Liberia: growing anxiety over ritual killings and the political fallout from the recent surge in ritualistic murders

Liberia is again in the grip of ritualistic murders. An alarming wave of insecurity terrorizes the population. Reportedly, secret and ritualistic murders are being committed. The Liberia National Police is pressed by the public to do more. President Weah is being asked to address the nation and speak out against these heinous crimes, which are far from uncommon in Liberia.

In the past, ambitious politicians have been found involved in ritualistic activities including murder. The presidential elections of 2023 are still far away but politicians and their supporters are already preparing for a fierce election campaign. Moreover, on November 16 of this year, by-elections will be held in Bomi, Bong, Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties to fill the vacancies in the House of Representatives following the election of Representatives in the Senate in December 2020.  

The combined opposition – the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) including the ANC, ALP, UP and the LP – has to come to grips with the internal battle for a unique, common presidential candidate for the 2023 elections if it wants to defat the incumbent president.  However, its political leaders: ANC leader Alexander Cummings, the UP candidate and former Vice President Joseph Boakai, ALP’s Benoni Urey and Grand Bassa County Senator and political leader of Liberty Party, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, are not on the same line when it comes to a common candidate.

The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change is also far from homogeneous. The coalition is composed of Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change plus the National Patriotic Party of warlord-turned-into-president Charles Taylor, now led by one of his ex-wives, Jewel Howard Taylor, currently Vice President in the Weah Administration, and the Liberian People Democratic Party of the corrupt and for this reason disgraced former House Speaker Alex Tyler. It is a public secret that relations between the Present and his Vice President are far from harmonious.

The foregoing does not pretend to provide an answer to the question why there’s currently a surge in ritualistic killings in Liberia – assuming that reports of a surge in ritual murders are not unfounded. Moreover, as one newspaper commented, ‘There is speculation that the majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.’ 

The Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Colonel Patrick Sudue, has labelled the reports on ritualistic murders as fake news, accusing the opposition of tarnishing the good reputation of the Weah Administration. In sharp contrast, however, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor publicly disagreed with him, pleading for an end to the many mysterious deaths that are linked to ritualistic killings.

Be that as it may, Liberia’s human rights reputation, which wasn’t that good anyway, is being further damaged by these reports of ritualistic and secret killings whereas critics  of president Weah who accuse him of inaction will be more convinced than ever that he is not the right man in the right place. 

As an observer of Liberian politics since the 1970s I’m afraid that this is not the end of the story…

To be continued (webmaster FVDK).

Public anxiety over ritual killings increases; President Weah must address the nation and speak out on the scourge of ritualistic killings in Liberia

Published: September 30, 2021
By: Editorial Board, Front Page Africa, Liberia 

THE SPATE OF KILLINGS for ritual purposes is gradually assuming an alarming rate in Liberia with little or no effort by government of President George Weah to checkmate the trend.

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 the majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.

ONE WOULD HAVE expected such acts to be a thing of the past following decades of civil war in Liberia which claimed the lives of over 150, 000 people, and made hundreds of thousands became refugees throughout the region. 

BUT SADLY murdering people to appease the deities appears to be on the increase in Liberia.

THESE RITUALISTS hide under different covers to get their victims. For some, they kidnap their victims from various points, while others who pretend to be commercial 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.

RECENTLY, the lifeless body of a girl believed to be in her 30s was discovered in Caldwell with body parts extracted.Till date perpetrators of the dastardly act are yet to be found.

A DAY EARLIER, another lifeless body of a man believed to be in his 40s was found in the Soul Clinic community. As at the time his body was recovered, some parts had been removed. They included his penis, eyes and tongue. Still, the perpetrators have not been arrested.

GIVEN THE RATE of increase of ritual killings in Liberia, 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.

IT IS DISHEARTENING to point out that as developed countries invest in science and technology to keep abreast with a dynamic world, Liberia is still stuck in the mistaken belief that sacrificing human blood is the surest route to wealth, safety, and protection.

IT’S TIME the government of President Weah play a more active role in ameliorating the negative impact of these dastardly acts?

POVERTY AND ECONOMIC hardship in the country 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 significant risk factors. If Liberians have equal opportunities to earn income legitimately, there will be a reduction in horrific crimes such as banditry and human killings for ritual.

THE HIGH INCIDENCE of serial ritual killings in Liberia demands an urgent action at the level of the government of President Weah.

TO CURB THE INCREASE in ritual killings, government should thoroughly explore the intelligence-gathering approach. Timely arrest and prosecution of arrested suspects would serve as a deterrent to anybody contemplating perpetrating ritual killing.

RECORD OF SUCCESSFUL prosecution of ritualists is not in the public domain. When there are no consequences for deviant behavior, it is incentivized.

THE CONSCIENCE of Liberians are being troubled by reports of recent ritual murders including that of  those whose body parts were ripped out for ritual purposes.

