Background of the study
In today’s world, shame and shamelessness are rewarded with encomiums and emphasized recognition, nakedness is now directly proportional to your fame and acceptance, skimpy dresses are now tickets to classy events, songs with intimate talking sell faster, and moral decay has continued to replace core values in society. Youths are no longer concerned with how advancements will improve their future, but rather with enriching themselves by any means required at such a young age (Afuye, 2013). Youth are regarded as the backbone of any society and as the leaders of tomorrow. However, youngsters have remained at the center of immoral activities and other vices that have the potential to ruin their future. Many Nigerian teenagers today have been enticed into risky lifestyles, engaging in heinous criminal actions such as man-stealing, kidnapping, human sacrifice, murder, armed robbery, vandalism, and a slew of others. In the last several years, there has been an uptick in ritual killings in Nigeria. (Sofadekan, 2016) Similarly, Adebisi (2018) stated that many young people nowadays are accumulating riches and enjoying the good things in life in a variety of ways. According to Idensi (2010), moral decadence thrives in various societies around the world, and immoralities such as drug abuse, school violence, sexual abuse, and killings, among others, are common among youths and children. According to Adebisi (2018), the belief that was proven by researchers indicated that a large percentage of Nigerian youths involved in anti-social vices are products of practices that do not conform to the decent and moral acts transferred to the current generation of parents by the previous generation.
A ritual is a series of patterns or procedures and directions for carrying out religious deeds or rituals as opined by Shujaa (2009). He continued by stating that ritual killings are a violent and extreme kind of criminal homicide in which the slayers remove crucial organs from the victim for use in “holy” rites involving human sacrifice. This entails giving up something valuable in exchange for something more valuable through human sacrifice (Ayegboyin 2009). Human sacrifice is a blood sacrifice that involves the killing of a living being as a ritual offering to a deity or spirit, usually in the hope of receiving a return in the form of good fortune, whether generalized or as the fulfillment of a specific petition (La Fontaine 2011). The skull, genitals, breasts, eyeballs, intestine, arms, and legs, as well as an excavated dead body or its dismembered parts, are some of the objects of sacrifice for this ceremony. Ritual killing is a prevalent occurrence in Nigerian society. Hundreds of Nigerians have died as a result of ritual killers, sometimes known as “Head Hunters,” according to Nwakanma and Abu (2020). The ritual killers go around looking for human parts — heads, breasts, tongues, and sex organs – as required by witch doctors, juju priests, traditional medicine men or women, and/or occultists who need such for dubious sacrifices or the manufacture of various magical sections (Igwe, 2010). Many more Nigerians are reported missing in daily newspapers and publications than ever before, and the number of ritual killings has reached alarming proportions. However, the authorities appear impotent, which contributes to moral degradation (Aiyetan, 2003).
Statement of the Problem
Vanity or material life, as depicted by many foreign media contents, has gravely endangered our conventional conventions in the last few years or so. This has altered our vision and direction, shifting us away from religion and patriotism and toward materialism, resulting in moral degradation. Various studies have revealed how Nigerian teenagers engage in a variety of immoral behaviors such as drug misuse, stealing, cultism, thuggery, and other related crimes and violence (Adebisi, 2013). However, moral degeneration is not taken seriously in our culture today, which has resulted in the emergence of a substandard breed of youths (Sofadekan,2016). This lack of morality is especially prevalent in metropolitan areas, which has resulted in a variety of vices committed primarily by teenagers, primarily between the ages of 15 and 25, when persons of this age indulge in ritual slaughter. According to Salisbury (2012), persons who engage in ritual killings think they are acts of spiritual fortification. The utilization of human body parts for therapeutic purposes, as well as the belief that human body parts hold supernatural qualities that provide prosperity and protection, are among the motivations for carrying out these crimes. According to Igwe (2010), many young people still believe that charms and ritual sacrifices might spiritually empower them, improve their fortunes in business and during elections, or protect them from damage, disease, poverty, accident, death, or destruction. These beliefs have been identified as motivating some youngsters to commit ritual killings in order to placate deities, pray for supernatural favors, ward off misfortune, or create mystical wealth, so jeopardizing their moral development.
Bizarrely,the ritualists always go scott free without being apprehending by the security agents and these challenge has led to public outcry, deteriorating the societal values and decaying the moral sanctity of the society. Therefore it is upon this backdrop that this study seeks to examine The implication of money ritual on moral decadence.
Objective of the study
The broad objective of this study is to examine the implication of money ritual on moral decadence. Specifically, the study seeks to
- To ascertain the reason of youth engagement in ritualism.
- To investigate factors that leads to youth involvement in ritualism.
- To investigate whether youth involvement in ritualism undermine social sanctity and security of lives in the society.
- To establish whether high rate of ritualism contributes to loss of cultural and moral values in Nigeria Society
The research is guided by the following questions:
- What are the reason for youth engagement in ritualism?
- What are the motivating factors that leads to youth to involvement in ritual killing?
- Does youth involvement in ritualism undermine social sanctity and security of lives in the society?
- Does the high rate of ritualism contributes to loss of cultural and moral values in Nigeria Society?
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. Empirically, the study will add to the body of existing literature on ritualism as serve as reference material to scholars and student who wishes to conduct further studies in related field.
Scope of the study
The scope of this study borders on the implication of money ritual on moral decadence. The study will ascertain the reason of youth engagement in ritualism and investigate factors that leads to youth involvement in ritualism. It will investigate if youths’ involvement in ritualism contributes to loss of social values in society and if high rate of ritualism contributes to moral decadence in Nigeria Society. The study is however delimited to South-West region with reference to Abeokuta metropolis, Ogun State.
Limitation of the Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scantiness of literature on implication of ritualism on sociocultural deterioration. discourse. Thus much time and organization was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection. Also the study is limited in period as the study covered only South-West region with reference to Abeokuta metropolis, Ogun State. Therefore findings of this study cannot be used for generalization for other regions or State which creates a gap for further studies.
Definition of terms
Ritualism: Also known as Ritual 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.
Moral development: Moral development focuses on the emergence, change, and understanding of morality from infancy through adulthood. Morality develops across a lifetime and is influenced by an individual’s experiences and behavior when faced with moral issues through different periods of physical and cognitive development.
Moral decadence: This means a gross reduction in the moral values in a particular society. It appears to be a fall’ in the moral standard of the society and a deterioration or a collapse in upholding our societal values, beliefs, norms and ethical standards.