Women and girls who end up ‘Missing and Murdered’ were the focus of two international webinars organized in the context of 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF),in partnership with the World Council of Churches (WCC), ACT Alliance and the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) tried to find an answer to the question what the churches can do to prevent the rising crime of femicide.
Rev Babarinde asked attention for the issue of ritual killings of women whose body parts are believed to possess mystical powers and hence they are sacrificed by unscrupulous murderers for the well-being of unknown businessmen, politicians, and others. He appealed to the church to speak out against this and other abuses.
Published: December 7, 2021 By: The Lutheran World federation, Geneva, Switzerland,
Webinars hear how faith-based organizations must step up action to change cultures and stop gender-based violence
(LWI) – The dramatic plight of women and girls who end up ‘Missing and Murdered’ was under the spotlight during two webinars organized in the context of the 16 Days of activism to end gender-based violence. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) partnered with the World Council of Churches (WCC), ACT Alliance and the Young Women’s Christian Association(YWCA) to ask what the churches can do to prevent the rising crime of femicide.
The two-part event focused on different areas of the world, presenting first-hand testimony from panelists working with women and girls who have been trafficked, abused or forced to flee their homes in fear of their lives. Among those speaking about the problem in Indonesia on 25 November was Faye Simanjuntek, a young Lutheran activist who set up her own safe house called Rumah Faye for sexually abused children. Noting that the center cares for trafficked victims as young as six, she spoke of the work to empower survivors through reproductive health education, as well as creative skills training including art and cooking workshops.
Simanjuntek also addressed the underlying cultural problems that allow violence against women and girls to thrive in her country, citing recent comments from a police chief who said wives should be confined to the “well (fetching water), the kitchen and the sheets.” Though Indonesia is a vast and diverse country, she said, women are largely viewed as “second-class participants” in family and public affairs.
Combating patriarchal cultures
Rev. Emmanuel Gabriel, Nigeria’s national coordinator of the LWF’s Symbols of Hope project, spoke about the work to support and reintegrate survivors of trafficking through psycho-social counselling and livelihoods activities. Women are the most vulnerable to exploitation in his country, he noted, often because of gender-based violence in their communities which motivates them to migrate and fall victim to the traffickers. Churches must be part of the solution, he said, raising awareness of the dangers and advocating for a bible-based approach to gender equality.
Another Nigerian panelist, Rev. Dr Kehinde Babarinde, adjunct lecturer at West Africa Theological Seminary, addressed the issue of ritual killings of women whose body parts are believed to possess mystical powers to bring prosperity to others. He said the church must speak out against this and other abuses such as widow inheritance, where women can be forced to marry another family member following the death of their husbands. Many women prefer to commit suicide, he noted, stressing that this must be recognized as a form of femicide too.
Speaking about the widespread violence and killings of women in the Pacific region, Stephanie Dunn of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Center said churches have at times reinforced the problems of a patriarchal culture which create barriers to prevent women from coming forward to denounce the perpetrators of violence. While global statistics show one in every three women has suffered from intimate partner sexual violence, in Fiji and the Pacific, she said, that figure rises to two out of every three women experience gender-based violence.
Building a ‘Gender-competent Church’
South African Catholic theologian Nontando Hadebe, international coordinator of the faith-based gender justice network Side by Side, spoke of the interconnected legacies of patriarchy, colonialism and apartheid in her country. Women, she said, are still “socialized to be submissive” and the church must do more to highlight positive role models of women in the bible.
Frantseska Altezini, a lawyer working with the YWCA in Greece, spoke of the way that the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent economic crisis have brought the underlying problems that women face into the spotlight. She and other participants stressed the need to teach children gender justice in schools, as well as developing curricula for theological institutions in order to “build a gender-competent church.”
A second webinar on 2 December highlighted the scale of this ‘shadow pandemic’ of gender-based violence in Latin America, North America and the Caribbean. Valéria Vilhena, a researcher with Mulheres EIG (Women Evangelicals for Gender Equality) highlighted the work that organization has been doing since 2015 to support survivors and their families. Her country, Brazil, ranks fifth in the world for the highest levels of femicide after El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala and Russia, she said.
Protecting the most vulnerable
Dr Imani Ama, a research fellow at the University of the West Indies, spoke of the challenges of “indifference and impunity” for perpetrators in Jamaica where the “subordination of women is normative.” Easy access to guns and a “de-sensitization to the value of life” have helped to rank Jamaica “among the murder capitals of the world,” she said. Demilitarization and de-colonialization are necessary, alongside “theologies to dismantle patriarchy,’” she added.
Ebony Rempel, chief executive officer of the YWCA in Banff, Canada, spoke of the increased threats facing indigenous women and girls who are seven times more likely to be victims of femicide. Her organization runs an emergency shelter, as well as longer terms support and affordable housing for survivors of domestic violence. Their crisis helpline has seen a 71% increase in calls during the pandemic, she said, with trans women also running higher risks of femicide.
In conclusion, First Nations Cree artist Amanda Wallin shared her experience of supporting two daughters who were on the Missing Persons’ list in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the province with the highest femicide rate in Canada. She spoke of the pain of witnessing her daughters in abusive relationships, saying there is a need for greater legislative efforts to protect women from violence and femicide, especially among the indigenous communities.
Two months ago I posted on this site a cry from Nigeria, ‘Let the carnage of ritual killings stop‘. Unrelenting, the editors of the Leadership, a leading Nigerian newspaper, again draw attention to the alarming rate of ritual murders and related crimes in the country. I have repeatedly done the same on this place.
This site is entirely devoted to the crime of ritual murders, based on superstition and belief in witchcraft, fed by an insatiable greed for power, wealth or a good health, and facilitated by a weak enforcement of the rule of law, impunity, and in the worst cases, the connivance of people in high places who are put in this position by the people they are supposed to protect. Ritual murders are a flagrant and intolerable violation of the human rights of the victims, whereas a sovereign state is obliged, often by its constitution, to protect its citizens.
It is sheer impossible to report and react here on all ritual murders and other money-ritual related crimes which are surfacing and are being reported and published in various newspapers. It goes without saying that an unknown number of ritual murders are never discovered.
In the past six months I have collected numerous articles on ritual murders in at least 15 Nigerian states: Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers (which I have not yet been published on this site), although I have reported frequently on money-ritual related crimes in these states (from 2018 onwards). Moreover, I reported various cases of ritual murders and related crimes in other states: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasawara, Niger, Taraba. Hence, altogether, 26 out of Nigeria’s 36 states. When consulting the general folder ‘Nigeria’ the reader will find other articles, of a more general nature, on the scourge of ritual killing in Nigeria, the Yahoo boys, mob justice, and other atrocities.
The seemingly recent rise of ritual killings in Nigeria has been mentioned here earlier. I only wish to refer to a 2014 article which I published in December last year. In it it was alleged that ritual killings were everywhere in Nigeria. Older reports of ritual murders as far back as 2001 can be found here.
It must be emphasized, however, that nowadays an increasing number of Nigerian raise their voices against these outdated and revolting practices which are ritualistic murders (see the folder ‘Nigeria voices’), among whom the editors of the Leadership newspaper, who are to be commended for the article below (webmaster FVDK).
The Scourge Of Ritual Killings In Nigeria
Published: May 10, 2021 By: Leadership, Nigeria – Monday Column
Iniobong Umoren was a young woman in her early 20’s who lived in Uyo the Akwa Ibom State capital. She shared, on Twitter, her need for a job, and one Twitter user named Uduak Akpan asked her for a private chat concerning her application. According to police reports, Mr Akpan asked Ms Umoren to meet her at a particular location in Uyo.
When the unsuspecting lady got there, the sinister man raped her, killed her, and buried her in a shallow grave. Unfortunately for the serial rapist and murderer, the lady gave her friend the phone number of the person who invited her for an interview. This number led to the apprehension of the culprit after the lady was declared missing for days.
There were reports that Ms Umoren’s gruesome murder was not just a case of rape and murder but that it also involved ritual killing. Mr Akpan’s entire family is said to be involved in the barbaric business of ritual killings.
Two weeks ago, a report indicated that in Kwara State, a next-door neighbour allegedly murdered a groom-to-be for ritual purposes. According to the account in Vanguard, the deceased, who was said to be a devout Christian, did not know that his neighbour with whom he used to eat together was a serial killer and ritualist who has twice served jail terms. This wolf-in-sheep-clothing neighbour allegedly killed his victim, removed some sensitive body parts, poured acid on his remains for speedy decay to prevent it from fouling the area.
Last February in Port Harcourt, a suspected ritual killer was arrested while attempting to sacrifice a nine-year-old girl in the Ibaa community in Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State. According to a report in Punch newspapers, the girl’s parents had raised the alarm over her sudden disappearance after she went to dispose of refuse in a nearby bush. It happened that the suspect had taken the minor to an abandoned compound, tied her with white cloths, applied white clay on her body with a coffin already stationed for the ritual purpose. He was in the process of performing the ritual when he ran out of luck.
In 2019, Port Harcourt made international headlines in ritual killings with the case of Gracious David-West, Nigeria’s most celebrated ritual killer in recent times. From July to September 2019, David-West killed at least 15 women, mainly in the Rivers State capital city. After his arrest, he confessed to at least 15 murders.
Official statistics indicate that there has been an increase in the number of missing persons all over the country in recent times. Some are found, while others are not. There is speculation that majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.
Incidents of ritual killings have assumed an alarming rate in Nigeria. There seems to be little or no effort by concerned government agencies to checkmate the trend. We expect that such cruel and barbaric act would no longer exist in our society given our level of exposure, enlightenment, and civilisation . Ironically, as our communities seem to be getting more religious given the proliferation of churches and mosques in all nooks and crannies of the country, it seems these heinous acts are increasing as the quest for filthy lucre pervades our society.
