Cultists are known to be responsible for violence, robberies and killings around Nigerian campuses. In this article, eight Nigerian women talk about either experience with cultists

black girl leaning on the wall with curly hair

Eme, 21 

In February this year, a random guy ran towards me and introduced himself as Chris. He said we met in primary school, but I did not remember him. We exchanged phone numbers and went our separate ways or so I thought. He started calling me every day, asking me to meet with him. He wanted me to hug him and get paid. The first amount he proposed was ₦50,000. I had to block him on WhatsApp. He kept calling. I tried to block his calls as well, but it didn’t work. He would call me at odd hours and ask me about my whereabouts and what I wore. 

He increased the money to ₦80,000. He was begging. He just wanted to see me and hug me. This continued for four months.

In June, he insisted I saw him where I usually went to have breakfast with my friends. I agreed because it was a public place and my friends were going to be there. When he came and saw my friends, he asked why I wasn’t alone. He got angry and left. Later, he called saying that I should bring all my friends to his hotel room. I said no.

He continued to call me every day and sent me messages from different phone numbers. Sometimes, he would impersonate other people. He said if I hugged him and cuddled him with my clothes on, he would give me ₦300,000. I insulted him and blocked him on that number. 

He started threatening me, so I took the matter to my school’s security. I pretended like I had agreed to hug him and he was supposed to come and pick me up. When he arrived and was forcing me to hug him, they came out to arrest him. He tried to run but they caught him.

They found two bottles of liquid substances on him. When he was asked what they were, he said they were his drugs. They asked him to drink, but he smashed the bottles on the floor. One turned black immediately. The other started foaming. He was transferred to the chief security officer’s office where he was thoroughly searched. They found pictures of different girls in his bag. He said they were his cousins. In his wallet, they found a vikings pass, indicating that he was a norseman.

The case was transferred to the Anti-cultism and Kidnapping squad, where he confirmed that he was a cultist. He said he wanted to rape me or kill me, depending on how I behaved. But they had no case because he wasn’t caught in the act. He signed an undertaking that he would never contact me, my friends and family, and would be held responsible if anything happened to me.A restraining order was filed as well. After everything, I had to move home. I was scared of going out and whenever people looked at me for too long, I confronted them. I don’t know if I have gotten over it. 

Ay, 23

One of my friends was dating a cultist in 2016. He was their leader, so whenever my friend and I hung out with her boyfriend, I would see this other guy. Let’s call him H. H and I used to exchange pleasantries. One day, my friend and her boyfriend told me H liked me. I already knew they were cultists and even though they weren’t violent, I didn’t want to say no to dating him because I was afraid. 

We started hanging out, and he wasn’t so bad. One day, we were kissing in his room when he asked me if I was on my period. was, so I said yes. He started saying “fuck” and looked stressed. Then he said the baba said he wasn’t supposed to come near any girl when she’s on her period. He brought out something from his bag. It was wrapped in black and red cloth. That’s where I blacked out — I don’t remember what happened after that. 

I just know I left that place. I moved out of my room to a friend’s place in school. I used to take very long walks in the evening but after that incident, I stopped and only took cabs if I had to go out. I also changed my phone number. About a month later, I ran into someone who told me he had been removed from the cult because he was trying to organize a coup, and they found out. I was still scared so I continued to avoid going out throughout that year. 

Arin, 20 

In my first year at the university, I met a guy while my friends and I were taking a walk. He asked for our names and where we stayed, and we told him. The next day, I met him in my faculty. He said he likes me and would like to date me. I told him I would think about it. 

He started coming to my hostel every evening. My friends told me I should tell him I wasn’t interested, so I gathered courage and told him. He looked angry but I tried not to bother myself about it. 

Three days later, I asked a coursemate who lived in his hostel if he knew the guy. He said yes and added that he was a cultist. My eyes almost  popped out. A few days later,   my friends and I went to a show where we met mutual friends. One of them told us a story of how a guy was “paraing” in their hostel that a girl turned down his proposal. I asked for the guy’s name, and it turned out it was the guy that was disturbing me. I wasn’t myself for the rest of the show. At some point, I burst into tears. I started asking my friends if I was wrong to turn him down. They told me they would follow me wherever I went to make sure I was safe. 

The following week, I saw him on the road. Luckily, I was with my friends. I greeted him and he didn’t answer me. He walked past me and gave me the “fuck you” sign.I didn’t say anything in response. I haven’t seen him since then. 

IY, 22

The first guy that asked me out in university was a cultist. He was my neighbour at the time. He was just a floor member in his cult but later, one of his superiors, Ade* started asking me out. I didn’t agree to date any of them, but we had a good friendship. Because Ade was always around me, his subordinates who would usually bully others on the streets were like my errand boys. They would buy me food, drinks, anything I needed. We eventually hooked up a couple of times, but I never dated him. 