LIBERIANS SEEM to be rapidly losing faith in the ability of President Weah and his government to detect and punish ritual killers, and it’s time President Weah act to address the scourge in ritualistic activities in Liberia.

THE SOONER, the better..

Source: President Weah Must Address the Scourge of Ritualistic Killings in Liberia

and:

A heartbreaking plea to political parties, religious and civil society leaders

Just where is our President and why has he maintained such a conspicuous silence in the face of mounting cries of the people craving the intervention of the state to protect their lives?

Published: September 30, 2021
By: Staff Editor – The Daily Observer, Liberia

This is a plea to Civil Society, Religious Leaders and political parties, especially the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), to act in concert and speak with one voice on the deteriorating security situation in the country. Every God-sent day is replete with accounts of mysterious and brutal killing of peaceful citizens apparently for ritualistic purposes.

This is also a plea to civil society and their respective organizations to become seized of the current situation and also speak with one voice on the current situation. From all indications, this government is failing to protect the people and this does not augur well for peace and national security.

We say this because there is an inherent danger in allowing things to deteriorate to the point where ordinary citizens begin to take action to protect themselves from harm. Judging from reports, it appears that females are being particularly targeted but in the face of such assaults against our women, especially, not a word has been heard from the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) and the same goes for other women groups.

Religious leaders, Muslim as well as Christian, etc., have also failed to take up the issue as a matter of priority concern. Innocent children of God are being slaughtered like animals, but the voices of our religious leaders have either been silent or at best feeble. Just where are our so-called men of God in the face of such brutal onslaught against the children of God, one is tempted to ask.

More importantly, just where is our President and why has he maintained such a conspicuous silence in the face of mounting cries of the people craving the intervention of the state to protect their lives? The Police have not proved very helpful in the eyes of the public. 

Such displayed ineptitude by the Liberia National Police (LNP) in addressing urgent security concerns of the people is leaving most people with the impression that the rise in ritualistic killings and other forms of violence is linked to top officials of this government. In their view, this is why such killings continue to happen despite massive public outcry.

In such situations, opposition political parties, religious leaders and civil society organizations are usually looked up to for help and guidance. But to the disappointment of the public, they also seem to appear helpless to deal with the situation. Whether their inaction is borne out of fear and trepidation, or out of a desire to ingratiate themselves into the good favors of the President, remains unclear.

For now, it is basically the media which has inadvertently found itself thrust into the fore to speak out on behalf of a seemingly helpless people. Their efforts are indeed commendable but grossly insufficient without the active support of civil society, including political parties and religious organizations. They cannot afford to wait until things run out of hand before they can muster the courage to step up to the plate.

For the past few weeks, the media has been awash with reports of the ongoing feud within the CPP, which has been touted as the last bastion capable of restoring hope of Liberians for sustainable peace and giving the people some respite from the suffering and hardships being experienced under the leadership of the Coalition for Democratic Change.

This coalition composed of the National Patriotic Party of disgraced and imprisoned war convict Charles Taylor, and the Liberian People Democratic Party of disgraced former House Speaker Alex Tyler, was hailed by its supporters as the answer to Liberia’s problems, following President Weah’s selection of Charles Taylor’s ex-wife Jewel Howard Taylor as Vice President. 

Under the rule of her ex-husband Taylor, Liberia became a pariah state largely as a result of runaway corruption and the massive and egregious human rights abuses committed under his watch by his security forces.

But those very vices that eventually led to Taylor’s disgraceful exit from power and subsequent trial and conviction on war crimes, appear to have now taken center-stage under the current ruling Coalition. In the face of this, civil society, including political parties especially the CPP, appear to have their attention fixed elsewhere. The CPP, for example, finds itself locked in a bitter and seemingly unending internecine feud.

Whether ANC leader Alexander Cummings and UP leader and former Vice President Joseph Boakai will find common ground on the question of who has the popularity and political strength to lead the Collaboration to elections in 2023 is anyone’s guess.

While Joseph Boakai appears to enjoy overwhelming support in vote-rich Lofa County, the same cannot be said of Alexander Cummings in any county including his home country Maryland. It may therefore be suicidal were he to quit the CPP to go it alone. And apparently he realizes this and such could be reasons why he has declared that leaving the CPP is a non-option.

Similarly, it can be said that it would be suicidal for Joseph Boakai to leave the CPP to go it alone. Both individuals appear hopelessly stuck together with each wanting out, but too timid to make the break for fear of the consequences. But the Liberian people cannot forever wait for justice, neither can they forever wait on the government to bring ritualistic killings to an end.

This can perhaps explain why there are increasing calls from the public for the reintroduction of the Death Penalty to serve as deterrent to would be ritual killers. They point to the United States of America, the foremost global champion of Human Rights, which still maintains the Death Penalty without censure from international human rights institutions. Then, why not Liberia, they ask.     