It is disheartening to point out that as developed societies invest in science and technology to keep abreast with a dynamic world, ours are still stuck in the mistaken belief that sacrificing human blood is the surest route to wealth, safety, and protection.
No doubt, ritual killings are performed to obtain human body parts for rituals, potions, and charms. Ritualists search for ‘human parts’ at the request of herbalists, who require these to make sacrifices or prepare various magical potions to give power and wealth to an individual. Some people engage in ritual killings to obtain charms that would make them invincible and protect them from business failure, illness, accidents, and spiritual attacks. Whether they succeed or not is open to debate. However, it is not easy to prove a link between such sacrifices and financial success or any type of success empirically.
Amongst a large group of Nigerians, including the well-educated and people from different faiths and social backgrounds, there is a strong belief in the supernatural and the effectiveness of rituals. This belief has a direct correlation to the prevalence of ritual killings. It is a well-known fact that some elite in society indulge in ritual killings. Some people apprehended for ritual killings, and witch doctors who perform the sacrifices accused politicians, government officials and wealthy businessmen as their sponsors. They are said to use human beings for rituals to sustain their affluence and remain in positions of power.
Therefore, it is not surprising that there are usually increased cases of mysterious disappearances and ritual killings during elections. Some desperate, fetish and superstitious politicians always consult herbalists and native doctors during elections to help them overcome their opponents. These spiritualists usually demand human heads and other body parts to perform hedonistic rituals.
Given the rate of increase of ritual killings, no one is immune from becoming a victim. But some people are at greater risk. People with mental illnesses and virgins are unique targets as the ritualists allegedly believe that their eccentrics and purity make for a more viable sacrifice. Also, people living with albinism have equally become victims of ritual killings, fuelled by the belief that their ‘body-parts’ could allegedly make one wealthy or prolong one’s life.
Sometimes, it is difficult to understand the mind of the ritual killer. How can someone take another person’s life in the quest for wealth, protection, and power? More worrisome is that sometimes it is not just an issue of a depraved mind but also a depraved group of minds.
Sometime in 2017, Lagos State, the country’s commercial hub, was gripped by Badoo ritual killings. According to news reports, over 50 people were killed by a Badoo Boys group, who moved about with an air of invincibility until the Nigerian Police routed them.
The Vanguard newspaper reported about the activities of the group thus: “Before the raid and subsequent arrest of over 200 suspected members of the cult group by the Police with the support of the Oodua Peoples’ Congress, OPC local vigilante and the Neighbourhood Watch Corps, Badoo Boys had been unleashing an orgy of killings, during which they crush the skulls of their victims. Their modus operandi included storming victims’ residences while they are asleep”.
People suspected that they usually hypnotize their victims, as none of them had ever been conscious of their presence. After that, they would smash the heads of their victims with a grinding stone and use a handkerchief to clean the blood and brain before leaving the scene.
During interrogation, one of the suspects confirmed that “they sold each handkerchief stained with blood for N500,000. He further revealed that they were mere errand boys for rich politicians within and outside Lagos state. But in their case, the blood and semen-stained handkerchief were used to prepare the spiritual defence for some wealthy Nigerians.”
What are the root causes of ritual killings? How can society tackle this menace? What role should the government and relevant agencies play in ameliorating the negative impact of these dastardly acts?
Poverty and economic hardship in the land are reasons for ritual killings. However, these are not justifiable reasons to commit ritual murder. Impunity encourages ritualists to commit murders because they believe they will not be apprehended or punished.
Another reason for ritual murders is the collapse in our moral values, ignorance and superstition, and lack of an adequate punishment system. We should also consider poverty and unemployment as a significant risk factor. If Nigerians have equal opportunities to earn income legitimately, there will be a reduction in horrific crimes such as banditry, human killings for ritual, and terrorism.
Besides, the inordinate quest and pursuit of quick wealth are said to be driving some people to resort to the use of human parts for rituals. And some usual suspects include fake clerics and herbalists who carry out the ritual practices for their clients.
Some analysts have recommended that government should investigate suspected pastors and imams and checkmate their activities because what they do under cover of being religious leaders sometimes leaves much to be desired.
o curb the increase in ritual killings, the government should thoroughly explore the intelligence-gathering approach and prosecute arrested culprits. Timely arrest and prosecution of arrested suspects would serve as a deterrent to anybody contemplating perpetrating ritual killing. Record of successful prosecution of ritualist is not in the public domain. When there are not consequences for deviant behavior , it is incentivized.
For the public, commuters should always write down the identification markings of public conveyance vehicles they enter and make phone calls to loved ones to pass on the information. In the case of Iniobong Umoren mentioned earlier, the fact that she confided in her friend about the phone number of the person that invited her for an interview was instrumental in apprehending the culprit.
Most ritual murderers always wish to be unidentified. They want to kill people but do not wish to be apprehended. Once information about them has been exposed to someone else, it becomes difficult for them to remain anonymous and perpetrate evil.
Commuters should also assess public transport vehicles before boarding in order not to board vehicles occupied by hoodlums. I advise ladies to carry whistles on them to raise the alarm if there is an attempt to abduct them.
In addition to these, people should avoid staying in isolated areas where criminals can quickly attack without being noticed, and everybody should be conscious of their immediate environment.
The spate of ritual killings has become so problematic that our political leaders should declare a national emergency on the crises. I call for stiffer jail sentences to deter potential perpetrators from engaging in ritual killings. Citizens should have trust and confidence to motivate them towards providing credible intelligence for security operators.
We should also make good use of whistleblowers. These are invisible law-abiding citizens whose primary function is to disseminate information that provides details towards the arrest of suspected ritual murderers. They should be anonymous, and the law-enforcement institution should not reveal them as their link persons.
The fight against ritual killings and other menaces in our society is for all. We should not rest until we create a culture where we always uphold the sanctity of life at all cost and the safety of everyone is guaranteed irrespective of social status, religion, or ethnic background. This task calls for authentic leadership. We must swim or sink together . Our only option is to swim to survive the social disaster we are becoming as a nation because of the collapse of morality, ethics, and law.
It is unprecedented what recently happened in northern Malawi, in the Chitipa district, which is the country’s most northern district, near the Malawian-Zambian border. The police have asked witchdoctors and traditional herbalists to help in the protection of people with albinism (PWA).
Malawi has a relatively large number of people with albinism, an estimated 10,000. Attacks on them are frequent, people with albinism fear for their lives every second of the day. Reportedly, more than 200 attacks, kidnappings, mutilations and murders of persons with albinism have occurred since 2014. However, it must be feared that the real number is higher since not all incidents have been reported.
Witchdoctors are allowed to practice in Malawi though – of course – officially the Malawian law does not recognize witchcraft. Superstition, however, is widespread in the country, hence also the use of the services of witchdoctors, an unknown number of them being somehow associated – to say the least – to the attacks on persons with albinism.
The cry for assistance from the Malawian police directed to witchdoctors and traditional herbalists is therefore remarkable. Is it comparable to asking mafia leaders help fighting murderers, kidnappers and other bandits? I don’t know whether this comparison is justified or whether it holds. In any case, the police asking witchdoctors to help against attacks on persons with albinism is a sign of incapacity, read: disqualification. If the police is unable to uphold the rule of law, Malawians have a serious problem and it is high time to have a serious debate on the organization and funding of the police force.
Recently, Amnesty International concluded that the trial of suspects of ritual murders is slow in Malawi. The question seems warranted: Is there a lack of political will? After all, it is common knowledge that in the past political forces and people have been implicated in the attacks on persons with albinism for ritual purposes. I have reported on these links on more than one occasion (e.g. see a recent posting dated April 30, 2021, and my postings of February 26, May 12, and August 28, 2019). If this lack of political will is indeed the case, turning to witchdoctors for help is close to hypocrisy and useless, ineffective, and the problem will not be solved, the human rights of persons with albinism will continue to be under threat. (webmaster FVDFK)
Malawi: Police Ask ‘Witch-Doctors’ for Help Against Attacks On ‘Albinos’
Published: May 4, 2021 By: Nyasa Times – Gladys Chingaipe
“This would help to provide more protection to people with albinism.”
In an unprecedented manner, police in the northern tip of Malawi have gone on their bended knees and asked traditional herbalists and witchdoctors to help them in the fight against the incessant attacks on people with albinism.
Chitipa Police Station Officer, Dan Sowden in a desperate attempt to end the ongoing ritual killings and egregious human rights violations of the worst kind instigated specifically against people with albinism in the district and the country as a whole has asked traditional healers to work hand in hand with the police.
Snowden made the call last week during a meeting with herbalists and witchdoctors at Chitipa Boma where he expressed a growing concern and explained that there is a general outcry that herbalists and witchdoctors are suspected to be involved in attacks on people with albinism, hence the need to include them in efforts to end the vice.
He said: “We have established that it could be that those who are involved in the vice are not perhaps the real herbalists or genuine witchdoctors but may be some unscrupulous people with evil motives just posing and impersonating as herbalists and witchdoctors.”
“We know for a fact that both herbalists and witchdoctors exists to help people in a traditional way to solve traditional related problems and not to harm anyone and for that reason, we have therefore resolved that the herbalists and witchdoctors should be ambassadors and in the forefront to provide protection to people with albinism by reporting anyone who approaches them on issues to do with people with albinism.”
The police officer in-charge who is responsible for all security in the district called upon herbalists (and witchdoctors) in the district to be more organised and get licenses so that people could easily identify and report anyone falsely pretending to be a traditional healer.
President for Northern Region Traditional Healers, Edward Kayange said: “As herbalists, we are ready to work with the police in order to completely eradicate violence and discrimination against people with albinism.
