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Social Vices in Higher Institutions in Nigeria

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Chapter one
1.0 Introduction

Just a casual look at Nigerian universities these days will suffice to realise that so many social vices have become the order of the day. Chief among these are the twin evils of cultism and indecent dressing.
Interestingly, these vices are commoner among the males and females respectively. What probably began as pacification to desires for companionship, protection and security; an innocent imitation of westerners has grown to bedevil sanity and progress on our university today.
In this paper, cultism, indecent dressing and some other related social vices will be dealt with in light of their causes, consequences and possible remedial steps.
1.1 Definition of Basic Terms * Social vices * Cultism * Secret cult * Secret societies * Indecent dressing Social vices:
Social vices are forms of evil, wicked and criminal actions or behaviours in the society. These are social problems and have been thought of as social situations that a large number of observers feel are inappropriate and need remedying. Social vices are those acts and conditions that violate societal norms and values.

The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary defined cult as a small group of people who have extreme religious beliefs and who are not part of any established religion.
Secret Cult:
Ogunade (2002) defined a secret cult as an enclosed organized association or group devoted to the same cause. It is an enclosed group having an exclusive sacred ideology and a series of rites centred on their sacred symbols.
Secret cult is a terminology coined by a former Military Head of State- Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida between 1983 -1984. Before this period, these gangs had always been referred to as fraternities.
The members of the cult, according to Ogunade (2002) commit themselves to oath and allegiance, which serves as their strong bond. This group of people are always violent when defending their course. Secret Societies:
Maquet (1971) defined secret societies as close associations, guilds, and cult groups with closed membership. These societies are 'fraternities' established by a conjunction of purposeful intentions with a view to achieving specific ends. They are branded 'secret ' partly because only few people with a special knowledge or interest can understand them.
Indecent Dressing:
The terms-decency and indecency-have so much to do with the morality of the individual person and as judged by others. A dress is therefore, said to be indecent when it has provocative or stimulating influence on almost all those that happen to view it on the user.
Egwim (2010) referred to indecent dressing in a more specific term as the attitude of someone, male or female that dresses to show off parts of the body such as the breasts, buttocks or even the underwear particularly those of the ladies that need to be covered.

1.2 Brief Overview
There is no gainsaying the fact that our higher institutions have been bedevilled by indecent dressing, cultism and other related social vices. In fact, if a stranger were to walk into an environment and see young people indecently dressed; he would be right ninety per cent of the time if they guessed that they were in a higher institution.
The truth remains that our higher institutions remain the birthing ground of future leaders and professionals that would determine the destiny of our nation in the near future. One can then imagine the kind of nation these ones would build.
Something must be done; and done urgently if we will salvage this nation from impending disaster. This term paper examines these critical issues as well as suggestions well thought to nip this evil cycle in the bud.

Chapter Two
The Menace of Indecent Dressing and related Social Vices in our Higher Institutions.
Tertiary institutions of learning in Nigeria have been bedevilled with obscene dressing particularly by female students. Most girls go bare, display their navels and boobs and wearing what are just ample cleavages on display, depicting size and shape of the private parts with minis that barely skim the bottom.
It appears now that to be fashionable, one has to become half nude, dressed in sleeveless/see-through tops without bra. According to Irtwange (2004), this constitutes Weapons of Mass Distraction (WMD) and sexual harassment.
2.1 Forms of Indecent Dressing
Every culture/community according to (2011) has its dressing code that may vary according to cultures. Despite this variation, one thing is certain and that is that every culture/community has an acceptable dress code. So every dress code that deviates from the one acceptable to the community especially as it affects the set moral standard or judgment of the community is termed indecent.
In a typical higher institution in our environment, the following dressing patterns may be regarded as indecent:
Sleeveless tops, Spaghetti top, Body hugs, tight trousers and dresses, Short Knickers, Mini Skirt, Transparent clothes, Off shoulders, Bogus fashion jewelleries , Wicket Straps, Mono Straps, Dress and Skirt with slit above the knees, T-Shirts and jean which carry immoral messages, Eye Shadow, Excessive Lipsticks, Rastafarian hairstyles, Nail attachments, Rosy Chicks, etc. Clothes that expose sensitive parts of the body such as the burst, chest, belly, upper arms and buttocks.
Shirts or any wear revealing the armpit, Short Knickers above the when not, required, Head ties, Earrings-Shirts and jeans which carry immoral
Messages, Kaftans without trousers, Long and busy hairs and beards, Braiding, Permed hairs, Jerry curls, Plaited hairs, Dreadlocks, etc.

