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Background to Study

The explosion of drug peddling and cultism in the higher institutions of learning in Anambra State is a glaring reality. The situation becomes more worrisome when one realizes that Anambra society is now replete with cultic activities.

There is always a spill-over of tension and crises from the various campuses to the towns. Tranquility which had been the heritage of the Anambra people, for years now has become an illusion.

The various higher institutions of learning in the state had within a decade experienced one form of disruption or the other as a result of the activities of cultists. These crises reached their climax in 1990 and have resisted decline seriously. As a result, academic activities in the schools are being strangulated. The religious, political, economic and social lives of the people are adversely affected. The atmosphere is tense as there is a feeling of uneasiness both within and outside the campuses. It is against this background that this research work is set.

Our duty here is to bring to the fore the devastating effects of drug peddling and cultism in Anambra State by tracing its origin and operations in the various higher institutions of learning. From historical perspective, the project work will expose the types of cults found in the various schools and the reasons behind the difficulties experienced over the years in the effort to expunge them from these institutions. Along this line, efforts will be made to trace the attempts made so far by individuals, the various religious groups, the government and non-governmental bodies in the fight against the menace of drug peddling and cultism.

Although it has been conjectured that enough efforts have already been put in by Nigerians as far as the fight against drug peddling and cultism is concerned (Enejo 2002: 237), the present researcher believes that this research work will contribute in no small measure to finding further solutions to the challenges of peace and security and the role of drug peddlers and drug peddling and cultism in Obosi town in Anambra state.

Statement of the Problem

For over two decades now, drug peddling and cultism has invaded the institutions of learning. Its devastating effect on the schools and its environs has become a veritable source of worry to those who have the interest of Nigeria at heart. As far back as 1990, universities, the government and the press had begun to raise alarm about the menace of secret drug peddling and cultism (Kalu 2001:2). A cartoon on the cover page of the Newswatch Magazine of March 28, 1994 lays credence to this claim. The said cartoon shows some dangerous-looking dark figures with axes and daggers set to attack one another. Below these figures is the inscription: “CULT WAR: Is your child safe on campus?”

Kalu (2001:2) asserts that the threat posed by drug peddling and cultism is real. He puts it this way:

The strange implosion of a culture of violence in the midst of an academic environment is not only incongruous; it is a rape of the values and goals of the Ivory tower. The threat to life looms even larger.

Even before the establishment of the oldest higher institution in Anambra State (that is, Benpoly), the problem of drug peddling and cultism existed (Owoicho 2008: Interview). The mayhem which engulfed the institutions of learning in the Eastern part of Nigeria had spilled over to the Middle Belt region. This spill-over resulted in the formation of cults in the post-primary schools. According to Kalu (2001:3), the pyrates which had existed since 1952 suffered a major schism in 1972 when thirty of its members ceded and formed a competing band-the Buccaneers. Before long, other “denominations” emerged with sinister motives engaging in the use of knives, axes, guns and other deadly weapons to turn the land into a violent place. Prominently, in the decade of 1985-1995, there was an upsurge in the growth or proliferation of drug peddling and cultism as a total number of forty-five cult groups could be identified in the various schools in Nigeria.

By this time, the higher institutions of learning have started springing up in Anambra State and so, the state began to feature vaguely in the issue of drug peddling and cultism as it affects these higher institutions as well. Here, the formation of the cult groups were both clandestine and gradual until the year 2001, which according to Okata (2008: Interview) marked the climax of cult activities in the present dispensation. That year, there was violence, brutality and iconoclasm of the highest order.

Many students have been jailed, suspended or rusticated on the grounds of cult-related offences. This does not mean that there have not been efforts towards the eradication of drug peddling and cultism in the various campuses. But it means that the efforts made so far have not yielded full result, and as such, more need to be done still.

This is therefore the take-off point and the justification for this research. Hands should no longer be folded. Solutions should be sought, and that is what this research project is set to do. The situation in the institutions in Anambra State shows that drug peddling, drug peddling and cultism and its attendant problems are a reality. The need for a search for solutions to this age-long problem makes this research pertinent for attainment of peace and security in Obosi town in Anambra state.

Purpose of the Study

In the contemporary Nigerian society, the issue of drug peddling and cultism in both post-primary and tertiary institutions has continued to attract public interest. The case is not different in Anambra State. The general impression is that drug peddling and cultism is rife and has come to stay; many have even come to the conclusion that it is a problem without solution. Many are also of the opinion that there is little or nothing anyone can do to eradicate the menace and return the schools to their original cult-free status.

Thus, it has become imperative to probe into the issue of students’ involvement in drug peddling and cultism. Studies have shown that the issue of drug peddling and cultism is a practical problem facing the society; and the condition continues to worsen by the day. Efforts made so far at curbing this menace have not yielded the desired result at least not fully.

This research work is therefore hinged on this purpose, namely: to find out the immediate and remote factors that are responsible for the persistent thriving of drug peddling and cultism on campuses steadily spilling over into the societies, with a view to finding possible solutions to the problem. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to carry out investigations into the origin, causes, effects and implications of drug peddling and cultism on the campuses in Anambra State. This will enable one to find lasting remedies to the problem. The research findings will provide fundamental information about drug peddling and cultism. The students, parents, teachers, the government and even practicing cultists will be better informed. Such information will put them in a better position to fight drug peddling and cultism. By and large, our dream of cult eradication will be realized in our campuses in particular and the society at large.

Significance of the Study

That this study is important cannot be over stressed. This task is being embarked upon because of the following significances:

i. The study will help one to know the origin of campus drug peddling and cultism in Nigeria.

ii.       It is designed to bring to the fore, the reasons why drug peddling and cultism thrives on our campuses despite efforts to stop it.

iii.      To examine the efforts of other researchers so far as regards drug peddling and cultism.

iv.      The research work will put the position and the plight of the cultist into proper lime-light and proffer solutions for their escape.

v.       The study will enable each member of the society to wake up to his or her responsibilities in the fight against drug peddling and cultism.

vi.      The research will expose the failings of the child, the parent, the teacher, the government and the society at large. This discovery will pose a challenge to those who are responsible in one way or the other to amend their ways.

vii.     The study wills also further the course of scholarship in Nigeria and beyond.

Scope/Limitation of the Study

The research work will also be limited to Anambra State School of Health Technology, Obosi. The location of this school gives this work a stable wide geographical coverage. Due to limited time and resources available for this project, the other institutions of higher learning in the state are left out of this investigation. In the same vein, the primary and post-primary schools are also left out of the work. However, the researcher believes that the coverage is wide enough to give a fair and reliable data that can be generalized to cover the other schools that are not specifically included in this study.

This research work is by no means exhaustive of everything that ought to be known during this period of investigation. This is largely due to limited time and funds available for this project work. However, these limitations will in no way affect the quality of the work to be done.

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