“We will make sure that all traditional healers have certificates from one body to avoid confusion amongst ourselves. We will form committees which will be working hand in hand with the police and chiefs to report anyone involved in the malpractice,” he pointed out.
Chairperson for Chitipa District Association of People with Albinism, Mabvuto Lwinga said it was a step in the right direction for herbalists and witchdoctors alike to be working with the police.
“This is a good development. I am very optimistic that this would help to provide more protection to people with albinism,” said Lwinga.
The law in Malawi, however, does not recognise witchcraft although traditional healers and witchdoctors are allowed to practice their trade
People with albinism are born with lighter than normal skin, hair and eye colour, making them sensitive to the sun and bright light and in some communities, especially among the African people they are attacked or even killed for their body parts which is erroneously believed to posses magical powers.
Since 2014 more than 200 cases of killings, attacks and other human rights violations against persons with albinism have been reported in the Southern African landlocked nation.
According to United Nations (UN) human rights experts despite various moves to support people with albinism, the continued attacks demonstrate that the Government needs to redouble its efforts to end the ongoing atrocities.
UN’s Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero said: “We call on the Government of Malawi to urgently address the root causes of these attacks and to strengthen nationwide campaigns to raise awareness, conduct robust investigations and prosecutions in all cases, increase protection for victims, and finance and implement all necessary measures.”
Ero is on record having said that some witchcraft practices result in “serious human violations” such as torture, murder, discrimination and exclusion, including banishment from communities.
Maria Jose Torres, UN Resident Coordinator in Malawi says that the UN remains concerned about continued attacks against persons with albinism.
“We call on the government of Malawi to engage an extra gear in the fight against attacks on persons with albinism. We need to do more to ensure that this comes to a complete end.
Habiba Osman, Executive Secretary for Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) said in an interview with Nyasa Times that the ongoing attacks on persons with albinism is a chilling reminder that Malawi as a country needs to do more to protect people with albinism because they are not safe.
“These attacks on persons with albinism is largely fuelled by a culture of impunity. The government must tighten the noose on anyone suspected to have committed this heinous crime. Persons with albinism like anyone else are protected by the law,” said Osman.
Before being elected president, Malawi leader, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera rode on a wave that if elected, he would make sure that attacks on people with albinism will be put to an end.
“When I become president, anyone found killing, abducting or discriminating against any person with albinism will be dealt severely and face the long arm of the law.”
A recent Amnesty International (AI) report observes that the rate at which cases are concluded in Malawi is slow compared to other crime investigations.
There are approximately about 10,000 persons with albinism in Malawi.
The focus of today’s posting is not on ritualistic murders or comparable and related crimes, such as kidnapping, torture a.s.o. However, the topic is related: in more than one African country, the public and also the authorities want the introduction and the carrying out of the death penalty for convicted perpetrators of ritual killings both as a deterrent to prevent future crimes and as a justified revenge of the community for the senseless loss of life of one of its members.
It is a controversial topic, as will be clear from the article below. Whereas many African countries have abolished the capital punishment, there seems to be a resurgence of the death penalty in various parts of Africa, notably in southern Africa (Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe), but also in West Africa (Nigeria e.g.). Recently, Catholic officials across the continent have rejected the increasing calls for the introduction of the death penalty, saying “The death sentence cannot be a solution, especially considering how poor our justice system still is across most of Africa.”
The latter argument makes sense. There are more reasons to defend the abolishment of the death penalty. However, supporters hold the opposite view for reasons cited above.
Whatever the position is, in favor of or against the death penalty, the article reproduced below shows one more time the ugly practice of ritualistic murders in Southern Africa.
More on the killing of people with albinism in Malawi in a few days time (webmaster FVDK).
Catholic officials decry resurgence of death penalty in southern Africa
HARARE, ZIMBABWE — Catholic officials and human rights campaigners across Africa are reiterating their opposition to capital punishment after Botswana carried out two executions for murder convictions in February.
Botswana, located north of South Africa, confirmed the executions of 33-year-old Wedu Mosalagae and 29-year-old Kutlo Setima on Feb. 8. Both had been found guilty in separate cases of killing a woman.
Oluwatosin Popoola, a legal advisor for Amnesty International on death penalty issues, told NCR that the organization is “very concerned” about the executions, especially as they are the fifth and sixth since President Mokgweetsi Masisi came into office in 2019.
This as “a high number for Botswana within a 16-month period and an indication that the country is not relenting in its adherence” to the use of the death penalty, said Popoola.
“The recent executions are regressive and they slow down Africa’s push against the death penalty,” said Popoola. “There is no unique imperative for any country to use the death penalty.”
Although many African nations have abolished use of the death penalty in the past decade — including Guinea, Benin, the Republic of the Congo and Madagascar — Botswana’s government claims it can be a good deterrent to prevent violent crimes.
In nearby Malawi, proponents say it prevents the murdering of people with albinism for ritual purposes. Amnesty international said earlier in February that more than 20 murders of people with albinism have been committed in Malawi since 2014.
In 2019, three Malawians were sentenced to death for the killing of a person with albinism. (See tomorrow’s posting – FVDK). But the country has not carried out any death sentence since 1994, joining other countries such as Zimbabwe that have been imposing death sentences but not carrying out executions.
Boniface Chibwana, coordinator for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of Malawi’s bishop’s conference, told NCR he thinks African Catholic officials can be doing more to drum up support for the dropping of the death penalty across the continent.
“To deter crimes such as murder, the church needs to progressively and actively socialize the young using the human rights approach, so that many of its followers should grow in Christ while respecting the human rights culture to build societies where such rights as the protection of life are a norm,” he said.
In 2019, there was a 53% jump in death sentence convictions across sub-Saharan Africa compared to 212 convictions a year earlier. These death sentences resulted from murder convictions in Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Popoola said Chad, which borders Libya, Niger and Sudan, was the latest country in Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes.
Fr. Dumisani Vilakati, director of the regional conference of Catholic bishops across southern Africa, told NCR that the church is often blamed for not being vocal enough against the death penalty. But he said the church “is part of the solution” for the promotion of the right to life, from conception to natural death.
“Here in Africa, we have to put the death penalty in the pro-life scheme that has been espoused by Pope Francis,” said Vilakati.
“We are a church that preaches conversion of human beings, and we believe that people can change for the better,” said the priest. “The death sentence cannot be a solution, especially considering how poor our justice system still is across most of Africa.”
Vilakati explained that there have been numerous wrongful convictions across the continent, and inmates are increasingly having to wait longer and longer for their trials to be conducted.
“What we need to do as a society is to educate people, and the church should play its role in espousing the sanctity of life [rather] than having society eliminating people through death penalty,” said Vilakati. “We should be pro-life and give people a second chance.”
Nigeria’s security problems have many faces. In the northeast of the country Boko Haram terrorizes the population and has disrupted ordinary, daily life. The exact number of victims of the jihadist terrorist organization which also operates in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, can no longer be counted. It is estimated that since the beginning of the uprising, in 2002, between 25,000 and 30,000 people have been killed, over two million people have been displaced, and a countless number of children have been kidnapped – girls for sexual motives, boys to be forcibly recruited as soldier in the terrorist organization which originally started as a campaign against corrupt officials.
The seemingly perennial violent conflicts between herders and farmers in several states also have cost thousands of people their lives. Furthermore, a countless number of people have been abducted by kidnappers, bandits and cultists. Moreover, superstition and the greed for (more) power, prestige or success are at the origin of the notorious ‘money-rituals’ for which Nigeria is known and which is feared by virtually the entire population, not only in the southeastern states as my posting of January 30 could suggest. Last but not least, ‘ordinary’ criminal killings, manslaughter, murder and extrajudicial killings by security personnel add to the many security challenges which Nigeria is facing.
In the coming days and weeks I will elaborate on the ‘money-rituals’ and the criminal activities of cultists, herbalists, witchdoctors, and other perpetrators of heinous, criminal ritualistic acts. If a government wants to effectively fight and eradicate this ugly, partly traditional phenomenon it will have to take the overall (in)security situation of the country into consideration.
The author of the article reproduced here, Femi Falana, SAN, is a Human Rights Lawyer and a recipient of the prestigious Bernard Simmons Award of the International Bar Association. In his article he explains the violent clashes between herders and farmers, and provides a possible solution to their conflict which basically is a dispute over land. Although the topic of his article is beyond the main focus of the present website, the article is reproduced here in its entirety, not only for a well-deserved respect for the author but also for information reasons as well as to illustrate that for every problems there exists a solution (webmaster FVDK).
Violent Clashes Between Herders and Farmers: A Legal Panacea
Published: February 2, 2021 By: This Day, Nigeria – Femi Falana SAN
From 1999 to 2021, thousands of people have been brutally killed in herders/farmers’ clashes in several States of the Federation. The mindless killings have continued, due to official impunity and negligence which have led to the virtual collapse of the security architecture of the neocolonial State. Hundreds of other citizens have been abducted by gangs of kidnappers and bandits. While some of the abducted people were killed in gruesome circumstances, others were released after the payment of ransoms running into hundreds of millions of Naira by their family members. The hardened criminal elements, have subjected abducted women to sexual abuse. Over 100 school girls in captivity, have been forced to marry their abductors. In spite of the routine assurance of the security of life and property of every citizen, the Federal Government appears to have lost the monopoly of violence to the criminal gangs.
As a result of desert encroachment, the Fulani herders have been forced to seek fertile land for grazing of their cattle in the middle belt and southern parts of the country. Since the State has failed to address the challenge of desertification, the herders have continued to graze their cattle in the bush. In the process, they graze their cattle without regard to State laws and the rights of the farm owners. In struggling to survive on fertile land, the herders attack farmers who resist the invasion of their land. They attack farmers with AK 47 rifles, which have been acquired to protect cattle from rustlers. The violent clashes between herders and farmers have continued, due to the failure of successive governments to revive the ranches inherited from the regional governments of the First Republic, but which collapsed during years of the locusts under successive military regimes.
