AKINPELU Babajide (2015) Trends and patterns of fatalities resulting from cult societies and belief in witchcraft in Nigeria (2006– 2014)
As a result of the voracious appetite and interest of the average Nigerian in anything metaphysical, the media tend to over-sensationalize the issues of witchcraft and cult societies. Religious bodies also tend to overemphasize sorcery as a major source of misfortune and poverty, creating fear in the hearts of the common man. Relying on the Nigeria Watch database data recorded since 1 June 2006, however, this study reveals that witchcraft accounted for only 661 violent deaths in the last eight years, or 1 per cent of the total number of fatalities reported during the period under review. Moreover, most deaths attributed to sorcery occurred in the southern part of the country. The same pattern applies to cult societies, opposing the South to the North. In the North, eight states did not experience any ritual killings in the last eight years. Though the belief that politics is related to cult societies is strong, the number of violent incidences leading to death is low. Therefore, evidence of such a relationship remains vague and nebulous.