In Nigeria, a confraternity is a group that is nominally university-based, though ‘street and creek’ confraternities began in the 1990s. The first confraternity, the Pyrates Confraternity was created as a social organization for promising students.
However, as new confraternities were formed, they became increasingly violent through the 1970s and 1980s. By the 1990s, many confraternities largely operated as criminal gangs, called “campus cults” in Nigeria. Besides normal criminal activity, confraternities have been linked to political violence, as well as the conflict in the Niger Delta.
In no particular order, here are the “Top 7 Confraternities in Nigeria and their History”
In 1952, Wole Soyinka and a group of six friends (Ralph Opara, Ikhehare Aig-Imokhuede, Sylvanus Egbuchie, Nathaniel Oyelola, Pius Oleghe, Olumuyiwa Awe) formed the Pyrate Confraternity at the elite University College, Ibadan, then part of the University of London. According to the Pyrates, the “Magnificent Seven”, as they called themselves, observed that the university was populated with wealthy students associated with the colonial powers and a few poorer students striving in manner and dress to be accepted by the more advantaged students, while social life was dictated by tribal affiliation. Soyinka would later note that the Pyrates wanted to differentiate 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”. The organization also known as the National Association of Seadogs (NAS) adopted the motto “Against all conventions”, the skull and crossbones as their logo, while members adopted confraternity names such as “Cap’n Blood” and “Long John Silver”. When fellow students protested a proposal to build a railroad across the road leading to the university, fearing that easier transportation would make the university less exclusive, the Pyrates successfully ridiculed the argument as elitist. Roughly analogous to the fraternities and sororities of North America, the Pyrates Confraternity proved popular among students, even after the original members moved on. Membership was open to any promising male student, regardless of tribe or race, but selection was stringent and most applicants were denied. For almost 20 years, the Pyrates were the only confraternity on Nigerian campuses.
Beliefs and sayings:
Odas is Odas (010)
No Friend, No Foe (NFNF)
Absolute No Lagging (ANL)
Members are known as: Ahoy, PC, etc
Buccaneers Association of Nigeria (BAN)
In 1972, Bolaji Crew (Code-named “Late Ahoy Rica Ricardo”) and others were expelled from the Pyrates for failing to meet expected standards. Carew went on to found the Buccaneers Confraternity (also called the National Associations of Sea Lords), largely copying the Seadogs’ structure, symbols and ceremonies. A major impetus 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 the Seadogs, and thus considered the original organization to be elitist.. Different notorious cult groups had emerging without check from the concerned authority, unleashing terror on humanity and posterity.
Some beliefs and sayings:
No prize no pay
No brothers in the wood
No laughing on board
Blood for blood
Let the devil that lead you guide you
They have other sayings, which are basically thereby to make new members feel they made the right choice in belonging to a fraternity with such high code of conduct and discipline.
Members are known as: Fine boys, Ban Boys, Alora, Bucketmen, Lords, etc
Supreme Vikings Confraternity (SVC)
The Supreme Vikings Confraternity (National Association of Adventurers or, alternately, De Norsemen Club of Nigeria) was formed by three young men 1982 who were former members of the Buccaneers at the University of Port Harcourt. They have the following code-names:
Eric De Red
It was also called victory COSSA presently the Alpha Marine patrols.
Beliefs and saying:
Blood on the high sea
Singing songs of Hojas
Never to hang a leg
Even in the face of death.
Members are referred to as: Aro-mates, Adventurers, Vultures, e.t.c.
Black Axe Confraternity
The Neo-Black Movement of Africa (also called Black Axe) was formed at the University of Benin in Benin City in 1976 by some young men with the motive of building a body to fight against the oppression against Black men (Students) at the university. Those who initiated this association are rumoured to be runaways from Neo black Movement of Africa, an organization in South Africa that fought the apartheid war and escaped into Nigeria for safety. Investigation has shown that it was the borrowed notion that was imported to Nigeria.
Some of their beliefs and saying includes:
The Black man will be freed with an axe
No phyuk ups
Forgiveness is a sin
Don’t betray your brother in the hood
Obey before complain or Abeyance
He who price must pay
Members are referred to as: Aye Axe-men, Seven (7) or Amigos
The Mafia Confraternity aka The Family Fraternity- COSANOSYRA was formed in 1978 at the University of Ilorin in Kwara State, but started operation in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 1980. It started with eight persons in its mob (institution) called the ONO-BRIGADO (1st Brigade) with the first Don as Don KOOLKAT. This cult is styled after the notorious Chicago and Italian Mafia/Mob stars
Some of their belief and sayings include:
It is better for a bastard (non initiate) to chance/provoke a member than for a numbered bastard (members of other cult group)
Retaliation after oppression
Secrecy is where our power lies
They believe in gambling, partying, dating girls, etc.
Members are referred to as: Maf or Mafians
Eternal Fraternal Order Of Legion Consortium
Dedy na debt
This cult was started by five students at the University of Calabar, Cross River State during the military era in 1983. Its ideals were borrowed from a cult in California and bears another name known as ETERNAL FRATERNAL ORDER OF LEGION CONSORTIUM or KLANSMEN KONFRATERNITY (KK). Members worship a demon called “Ogor” as their god. Symbolized by a human skull, mostly that of a mad/insane man.
Their beliefs and sayings:
The affairs of a klansman before any other thing in life
What concerns a klansman concerns all klansmen
Status of other cult members are not considered or relevant
Oath of secrecy abide to all members
Peaceful man in a deadly mood, disagree to agree
Members are referred to as: Klansman or Klansmen
The Supreme Eiye Confraternity (also known as the National Association of Air Lords) was formed in the University of Ibadan in 1965, also affiliated to the Eiye Secret Society, which exist in the western part of Nigeria. It was formed by the following students: Goke Adeniji, Dele Nwakpele, Bayo Adenubi, Bode Fadase, Tunde Aluko, Kayode Oke, and Bode Sowunmi among others. It was named Eiye group and later metamorphosed into Supreme Eiye Confraternity (SEC). This cult group was established to make positive impact on the social-political mind, social cultural, physical and mental development of its members, and where indifferent to other conventional cult group.
Beliefs and sayings:
No Friend No Foe
Members are referred to as: Fliers, Airforce, Airlords, e.t.c
Other confraternities in Nigeria are Thu-Thu, Red Sea, Mgbamgba Brothers, Black Cat, The Fame, Snow Men, Fraternity of Friends, Black Cobra of Ife, Canary, Green Berrets, The Blood Spot, Scorpion, etc.
The Ladies are not left out when you talk about confraternities in Nigeria. So not neglecting them, below is a list of the top female confraternities:
Black-bra, Black Berets, Woman Brassier (brave), Daughters of Jezebel, Pink Lady, Amazons, White Angels, Lady of Rose, Sisterhood of Darkness, Golden Daughters, The Ten wonderful Girls, White Ladies, The Royal Queens, Daughters of the Knight, The Knights of the Aristos, etc.
The sorority groups were formed as female responses to their male counterparts’ activities, imitations, and most interestingly these females are girlfriends of the members of the male cult groups. They act as spies to their male counterparts, prostitutions syndicates, agents of set-ups, e.t.c.
NOTE: If I failed to mention/list your Secret Cult please don’t hesitate to let me know.