333.4 The culture of crime control in nigerian traditional society: Exploring the oro cult of ijebu communities of Western Nigeria

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 3:30 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Richard ABORISADE , Sociological Studies, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria
More than ever, the growing loss of confidence of the Nigerian public in the formal means of social control have heightened, and led to the soaring of the popularity of informal social control methods. This paper examines the dynamics of the Oro festival of the Ijebu communities as an informal social control mechanism of deviance and criminal behaviours within the Kingdom. This examination draws theoretically on the concepts of organic and mechanical solidarities, referencing different examples of social control constructs within specific Ijebu communities, and drawing conclusions regarding various subcultural structures and deviance more broadly. Using qualitative information gathered from selected priests of the cult, opinion leaders, community heads, and a cross section of the public, the study examined the roles, responsibilities and operational mode of the Oro cult in preventing, apprehending and punishing deviant and criminal behaviours. In the observed settings, the belief in the efficacy of the Oro cult in maintaining social order within the communities was found to be strong as the festival remains highly revered. Further findings suggests an interaction between the Oro cult and formal social control that results in a dynamic reciprocity between the two control mechanisms. In recent times, the Oro cult is especially noted to have succeeded in reducing the spate of armed robbery incidences within the communities, after efforts of the Nation’s law enforcement agents appeared to have failed. Due to the increasing rate of criminal activities, the cult presently gives more attention to crime fighting than other deviant behaviours. Notably, there are lines of departure between the formal and the Oro cult penal system, which has legal implications. Both methodological and theoretical implications were discussed with emphasis laid on the importance of the opportunity for criminology to harness the traditional methods of social control in maintaining social order.