2.2 Causes of Indecent Dressing
This behavior is of a hydra-headed origin. It is not just a behaviour that developed overnight, but an accumulated behavioural pattern that could be attributed to the following reasons: * Poor Parenting * Peer Pressure * Fading Cultural Values * Negative Societal influences * Wrong use of the Internet etc.

2.3 Effects of Indecent Dressing
Indecent dressing could lead to the following:
Sexual Harassment
There is the likelihood that ladies who dress indecently or provocatively could be prone to sexual harassment and or rape. These forms of dresses suggest that such ladies need attention and that they are irresponsible and so there are always irresponsible men to dialogue, lure or force them to bed for sex. HIV/AIDS
This is another risk factor that immodestly dressed ladies could be prone to. When such ladies are forced into sex against their will they may be exposed to venereal diseases because of lack of protection. One of such killer diseases is HIV/AIDS.

Campus Prostitution
Skimpy, transparent and or body exposing dresses are known in ancient Africa to be the dress pattern of prostitutes or whores. Most ladies found in such dresses are always negotiated for sex or social intimacy because they are most times thought to be without husbands. Apart from this notion, most campus ladies that dress this way engage in prostitution and commercial sex to be able to sponsor and sustain these forms of dresses. Ritual Killing
This is another consequence that indecently dressed youths particularly the female ones are amenable. Many of them based on their mode of dressing had been invited for a supposed sex only to be murdered by ritual killers. Tendency to Steal
In attempt to look modern and be like others, many of these youths had taken to stealing and armed robbery. The boys for instance, under financial pressure from their girlfriends could resort to armed robbery to square up to this demand to impress and keep their “babes”. Lying
The home background of some of these students may not allow for prostitution, stealing or armed robbery but to keep afloat and up-to-date with what is in vogue, they may resort to lying “the lesser sin”, to obtain the money they need from their parents. Poor Performance in School Work
Most students in this form of dresses tend to have little or no serious time for their academic work. Their concern is mostly how to look good and appear in the latest stuff. Several of them battle with carry over courses with the consequences of staying longer in the school than is normal to graduate, graduate with very weak grades and some may not even graduate at all having outlived their studentship in the college and not being able to pass some prescribed courses.

2.4 Possible Solutions to Indecent Dressing
The problem of indecent dressing requires an integrated approach because of its multifaceted causes. The following suggestions are discussed:
Parents are to serve as role models
Children watch their parents and copy their ways of behavior. The behavior of parents impresses on their children more greatly than what they tell them either to do or not to do.
Parents are to be obligated to their children by bringing them up properly and in the fear of God. They are to teach them the fundamental things they need to learn about correct values, attitudes and beliefs cherished by the society by being exemplary.
Apart from being moral exemplars, parents should have time for their children. Children need the attention and love of their parents more than gifts they think they can buy for them as substitutes. A child with proper parental upbringing will not so quickly succumb to pressure from peers. Dress code
Some colleges and universities in Nigeria have variously introduced dress codes for their students. The problem is not just in making the rules but in their enforcements. For these rules to be enforced, lecturers should be made to collaborate with the college or university management staff and their security personnel. Lecturers are to be empowered to prevent indecently dressed students from attending their lectures, refuse to attend to such students in their areas of needs. The administrative staff should disallow such students from their offices while the security staff should serve as watchdogs
The mass media
The mass media is one strong agent of socialization. Radio houses, televisions, newspapers and magazines should confront rather than support indecent dressing. The display of some indecently dressed young girls for adverts and attraction should be discouraged.
Radios and television jingles that promote moral values and the sanctity of sex should always be aired and relayed. Programs that sample opinions of Nigerians on indecent dressing should be regularly put in place in addition to debates on the issue by youths in institutions of learning as means of effective sensitization

Formation of campus brigade
This brigade or club is to stand against indecent dressing by sensitizing and promoting good moral values particularly, the modest African dress patterns.
Members of this brigade or club should be empowered by the college or university authority to advise or counsel, and insist that decent dresses are won. Membership of this club is to be limited to students and should be made voluntary.
The ceremony for its formal inauguration is however, to be performed by the college or university authority. The office of the Student Affairs is to monitor and supervise the operations of this brigade.

