If there is one thing that Nigerians frown seriously, it is a dark art. With the traditional word ‘juju’ sending fear in the heart of millions of Africans, anything secret society does not sit down well with people. When you are associated with any secret union, people tend to stay away from you. In Nigeria’s higher institutions, the menace of cultism cannot be overemphasized.
Today, one of the country’s student fraternities, Black Axe has transformed into a global mafia. The group has its activities spread around the world with powerful political roots. Evidence shows that Black Axe has dealings with murder, internet fraud, and human trafficking. While the cult is famed for its intense loyalty among members and secret initiation rituals, it is notorious for its extreme violence.
The 2021 Organised Crime Index stated, “Nigeria has the highest levels of organized crime on the continent – and these networks are expanding abroad.” What most people do not know is that cybercrime is a lucrative trillion-dollar sector that has beaten the world’s security overtimes. The more the security units try to stop the activities of cybercrime around the world, the cleverer the business becomes.
Black Axe grew out of the Neo Black Movement of Africa (NBM), whose aim was to fight oppression. The cult was founded 40 years ago in Benin City, Edo State. It prides itself in brotherhood, discipline, and secrecy. Do you blame people for joining this cult? Many have found employment and network from the group. Not all its members are involved in criminal activities; some are pastors, priests, academia, and members of the force.
BBC Africa Eye took two years to investigate the dealings of this cult group. From North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa, the activities of the Axemen (members of the group) are felt massively. During the investigation, BBC found out how the powerful group functions-thanks to the massive private communications found from suspected members. Emails found detailed lucrative and elaborate internet fraud, drug smuggling, murder, and a mosaic of criminal activity
Within Nigeria, the fight of who is the supreme among the different cult groups is unending. No matter how the government tries to end these activities, the more powerful they become. Documents found during the BBC investigation include thousands of emails, bank transfers, and receipts of different activities. Interestingly, these activities border around romance scams, real estate scams, inheritance scams, or business email scams.
The activities of this group are organized, extremely lucrative, and collaborative across continents. Benin City has become the headquarters of the group. The cult’s global cybercrime network is a multibillion-dollar business that spans in the most advanced country in the world. No one can tell how many activities this group uses to generate money. When it comes to organization and expansion, Black Axe is well-detailed and exceptional in its activities.
The Columbia and Mexican cults may one day fall behind the strength of this Nigerian cult group. The group-turned organization is massive to take down. Every government tries its best to curb its activities, but none has been able to cut it down.