History of Ranching in Nigeria
The point that I am struggling to make is that, ranching is not a new phenomenon in the country. It is on record that the regimes of Ahmadu Bello, Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe established ranches in the Northern, Western and Eastern regions respectively. The Obudu Cattle Ranch which was the oldest in the country, was established in 1951 by a Scot, but was later taken over by the Eastern Regional Government. The Northern Regional Government established a ranch in Mokwa (Niger State). In the West, there were ranches in Iseyin (Oyo State), Oke Ako (Ekiti State) and Akunu (Ondo State).
Under the Yakubu Gowon regime (1966-1975) , the Kano State Government headed by Police Commissioner Audu Bako, established ranches in the State. All the ranches collapsed during the years of the locusts, under successive military juntas. The famous Obudu Cattle Ranch has since been turned to Obudu holiday resort.
In 2014, the Jonathan regime decided to establish ranches in the country. A team of young people were sponsored to learn animal husbandry in Botswana, while the sum of N100 billion was released to some State Governments to establish the ranches. In a recent probe, the House of Representatives confirmed that the money was diverted, as not a single ranch was established.
In 2016, the Buhari regime also opted for the establishment of ranches, in order to end the perennial violent conflicts between farmers and herders. About 55,000 hectares were acquired in 11 States, for the project. The Federal Government also announced its plan to disarm the herders, and other armed bandits. But, instead of establishing the ranches and disarming the herders, the Federal Government has handled the violent clashes between farmers and herdsmen rather lackadaisically. The sudden embrace of cattle colony or RUGA policy by the Federal Government, was suspected by many citizens as a design to take over and turn over land seized from farmers to herders.
Clashes and Kidnapping
Even though the dangerous policy has been dropped, the plan to establish ranches has equally been abandoned. In recent times, the clashes between herders and farmers has been compounded by many incidents of kidnapping that have been traced to some herders. Owing to the failure of the Federal Government to bring the situation under control, some people have reported to self help and jungle justice. The various State Governments have come up with policies such as enactment of anti-grazing laws, and compulsory registration of all herders and farmers operating in forest reserves. The Umar Ganduje administration, once invited displaced herders in Benue and Taraba States to Kano state.
Instead of adopting knee jerk reactions to the crisis, the Federal Government and State Governments should encourage the immediate establishment of ranches. Apart from ending clashes between herders and farmers, the policy will lead to large scale production of meat which will be distributed throughout the country, and possibly exported. Ranching is working in Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa. It has worked before in Nigeria. It can work again. Let the Authorities move speedily to end the violent clashes between herders and farmers, without any further delay. Let the Authorities adopt proactive measures to end kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and ritual murder, as well as extrajudicial killing by security agencies.
State Governments and Security Challenges
A few years ago, armed robbers launched violent attacks on banks in Lagos State. The criminals killed many bankers, customers and security personnel, and carted away millions of Naira. The then Babatunde Fashola administration, sought the permission of the Federal Government to purchase and import some modern security equipment and gadgets. As soon as the licence was granted by President Umaru Yar’adua, the Lagos State Government brought in the equipment and gave them to the State Police Command. Armed with such equipment, the Police succeeded in securing the banks and other commercial institutions in the State. Shortly thereafter, about 20 well armed members of the Boko Haram sect sneaked into the State and concluded plans to launch bombing attacks on people, religious centres and schools. The terrorists were arrested and detained under the Terrorism Act, a Federal offence. The State Government requested the Federal Government, to try the dangerous suspects.
When it became clear that the Federal Government was foot dragging over the matter, the Attorney-General of Lagos State applied for the fiat of the Attorney-General of the Federation to enable him to prosecute the terror suspects. As soon as the fiat was granted, the suspects were tried, convicted and jailed.
In another development, the State Government faced fresh security challenges when another set of criminal elements embarked on kidnapping school children and other innocent people. Again, with the acquisition of more sophisticated equipment by the Lagos State Government, the Police Command has frontally attacked the crisis and brought the situation under control. About three years ago, the Inspector-General of Police Monitoring Unit recently arrested a billionaire kidnap suspect, Mr. Chukwudimene Onwuamadike (a.k.a Evans). The suspect was alleged to have specialised in extorting millions of dollars and other foreign currencies, from victims of his criminal enterprise. At the end of the Police investigation, the Lagos State Government took over the matter and has since charged the suspect and his cohorts with armed robbery and kidnapping, before the Lagos high court.
Before then, the Ondo State Government had invoked its sovereign powers to deal with the challenge of insecurity. On September 21, 2015, Chief Olu Falae, a former Secretary to the Federal Government was kidnapped by a gang of kidnappers on his farm at Ago Abo in the outskirts of Akure, Ondo State. The criminals demanded a ransom of N100 million, for his release. President Muhammadu Buhari who was embarrassed by the report of the incident, directed the Inspector-General of Police to rescue Chief Falae without further delay. The Chief regained his freedom three days later, after the payment of an undisclosed ransom. The seven kidnap suspects (Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibrahim, Masahudu Mohammed, Idris Lawal, Abdulkadir Umar and Babawo Kato) were arrested and paraded by the Police at Abuja, in the Federal Capital Territory.
As soon as the investigation was concluded by the Police Headquarters, the then Ondo State Government decided to take over the case in exercise its constitutional powers. Since the case had disclosed that the offence of kidnapping was committed in Ondo State, the then State Attorney-General, Mr. Tayo Jegede, SAN requested the Police to transfer the suspects to Akure, together with the case file and the exhibits recovered during the investigation of the case. As soon as the suspects were brought to Akure, they were charged with conspiracy and kidnapping before the Ondo State High Court. At the end of the marathon trial, the presiding Judge, the Honourable Justice Williams Olamide found the Defendants guilty as charged, convicted and sentenced them to life imprisonment.
No doubt, by prosecuting the dangerous kidnappers and armed robbers, both Attorneys-General of Lagos and Ondo States have demonstrated that State Governments are not encumbered from maintaining law and order in their areas of jurisdiction. It is my strong belief that it is the failure of other Attorneys-General to enforce relevant criminal and penal codes, that has led to a breakdown of law in several States of the Federation. Even though hundreds of suspects have been arrested in several parts of the country by the combined teams of Police and Army personnel for abducting several people including children, they have not been brought to book by the Attorneys-General of the affected States. Majority of critics who are not aware that it is the exclusive constitutional responsibility of State Attorneys-General to prosecute suspects indicted for the offences of kidnapping, armed robbery and culpable homicide, have continued to blame the Federal Government for not prosecuting herders who have been arrested by security agencies.
Welfare of the People
Since a country cannot be secured by a Government that is not prepared to attend to the welfare of the people, the Constitution has outlined the socioeconomic rights of the people and embodied them in Chapter two of the Constitution. The said socioeconomic rights are otherwise called, the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy. Even though the ruling class has made them not justiciable, the workers in alliance with other progressive civil society organisations have compelled the Government to enact a number of laws to promote the welfare of the people. But, the welfare laws have not been implemented due to alleged lack of ,funds in spite of the nation’s enormous wealth. On account of the failure of the Government to fund welfare programmes, Nigeria is said to have the largest number of poor people in the world.
The economic paradox has been fuelled by large scale looting of public funds, by the ruling class. Most of the problems at the root of insecurity in Nigeria, are traceable to the implementation of neoliberal policies imposed on the nation by imperialism. Over 25 million young people including university graduates, are in the unemployment market. In addition to that figure, there are over 10 million children of school age who are roaming the streets, which is said to be the highest figure in the world. Not unexpectedly, such street kids are easily recruited by terrorists, bandits and other criminal gangs to unleash mayhem on the people. The hijack of the recent #EndSARS protests by hoodlums and other criminal elements, has confirmed that the nation is sitting on a keg of gunpowder.
Since armed robbery, kidnapping and murder or culpable homicide are State offences, we have pointed out that State Governments ought to be blamed for failing to end impunity, by prosecuting the herders and other criminal suspects arrested and indicted for kidnapping and killing of innocent people. Instead of engaging in ethnic profiling, concerned citizens should be organised to prevail on the Federal and State Governments to discharge their constitutional duty of protecting the life and property of every citizen. The Governments should also be compelled to put an end to the perennial violent conflicts between farmers and herders, which have needlessly claimed many lives and the destruction of properties worth several billions of Naira in many States of the Federation. As a matter of urgency, herders and bandits should be disarmed by the Federal Government. Having embraced ranching as a permanent solution to the clashes between herders and farmers, the Federal Government and State Governments should proceed to establish ranches in a number of States.
Femi Falana, SAN, Human Rights Lawyer, recipient of the prestigious Bernard Simmons Award of the International Bar Association
During the past three days I have posted three articles related to the alarming rate of ritual killings in Nigeria, in 2014. The article below contains a similar cry for attention, but now in a 2017 article. In other words, there is no interruption in the occurrence of ritual murders in Nigeria, locally called ‘money rituals’. Moreover, also in November and December 2018 and February 2020 newspapers reported that ritual killing was rampant in Nigeria. In other words, nothing has changed over the years.
This means that ritual murders are a structural problem in the Nigerian society and that both the federal government and the government of the individual states repeatedly and continuously fail to protect their citizens, which is a ****** shame. Governments have an obligation to protect the population, notably the most vulnerable, and to arrest, try and punish perpetrators of heinous crimes.
Warning: the following contains a graphic description of ritualistic acts and murders (webmaster FVDK).
