A Story Written By Nitefury…
Despite the death penalty placed on armed robbery, the high unemployment rate in the country continued to have direct links to its increasing rate. And because these robbers knew that once they were caught, it’s either the hang man’s rope or firing squad, they tended to operate with brute force. This meant the killing anyone, especially uniformed personnel (police/army) in their way. The armed forces had been having a running battle with robbers, with a notorious Lawrence Anini reigning supreme and topping the wanted men list.
But by late 70s and the dawn of the 80s, a new social vice was added to the list of crimes giving the police headache. Only this time around, it had the backing of the political class. I’m talking about Cultism.
Backtracking to the year 1952, a group of seven friends had formed the Pyrate (Sea Dogs) Confraternity at the elite University College, Ibadan. According to their observation, the university was populated with wealthy students who were associated with the colonial powers and a few poorer students, who strived in manner and dress to be accepted by the more advantaged students. It was also noted that campus social life was being dictated according to tribal affiliation.
One of the founders noted that the Pyrates aimed at differentiating themselves from “stodgy establishment and its pretentious products in a new educational institution different from a culture of hypocritical and affluent middleclass, different from alienated colonial aristocrats”.
With membership open to any promising male student (regardless of tribe or race) who must have passed stringent selection processes, the confraternity was very popular. And for almost 20 years, it remained the only confraternity on Nigerian campuses.
But in the year 1972, a group of students who were expelled from the Pyrates for failing to meet expected standards, went ahead to found the Buccaneers Confraternity (Sea Lords).
It is said that the primary reason for the creation of new confraternities was the fact that members of the new groups simply did not meet the high academic and intellectual standards set by their parent group, and thus considered the original organization to be elitist. As a result, different cult groups began to emerge without checks from relevant authorities. One of such cult groups was the “Night Crawlers” confraternity at the University of Lagos.
At the initial stages, there were no confrontations between rival groups as all of them went about their businesses mindful of the other. But as time proceeded, confrontations began with rival group members clashing. It wasn’t long before dangerous weapons were introduced to settle old scores, leading to death of members.
As members metamorphosed into dreaded monsters, the school authorities saw them as answers to insolent lecturers and student union leaders. Students and lecturers alike who questioned the authorities were usually intimidated or summarily executed gruesomely by these monsters, on the orders of the authorities who provided them protection or cover.
And by the time the elections of the late 70s came to play, the political class had seen in them willing tools for the intimidation or murder of their oppositions. At the end of the elections, weapons given to these students by the politicians were left with them. With these items in their possession, they intimidated, harassed, maimed or killed (rival) students, lecturers while some engaged in armed robbery and drug peddling.
Students were intimidated or coerced into becoming members, with preference for students from rich homes. This brings us to three friends named Emem, Jide and Chucks.
Emem Etuk is the first child of Mrs Margaret Etuk, a popular woman in Yaba who owned the popular southern Nigerian (or Calabar) restaurant. His dad who was a Lecturer in the department of political science Unilag, was murdered by suspected cultist in his office 7 years ago when he was in Jss3. The only child of his parents, his mom had worked so hard establishing herself so she could see him through the university. Although three years after the death of his father, his mother found love and took in for another man.
Gaining admission to study Mechanical engineering in Unilag, Emem became friends with Jide and Chucks. Jide is the son of a wealthy Lagos Oba while Chucks is the son of a Lagos based millionaire business man from the East. Both Jide and Chucks had been friends from FGC Ijanikin, where they were involved in all known and unknown vices associated with boarding schools.
Jide and Chucks became members of “Night Crawlers” confraternity right from their first year at the university. Emem had avoided the spotlight as the son of Dr. Etuk, the lecturer who was murdered in his office. But by his second year after he had become friends with Jide and Chucks with them realizing his identity, they began to coerce him into becoming a member of the Night Crawlers. He was promised vengeance for the murder of his dad, who according to them, was killed by a rival gang on the orders of a lecturer known to them.
As much as he wanted vengeance, he never fancied cultism. But what he hated most was the sight of his mother’s lover always coming around to sleep with his mother on his dad’s bed. The thought that she even had a kid for the man disgusted him to high heavens. But he finally made up his mind to join the group a month ago, when he came home for the weekend and saw his mother had bruises all over her body. Her lover had beaten her. His reason was to avenge his father and then deal with the lover man.
He had passed the first two stages of his initiation rites which involved getting drilled and taking a blood covenant. The final stage of his initiation had to do with embarking on a difficult and dangerous task. He was presented four different tags and asked to pick one. What ever task was written on the tag would be his final test.
The task on the card he picked was “Kidnap a Lady for the house”
To Be Continued…