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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.

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