The implication of ritualism on moral development of Nigerian youths
1.1 Background of the study
Moral education is an issue that is currently being widely discussed as a result of the moral decadence of youths. The Nigerian society particularly is now in serious crisis for the high level of immorality that prevails in our society perpetrated by Youth. Today so many adolescent and adults are delinquent and divided in character.These range from immoral activities such as rape, sexual violence, and deviant behaviours to dire criminal activities such as man-stealing, kidnapping, human sacrifice, murder, armed robbery, vandalism, and a host of others. Within the space of the last few years, Nigeria has recorded an increase in ritual killing.
Ritual killing is a common phenomenon in Nigerian daily life. It has become a regular event when hundreds of Nigerians lost their lives to ritual killers or what Nwakanma, & Abu, (2020) called, “Head Hunters.” The ritual killers go about in search of human parts – heads, breasts, tongues, and sex organs – as demanded by witch doctors, juju priests, traditional medicine men or women and/or occultists who require such for their dubious sacrifices or for the preparation of assorted magical portions (Igwe, 2010). In daily newspapers and magazines, many more Nigerians than ever before are declared missing, just as the incidence of ritual killings attains worrisome dimensions. Yet the authorities appear helpless (Aiyetan, 2003).
In the contemporary Nigeria, ritual killing has taken new dimension. Tell magazines describe the scene as the “Reign of the Ritualists” (Elesho2004). Many diverse means are used to kidnap people with evil intentions; especially for rituals. Many of those kidnapped for such purposes are long gone but there are a lucky few who actually live to tell the story of their encountered with the ritualists. Some of the kidnappers caught with their victims some time dead or half-dead also testified of their dubious acts (Aiyetan, 2003). There are all sorts of stories of various techniques of kidnapping; some people disappeared on picking or touching some items set as trap by ritualists or kidnappers. It seems obvious in Nigeria that ritual killers are more prevalent at certain seasons in the year – like the weeks leading to Christmas and during some yearly pilgrimages. It is generally believed that people engage in sacrifice of human beings to get money to spend at such festive periods. There are some known cases of people who killed their wives, husbands, mothers or even their children for money making rituals (Aiyetan, 2003).
Notably, Yahoo plus rituals is the latest on board which is an advanced development to that of normal Yahoo – Yahoo crime. Most yahoo plus boys do not need to defraud or fleece anyone in order to have money. In most cases, they just need to have sex with girls in order to take their destiny and make them look useless or died suddenly thereafter. Yahoo ritualists look for ladies‟ underwear for ritual. For the fear of Yahoo Boys, people in some parts of the country no longer hang their clothes on ropes outside in order not to fall victim of Yahoo ritualists (Ritualists, 2018).
According to Aghawenu (202), the crazy desire cuts across all geographical boundaries and social strata and the extremes Nigerians can go in their bid to satiate their appetite for cheap wealth and varieties of life are unprecedented which is deterimental to the moral development of these youths.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Inculcation of morality is the basic task of socialization process in every culture which includes the communication of moral standard, shaping and enforcing the practice of “good” behaviours in the development child. However, moral issues have been neglected in the present time which resulted into serious moral decadence. It could be argued that the neglect of moral education is responsible for the rampant cases of armed robbery, unwanted pregnancies, child abandonment, examination malpractice, cultism, drug trafficking, embezzlement of public fund, corruption, dishonesty etc. This negligence could be part of the explanation for the disorders, crisis and anxiety that are so common in our society.
With these recurrent incidences of ritual killings in the country, one is forced to ask why such brutal and barbaric act persists in spite of the level of civilization and globalization. Various explanations have been offered by scholars and many social scientists. While some blame the problem on the economic conditions in the country especially as ritual killings increase in periods of economic hardship; others argue that traditional beliefs in fetish and rituals have permeated the twenty-first century. Salisbury (2012) noted that those who practice sacrifice and ritual killings believe them to be acts of spiritual fortification. Motivations to carry out these acts include the use of human body parts for medicinal purposes and the belief that human body parts possess supernatural powers that bring prosperity and protection. In Uganda, for instance, researches have shown that human sacrifice is usually done by many wealthy persons in an effort to expand their fortunes. In Swaziland and Liberia, politicians allegedly commission ritual killings to improve their odds in elections ( Igwe, 2010).