Why killings for rituals are on the increase in Nigeria
Published: September 2, 2017 By: Vanguard, Nigeria – Evelyn Usman
…‘Human parts for sale’
The spate of killings for ritual purposes is gradually assuming an alarming rate in Nigeria with little or no effort by concerned government agencies to checkmate the trend.
One would have expected such pseudoscience acts to be a thing of the past going by increase in religious activities and in civilization. But murdering people to appease the deities appears to be on the increase.
These dastardly acts are carried out in a 21 st century, when other countries of the world are experimenting and advancing in technology.
It is also shocking to know that some acclaimed high and mighty indulge in ritual killings. For instance, some politicians and government officials have been accused by arrested suspects and herbalists who allege that they use human beings for rituals in order to sustain their affluence as well as remain in positions of power.
Investigations revealed that cases of ritual killings and disappearance of persons are usually high whenever elections are around the corner.
Just last week, this barbaric act assumed a cannibalistic dimension following the arrest of a suspected kidnapper alleged to have killed one of his victims and used his intestines to prepare pepper soup.
The suspect, Roland Peter, according to the Rivers State Commissioner of Police , Zaki Ahmed, abducted his victim from his house on August 2017, adding that the suspect was at the verge of eating pepper soup and yam porridge when the police swooped on him and some accomplices.
These vampires hide under different covers to get their victims. For some, they kidnap their victims from various points , while others who pretend to be commercial bus drivers, pick unsuspecting commuters at bus-stop only to take them to their slaughter slabs to carry out what they know how to do best.
Killings for money rituals
On August 17, 2017 , the lifeless body of the four-year-old girl was found close to a shrine at 28 Ogbe Close in Iwaya area of Lagos, with her throat slit. In her case , the toddler who strayed from her siblings’ watch, on their way from the mosque, was suspected to have been used for sacrifice on the Ogun shrine which ironically is built in the same compound with her parents . Till date perpetrators of the dastardly act are yet to be fished out.
A week earlier, precisely August 20, another lifeless body of an eight-year-old girl, Chikamso Victory , was found in the apartment of one Ifeanyi Chukwu Dike (23) at Messiah street , Eliozu area of Port Harcourt. Helpless and defenseless Victory was not only abducted by Dike, she was raped before she was killed. As at the time her body was recovered, some parts had been removed. They included her vagina, eyes, tongue and breasts which the suspect kept in a polythene bag awaiting the appropriate time to take them to his contacts. He was however, arrested by members of a local vigilante group while going to dispose of the body. But the incident assumed a laughable dimension following report by the Police that the suspect had disappeared from custody.
Elsewhere in Oyo state, on March 30, 2017 , a suspected ritualist, Tunde Jimoh, who was arrested by the Police, gave a chilling description of how he and other members of his gang abducted their victim, Akintoye Oyeyemi, took him into a deep forest and murdered him in cold blood. Thereafter, they took the body to a Muslim cleric to prepare concoction for money rituals for him. At the end of the day, the wrists, heart and legs were cut off. Luck ran out on the suspect while on his way to dump the body in the bush.
Not too long ago, reports had it that an evil forest used as ritualists’ den was uncovered in Enugu state with the recovery of fresh and decomposing human parts. The nation’s Federal Capital Territory is not speared from the rising trend of killing for rituals. Late last year, a dismembered body of an unidentified lady was recovered at the Lower Usuma Dam junction, along Dutse-Bwari Road. One of her breasts was cut off, while the rest of the body was cut into two from the abdomen, an indication that the killing was for ritual.
Badoo ritual killing
In Lagos state, the commercial hub of the country, different methods are devised by ritualists. One of such was the surge in the killing of residents by members of a dreaded cult group identified as Badoo Boys in Ikorodu area of Lagos. So far, over 50 persons have had their lives snuffed out of them by the perpetrators who were initially thought to be invisible, until they were decimated by the Police , under the watch of the new Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Mr Edgar Imohimi, while he was the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations.
Before the raid and subsequent arrest of over 200 suspected members of the cult group by the Police with the support of the Oodua peoples Congress, OPC local vigilante and the Neighborhood Watch Corps, Badoo Boys had been unleashing an orgy of killings, during which they used heavy stones to crush the skulls of their victims.
Their modus operandi included storming victims’ residences while they are asleep. It is suspected that they usually hypnotize their victims, as none of them had ever been conscious of their presence. They would, thereafter, smash heads of their victims with a grinding stone and after which they use a handkerchief to clean the blood and brain before leaving the scene.
During interrogation, one of the suspects confirmed that each handkerchief stained with blood was sold for N500,000 . He further revealed that they were mere errand boys for rich politicians within and outside Lagos state.
But in their case , the blood and semen stained handkerchief were used to prepare spiritual defence for well to do Nigerians.
Mad people in disguise
The latest method devised is the feigning of madness by these criminal elements. Recently in Lagos, some persons who disguised as lunatics were discovered to be using tunnels as dens for their activities. Two instances of note were along Lagos-Abeokuta road and Ile Zik, along Agege Motor road.
The latest was an uncovered ritualits’ den Wednesday , at Challege bus-stop , Mushin, where some suspected members who posed as lunatics were found with sophisticated phones, four ATM cards and over 100 syringes with blood stains.
One of the suspects was lynched by a mob while two others were rescued by policemen from Area ‘D’ command, Mushin.
Not too long Nigerians received with shock, news of a den in Soka village, Oluyole Local Government area of Oyo state, where about 20 corpses, majority of which were earlier declared missing by their relatives, were found while 18 victims were rescued. From all indications, it was obvious that the den had been existing for long before it was uncovered, following a heap of victims’ clothes.
One of the rescued victims was reported to have said he was kidnapped in Ogun while attending an interview. The most celebrated ritual killing appeared to be the notorious Otokoto saga in Owerri, Imo State where a businessman belonging to a cult was alleged to have used his apprentice for ritual. The boy’s corpse was later exhumed at the premises of Otokoto Hotel. It exposed many other bizarre acts in hotels.
Religious leaders also involved
One would have expected such primitive acts to be going down, going by the increasing religious groups in the country. Regrettably, some leaders of religious have been caught in the act. But investigations have shown that many evil men only use religion as a cover up. They are never true religious leaders.
One of the ready cases that comes to mind was that of the arrest of a Pastor who allegedly killed a seven-year-old boy and buried his head where the church’s alter was mounted. This action was to ensure the influx of members into the church located at Odokekere/ Odogunyan in Ikorodu area of Lagos state .
Elsewhere in Edo state and Ogun states, some pastors were also arrested over similar acts.
Few months ago, an unidentified woman who left her abode in Sango Otta area of Ogun in search of spiritual cleansing at the place of a Muslim cleric popularly called Alfa , in Badagry area of Lagos, ended up being victim of ritual killing.
A 61-year-old landlord, Toafeek Hassan, who confessed to have slaughtered the woman, was found with her fresh human head and other body parts which were to be used to prepare concoction by the alfa
Investigation shows that female parts are more in demand than their male counterparts. This is because of what was described as the potency of some parts like the breasts and lower private parts in money rituals and other purposes by herbalists and occult groups.
Ritual used to elongate life —suspect
One of the herbalists who spoke with Vanguard at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, SCIID , Oseni Bello, admitted to be preparing concoction with human body parts but said he was not involved in the killings. Oseni disclosed that some of the rituals were done to elongate lives . He added that the heart was used to prepare concoction for boldness and fear.
He stated further that virgins and babies on the other hand , were used by some politicians and government officials for ritual purposes as their blood is said to be used to elongate the user’s life span as well as fortify them against spiritual attacks. These are some of the reasons, he said, killings for rituals are on the increase.
A particular case in mind was that of a South-West politician alleged to have been caught by his driver with a dissected day-old baby whose blood he was drinking. The incident as reported two years ago, occurred inside a bush, while the driver was taking his boss (names withheld) to a function. Half way into the journey, the politician was said to have ordered his driver to pull over.
He thereafter, alighted and headed for a bush with a promise to be back. Having waited without any sight of his boss, the ignorant and curious driver reportedly went in search for him,only to meet him stark naked and pouring the blood of a dissected baby into his mouth. Barely two weeks later, the driver reportedly died under mysterious circumstance.
The event that occurred before his death was related by a Pastor friend whom the deceased confided in before his demise. The lust for money and power drives these people into ritual killings.
While some kill to achieve this unfathomable dream, others resort to digging graves and removing needed human parts for ritual purpose. Saturday Vanguard scooped that most guards at cemeteries connive with agents to sell human parts. It was learnt that if a fresh human head is needed, an agent will contact some cemetery workers ahead.
In this case, the cemetery official will be on the look out for fresh dead bodies, preferably those of Muslims who are usually buried within 24 hours after death. Immediately the body is interred, they exhume the body at night, cut off the needed parts and place the body back in the grave.
Human parts for sale
Those who patronize cemetery officials are usually herbalists, herbal traders and even prominent Nigerians who usually use middle men. Surprisingly, human parts are sold in some markets in Nigeria. We gathered that a fresh human head could go for N60,000 and above, while a skull is sold for N20,000. Fresh legs are sold for N30,000 each while a decomposed leg is sold for N20,000. A fresh finger is sold for N5,000 each while the decomposed is sold for 3,000. Fresh intestines are sold for N20,000 while dry ones are sold for N5000. Pieces of fresh bones are sold for N2,000 and above.
Reacting to the upsurge , the president, Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria , AISSON Dr. Ona. Ekhomu called on the Nigeria Police to set up Special Ritual Murder Squads in various State Commands to focus on the investigation, detection, arrest and prosecution of ritual killers. He said that the high incidence of serial ritual killings demands an urgent action at the level of the police high command.
According to the first chartered security professional in West Africa, citizens were rapidly losing faith in the ability of the police agency to detect and punish ritual killers. This, he said was responsible for the increase in lynching of suspects as members of the public resort to jungle justice to get redress for the heinous murders.