And their point of reference is the 1977 trial, conviction and public hanging, in Harper, Maryland County of several individuals including a former Superintendent involved in the ritual murder of Moses Tweh, a popular folk singer, which put a stop to ritual killings in that country for a long period.

Source: A Plea to Political Parties, Religious Leaders and Leaders of Civil Society

PS Note of the webmaster: For a detailed overview of the arrest and trial of the defendants accused of the ritual killing of Moses Tweh, see: ‘The Maryland Ritual Murders – Liberia’s most notorious ritual killing case‘. Warning: some readers may find the graphic contents, description of the ritual murder and the accompanying pictures disturbing (FVDK). 

The 7 convicted ritual killers who were sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Moses Tweh: Allen Yancy, James Anderson, Francis Nyepan, Philip Seton, Wreh Taryonnoh, Putu Dweh and Thomas Barclay.
For more information click here 
The public execution took place in Harper, Maryland County, on February 16, 1979

More recent articles:

Liberia National Police Inspector General says reports of ritualistic killings, disappearances are fake news and intended to malign government’s image

Published: September 30, 2021
By: Willie N. Tokpah – Front Page Africa, Liberia

Monrovia — In recent months, reported cases of ritual killings have surged in Liberia, but the country’s Police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue and his deputy Prince Mulbah say such reports are untrue and being fueled by opposition politicians to tarnish the image of the government.

Sudue and Mulbah, at a news conference Wednesday, disclosed that the police are only aware of a single ritualistic incident, which occurred in MaryLand County recently, adding the perpetrators are facing justice.

“People are being paid to tarnish the image of the country and to raise false national security alert. There are inconsistencies in their statements,” Sudue says.

Meanwhile, Mulbah, Deputy Police Inspector General for Administration, described information about ritualistic killings in the country as a ploy designed by the opposition to create fear for diaspora Liberians who want to return home.

“As far our investigations are concerned, we haven’t established anything called ritualistic killing apart from what happened in Maryland County,” Mulbah says.

“We have heard a lot of people talking on social media of people being kidnapped and taken away, these are paid agents.”  

A rising number of mutilated bodies on streets in Monrovia and other parts of the country this year has sown fear in Liberians.

Recently, the lifeless body of a girl believed to be in her 30s was discovered in Caldwell with body parts extracted.Till date perpetrators of the dastardly act are yet to be found.

A day earlier, another lifeless body of a man believed to be in his 40s was found in the Soul Clinic community. As at the time his body was recovered, some parts had been removed. They included his penis, eyes and tongue. Still, perpetrators have not been arrested.

Liberians have taken to social media to raise alarm about the rise in ritual activities, urging commuters to always write down the identification markings of public conveyance vehicles as they enter and make phone calls to loved ones to pass on the information. 

But Sudue said most of these social media pictorials and videos about ritualistic incidents are not a representation of what is unfolding in the country.

He warned those involved in orchestrating a negative image about the country to desist, or face the full weight of the law.

The rise in ritualistic killings has claimed the attention of opposition political leaders, who are calling on President George Weah to redirect every penny he intends to spend on his 55th birthday celebrations on Friday, October 1.

Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Wednesday said the country is fast becoming a cesspool of crime ranging from these mysterious killings, armed robbery, drug dealing, and money laundering.

“This is in addition to the numerous past mysterious deaths of the auditors, the missing boys and other violent crimes that are yet to be investigated or the perpetrators found,” he says.

“It is clear that our security sector is under-staffed, under-paid and overwhelmed. This can not continue. I am calling on the President to redirect every penny he intends to spend on his elaborate and glamorous birthday celebration, into the security sector. We need to empower our community policing and night patrol and strengthen community vigilante groups to work with the Police in each community. This should include the distribution of basic materials and basic training. We need to also investigate these crimes with a sense of urgency and bring perpetrators to justice. The government needs to get to work.”

Grand Bassa County Senator and political leader of Liberty Party, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, who’s in the United States of America, said she would start a women movement against the ritualistic killings of children, mothers and sisters, brothers and  husbands upon her return to Liberia.

Sen. Karnga-Lawrence called on all women to rise up and ensure that the serial killings are brought to an end. “The voices of women must be heard at every level, from the vice president down. This must stop, our survival is at stake and Liberia must be safe for all of us,” Sen. Karnga-Lawrence says.

Dr. Daniel E. Cassel of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP), whose secretary general, David Beyan, was reportedly shot by unknown gunmen, called on the government of President George Weah to address the issue of ritualistic killings in the country. 

“This is the time for President Weah to act quickly and bring an end to the end to the rise in ritualistic killings,” Dr. Cassel says.

Reacting to the reported shooting incident of Beyan, Sudue rejected claims that the PLP secretary general was shot by unknown gunmen.

He claimed Beyan lied about being shot infront of his fence when medical records showed that he (Beyan) told doctors that he shot by himself.