2.5 Related Social Vices
Sexual Promiscuity
Sexual promiscuity among students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria is another serious vice that calls for serious concern. Most of the students who for the first time gain some social freedom from their parents’ watchful eyes and guidance easily fall prey to the temptation of tasting the forbidden fruit.
Some of them become so wild on the illicit lovemaking that they give most of their time and attention to it to the detriment of their studies. They become so much engaged in nocturnal activities that they sleep throughout the daytime in hostels or during lectures for those who would want to register their presence in classes. Some other ones completely abandon their lectures to keep appointments with boy-friends or “sugar daddies”.
Sexual promiscuity could lead to unwanted pregnancy, babies or even pre-mature death. In an attempt to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy, complications may result which may lead to hospitalization and absence from lectures for those who may survive. How can such students meet the required educational standards? Some of the students are so morally bankrupt that they rely absolutely on their womanhood to “pass” their examinations. They seduce fellow male students or examiners to assist them write their examinations or award them pass marks as the case may be.
The general increase in the social vices among students of higher institutions in Nigeria might be responsible for the general decline in the quality of the graduates being turned out by these institutions as the trends are moving in opposite direction.
None the less, the responsibility of preventing or curbing general students vices in our tertiary institutions should be a collective one resting on parents, teachers, religious leaders, authorities of the institutions as well as government.

