An examination of home factors on youth engagement in ritualism



1.1 Background Of The Study

Nigeria has witnessed massive security difficulties, especially since the advent of democracy in 1999. Cybercrimes, vehicle theft, sophisticated fraud, drug smuggling, human trafficking, baby factory syndrome, among others, have continuously posed severe concerns in Nigeria.  However, the belief in the existence of supernatural forces and the conduct of ritual sacrifices are critical phenomena that have been part of Nigerian society for decades.  According to Oyewole (2015), the growth in rituals among youths in Nigeria in recent years has witnessed new sorts of risks to lives and security in the country’s internal security management.  Ritual killing has emerged as a major security concern in Nigeria, and the fate of the victims of ritual killing is generating growing attention. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NB) (2013), there have been over 4,000 occurrences of ritual killing reported to the police in the last decade. Ritual killing entails murdering or detaching parts of people for the purpose of using them as an object of ritual sacrifice with the objective of earning favor, popularity, power, protection, and ritual money, especially among youths.  The upsurge of rituals among youngsters in Nigeria has reached an alarming rate in recent years, with the selling, stealing, and utilization of female panties for money rituals becoming increasingly prevalent.  The recognized ritual killing that entails cutting the parts of its victims with the goal of using them as an object of ritual sacrifice to gain ritual money has been taken to a new deadly degree by youths in Nigeria.  The new evil of ritual presently assaulting our society does not necessarily include the death of its victims or cutting their parts; rather, female underwear is being violently taken at gunpoint, stolen, sold, and utilized for ritual money reasons.  Youths are continuously seeking ways out of the sufferings in Nigeria. This new phenomenon of ritual has received little or no academic or policy attention. In this context, this study attempts to analyze the home circumstances prompting youths to engage in ritualism.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Ritual killing is a widespread event in Nigerian daily life. It has become a regular occasion when hundreds of Nigerians lose their lives to ritual murders or what Leo Igwe (2004) nicknamed “head hunters. Human parts — heads, breasts, tongues, and genital organs – are sought for by witch doctors, juju priests, traditional medicine men and women, and/or occultists for questionable sacrifices or the manufacture of different magical sections (Igwe, 2004).  Unfortunately, the incursion of killings for ritualistic motives by Nigerian youths has reached a high level, as they are  continuously seeking ways out of the hardships.  Hence, they are more interested in the sorts of ritual offerings that induce or increase material advantages. In a quest to ascertain the factors which influence youths’ interest and involvement in ritualism, Okon (2018) asserted that family-related factors such as background, socioeconomic status, religious belief, parental upbringing, educational status of parents, etc. , result in youths’ upsurge for ritualism. Consequentially, the implications of this disagreeable spiritual activity exist in society, blazing from anguish and insecurity in the surroundings. It has caused extreme anguish and grief to many and has brought considerable hardship to the family and relations of the victims. Therefore, the essence of this research is to investigate the home factors that contribute to youth engagement in ritual acts.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

This study generally is focused on the examination of home factors on youth engagement in ritualism. Below are the specific objectives;

i. Ascertain the extent of youths engagement in ritualism

ii. Determine whether the socioeconomic status of parents contributes to youths engagement in ritualism.

iii. Ascertain whether parental upbringing attributes to youths engagement in ritualism.

iv. Ascertain whether educational status of the family influence youths interest in ritualism.

1.4 Research Question

The study will be guided by the following questions;

i. What is the extent for which Nigerian youths engage in ritualism?

ii. Does the socioeconomic status of parents contribute to youths engagement in ritualism?

iii. Does parental upbringing attributes to youths engagement in ritualism?

iv. Does the educational status of the family influence youths interest in ritualism?

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.

Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as literature review. This means that, other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regards to the examination of home factors on youth engagement in ritualism.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

This study from the general viewpoint examines the home factors influencing youths engagement in ritualism. The study further borders to the extent of youths engagement in ritualism, the socioeconomic status of parents and youths engagement in ritualism, parental upbringing as an attribute to youths engagement in ritualism, and the educational status of the family as an influential factor to youths interest in ritualism. Therefore, this study will be delimited to Bayelsa State.

1.7 Limitation Of The Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

1.8 Definition Of Terms

Ritualism:  Also known asRitual 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.

Insecurity: This entails lack of protection from crime (being unsafe) and lack of freedom from psychological harm (unprotected from emotional stress resulting from paucity of assurance that an individual is accepted, has opportunity and choices to fulfill his or her own potentials including freedom from fear.

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