“I think if this young man would have killed himself, the whole country would say it is the government that killed him. He lied about being shot,” Sudue says.

Sudue claimed a shell from a firearm was seen in Beyan’s vehicle, which confirmed medical records that he shot himself.

After being thoroughly quizzed about the situation, coupled with medical proof, Beyan couldn’t lie, Sudue said.

“He told us that he criminally and knowingly took the weapon from residence as far as 20 Street and then to Soul Clinic community to hide the weapon,” Sudue claimed.

However, he said the police are in possession of a weapon by Beyan as he undergoes investigation at the Police headquarters in Monrovia.

“We will prosecute him for illegal possession of firearm and raising false alarm to security apparatus.”

At the same time, Inspector General Sudue has disclosed that the LNP has increased its patrols in major streets and communities, and has begun vigorous search and inspection operations to combat crimes in the country.

He said the LNP will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the country is stable and peaceful and that citizens are protected.

Source: Liberia: Inspector General of Police Says Multiple Reports of Ritualistic Killings, Disappearances Are Fake News Intended to Malign Government’s Image

And:

Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor disagrees with Liberia National Police Inspector General  that opposition is responsible for reports of ritualistic killings

Published: September 29, 2021
By: Henry Karmo – Front Page Africa, Liberia 

MONROVIA – Vice president Jewel Howard has joined the many voices of Liberians calling for an end to the mysterious killings of Liberians and wants those in authority of the security to take action that would end the many mysterious deaths that are linked to ritualistic killings.

In an interview with reporters, Liberia’s Vice President said, women in Liberia are feeling more insecure   than ever before in the history of Liberia. She placed more emphasis on the mysterious deaths of women for ritualistic purposes.

“I like to call upon our security sector to please put in place a regime that will enable our people to remain safe. The situation involves instances where women’s private parts are being cutoff, stories of young people being taken in specific location where others allegedly were being used for ritualistic purposes are very alarming.”

The VP also expressed hopes that in this 21st century, it will be easy for security apparatus to discover and arrest people involved in such killings of Liberians for the purpose of ritualistic killings because these acts have far reaching negative implication for the peace and security of Liberia and the investment climate.

Madam Taylor: “As far as I know, Government’s responsibility is to provide the peace and security of its people, that is why we have the different security apparatus of our country. If this was just one case people will want to wait but it is alarming; every single morning there is a report of a dead body somewhere.

“In a country like Liberia, such a thing that is happening should not be happening, so I believe we should call on all of our security forces to do more.”

 The VP also told reporters that complaints from the police and other security entities about the lack of logistic should not be an excuse, because that is a responsibility they have taken.  “The police should be more vigilant if it requires bringing in the army, we should do that because it is alarming,” she said.

She also seems to have a different belief to that of many, especially those in government, who think the alarming rate of mysterious deaths is a strategy implored by the opposition to make the state ungovernable for the ruling CDC.

According to her, such portrayal of what is happening is hard to believe because nobody will want to kill innocent Liberians because they want to make Liberia ungovernable.   

“If an opposition or politicians do that, it will be ungovernable for everyone. If we are the sitting government we must now do more to make sure that whatever is happening will be brought to an end. This is a planned act carried out by some group of people.”

Source: Liberia: VP Taylor Differs Calls on Police to Take Charge; Disagrees that Opposition is Responsible for Reports of Ritualistic Killings

Finally:

Federation of Liberian Youth condemns series of secret & ritualistic killings

Published: September 29, 2021
By: Press Release – Front Page Africa, Liberia

MONROVIA – The Federation of Liberian Youth said it is troubling the alarming wave of insecurity currently existing in Liberia.

The group through its President Amos Williams said the terrifying decline in national security is worrisome and needs to be addressed.

Mr. Williams said the growing waves of recent ritualistic and series of secret killings have the propensity to undermine the current and uninterrupted peace which the general population has enjoyed for over fifteen years now.

As a means of addressing the issue, FLY has therefore called on the attention of President George Weah including the Ministry of Justice and the Liberian National Police (LNP) to promptly act in addressing decisively the current state of insecurity by providing safety and security to all citizens and foreign residents alike in the borders of Liberia. 

Mr. Williams at the same time encouraged all citizens to be supportive and attentive in providing any important information which can be used by national security apparatus in accordance with the growing waves of insecurities in the country.

In a move to practically address the issue, FLY wants the Government to acknowledge the issue of insecurity in the Land and address it hands down.

Source: FLY Condemns Series Of Secret & Ritualistic Killings

Liberia – political map

Security challenges in Nigeria

This is the third posting in a row focussing the huge and apparently growing security problems which nearly 200 million Nigerians are facing daily. On January 30, I published Nigeria: curbing the menace of ritual killings in the South West and on January 31 I posted Nigeria: Insecurity: Government must keep its end in this social contract, says Ekhomu.

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

Introduction

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.