Chapter Three
Cultism in Higher institutions and Related Social Vices
Cultism, like gangsterism, is a global social problem. In 1999, Britain witnessed the upsurge in the activities of satanic group members who were said to be having horrific fun in killing cats. More than 100 cats were killed and mutilated by the group members in the sickening wave of ritual attacks. The cats killed had their heads, tails, and hind legs removed with cleaver (Sunday Champion, 1999).
3.1 Historical Development of Cultism in Higher Institutions in Nigeria
The origin of the phenomenon of cultism in Nigerian tertiary institution is traceable to the formation of pirate confraternity at the University of Ibadan in 1952 by Wole Soyinka and members of his group mainly as a lobby group of students in order to score even with the university authorities.
Besides, one of the objectives of the group was to inspire patriotic sentiments and to check the neo-colonialist mentality spreading among the nation’s educated class due to western education.
At that time, violence was not said to have manifested in their conduct. Nevertheless, this initially peaceful group later snowballed into an esoteric gang whose members were highly steeped in ritualism and voodooism.
From there, with its inherently contagious effect the phenomenon of cultism has virtually spread to almost all the tertiary institutions in the country and fast spreading to the secondary schools. Secret cult groups are now dreaded on the campuses. Because of their secret activities and ascribed mysticism and power, members enjoy an aura of fearsomeness especially from non- members.
According to Nwadike (2003), there are about 45 secret cults in Nigerian institutions of learning and are all equipped with an elaborate hierarchy, insignia and distinct attire. Some of the most notable of these secret cult groups include the Sea Dogs, Black Axe, Aiye, Vickings, Amazons, White Angels, Black Brassiers, Buccaneer Confraternity, etc. “Peace on campus initiative” (an organization formed to help control cultism on Nigerian campuses) revealed that as at September, 2003, 5,000 students and lecturers have died on Nigerian campuses as a result of cult-related violent clashes (New Age, 2003). The frequent outbreaks of cult wars in some campuses have generated feelings of fear and social insecurity among students and lecturers. The unhealthy rivalries among secret cult groups often intensify acts of terrorism and hatred among students on campuses. These sometimes result in the closure of tertiary institutions for quite a long time, which has negative effect on implementation of academic programmes.
Generally, the goals and objectives of cult activities in our institutions are not very clear and meaningful. In most cases, youths join cult groups to gain recognition and popularity and to enhance social life on the campus. They easily mobilize or force other students to join riots or demonstrations against constituted authorities or even against other cult groups that oppose their operations.
Whenever their member is expelled from school on grounds of poor academic performance or anti-social behaviour, they generate and cause troubles that usually lead innocent students into riots and destruction of college or university property. They use threats to intimidate girls to befriend them and engage in the taking of dangerous drugs to become bold and authoritative. They use threats to force students to elect them into leadership positions.
3.2 Reasons Why Students Join Cults
Majority of the people who join new-age cults are between 18-22 years old at the time of first contact i.e. the immediate post-high school period. Though persons as young as 14 years have become victims because of various reasons which include:
1. Some young students in cults have experienced very unstable or non-existent family relationship, but they do not constitute the norm.
2. Many students have experienced varying degrees of communication problems with their parents.
3. A number of students have known the pains and deprivation of a single-parent home and perhaps for this reason, some have strongly identified with older students who provide a parental image.
4. Some young people who have problem backgrounds and have experienced varying degrees of "failure". Most of these people come from broken homes or have a history of emotional problems and unresolved personal conflicts.
5. More than anything else, the young people pursuing cults today are involved in search for identity and a quest for spiritual reality that provides clear-cut answers to questions. 6. The chief target of the cults are the children of affluence, these ones may be suffering from identity confusion or identity crisis and they want to be identified with re-known group and so, they are easily carried away by the activities of the cult.
3.3 Menace of Cultism on Higher Institutions
The institutions of higher learning which ought to be ideal places for the training of minds have become war zones where cult groups unleash their terror in the community. Falana (1999) enumerated some of the menace of the secret cults in our institutions of higher learning thus:
1. In 1997, at the University of Benin, the Secretary General of the Students' Union was killed by cult members invited by the school authority when the students gathered to discuss on commercialization and rationalization of courses.
2. The Principal Assistant Registrar of the Delta State University- Peter Otobo was murdered in cold blood by cultists over issues burdening on school administration.
3. Mr Ileoje, the Head of Department at the Institute of Technology (IMT), Enugu was shot in his office by a female cult member early in 1997.
4. Early in 1997, a final year Banking and Finance student at the Ondo State University, Ado Ekiti (OSUA) was killed for deflection. He was murdered in his hostel after renouncing cultism.
5. On July 10, 1999, seven undergraduates of the Obafemi Awolowo University (O.A.U), Ife, were murdered in cold blood in their sleep by secret cult members from within and outside the campus.
6. At the University of Ibadan, the Chief Security Officer was brutally killed by cult members in the presence of his wife and children.
7. In the past few years, the University-of Ilorin, Ogun State University, University of Calabar, Kwara State Polytechnic, Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education nationwide have witnessed serious conflagration as a result of cultism. The Degree of blood bath and level of sophistication is appalling and something must be done to eradicate it. 3.4 How to Eradicate Cultism in Higher Institutions
. Cultism is a social crime and the activities of cultists are sometimes laden with blood. Through the cultist’s activities, many lives have been lost, many people maimed and many students have been rusticated. There is the urgent need to put an end to it. Some people have openly declared that cultism is as worst as armed robbery.
So, in order to curb it, there should be:
1. A definite legislation that will give a death sentence to anybody found guilty of cult activities in the campuses.
2. Moral education should be made compulsory in the primary and secondary schools in the country.
3. Cultism and its consequences should be treated in the General Studies courses in all tertiary institutions in the country.
4. Parents should take time to understand their children; give enough time to listen to them at home and satisfy their emotional, psychological and physical needs.
5. Parents should watch the friends their wards are keeping in the institutions. Take time to watch any misbehaviour put up by their wards and correct immediately. .
6. Aggressive evangelism of wagging war against cultism in all tertiary institutions should be allowed by all religious groups in the country.
3.5 Related Social Vices
Examination Malpractice
Examination malpractice is any act of omission or commission, which compromises the validity and integrity of any examination (Ministry of Education, Benue State, 2001). Malpractice refers to counter practice that is against ethics of examination. It is an act of disrespect to all rules and regulations guiding the good conduct of any examination or any evaluation process.
In recent times, examination malpractice has gone from simple ‘giraffing’ where students occasionally strain their necks to catch glimpse of what they want to copy from other student’s scripts to a variety of sophisticated methods.
There are many causes of examination malpractice in Nigeria but only a few shall be mentioned here for lack of space. One of the major causes of examination malpractice can be attributed to moral decadence in Nigeria. The emphasis on paper qualification or certificate is another cause of examination malpractice. Another major cause of examination malpractice is inadequate teaching and learning facilities such as classrooms, libraries, laboratories and even teachers compared to the population of students. Thus, effective conduct of examination becomes difficult. Other students’ vices such as cultism, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity and truancy are also encouraging examination malpractice on our campuses as students devote more time to them than their studies.
Drug Abuse
Drug abuse refers to the use, especially by self-administration, of any drug in a manner that deviates from an approved medical or social pattern within a given culture (Jaffe, 1975). Government agencies refer to any use of an illicit substance as drug abuse e.g. opioids, heroine, marijuana (Indian hemp).
Generally, there are certain drugs, which users, including adolescents, become easily addicted to and therefore abuse a lot. These are mostly (i) central Nervous system stimulants (ii) Central Nervous system Depressants (iii) Hallucinogens (iv) Narcotic analgesics (v) alcohol and (vi) tobacco. Alcohol, though a social drug, when taken in excess causes undesirable effects on individuals personal judgement and social relationships. The causes of drug abuse among students are not too different from those for adults. Bell (1970) notes that drug abuse has many causes viz: cultural, social, economic, psychological and family pathology. These causes include drug abuse through ignorance; deliberate drug abuse, drug abuse for pleasure; drug abuse from curiosity; incorrect drug dosage; drug habit and addiction; home, school or work environment; personal feeling of inadequacy; and membership of group/peer pressure.
Some of the above causes are of particular interest to the educationist. For instance, it has been shown that most of the students who take drugs to aid them with their studies are those with poor educational records to start with, and sometimes also have a history of instability and family social problems. Similarly, students in particular may engage in drug abuse due to group/peer pressure and the need to belong and be accepted by groups of which they are members.
Although drugs have very important beneficial effects to man, when abused, they lead to a lot of undesirable consequences on the individual as well as on the society. Some of the social effects of drug abuse on students include wastage of money/resource; lack of concentration in studies; violent crimes such as fighting, rape, suicide, murder etc; and physical and psychosomatic disorders/diseases.
Judging from the numerous causes and effects of drug abuse, it is not easy to prescribe exact solutions to the problem especially among adolescents who quickly change a lot in behaviour. However, the fight should be carried out in two main fronts namely (i) the family and (ii) Education and public enlightenment.
3.6 Conclusion
The general increase in the social vices among students of higher institutions in Nigeria might be responsible for the general decline in the quality of the graduates being turned out by these institutions as the trends are moving in opposite direction.
None the less, the responsibility of preventing or curbing general students vices in our tertiary institutions should be a collective one resting on parents, teachers, religious leaders, authorities of the institutions as well as government.

