are gradually destroying the nation’s intellectual heartland.

W.SOYINKA PTC:-
The student cults are gangs of thugs, drug addicts, killers in fact - who terrorize university campuses - students, lecturers, workers - all over Nigeria.
They are without one redeeming factor,. Naturally - such is the nation we inhabit - I get the blame for starting it all.

I am back at my alma mater – the - campus of Nigeria’s first university in Ibadan, It was the crown jewel of the Nigeriuan nation. Was.

Five decades ago I helped start a college fraternity of young idealistic Nigerians…

W.SOYINKA SPEAKS TO CAMERA [PTC]

“it was here in this alcove where it all started - the very first campus fraternity of Nigeria. Perhaps in all of Africa.

And We gathered as a rebellious gesture against the colonial formal, staid stuffy atmosphere of the first university in Africa-

Back in the Nineteen fifties – it was simply a fun and debating society – our passion fuelled with pre- independence idealism – after all we were soon to be freed from the colonial yoke of Britain…

We created an imaginary, non-conformist world – A Pyratical language and chivalric code;

Chivalry? Today’’s cultist would spit on the word - I needed to get at the truth from the people who experienced this violence. But - would the students be too scared to speak to me?

I BROUGHT UP THE CASE OF OSAWE IGBINOBA, A STUDENT CULT MEMBER WHO WAS BEHEADED BY THE NOTORIOUS BLACK AXE CULT.

One persons head was roasted and placed infront of the university – the problem has become scandalous.

Almost every week you have someone killed – its like a cycle – something has to be done.

VOXPOP Jezebel

The university has tried so many things ….

WS – There are women daughters of jezebel and the Amazons who carry sub machine guns…there were women among them carrying sub machine guns

We saw bullets flying - Its part of the system and we cannot beat it.

I BROUGHT UP THE OBSERVATION THAT CULTS WERE LINKED TO THE ELITE MEMBERS OF SOCIETY.

Are you aware that some of these children are children of military officers?

BOY IN BLUE
Most of these people that are in court - They belong to the BIG GUNS in society. When somebody has been arrested by the police – or handed over.

In the long run you will still find him within our campus.



STUDENT CULTS RULE THE CAMPUS JUST AS THEIR PARENTS RULE THE NATION.

THEY ARE CONNECTED WITH THE POWERFUL OF SOCIETY AND ENJOY ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY. AT ELECTION TIME, THEY ARE ARMED BY POLITICIANS TO INTIMIDATE, MAIM AND/OR KILL OPPONENTS.

Even the Minister of Justice was murdered in his own home. No one has ever been convicted. IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE TO DENY THAT CAMPUS CULTISM TODAY REFLECTS THE REALITY OF NIGERIAN SOCIETY?

DEAN

The Violence is partly due to the military regime - if theyre angry now they can use subdue a whole villiage to subdue a whole villiage – Might is the power - its the law the jungle.

This scene was shot in May this year, in the streets of Mushin, a Lagos suburb. It is an all too frequent expression of military conduct towards civil society…..

Society has been dehumanised – by those decades of military years of dictatorship. The looting of oil and the enthronement of brute power.

The Black Axe has earned a reputation as one of the most vicious of the campus cults and I wanted to meet those behind the violence. These Secret cults are controlled by political and business bigwigs who have a mafia like hold on their communities.

After several abortive attempts to make contact, we learnt, with some surprise, that a Dr Meyer the founder of the Black Axe, now a political figure in Benin City would meet us.

DR MEYOR SOT
For instance, like some of these activities in town. Like maybe Political thuggery, assassinations or robbery.

If any point in time if our members are involved, we can bring you, in the presence of your wife and your family.

We can give you a real grilling. And beat you up and show them how you have belittled yourself .

Mess you around and hand you over to the Police.

If we don’t want to hand to the police we make sure that he his never considered a person in his community again. Or if we feel there is no need to hand you over to the police, we leave you.

In your area, you will never be known as a person again.

Dr. Meyer claimed that his organisation is not the BLACK AXE but the NEW BLACK MOVEMENT OF AFRICA, dedicated to the upliftment and defence of black peoples everywhere. However, I did find his modus operandi extremely - questionable.

So even the man “we were told” was “Godfather” to the Black Axe – the most Vicious campus gang claimed his movement had vision.

Dr. Meyer showed me his meeting house, burnt down - he claimed - by the EIYE Cult, whose rivalry with the BLACK AXE takes centre stage in the nation’s cultic wars. His explanation for this strange assault? A case of mistaken identity..

BLACK AXE GUY:
SUBTITLES

This is the national secretariat of the New Black Movement of Africa.

That was burnt down by members of AYE fraternity.

After, We didn’t want to get violent, we called them for negotiate…

Back at his home surrounded by minders – including a fully armed policeman - I asked about his connections –

WSOYINKA - So can you tell me whether you have any connection to the University Black Axe?

NOPE

Later at his home we discussed his activities further.

He was keen to explain how he worked with the police to combat cult violence among the young.

But he did sugest that whilst he was not involved in political assasination himself younger people were. Also that he worked with the police to root them out. And again he admitted something rather startling – that getting such suspects killed was part of the functions of his group..

DR MEYOR

My organisation was deeply involved in picking out these people. We guided the police, picked them out to get them killed.


Pix of Professor Awe

When impunity replaces justice, and community abdicates its role in enforcing discipline, the field is left open to Religion and the choice of redemption or - damnation.

No surprise then that cults have been diagnosed as the work of the devil. And since some cults also call themselves fraternities, all fraternities must be the work of the devil.

When the Government finally woke up to the menace and disbursed money to universities for action, Religion, Renunciation and Redemption became the winning formula.

DEAN SOT –
Our aim is to reform. We don’t want to scare them off we want to let them know that if they renounce there is mercy – some of them have totally recovered.

But -is it really working? Some students say that for every two that renounce, ten more join up.

Society is into heavy denial, Society should look inwards, into its own culpability, which is perhaps where Satan appears to attain its enduring successes. Everything becomes abused in this nation – everything is sucked into a cesspool. Productive ideas are debased, corrupted.

I believe however that this trend can be reversed, and soon. The first step however is that civil society accept that there is a problem, and that only the manifestation of a collective responsibility will begin to engage the minds of those who genuinely believe that institutions of higher learning are crucial to the development of any nation..

Eighty student killings within two years – and not a single conviction?

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