Conclusion

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

Source: Violent Clashes Between Herders and Farmers: A Legal Panacea

Nigeria: ritual killings on the increase

It’s no surprise to me to read that ritual killings in Nigeria – usually referred to as ‘money rituals’ – are rampant and on the increase. I frequently report on these crimes in Africa’s most populated country. Esther Onyegbula, the author of the article below expresses her disgust while presenting a frightening number of ritualistic murder cases, some of which have been reported earlier on this site.

Her article makes it clear that ritual murders are a plague in Nigeria, in virtually every corner of the country, but notably in the western and eastern states. Moreover, after reading her story, one is convinced that even though in some cases the authorities uphold the rule of law, in many cases the police fail to apprehend the perpetrators of these heinous acts.

Isn’t it time to wage a full-scale war against the criminals who slaughter innocent citizens in order to gain wealth or prestige, and against ignorance, the root cause of all superstition?  
(webmaster FVDK)

Weird world of money ritualists

Published: February 3, 2020
By: Vanguard Nigeria – Esther Onjegbula

In the last two years, ritual killings have been on the increase.

Although ritual crimes cut across almost all regions in the country, they are more pronounced in western and eastern states of Nigeria.

Every week, there are reports of one ritual killing or the other.

Some suspects are arrested and prosecuted while others arrested are not prosecuted as investigations are marred by lack of evidence or police compromise.

Last month, newspapers were awash with reports of how Favour Daley-Oladele, a final year student of Lagos State University, LASU, who went missing on December 8, 2019, was killed allegedly by her boyfriend, Adeeko Owolabi, who was said to have connived with a self-acclaimed pastor, for ritual purpose in Osun State.

Owolabi and his mother allegedly engaged ‘Pastor’ Segun Philips to end Favour’s life in a gruesome manner. The boyfriend allegedly tricked the victim from Lagos to Ikoyi-Ile, Osun State with the promise that he wanted her to meet his parents to approve their relationship.

But unknown to Favour, she was on her last journey on earth as she was led to the church where her head was smashed with a pestle allegedly by Owolabi and butchered by the ‘pastor’, who later removed her vital parts for money ritual.

Narrating how he killed the victim, Owolabi said, “I lured the deceased to Ikoyi-Ile and lodged her in a hotel before killing her. After I lodged her in a guest house, I took her to a house which I claimed to be my uncle’s house, but knowing that the place was a den of ritualists. “I smashed a pestle on her head and she collapsed. The prophet thereafter used a knife and cutlass to dismember her body which was divided into breasts, head and legs and other vital parts. “We buried the remaining parts of her body beside Prophet Philip’s Church called ‘Solution Salvation Chapel’, while some vital parts were given to my mother to eat for spiritual cleansing”.

Owolabi isn’t the first young man who has been arrested for killing his lover in recent past. In 2018, Seidu Adeyemi killed and buried his girlfriend, Khadijat Oluboyo, the daughter of a former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr Lasisi Oluboyo. Adeyemi murdered Khadijat, a student of Adekunle Ajasin University, after inviting her to his house in July 2018. After the killing, Adeyemi buried the deceased in his room for five days before he was exposed by his father who reported to the police.

At Ologbo, Ikpoba Okha local government area of Edo State in November 2018, a teenager, Akpobome Samuel, allegedly strangled his mother to death and had sex with her corpse for ritual.

According to Samuel, who was paraded by the police, “I acted on the instructions of a witch doctor who I contracted for money ritual. “The voodoo doctor told me that after killing my mother, I should sleep with her corpse in order to get rich. “That is why I complied with his instruction and killed her. “I was caught by my grandmother who came to knock on the door having waited patiently for my mother to accompany her to church. She caught me having sex with my mother. “The native doctor told me to kill my mother and sleep with her corpse, but he did not tell me the number of days to sleep with her. “He told me to keep her dead body inside the room for two days but I was caught when I could no longer keep it.

“I did not know that my grandmother was sitting outside. She opened the door and sighted me on the corpse inside the room and raised the alarm that drew the attention of neighbours. “My mother did not offend me. I killed her because of money”.

Apart from people using their loved ones for ritual, there are instances where innocent persons have been used for ritual purposes by people they didn’t know.

Recently, there was an allegation by some residents of Kwara State that some policemen in Adewole Police Division, Ilorin had been selling suspects detained at the station to ritual killers for N 80, 000 per person. Although the state Commissioner of Police, Lawan Ado, said the allegation was false, the state Police Command redeployed policemen at the station. Ado added that no one had come forward with information to indict any police officer at the station for selling suspects to ritual killers. “But we have been redeploying the policemen there. More than half of them have now been transferred and, soon, the other half will be redeployed so that even if there is anybody who is involved – which no information has established – we will at least remove him from the area.”