Said he: “The conscience of Nigerians should be troubled by reports of recent ritual murders including that of one-year-old Success lme in Calabar whose heart was ripped out from her small body for ritual purposes and was discovered in a Church along with other items for occult rituals. There is also the case of Pastor Samuel Okpara in Ahoada East LGA of Imo State who was kidnapped, killed and cannibalized by ritualists. The pastor was reportedly beheaded and his liver and intestines used for pepper soup and plantain porridge. What a horrific occurrence?”
He also decried the excesses of the Baddoo murder cult in Ikorodu Lagos State , saying it was a direct challenge to the Police.
Economic recession in the land is not a license to commit ritual murder. Impunity encourages ritualists to commit murders because they believe they will not be apprehended or punished.
I advise Nigerians against late night outings because if a vehicular breaks down one could fall victim of kidnap by ritualists. Commuters should always write down the identification markings of public conveyance vehicles which they enter and make phone calls to loved ones to pass on the information. Because ritual murderers always wish to be unidentified. They want to kill people, but don’t wish to be apprehended. Once information about them has been passed on to someone else, it becomes difficult for them to do evil”.
Nigerians should also assess public transport vehicles before boarding in order not to board the “wrong bus. Likewise, women are advised to carry whistles on them in order to raise an alarm if there is an attempt to abduct them”.
On his part, the national Coordinator, Network on Police Reform in Nigeria , NOPRIN Mr Okechukwu Nwanguma, attributted the rise in cases of killing for ritual to collapse in moral values “
It is also caused by , ignorance and superstition, the inordinate quest and pursuit of quick wealth and lack of effective punishment system.In a way, poverty and unemployment may also be a risk factor. If Nigerians have equal opportunities to earn income in legitimate ways , there will definitely be reduction in such abominable crimes like humans killing fellow humans for ritual.”
Also baring his opinion on the matter, Treasurer of the Action Democratic Party , Cross River State Chapter, Offiong Okon, in a recent interview, advised that: “Before a church is established, government should carry out investigation before license is granted because many of the church leaders and founders are ritualists, acting in the capacity of being Pastors.”
“Government should investigate the Pastors and checkmate their activities because what they do under the cover of being a religious leader.”
In fact, the history of ritual murders in Nigeria is a long one although nobody knows when the first ritual murder was committed or the total number of ritual killings. Nigeria as an independent country exists since 1960. A partial overview of ritual murders since the year 2000 can be found on the website ‘Liberia: Past and Present of Africa’s Oldest Republic, on the page ‘Not only in Liberia – ritual killings in Nigeria.’ The overview includes over 60 ritual murder cases, but it should be emphasized that it does not pretend to be exhaustive.
Warning: Readers are warned that the following article contains a graphic description of a ritualistic act (webmaster FVDK).
How 18-yr-old boy killed girl, 12, for money ritual
Published: January 8, 2014 By: Vanguard, Nigeria – Ifeanyi Okolie
LAGOS — The police in Lagos State, yesterday, said they have arrested an 18-year-old boy, Ikechukwu Friday, who allegedly killed a 12-year-old girl for money ritual.
The suspect, who is currently being interrogated at the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti, Yaba, was paraded before newsmen.
According to him, a pastor he asked for money instructed him to kill a young girl and obtain her faeces.
He said the pastor promised him N100,000 if he was able to accomplish the task.
According to him, “I attend a popular church around Ketu Street, Aguda but I live with my parents in Badagry. I just finished secondary school and I have been very broke so I approached the pastor for money but he told me that I should strangulate a little girl.
“He said when strangulating the girl, she would pass out faeces. The pastor said I should obtain the faeces and bring it to him. He said if I could do this, he would give me N100,000.
“So, on December 30, 2013, I approached a young girl, Bose Ogoja. Her mother sells food in Badagry and I usually patronise them, so she trusted me. I told the girl that I wanted to show her something and that she should follow me. So I took her to an abandoned NITEL building and locked the door.
“I pressed her neck tightly and she passed out faeces. I was, however, not able to get the faeces because I was caught before I could escape.”
The suspect, an indigene of Onitsha, Anambra State, pleaded for mercy, adding that this was his first crime.
State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, said the boy was arrested by neighbours in the area and handed over to the Badagry Police Division.
Braide said the pastor, who allegedly gave the boy the instruction, had been arrested and was already cooperating with the police.
While displaying the gruesome picture of the slain girl, Braide said: “He was arrested in an uncompleted building. The security guard manning the building told the police that he saw the boy entering the building with the girl.
“He said a few minutes later, he heard the girl screaming and later saw the boy leaving. The security guard raised the alarm and the neighbours were alerted and they arrested the boy.”
On entering the building, the discovered that the girl was dead.
“The picture of the girl’s corpse shows that the girl was naked and defecated on the floor.”
Yesterday I posted an article entitled ‘Nigeria: ritual killings everywhere‘, describing in great detail the widespread occurrence of ritualistic activities for ‘money rituals’, i.e. ritual murders, in Africa’s most populated country. One of the cases included in the article is about the murder of a 13-year old boy, Rilwan Amuda, by Muyideen Salaam, a 35 year-old apprentice at Aketegbo community in Seme, Badagry area of Lagos. The murderer gave a chilling confession of how he killed his victim.
Warning: the following article contains a graphic description of the ritual murder committed (webmaster FVDK)
‘How I killed, drained teenager’s blood for money ritual’ – Suspect
Published: July 12, 2014 By: Vanguard, Nigeria
Muyideen Salaam, a 35 year-old apprentice at Aketegbo community in Seme, Badagry area of Lagos, gave this chilling confession of how he killed a 13 year-old boy, Rilwan Amuda, in his crave for materialism.
The Ibadan-born suspect claimed he was tempted to opt for money ritual after his wife left with their two children when feeding became an uphill task for him.
According to him: “ I was alone in the video shop club owned by my master when one of my friends named Nuru came and said he knew someone who could make us rich . He told me all that was needed was just the blood of a boy of about 15 years of age.
He said all I needed to do was to get the person since he had already contacted a herbalist. In my desperation, I told him we would take Rilawan, mama elewa’s son since I had easy access to him because he usually ran errands for me and sometimes I gave him money and used closthes. We felt it was useless to go out and get someone else since Rilawan stayed in the same area with us. I made him understand that getting someone was not the problem but taking him to the herbalist’s shrine where he would be killed.
When we told baba our constraint, he gave Nuru a ring and instructed us to just touch whoever we wanted to bring with it, that the person would follow us without hesitation.
On that fateful day, I called Rilwan and touched him with the ring . To my surprise, he became dumb and followed us to the shrine. We kept him there until it was dark.
When it was midnight and there was no one in sight, we took him away from the shrine and laid him on the ground. While Nuru slashed his throat with a knife given to us by the herbalist, I held a bowl close to his neck for the blood to pour into it.
Rilwan did not put up any resistance as promised by baba because he was hypnotized. And his memory was gone.
After we collected the blood, we gave the bowl to baba and carried Rilawan’s body far away from the shrine to avoid suspicion and dumped it on the expressway so as to give an impression that he was hit by a vehicle. We thereafter, went to bath with the blood as instructed by baba.
He performed some rituals fore us and mixed the blood with a black native soap and gave us to bath with after which he said we would become rich.
But after bathing with the substance, by the third day, we did not see any money as promised by baba. We were as poor as we used to be. We were so angry and decided to go to baba’s place to fight with him.
But on our way, Rilwan’s mother held me and asked me to produce his son for him. She said she was informed that he was last seen with me. She vehemently refused to let go of my trouser even when I denied. This caused a scene and people gathered around me and started beating me. Nuru who was with me managed to escape. Policemen from Seme division came and took me away. It was at that moment I opened up.
But Nuru who lured me into it is nowhere to be found. I am left to bear the brunt alone. If I had known, I would have continued working for my master where I was paid N1,500 every month. The most painful aspect is that I do not have a mother, father, sister or brother. I am just all alone in the world. I do not want to die even though I partook in killing somebody “, he said in an emotional laden tone.
After his arrest, policemen reportedly took him to the herbalist shrine where the suspect showed them the bowl that was used to drain Rilwan’s blood. The herbalist identified as Soji Akodiya did not deny demanding for a human blood from Muyideen and his fleeing friend but he stated that the killing never took place in his shrine.
Out of curiosity, this reporter was forced to ask why he looked so haggard and tattered when he could make money to take care of himself. In response,he looked at the reporter, smiled sheepishly and said, “you will not understand”.
Continuing he said : “ Yes, I told them what they needed for money ritual was human blood. Because money ritual is one of the greatest tasks in our line. I told them they could either use their own blood for it but I believe they never wanted to and brought that of the boy. I was not around when the boy was slaughtered . I did not even know when they brought him. He was not even killed in my shrine….”
But Muyideen interrupted saying “It is a lie. You knew when we brought him. It was even you that gave us knife and a bowl to put the blood. You even told us not to kill him in your shrine for security purpose and you were aware we were going to kill him that night”.
But the herbalist ignored the interjection and continued “ I am a herbalist who speacialise in attending to barren women. I also help people to get jobs and also give charms to traders to sell more than their fellow traders. I collect, N50 to N500 , depending on what the oracle demands. It is then left for my clients to appreciate me. I got money ritual charm from a colleague ten years ago when all herbalists went for a meeting in Ijebu-ode . Usually, what we do at such meeting is to help ourselves. For instance, if I have the cure for any disease and others do not, I will give to them and vice visa.
That was how the baba gave all of us ogun owo (money ritual charm)and instructed us on how to administer to our clients . I have never used it before, this is my first time. It was even when Nuru came to me that I realised I had the charm”.
