Editorial: Visa restrictions, hardships experienced by innocent individuals abroad highlight consequences of cultism exported by Nigerians

Editorial: Visa restrictions, hardships experienced by innocent individuals abroad highlight consequences of cultism exported by Nigerians

In a disappointing setback for 25-year-old Nigerian, Seun Adeoye, his visa application to attend a cybersecurity conference in Dubai was denied, hindering his professional growth and exposing the consequences of cultism exported by Nigerians.

Adeoye, the team lead of Tiger Security Firm in Lagos, frequently travels abroad for training and conferences but faced visa restrictions due to the prevalence of cultism in Nigeria.

Expressing his frustration, Adeoye stated, “I was hoping that the conference would help me expand my network and enhance my knowledge in cybersecurity, but I couldn’t attend. I also intended to return and train my team on improvements, but that opportunity was lost. In 2022, I applied again but wasn’t selected.”

Secondary school students arrested for cultism

The Nigerian embassy informed Adeoye that Dubai authorities had imposed visa restrictions on Nigerian travellers due to cases of cultism in the country.

This denial highlights a larger issue of Nigerians exporting cultism, resulting in visa restrictions and hardships for innocent individuals seeking legitimate opportunities abroad.

The roots of cultism in Nigeria can be traced back to the 1950s when secretive student groups like the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates) emerged within higher education institutions.

Initially driven by bridging socioeconomic gaps and left-wing politics, these groups eventually deviated towards criminal activities.

Unfortunately, expelled members from Pyrates formed their own associations dedicated to organized crime, leading to the rise of notorious secret societies like the Supreme Eiye Confraternity, also known as ‘the National Association of Airlords,’ and the Aiye Confraternity, known as ‘Black Axe.’

These groups have hierarchical structures akin to militia groups and are involved in various criminal activities.

The influence of cultism has expanded beyond universities, infiltrating secondary schools, primary schools, and even communities of tradespeople such as transport workers and artisans.

Violent groups formed by secondary school students often instill fear through harassment and disruption of the social order. Expelled cult members escalate their criminal activities, leading to further violence and insecurity.

The consequences of cultism exported by Nigerians have been witnessed abroad. Street clashes and violent confrontations between rival cult groups have occurred in foreign cities, prompting concerns and stricter visa restrictions.

Some dangerous weapons retrieved from cult members

Nigerian cultists engaging in illicit activities such as drug dealing, human trafficking, and violence tarnish the reputation of Nigerians abroad, posing harm to innocent individuals.

Similar incidents have been reported in countries such as South Africa, Turkey, Malaysia, India, and Italy.

These occurrences have led to visa restrictions and illegal profiling of law-abiding Nigerian migrants due to the actions of a few. The exportation of cultism perpetuates violence, revenge, and insecurity.

It is crucial for Nigerian authorities, educational institutions, and society as a whole to take proactive measures to address this issue.

Efforts should focus on dismantling the influence of cult groups and promoting a culture of peace, education, and inclusivity.
Only through concerted actions can Nigeria ensure a safer future, both at home and abroad, and mitigate the negative impacts associated with the exportation of cultism.

Tijani Ajara wrote this piece.

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