But a frightening dimension was recorded in suspected cases of ritual killing in Ilorin last year when commercial motorcycle operators allegedly became targets of alleged ritualists. Motorcyclists were said to have been lured into the Government Reservation Area (GRA) of the town by ritualists posing as passengers only to be mowed down by members of the group.

Apart from the commercial motorcyclists, no fewer than six women were killed by suspected ritualists in the area and their breasts removed.

In July 2019, a young man was caught at Corporation Estate, Mile 12, Lagos after he allegedly murdered a commercial sex worker and removed her private part.

Back to Ondo State, the killing of an 80-year-old woman, Mrs. Kojusola Mogaji, in Arigidi-Akoko, created panic in the community. It incident got so scary so much so that Oba Yisa Olanipekun and the entire community embarked on interdenominational prayers and fasting, traditional rites while a vigilante group was raised to unravel ritual killings in the area.

Even the dead are not spared

It is not only the living that are gruesomely murdered and body parts harvested for ritual; the dead are also not allowed to rest in their graves as suspected ritual killers and skull miners exhume remains of dead people which are prepared for ritual.

Three young men, who were arrested by the Oyo State Police Command for being in possession of fresh human parts, confessed that their unbridled desires to get rich quick prompted them to get the body parts for money ritual.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abiodun Odude, said the suspects were arrested after a tip-off by a member of the public. Odude added that the suspects confessed to have removed the body parts from corpses at a Muslim cemetery in Isale General Area of Ogbomoso.

One of the suspects claimed this was his first attempt at using human parts for money ritual.

Another said: “We went to Isale General at Ogbomoso to exhume the bodies at about 8p.m. On our way back, two inquisitive boys, who accosted us on the road, demanded to know where the offensive odour was from. “We tried to deceive them, but they were insistent. So we had to run. They caught one of us before the police arrested us at our homes. “We wanted to use the parts for money ritual. If we had succeeded in taking the corpses to our place, we would have dried and burnt them. “After burning the parts, we will grind the same to powdery substance and mix some of it with soap to take our bath in the morning and to take pap at night. “After we would have done this, some weird creatures, who we generally call demons, will bring money to us — usually at night.”

In another case reported in November 2019, a cemetery vault builder, Kazim Olarewaju, who worked at Okesuna Cemetery, Adeniji Adele area of Lagos island, revealed that he sold two human skulls for N12, 000. Olarewaju, who was arrested by policemen attached to Adeniji Adele Division, alongside two other suspects, Muritala Salami and Amidu Kazeem, explained that this was the second time he was trading in human parts.

Narrating how he got involved in the act, Olarenwaju said, “I work at Okesuna Cemetery. In September, Mr Muritala Salami and his relatives came to the cemetery to bury a relative. “After the burial, he said I should help him to get a biscuit. I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about. He said it was a human skull. “I told him immediately I couldn’t. He collected my telephone number and left but continued to call me till I bulged. “Initially, I asked him to come to the cemetery and take it himself. When he came, I helped him to take the bag outside the cemetery gate so that security guards won’t suspect anything. “The first time he paid me 12,000 for two skulls. “Last week he called me again and I told him to steer clear but he kept threatening me till I agreed to help him get two more human skulls. “It was while I was taking delivery of his order that I was arrested by the police.” Explaining further, Kasim said, “I started working at the cemetery two years ago and I have never been involved in a thing like this before I met Muritala”.

Explaining what he was doing with human skulls, Salami, who said he was a dealer in herbal preparation, said he used them to make charms to enable him get more clients. “I grind the dried human skulls, mix it with pepper and take it with local gin first thing in the morning. Before I began to do this, I was making about N30, 000 daily but afterwards I began to make between N80,000 and N100,000”

Confirming the arrest, spokesperson for Lagos State Police Command, DSP Bala Elkana, said the investigation was ongoing and that the suspects will be charged to court.

From the foregoing, it would appear that native doctors, fake pastors, Muslim clerics and cemetery workers usually work with suspects in the business of ritual killing.

Worried by the spate of ritual killings and bodies’ exhumation from graveyards, then-Assistant Inspector General of Police in Charge of Zone 2, AIG Lawal Shehu, declared war on native doctors and human parts’ dealers in Lagos and Ogun states. Shehu said each time suspects were apprehended, they usually claimed they were herbalists, adding that some native doctors were aiding and abating the practice. He made the declaration after four suspects, identified as Lukmon Bayewunmi, Kabir Badmus, Victor Nnacheta and Nurudeen Sogaolu, were arrested with dried human jaw and scalp.

Compromise

Meanwhile, the police have been accused of compromise on some cases of ritual killing.

For instance during the tenure of CP Imohimi Edgal as Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, precisely in August 2018, two suspected ritualists, Folake Falade and Emmanuel Gbenga were arrested under the Cele Nicer Bridge, Ijanikin, by the police.

