Types of Cultism in Nigeria and Their Symbols 2023

Types of Cultism in Nigeria and Their Symbols 2023

In recent years, Nigeria has faced the alarming rise of various cult groups that have not only contributed to social unrest but have also raised concerns about security and the well-being of its citizens. These secretive organizations, commonly referred to as cults, often have their unique symbols that hold significant meaning within their respective groups. This article delves into the different types of cultism in Nigeria and their symbols 2023.

What is Cultism?

Cultism refers to the practices, beliefs, and behaviors of a group or organization that often operates under a distinct set of beliefs, rituals, and ideologies that are different from mainstream societal norms. These groups can vary widely in their nature and purpose, ranging from religious and spiritual cults to political and social groups.

Cultism in Nigeria has become a menacing issue that requires careful examination. These secretive groups, often hidden in plain sight, wield a significant influence on various aspects of Nigerian society, from politics to education to religion. The symbols they employ carry deep meanings that signify loyalty, power, and identity within their circles.

Origin and History of Cultism in Nigeria

The origin and history of cultism in Nigeria trace back several decades and are marked by a complex interplay of social, political, and economic factors. Cultism in Nigeria refers to the emergence of secretive and often criminal organizations that operate outside mainstream societal norms. These groups have their roots in various historical events and developments:

1. Colonial Influence: The colonial era in Nigeria introduced new dynamics to the social fabric of the country. With the arrival of British colonial rule, there was an imposition of Western education, religion, and governance systems. This disruption of traditional societal structures led to a sense of alienation among the youth and created an environment where subversive groups could emerge.

2. University Culture: The 1970s saw the rise of cultism within Nigerian universities. What started as fraternities or student organizations with noble intentions, such as promoting camaraderie and protecting student rights, gradually evolved into violent and criminal groups. This transformation was driven by factors like power struggles, political interference, and a desire for control over resources.

3. Political Unrest: Nigeria’s post-independence history has been marked by political instability and frequent changes in government. These turbulent times created opportunities for various groups, including cults, to align themselves with political actors or ideologies, further fueling their growth.

4. Socioeconomic Challenges: High levels of unemployment, poverty, and social inequality have plagued Nigeria for decades. Cults, often promising empowerment and financial support to their members, capitalized on these challenges to recruit disillusioned youth seeking a way out of their dire circumstances.

5. Influence of Foreign Movements: In some cases, cultism in Nigeria has been influenced by international ideologies and movements. These influences have sometimes led to the adoption of symbols, rituals, and practices that align with global trends in secret societies and occult groups.

6. Rise of Criminal Activities: Over time, many cults in Nigeria shifted from their initial noble objectives to engaging in criminal activities such as extortion, robbery, drug trafficking, and violence. These activities not only served as sources of revenue but also helped the cults assert dominance and instill fear in society.

5 Types of Cultism in Civic Education

Secret Cults

Secret cults are perhaps the most well-known and feared in Nigeria. These groups operate covertly and often have initiation rituals that involve oath-taking and blood rituals. The Black Axe Confraternity and the Buccaneers Confraternity are prime examples.

Political Cults

Political cults have emerged as influential players in Nigerian politics. They often manipulate their members to engage in activities that further the interests of their leaders. These groups are driven by power and wield it to achieve their political agendas.

Religious Cults

Religious cults deviate from mainstream religious beliefs and practices. They often have charismatic leaders who exploit their followers’ devotion for personal gain. These cults prey on individuals seeking spirituality and community.

Confraternity Cults

Confraternity cults, often found in universities and colleges, were initially formed to provide a sense of belonging and protection for students. However, over the years, many of these groups have devolved into violent and criminal organizations. The symbol commonly associated with these cults is the “Black Axe” – a crossed axe and a machete, usually inscribed on a black background.

Occultic Cults

Occultic cults are characterized by their engagement in esoteric practices and rituals. These groups often believe in supernatural powers and perform secretive ceremonies. The “Eye of Horus” is a prevalent symbol among occultic cults, representing protection, power, and spiritual awakening.

Symbols of Cultism and Their Meanings

The Black Axe Confraternity

The Black Axe Confraternity, also known as the Neo-Black Movement of Africa, uses a double-headed axe as its symbol. This symbolizes the group’s commitment to dismantling oppression and fighting for justice.

The Buccaneers Confraternity

The Buccaneers Confraternity employs a skull and crossbones symbol, reflecting the pirate-like mentality of its members. It signifies their readiness to take risks and challenge the status quo.

The Supreme Eiye Confraternity

The Supreme Eiye Confraternity’s symbol, a stylized bird soaring above a mountain, embodies the group’s aspiration for freedom and supremacy.

The Neo-Black Movement of Africa

The Neo-Black Movement of Africa uses a clenched fist symbol that represents solidarity, resistance, and the struggle for equality among its members.

10 Causes of Cultism

1. Identity Crisis

Many individuals, especially the youth, seek belonging and identity. Cults provide a false sense of community and purpose, exploiting the vulnerable.

2. Lack of Education

Limited access to education perpetuates ignorance, making individuals susceptible to manipulative ideologies offered by cults.

3. Social Isolation

Loneliness and isolation push people towards groups that promise companionship and acceptance, even if they come with sinister intentions.

4. Desire for Power

Some individuals are drawn to cults due to a thirst for power and control, which these groups often exploit for their nefarious agendas.

5. Financial Desperation

Cults may promise financial security or prosperity, luring in those grappling with economic hardships and desperate for a way out.

6. Family Dysfunction

Broken families and lack of support systems can lead individuals to seek solace in cults, where they believe they’ll find a new ‘family.’

7. Rebellion and Nonconformity

The allure of rebelling against societal norms can lead some to join cults as an act of defiance, often without understanding the consequences.

8. Charismatic Leaders

Charismatic leaders manipulate and brainwash followers, exploiting their vulnerabilities and persuading them to do their bidding.

9. Emotional Manipulation

Cults prey on emotions, offering love, validation, and purpose in exchange for blind obedience, creating a toxic cycle that’s hard to escape.

10. Lack of Critical Thinking

Individuals who haven’t developed critical thinking skills are more likely to fall for persuasive tactics used by cults.

Government and Law Enforcement Measures

The Nigerian government and law enforcement agencies have intensified efforts to curb cultism. However, challenges remain due to the deep-rooted nature of these groups and their ability to infiltrate various sectors of society.

Combating Cultism: Role of Education and Awareness

Education and awareness are crucial in combating cultism. Schools and communities must educate individuals about the dangers of joining these groups and empower them to resist the allure of such organizations.


Cultism in Nigeria is a multifaceted issue that demands immediate attention. The diverse types of cultism in Nigeria and their symbols 2023, showcase the complex challenges the country faces. It is essential to address these challenges collectively, fostering a society where individuals are not lured into the grip of these dangerous organizations.


  1. Are these cults only prevalent in Nigeria? Cults exist in various parts of the world, but Nigeria has seen a significant rise in their presence and influence.
  2. Are there any efforts to rehabilitate former cult members? Yes, there are rehabilitation programs aimed at helping former cult members reintegrate into society and overcome the psychological effects of their involvement.
  3. Can law enforcement eradicate these cults entirely? While eradication is challenging, law enforcement efforts combined with awareness and community involvement can significantly reduce their impact.
  4. Do these cults target specific demographics? Cults often target vulnerable individuals, including students, youths, and those seeking a sense of belonging.
  5. How can parents protect their children from falling into the trap of cultism? Parents should maintain open communication with their children, educate them about the dangers of cults, and foster a supportive environment at home.

Leave a Comment