Asked why it did work for the suspect and his fleeing partner in crime, the herbalist relied “ it did not work because they did not follow my instruction. The instruction was to bathe with the prepared concoction nine days after its preparation but they used it on the third day. Had they followed the instruction, they would have noticed a total turn around in whatever they set their hands to do . Their businesses would have been lucrative . And if they leave N1000 in the bag, they would wake up to meet triple of what was there”.
Mystics. Pure mystics. It’s unbelievable the extent many go to get rich. There are the politicians who believe that charms can make them powerful and transport them into powerful positions. Even when the efficacy of these rituals is in doubt, some people still believe that rituals can change their lives for the better. Evil men continue to chase their shadows. One thing is clear. Evil begets evil. There’s a price for every bad thing. Those who indulge in these primitive and devilish tendencies never end up well.
The following article sounds unreal. Reading it, one wonders if this can be true. Is it gossip, rumor, fantasy, or indeed the reality? The article dates from July 2014 whereas many ritualistic acts described date from much further back, even 2007.
I will return to this page and add more shortly.
Warning: some images and description of ritualistic acts may be shocking (webmaster FVDK).
Horror: ritual killings everywhere in spite of civilization
Published: July 12, 2014 By: Vanguard, Nigeria – Evelyn Usman and Ebun Sessou
Looking curiously as this reporter approached her make-shift restaurant around J4 , Aketegbo community in Seme Badagry area of Lagos two weeks ago, mama Rilwan as she is popularly called, stood up from her seat, apparently thinking the stranger had come to patronize her.’ ki lefe ra? (what do you want to buy ?) she asked.
But when this writer disclosed her mission, the seeming expectation on her face dropped, giving way to a sad expression of a memory she never wishes to recall. She immediately beckoned on two teenagers later discovered to be her children to take over the stand while she went inside the shop, with this reporter following with caution.
After a long silence accompanied with a long stare at this reporter, she said: “ I recognize you now. You were here in 2007 when the incident that threw my entire life upside down occurred. My son, Rilwan would have been 20 years this month (June), had he not been sent to an early grave by my neighbor. He was my first child and also my back bone”.
Tried as she could to control her emotion as she spoke, her strength failed her. Tears trickled down her cheeks.
All was going on well for the food vendor until September 1, 2007, when her son , Rilwan, was reported missing. Three days later, his remains were found with the throat slashed, signifying that he could have been a victim of ritual killing which was said to be common in the area.
Accusing finger was pointed at one Muyideen Salam whose shop was close to the deceased’s mother’s place. He was said to have been seen with the deceased before his disappearance. After much persuasion which took a brutal dimension, Muyideen confirmed everyone’s fears, by confessing that he killed Rilwan and used his blood for money ritual.
In an interview with Sunday Vanguard at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba , seven years ago (published October 7, 2007) the then 35 year-old Muyideen gave a chilling account of how he gruesomely murdered the teenager and drained his blood, with the help of his friend, one Nuru.
Strange as this sounded, Muyideen disclosed that he was sent to get the blood of a virgin by a herbalist with which to prepare the concoction he would use to bath for nine days, after which he would become rich.
But he never lived to see his devilish wish come true ,even though he succeeded in killing the teenager. This was as a result of his arrest by policemen at Seme division. He was convicted for murder.
Muyideen’s startling confession was, no doubt, a reflection of a society that is fast becoming bestial. Killing of human beings for rituals or whatever reason, dates back to the ancient times when people used to appease the gods of the land with human blood and for the purpose of winning wars. Twins, who were considered an abomination, were killed until its abolition through Mary Slessor’s missionary works.
One would have expected that such pseudoscience should rather be imagined than witnessed in Nigeria in this 21st century, when other countries of the world are experimenting and advancing in technology. More baffling is the fact that some Nigerians still indulge in such superstitious process of ritual killings in spite of the escalation of religious groups across the country as well as the exposure of majority of the populace to education and Western culture.
Sadly, even some acclaimed high and mighty indulge in ritual killings. Some politicians and government officials have been accused by arrested suspects (and herbalists), alleging that they use human beings for rituals in order to sustain their affluence as well as to remain in power. Records also show that cases of ritual killings and subsequent disappearance of persons are usually on the increase whenever elections are around the corner.
In Lagos state for instance, about fifteen cases of kidnap attempts have reportedly been recorded in the last four months. One of the foiled attempts was at Ori-oke, in Ejigbo local council development area, two months ago, where a woman who kidnapped two primary school pupils was heard describing them as goods to an unknown person on the phone.
The saddest part of this evil act is that hundreds of victims of ritual murders only get mentioned as missing persons. While some manage, by sheer stroke of providence to escape the slaughters’ slab, others never live to share their ordeal with any person.
Investigation by Saturday Vanguard revealed that agents of these vampires who hide in forests and other unknown places are spread across the country, lying in wait like a hungry lion for their preys. Majority of their victims are innocent school children, poor street hawkers, commercial sex workers, stranded visitors and unsuspecting commuters.
Watch out for these black spots
Investigation carried out by Saturday Vanguard showed that black spots where these agents prowl include areas like Otta, Ibafo and Mowe , all in Ogun state, Epe, Ikorodu, Shagamu Road Isheri/Olowo Ira,Cele Express along Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Badagry axis, Ikeja, Toyota Bus-stop, Mile Two, Ajah,all in Lagos State; Lagos / Ibadan Express Road; Lagos/Benin by-pass in Edo State; Igwurita ,Rumuokoro in Port Harcourt, Rivers state; Ilorin/Oro Road in Kwara state; Lokoja, Abuja Highway in Kogi State and River Kaduna. Other areas are bush paths, markets, lonely environments, hotels and brothels, popular bus stopovers or terminals, and other hot spots across the country.
Some of these agents, most times disguise as lunatics. A typical case in mind was that Clifford Orji who was arrested under the bridge at Toyota Bus-stop along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos with human parts in 2001. He confessed to be selling human parts to prominent Nigerians who undoubtedly used them for ritual purposes. The amazing thing about this peculiar case was the fact that Orji who later died while in Prison custody, was presumed a lunatic. Unknown to passers-by, he only masqueraded as a mad man in order to achieve his sinister motives.
Investigations further revealed that one of their ways is to attack job seekers. They print fliers for recruitment. Some even go the extra mile to advertise for vacancies in national dailies. They then send text messages or email to applicants, informing that they have been listed for the job and will be invited for interviews. In many cases, hotels turn out to be the venues for the interviews. At this point, if the prospective applicant gets to the designated hotel, he/she will reportedly be hypnotized and thereafter taken to the slaughter’s slab which is usually in the bush or some remote places. At other times, an applicant will be informed that the venue for interview has changed on reaching the hotel, from where they will provide a vehicle, which unknown to the applicants, have been sprayed with substance that automatically puts them to sleep.
Barely four months ago, Nigerians received with shock, news of a den in Soka village, Oluyole Local Government area of Oyo state, where about 20 corpses, majority of which were declared missing by their relatives were found and 18 victims were rescued. From all indications, it was obvious that the den has been existing for long before it was uncovered, following a heap of victims’ clothes. One of the rescued victims was reported to have said he was kidnapped in Ogun while attending an interview.
The most celebrated ritual killing in the recent past was the notorious Otokoto saga in Owerri, Imo State where a businessman belonging to a cult was alleged to have used his apprentice for ritual. The boy’s corpse was later exhumed at the premises of Otokoto Hotel. It exposed many other bizarre acts in hotels.
Investigation shows that female parts are more in demand than their male counterparts. This is because of what was described as the potency of some parts like the breasts and lower private parts in money rituals and other purposes by herbalists and occult groups.
Virgins and babies on the other hand are also reportedly used by some politicians and government officials for ritual purposes as their blood is said to be used to elongate the user’s life span as well as fortify them against spiritual attacks.
Security hints at Saturday’s Vanguard’s disposal reveal that sometimes, these ‘celebrities’ employ the services of some restaurant owners, hotel operators and their trusted domestic workers to get them virgins who are subsequently murdered for ritual purposes. Majority of girls who have fallen prey to these death traps were discovered to be secondary school students as well as those in tertiary institutions as they were at the initial stage carried away by money and expensive gifts from their assailants.
A particular case in mind was that of a South-West politician alleged to have been caught by his driver with a dissected day-old baby whose blood he was drinking. The incident as reported two years ago, occurred inside a bush, while the driver was taking his boss (names withheld) to a purported function. Half way into the journey, the politician was said to have ordered his driver to pull over.
He thereafter, alighted and headed for a bush with a promise to be back. Having waited without any sight of his boss, the ignorant and curious driver reportedly went in search for him,only to meet him stark naked and pouring the blood of a dissected baby into his mouth. Barely two weeks later, the driver reportedly died under mysterious circumstance. The event that occurred before his death was related by a Pastor friend whom the deceased confided in before his demise.
The lust for money and power drives these people into ritual killings.
While some kill to achieve this unfathomable dream, others resort to digging graves and removing needed human parts for ritual purpose. Saturday Vanguard scooped that most guards at cemeteries connive with agents to sell human parts.
It was learnt that if a fresh human head is needed, an agent will contact some cemetery workers ahead. In this case, the cemetery official will be on the look out for fresh dead bodies, preferably those of Muslims who are usually buried within 24 hours after death. Immediately the body is interred, cemetery worker will exhume the body at night, cut off the needed parts and place the body back in the grave.
Human parts for sale
Those who patronize cemetery officials are usually herbalists, herbal traders and even prominent Nigerians who usually use middle men. Surprisingly, human parts are sold in some markets in Nigeria. We gathered that a fresh human head could go for N60,000 and above, while a skull is sold for N20,000. Fresh legs are sold for N30,000 each while a decomposed leg is sold for N20,000. A fresh finger is sold for N5,000 each while the decomposed is sold for 3,000. Fresh intestines are sold for N20,000 while dry ones are sold for N5000. Pieces of fresh bones are sold for N2,000 and above.