Folake, who was almost lynched by an irate mob, said she had been there (Cele Nicer Bridge) for nine years and that her business was to sell human parts to ready buyers. She said her customers usually parked on the bridge at night with their vehicles bonnets opened, pretending that their vehicles had one fault or the other, but unknown to people that they were waiting to buy human parts. According to her, her boys would be beneath the vehicles pretending to be carrying out repairs to douse any suspicion and, in the process, hand over nylon bags containing human parts to the clients.

A resident, Lawrence Oke, claimed that Folake revealed that “whenever she failed to find preys to meet the demands of clients, she would dress seductively and head to a nearby hotel at night”. Oke went on, “Any man that picked her for the night would become prey as he would end up in her den where his body parts would be harvested and sold off to waiting clients.”

The resident further narrated that Folake confessed that she had boys that worked for her.

He added, “She said that once her hands touched someone, that person would lose his senses and follow her sheepishly.”

However, despite what many believed was compelling evidence against the suspect and initial police stand, nothing was heard about the case after the arrest.

Meanwhile, the belief that invoking spirits or demons can bring cash after performing some rituals obviously is what is fuelling ritual killings in parts of the country.

Sunday Vanguard spoke to some of those who should know in this special report.

Source: Weird world of money ritualists

Related articles: 

Breaking: Catholic Church march against rituals, internet fraud by yahoo-boys
Published: November 26, 2019
By: Vanguard Nigeria – Jimitota Onoyume

BREAKING: Oluwo to lead protest against ritual killings, corruption
Published: August 20, 2019
By: Vanguard Nigeria  

Nigeria: ‘Amotekun should fight ritual killings and traditional corruption’, says the Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi

It is not the first time that the Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi speaks out against ritual killings in his country, disapproving and criticizing politicians and traditional rulers. See e.g. my August 21, 2019 posting entitled ‘Nigeria: Oluwo to lead protest against ritual killings, corruption’. Recently, he again raised his voice. Read below what he said. The Oluwo is to be commended for his frankness and courage. I sincerely hope that he will be heard. Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country. It ranks in the top 5 of African countries where ritualistic murders are committed on a regular basis.

‘Operation Amotekun’ is the codename for the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN). Recently, the Federal Government and the six governors of the region (Western Nigeria) reached agreement on the establishment of the WNSN, see: ‘Amotekun: Buhari, Osinbajo’s intervention smoothens rough edges’, published on January 29, 2020 by Muritala Ayinla in the New Telegraph, Nigeria (see below). 
(webmaster FVDK).

The Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi

Amotekun should fight ritual killings, ‘traditional corruption’—Oluwo
Published: January 29, 2020
By: Daily Trust, Nigeria

The Oluwo of Iwoland Oba, (Dr.) Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, on Wednesday called on Yoruba stakeholders to use the regional security outfot codenamed Amotekun to checkmate what he called the incessant traditional corruption and ritual killings. 

The royal father said politicians should be held responsible for trading their game with kidnapping.

In a statement by his press secretary, Alli Ibraheem, Oluwo said: “Amotekun as an institution should be made to fight traditional corruption most especially ritual killings consuming our children’s blood daily. There is blood of innocent people in the street. It is a failure on the part of government, traditional institution and other stakeholders that no severe legislation is enacted to punish ritual killers and their accomplice” 

“I’m not condemning Amotekun, but better direction of job specification should be streamlined. It is disheartening we misplaced our priority. Tell me a day you don’t read in the newspapers or hear on radio of innocent boys and girls being killed by ritual killers with part(s) removed?

“I want to charge all the stakeholders to streamline the activities of Amotekun to prioritize checkmating of ritual killings to protect innocent lives and enact death penalty for any culprit caught killing human for rituals. I’m not happy with ritual killers. They are not human. Government should help us by enacting a law against ritual killers. 

It must stop. Human are not animals that you slaughter, killed and dismembered. It is an aberration. Such is never part of any culture. We should empower Amotekun to challenge such barbaric act.

“Additionally, to fight traditional corruption, we need agents of unquestionable characters and not accomplice of ritual killings. We need a transparent institution that will lead us out of daily killing of our children for money, promotion, popularity etc”

Source: Amotekun should fight ritual killings, ‘traditional corruption’—Oluwo

Related article: ‘Amotekun: Buhari, Osinbajo’s intervention smoothens rough edges’
Published: January 29, 2020
By: New Telegraph, Nigeria – Muritala Ayinla 

Nigeria: Oluwo to lead protest against ritual killings, corruption

It’s not the first time that the Oluwo of Iwoland, Abdulrasheed Akanbi, speaks out against ritualistic murders (see my May 21 and August 11, 2019 postings) and it won’t be the last time either. He is courageous to raise his voice against this practice, which is based on superstition, greed, ignorance AND the absence of the rule of law. Governments must act: governments are obliged to protect their citizens and to uphold the law, to punish perpetrators of heinous crimes such as ritualistic killings, known as ‘money rituals’ in Nigeria.