In Nigeria, many people still believe that charms and ritual sacrifices can fortify them spiritually, enhance their fortunes in business and during elections, or protect them from harm, disease, poverty, accident, death or destruction. These beliefs have been identified to further encourage some youth to participate in ritual murders to appease deities, pray for supernatural favours, ward off misfortune or create mystical wealth hence endangering their moral development. Thus it is agianst this background that this study seeks to examine the implication of ritualism on moral development of Nigeria Youth.
1.3 Objective of the study
The broad goal of this study borders on the implication of ritualism on moral development of Nigeria Youth. Specifically the study focused on the following precise objectives:
i. To determine the nature of ritual killings perpetuated by Nigeria Youth.
ii. To ascertain the purpose of youth engagement in ritualism.
iii. To investigate whether youth involvement in ritualism undermine their moral development.
iv. To establish whether high rate of ritualism contributes to moral decadence in Nigeria Society.
1.4 Research Hypothesis
HO1: Youth involvement in ritualism does not undermine their moral development.
HO2: High rate of ritualism contributes to moral decadence in Nigeria Society
1.5 Significance of the Study
The result of the study will be of relevance to policy makers, Nigeria Youths and religious bodies. To policy makers, findings of the study will enlighten policy makers on the need to establish guiding principles to curtail ritual killing and establish punishment for those caught in this devilish act. To government, the study will also emphasize on the need to introduce poverty alleviation program, employment opportunities and support of entrepreneur as this will go a long way in reducing criminal behaviour among jobless youths. More the study will emphasize the need for to intensify teaching of moral education in schools, universities and as well encourage teachers/lecturers that teach moral education to be role model for our youths among others as this will reduce the rate of ritualism in Nigeria. Empirically, the study will add to the body of existing literature on ritualism as serve as reference material to scholars and student who wishes to conduct further studies in related field.
1.6 Scope of the study
The scope of this study borders on the implication of ritualism on moral development of Nigeria Youth. The study will further discuss the nature and purpose for ritual killings perpetuated by Nigeria Youth. It will investigate if youths’ involvement in ritualism undermine their moral development and if high rate of ritualism contributes to moral decadence in Nigeria Society. The study is however delimited to South-East region with reference to Owerri Municipal, Imo State.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scantiness of literature on implication of ritualism on moral development of Nigeria Youth. discourse. Thus much time and organization was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection. Also the study is limited in period as the study covered only South East region precisely owerri Municipal. Therefore findings of this study cannot be used for generalization for other regions or State which creates a gap for further studies.
1.8 Definition of terms
Ritualism: Also known as Ritual killings is a violent and extreme type of criminal homicide in which vital organs of the victim are excised by the slayers for use in “sacred” rites.
Moral development: Moral development focuses on the emergence, change, and understanding of morality from infancy through adulthood. Morality develops across a lifetime and is influenced by an individual’s experiences and behavior when faced with moral issues through different periods of physical and cognitive development.
Moral decadence: This means a gross reduction in the moral values in a particular society. It appears to be a fall’ in the moral standard of the society and a deterioration or a collapse in upholding our societal values, beliefs, norms and ethical standards.
Aghawenu g (2020) A Socio-Ethical Appraisal of Ritual Killings in Nigeria
Aiyetan, D. (2003, December 29). Reign of the Ritualists. Tell, p. 25
Elesho, R. a. (2004, August 23). Gory Rituals. The News, p. 18.
Igwe, L (2004), Ritual Killing and Pseudoscience in Nigeria. Skeptical Briefs. Volume 14 (2). Accessed 29th January 2015 at 3.59pm
Igwe, L (2010), Ritual killing and human sacrifice in Africa. International Humanist and Ethical Union. African Commission on Human and People’s rights — 48th Session November 10-24, Banjul, The Gambia.
Nwakanma, Emmanuel & Abu, Owapiriba. (2020). Cultural Issues In Violence Against Women And Ritual Killings In Nigeria: Assessing The Implications For Sustainable Development. 18. 15447-15457.
Ritualists, Y. (2018, 12 2). https://www.vanguardngr.com. Retrieved 9 15, 2019, from https://www.vanguardngr.com › 2018/12 › fear-of-ritualists-in-delta-we-anoint-our-pants…
Salisbury, S (2012) The Practice of Ritual Killings and Human Sacrifice in Africa. Human Rights Brief. Accessed 15th May, 2016 from http://hrbrief.org/2012/09/the-practice-of-ritual-killings-and-human-sacrifice-in-africa/ Si