Five months ago, the Oyo State Police Command, arrested a Muslim cleric, one Alfa Gbolagade Dauda Ileanwo, in Agbaje area of Ibadan with three human skulls and charms. The suspect, according to the command, confessed that he had been in the trade for ten years. Though he claimed to be using the human parts for concoctions to assist sterile women, his accomplice, Saheed Azeez, countered the claim, stating rather that his boss was into money making rituals.
The command also arrested two other suspected ritual killers,Musa Dauda and Sango Olojo-Onile with a human head and two heel bones. During interrogation, Dauda revealed that the human parts were removed from a grave at Ojetete village, Kisi, for money ritual.
Olojo-Onile according to the command was arrested in April with a fresh head of a woman which still had cotton wool stuck inside the ears.
Also in Epe, the lifeless body of a 68-year-old man,Ade Lekuti, earlier declared missing was discovered at Owode, near Ogombo in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, with the head, hands and private organs cut off.
Surprisingly, the alleged killer was discovered to be his in-law, one Teju Rajimu. The suspect according to the deceased’s family, confessed to have given the missing parts to a herbalist who prepared concoction with them for him. The missing parts were reportedly pounded into powdery form and mixed with a greasy substance which was discovered in the suspect’s apartment.
Similarly, in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, a three-man gang led by one Kamaru Yusuf allegedly beheaded one Omobola Moses at Ira, a village in Oyun Local Government Area. The deceased who was a niece to one of the suspects, was reportedly lured from her parents’ abode into a bush where her head was severed. The suspects, according to report, confessed that they took the head to a 52-year-old herbalist whose name they gave as Saliu Oyewole, for money ritual.
From the West to the East and North to the South , the story is same.
In Enugu state for instance, an evil forest suspected to be a den for killers was discovered in Igbo Eze North local government area with fresh and decomposing human parts littered all over,with vital parts of some bodies missing.
Report said the victims were taken to the forest and butchered by killers who then removed the vital parts needed for money-making rituals. Some prominent citizens of the state and environs were alleged to be patrons of herbalists and native doctors who perform rituals in the forest.
One of the mind bugling incidents was the discovery of another horror sight at the Okija shrine in Anambra state. The shrine achieved notoriety in 2004 when it was raided by the Anambra State Police Command ,where 50 decomposing or shrunken bodies and 20 human skulls were found. The shrine was also reportedly patronised by politicians. Till date, politicians still visit Okija shrine.
It is tragic enough that some Nigerians still believe in gaining power and making money through this practice. But more worrisome and astonishing is the use of loved ones, such as one’s parents, siblings and wives for this devilish purpose. One of such horrifying incidents occurred in Abia state, when a 26 year-old boy allegedly killed his mother for ritual. The suspect,Ebi Onu, who hailed from Igbere, Bende council area of the state, reportedly went to Nguzu Edda in Ebonyi State where he consulted a herbalist to make charms that would make him become rich. The herbalist was said to have asked Ebi to kill his mother and bring her private part which he said would be used to prepare concoction for him. He allegedly connived with three of his friends to lay ambush for his mother along a bush path and lured his mother into taking a walk with him along that route. On sighting them, his killer friends reportedly sprang out from their hiding and hacked Ebi’s mother to death after which they cut off her private part .
Worried by her disappearance, a search party with Ebi reportedly combed the vicinity for her without luck. Report said some of the residents said they saw the missing woman with her son and consequently Ebi was subjected to questioning and tortured by some youths until he allegedly owned up and took the youths to where he buried his mother at the bank of a river . The angry youths were said to have beaten him to death , thereby depriving him of living to see his inordinate ambition of becoming rich through ritual means.
In the same vein, residents of Bale Ilado village in Morogbo area of Lagos State were thrown into panic recently after a member of the community identified as Segun Adisa allegedly beheaded his own father for money ritual .
However, in his confessional statement to the Police, the suspect claimed that he had to strike first to prevent his father whom he claimed earlier took him to a shrine where he claimed there was an attempt to kill him for money ritual.
Again in Aba, a landlord was alleged to have killed his two children for ritual purpose. The landlord (names withheld) as gathered, dashed out of his three-storey building on Omenazu road in Aba, on sighting some policemen approaching. Policemen from the Abia state command who acted on tip off, were said to have swooped on the building and according to residents of the area , two unconscious children identified as his children were found inside one of the rooms transfixed.
Not too long ago in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory , the body of a lady was found in the boot of a Honda car with plate number AG 847 SUL belonging to an Abuja based businessman whose identity was given as Abdullai Ibrahim. The suspect was said to have been arrested by policemen on patrol while he was cleaning the blood stain on the back seat of the car. Preliminary investigation, according to police sources, revealed that the suspect slit the deceased’s throat with a knife for alleged ritual purpose.
In Kaduna state, three youths were reported in 2007 to have lured a 17 year-old sugarcane hawker, Ibrahim Shehu, to the outskirts of a village and strangled him. They were said to have been at the verge of removing his eyes when policemen that were alerted by a farmer swooped on them. The suspects, according to the Kaduna State Police Command, confessed to have wanted to pluck out the eyes for money ritual.
Same year in Ibafo area of Ogun state, a woman who managed to escape from a kidnappers den alerted policemen led by one Charles Ogenegbe, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who stormed the hideout , where a shrine used as slaughter for human beings was discovered.
Also same year in Benue, a 77 year-old woman identified as Adiya Omachi was murdered in her farmland at Odaleko, along Ikachi Adum road. Not done , her assailants reportedly slashed her private parts, signifying they could be ritualists.
In Niger state, three persons were arrested by the police for allegedly beheading a 10-year-old boy in Amale Village, Kaffi-koro District, Paiko local government area of the state for ritual.
The deceased as gathered, was lured by one Salleh Ibrahim who took him on his motorcycle from Amale village to meet two of his other accomplices: Usman Sarki and Dantala Doma. During interrogation, Sarki told policemen that he was contracted by one Gajere to bring the boy’s head for money ritual. The lad’s headless body was reportedly found in Salleh’s residence while the head was found buried in a shallow grave near Erena in Shiroro local government, pending when they would take it to the herbalist.
If the startling confession of 20 year-old Agu Nwanu, who disclosed that he had so far killed twenty children for money rituals, all in his bid to ensure he does not end up like his poor father must be taken seriously, then all hands must be on deck to address this rising incident of ritual killings. Security operatives appear to be doing their best to curb these evil and very primitive rituals. But their best appears not to be enough as the menace is on the increase going by daily reports of these killings.
When the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide was contacted on the spate of ritual killings, she said about Lagos.
“I will disagree with you on the issue of ritual killing being on the increase in Lagos state. There has not been any of such since my assumption. Sometime last year and about two months ago ,we paraded some suspects for being in possession of human parts. The arrests were effected by men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad and the suspects were arrested from other states.
“During interrogation, we discovered they had same modus operandi. They always go to the grave yard to exhume corpses. It’s something they commit in connivance with the security men at the cemetery. And the buyers, comprising the native doctors and other persons will be there.
“Let me state here that the Police as security agents do not believe in mystics. We work with facts and physical evidence. So, when you say people indulge in rituals, we do not understand that language.
What we have also recorded are cases of persons suspected to be kidnappers who were attacked by the mob. It happened at Apapa, Iyana-Ipaja , Shahsha areas . In Shahsha, a man was sighted with a little child in his car and they accused him of wanting to use the child for money ritual and a mob attacked him, without giving him room to explain himself. But for the quick intervention of the traditional ruler of the area who contacted policemen, the man would have been lynched.
“On interrogation, it was discovered that parents of the child begged him to help drop the child in school and on the way, he started crying. We invited the parents who collaborated the claim. If they had killed him, the news would have been all over the place that a ritualist was mobbed.
“Another case was of an elderly woman at Ajegunle who was seen with a day old baby. Before you knew it, people rounded her up and started beating her, claiming she wanted to use the baby for ritual. The local government chairman contacted the police who rescued the woman who said she was the grandmother of the baby and that her daughter just gave birth but was in an unstable condition in the hospital. What we did was to invite the doctor of the hospital who collaborated her claim . The doctor said he advised the woman to take the baby home while they tried to stabilise the mother. I want to use this medium to advise Lagosians not to engage in mob actions.
“On our part, we have a lot of overt and covert policemen in strategic places in the state, considering the nature of security in the country right now. We have tried to cover up sensitive places like churches, schools, motor parks among other places and we have enough security men.”
Yesterday I posted an article on the sentencing to life imprisonment of four people found guilty of ritual murder in Limpopo Province, South Africa. It is not the first time that the rule of law was applied by prosecuting and sentencing a ritual murderer in Limpopo Province, a region which unfortunately is notorious for the occurrence of muti murders. In October 2015, a Mocambican man who had been apprehended in possession of body parts was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Limpopo High Court at Makhado (webmaster FVDK).
Life sentence for ritual murderer
Published: October 29, 2015 By: Letaba Herald, Matome Maila
A Mocambican man who was found in possession of body parts last year was sentenced to life imprisonment during a sitting of the Limpopo High Court at Makhado last Tuesday.
Nkovani Samson Majoko (36), originally from Mocambique, but residing a Xiphuraphuleni Settlement in Malamulele, outside Giyani was arrested in June last year after he was found in possession of a bag containing two hands and male sexual organs
The court heard that he lured the victim, John Miyambo (35), from Mocambique to South Africa with the promise of a job and then killed him and cut off the body parts to sell as muti.
He was arrested after information was received of a man trying to sell body parts in the Malamulele area.
He was found guilty on a charge of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.