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The Black Axe Confraternity Initiation ritual, "777" Day and Convention

Past Nigerian newspapers, reporting on a series of killings and shootings allegedly carried out by the Black Axe, explain the notoriety of the confraternity (Daily Champion 3 Sept. 2004; ibid. 27 Jan. 2005; This Day 12 July 2004; Vanguard 27 Jan. 2005; ibid. 23 Sept. 2004; ibid. 17 Aug. 2005; PM News 13 Sept. 2004; ibid. 6 Sept. 2004).

Beginning with the killing of a student at Obafemi Awolow University in Ile-Ife that prompted former president Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 to give the vice-chancellor six months to wipe out cult groups (This Day 12 July 2004; Daily Champion 3 Sept. 2004), the Black Axe has been linked with bloody inter-confraternity fighting for several years (ibid.; ibid. 27 Jan. 2005; This Day 12 July 2004; Vanguard 27 Jan. 2005; ibid. 23 Sept. 2004; ibid. 17 Aug. 2005; PM News 13 Sept. 2004; ibid. 6 Sept. 2004).

Media reports include a confrontation believed to have taken place between the Eiye and the Black Axe confraternities at the Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State in September 2004, during which four students died (PM News 13 Sept. 2004; ibid. 6 Sept. 2004); clashes between the Black Axe, the Vikings, and Black Beret at Enugu State University of Science and Technology, also in August 2004, resulting in the deaths of at least 18 people (Vanguard 17 Aug. 2004); and fighting between the Vikings and the Black Axe leading to the deaths of two or three people at Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, Edo State, in January 2005 (Vanguard 27 Jan. 2005; Daily Champion 27 Jan. 2005).

The research carried out by Dan OFFIONG on the activities of the NBM fraternity is a complete fallacy as it doesn't reflect the true initiation process of of the group.
Offiong adds that all fraternities initiate new members on Saturdays at midnight (Offiong 2003, 82). For some cults, initiates undergo what Offiong calls the "test of manhood," which involves being flogged, kicked, and hit with belts and sticks while stripped to the pants, before being taken to the "'island'," or initiation site (ibid.). The initiates take an oath of secrecy around a bon fire and put on their fraternity clothes; they are then given a new name and made to sign a membership scroll and provide their thumbprint in blood (ibid.). Drinking, dancing, drug taking, and drumming begin when the new members are presented to the larger group (ibid., 82-83) and end in the early hours of the morning with a procession (called the "'jolly'" by the Black Axe) to the new members' lodgings (ibid., 83).


Internal organization of NBM: the public face and the campus cult

The confraternity is hierarchically organized and has a constitution and a Manual of Procedure (https://najuju.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/constitution-and-disciplinary-standards-of-nbm/). The organization has its headquarter in Benin City as well as a World Secretariat in Lagos and is divided into Temples, Zones and Forums around the world (a list is here: https://najuju.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/a-neo-black-movement-dictionary/), each of which has a number of officers with specific duties and functions. The Zones were apparently created to “put a check on the notoriety of Black Axe” (meaning the incessant cult clashes by campus members) and to re-brand the movement. The Manual of Procedure states that the Zone should organize and monitor the Temple(s) and particularly the initiations that take place at these. NBM basically consists of two bodies: that of zones and that of temples, with the temples being seen as the source of all problems within the confraternity.

In public NBM state that they are not identical with Black Axe and are not present at campuses. They generally deny being a secret cult after Bayelsa State listed NBM in the 2012 secret cult prohibition bill. NBM also falls under the cult prohibition laws in several other Nigerian states, including Rivers State and Ekiti State. NBM also is registered as a “corporate body” (whatever that means) and they like to point this out when insisting on being a legitimate “movement” or NGO (https://bemigho147watch.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/is-neo-black-movement-registered-with-coperate-affairs-as-non-governmental-organisation/). The Nigerian media and public use “NBM” and “Black Axe” synonymously without exception. A 2012 NBM convention communiqué restated the disengagement from tertiary schools since 1994. In reality this was never the case though, and instead there is now even evidence of expansion into secondary schools. NBM is currently present at about 100 tertiary institutions.

The NBM aka Black Axe has its own constitution as well as disciplinary standards. While some parts of these documents sound

useful and good, it is deeply ironical that enforcing them would actually mean removing a huge percentage of members

(uncluding most of the “big guys” in the cult) from the NBM.


Axeman: Shall refer to a general form of reference tp any member of the Movement

Aye: The traditional salute of members of the Movement.

Uhuru: The Official magazine/mouth piece of the Movement

Black Lord: Shall refer to any member who has been initiated as such in accordance with the provision of this constitution.

Council of Elders: Shall refer to a Body of person (National or Zonal) appointed as Legislative, Judicial and Advisory

Organ of the Movement.

Country: As used in this constitution shall mean an independent nation throughout the world where freedom, equality and

social justice exist among races, and creed.

De-Axe: A process or ceremony of dismissal of a member from the Movement.

Graduate: A member who has attained or acquired the N.C.E; OND; HND; or First Degree in any University or Institution of

Higher Learning.

Head: The Chief Executive of the Movement (National/Zonal)

Initiation: The ceremony of induction of member performed by the Zone.

Jolly/Jollification: A get together ceremony by members of the Movement.


National Body: Shall include the National Executive, National COE and any other body having a National function.

National Executive: As described in Article 5, Part 3 of this constitution.

Working Day: Monday through Friday in a week.

Zone: Any area earmarked by the National Executive as a Zone on the basis of geographical proximity.

Zonal Executives: Officer of Zones as listed in Article 5, Part 5 Section 43 of this constitution.


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