References (2011). Curbing moral decadence in our educational sector.
Bell, D. S. 1970. “Drug addiction.” Bulletin on Narcotics. 22(2): 21 – 32.
Denga, D. I. 1991. Nigerian Education: Proposals for a Smooth Voyage to the Year 2000 and Beyond. London: Rapid Education Publishers.
Egwim, C. (2010). Indecent dressing among youths. webpages/features.
Eitzen, D. S. 1980. Social Problems. Toronto: Allyn and Bacon Inc.
Fadipe, J. O. and E. E. Oluchukwu 1999. Educational Planning and Administration in Nigeria in the 21st Century. A publication of the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NEPA), Nigeria.
Falana. F. (1999). "The menace of secret cults on campuses". National Concord. Monday, September 20.
Igbokwe, J. M. 1997. “Drug Abuse in a Depressed Economy.” A lecture presented during the physician week held at Abakaliki, Nigeria, October, 24.
Irtwange, S. V. 2004. “Learning, Character and University of Agriculture, Makurdi Degree.” An Internal Memo, Student Affairs Department, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria. Ministry of Education, Benue State 2001. “How to excel in examination and be free from cults.” Makurdi, Nigeria: Ministry of Education Publication New Age Newspaper 2003. Tuesday, September 23. Lagos, Nigeria.
Maquet. J. (1971). Power and Society in Africa. New York: McGraw Hill. p. 217.
Nwadike, C. 2003. “The Political Relevance of Cultism.” Beyond Frontiers, 2003/2004 Edition: 45 - 46.
OGUNADE, R. (2002; "Secret societies and-cultic activities in Nigerian tertiary institutions" in Leading Issues in-General Studies, University of Ilorin Press.
Olatunde, A 1979. Self-medication: Benefits, Precautions and Dangers. London: Macmillan Press Ltd.
Orukpe, T. 1998. “Secret cults and the Law.” National Concord Newspaper, Thursday, December 17, Lagos, Nigeria.
Sunday Champion Newspaper 1999. “British Cultists Swoop on Cats.” January 17, Lagos, Nigeria.
The Scholar 2001. “Employer’s Assessment of Graduates in the market place.” A publication of ASUU, June. “Excerpts from ‘Labour Market Prospects of University Graduates in Nigeria.” (A World Bank/ Nigerian Institute of Social and Economics Research Document).

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