A few years later, I dated someone else in a different branch of the same cult. Our relationship lasted for a couple of months and it was interesting. One time, this guy showed up at my house with a gun. I was just 17. It wasn’t funny. I told him never to do that again. Another time, I overheard them planning to go and cause trouble. There was a day I was upset and he was trying to find out what was wrong with me and he said, “Shey na person vex you, make we go arrange am now now.”

I also dated another guy in a different cult some months later. Dating cult boys gave me a different perspective of them outside of what everyone thinks they are. I think some of them are really nice people and they know how to take care of women.  

Juachi, 20

I grew up in Diobu in Port Harcourt. Diobu is a no-go area for non-residents and people who aren’t familiar with the area. It’s a cultist den. Being female in such an environment put me at risk growing up. Plus I was an Ajebo. My body matured early, so I had big boobs and hips before I was 14. It drew a lot of attention to me. 

One day I was on an errand my mum sent me. On my way, I passed a group of cultists who were smoking and drinking. As I walked, I prayed none of them would call me but I was unlucky. An armourer of beta marine deck in the area called me and asked me to come. I ignored him and hastened my pace. He got angry and started following me while shouting, “Omo, baba start to dey pour me charge oh.  Who you think say you be, na because of small ynash wey you get? I go fuck you up for this area, nothing go happen. Shey you dey live for street A, I go draw your map. I go feed you groundnut, wey go weigh you.”

I was so scared I ran into a compound to seek refuge. When they were done, I came out to do what they sent me. I was too scared to tell my parents but I told my brother, though he couldn’t do anything about it. The cultist started coming to look for me — he would stand at my junction and wait for me. My house was a 2-storey building with a balcony, and we stayed on the top floor. I would always go to the balcony to check for him before I leave my house. I also followed different routes that I knew he wouldn’t be on. This continued for a while until one night, there was a clash between alpha and beta marines, and he shot an alpha marine. He had to leave the environment, I never saw him again till we left that area.

I am still very traumatized by the event, so I rarely leave my house without a man following me. Once it’s 6 p.m, and there is no man to go out with me,  whatever it is has to wait till the next day. I also never pass a cluster of men again. If I see them anywhere, I’ll turn back and follow another route or cross over to the other side of the road if I have no choice. 

Amarachi, 20

In 2018, I was the rep of my class. There was this guy in my department that liked me and always looked out for me. Let’s call him Mr X. People told me to stay away. One of my coursemate’s mum told her daughter to tell me to stay away from him but I didn’t see the need to. The signs were everywhere — the tattoos, bloodshot eyes, marks on the skin, but I refused to see it. 

One time I asked him why his eyes were always red. He said his friends were always smoking and the smoke got into his eyes. I foolishly believed. He used to try to keep my boyfriend away from me because he liked me. People would tell me how he terrorized them in the hostel but I refused to believe that too.  In my eyes, he could do no wrong.

Everything went well until his group fell out with another. Everyone from his fraternity ran away except him, and that was how he went down. He died on school grounds. Omo, I wasn’t myself for days. That was when I realized everything everyone said was true.

Anu, 20 

There was this guy asking me out, but I had no idea he was a cultist. He seemed like a normal guy. He was nice to me. He would come to see me in class, follow me to the park where I’d get a bus to go home. He bought me food sometimes. 

One day, I was at his house and his friends came over. They all looked like cultists. I told him I felt uncomfortable around them, and he said they are harmless. There was this other guy that was also asking me to date him. One day, while we were hanging out, the other guy’s friends surrounded us. They asked why he was messing with a deity’s property. They didn’t talk to me, just the guy. That’s when I realized that he was a cultist. It was scary because I never felt threatened by him. I started avoiding him and when he realised, he asked why. I told him I don’t mess with cultists and I was done. My luck was that he liked me. so he didn’t disturb me. 

Bibi, 28 

My first boyfriend was a cultist and I was in love with him. I was 17 at the time. I met him at the place I used to take jamb lessons. He used to make me laugh like crazy. When we first met, I didn’t know he was a cultist. I was naive and didn’t know anything about that scene. So we used to hang out a lot but then when we were supposed to meet somewhere, he’d be so late and I would be upset.

One day he told me, he was part of the Aiye confraternity. I asked if it was a good thing and he said “Some things that are good for some people are bad for others.” I loved him, so I didn’t break up with him. I asked if he had ever killed anyone and he said no, but he’d kill for me. 

One time, he disappeared for about a year. He didn’t answer my calls or my messages.  When he showed up, I was so happy. I realize now that he might have gone underground to stay safe from a rival gang. I continued to hang out with him but eventually, I broke up with him because I was unhappy in the relationship. I was unhappy for a while but I got over him. 

Subscribe to our newsletter here.



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.