Traditional leaders have a responsibility too. On previous occasions, the Oluwo of Iwoland, Abdulrasheed Akanbi, has even accused his fellow traditional rulers of complicity, of being involved in ritualistic killings in their domains (see my May 11, 2019 posting). True or not true, failing to address the issue and educate their people, traditional rulers may be reproached to be responsible – to a certain extent – of the atrocities committed (webmaster FVDK).

The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi

Published: August 20, 2019
By: Brendan Umoren  – Today (Nigeria)

Oluwo of Iwoland, HIM Oba (Dr.) Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, has declared readiness to lead a national protest against ritual killings and corruption in the country.

He lamented the impotency of government at tackling ritual menace, stating that ritual killing is prevalence but deadlier than kidnapping.

Oluwo stated protection of lives is the primary responsibility of the government, noting such can be credited until ritual killings is checkmated by the present administration.

He equally vowed to declare an open protest against corruption characterising public officials in Nigeria.

Oluwo decry daily loss of innocent lives to ritual killings, saying it is an aberration to culture and highest denial of right to life.

According to a statement by the monarch’s press secretary, Alli Ibraheem, Oluwo called for enactment of strict penal system against human ritualists and corrupt individual to safeguard human and protect their lives.

“It is saddens no attention is paid by the federal government to prevalence ritual killings pervading our country. Thousands fall victim of ritual on daily basis but regrettably, no one condemns such. I’m not happy with the neglect of my outcry on daily killings of my sons and daughters by ritualists. These people are deadlier than Bokoharam and kidnappers. I will lead thousands of Nigerians with like minds on national protest against human ritualists and corrupt individual.

“Right now, as I’m talking, evil men are somewhere killing human for rituals in the name of money and promotion. Few relate offering human for sacrifice as culture, no, it is an aberration to every culture. No culture accepts human as sacrifice ” he said.

Oluwo added that “I’m appealing to federal government to declare war against ritual killings. Strict penalty like death should be meted on any one culpable. Killers should be killed. Killing is not a forgivable offence. If federal government refuse, I will declare an open traditional war against ritualists and front a national protest.

“The Afeniferes, OPCs, Agbekoyas and other pan Yoruba cultural groups should join the revolution against ritual killings. Many gave gone to the journey of no return in the hands of ritual killers. It is pathetic, sad and calls for urgent legislation. Ritual killing is decimating our population daily. Must we continue watching the menace? Those in the government are not seeing what we see. Ritual murders is prevalent on the south west, south east. We must rise before it claim all out promising sons and daughters.

“I want to state it clearly here that killing human for rituals is not Yoruba culture. It is alien to our culture. Yoruba culture is pure, clean and attractive. Look at my dress, it is enticing, fascinating, ostentatious and attractive. Only the ignorance and enemies of Yoruba culture will relate ritual killings to Yoruba culture.”

Oluwo said declaring emergency war against ritual killings is acute to secure human lives.

Source: Oluwo to lead protest against ritual killings, corruption

Related article: I’ll lead protest against ritual killings, corruption – Oluwo

Published: August 21, 2019
By: Hameed Oyegbade, Osogbo

The Oluwo of Iwoland,  Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, on Tuesday said he would lead a national protest against ritual killings and corruption.
 
Oluwo, in a statement by his press secretary, Alli Ibrahim, alleged government’s inability to tackle ritual killings which, according to him, are deadlier than kidnapping.
The first-class traditional ruler decried daily loss of lives to ritual killings, describing it as “an aberration to culture and highest denial of right to life.”

Oluwo advocated death penalty for ritualists and corrupt individuals.

He stated: “Thousands fall victim of rituals on a daily basis, but regrettably, no one condemns such. I’m not happy with the neglect of my outcry on daily killings of my sons and daughters by ritualists. Right now as I’m talking, evil men are somewhere killing humans for rituals in the name of money and promotion. No culture accepts human beings as sacrifice. “Killers should be killed. Killing is not a forgivable offence. If the federal government refuses, I’ll declare an open traditional war against ritualists and front a national protest. “Those in the government are not seeing what we see. Ritual killings are prevalent in the southwest and southeast.  I want to state it clearly here that killing humans for rituals is not Yoruba culture. It is alien to our culture. Yoruba culture is pure, clean and attractive.”

Source: I’ll lead protest against ritual killings, corruption – Oluwo

The Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi.

Oluwo Of Iwo, Osun state, Nigeria: Some traditional rulers behind ritual killings in their domains

An inspiring and powerful speech of the Oluwo of Iwo, Osun state, who is not afraid to say what’s on his mind, even if this may disturb his fellow traditional rulers. I quote: “Sadly, as we speak, no traditional ruler, as far as I know in Nigeria, is speaking against ritual killing, which is gradually becoming a norm in our present day society. If I may ask again, why are all these things going on and no king is talking about them? Are some of our kings part of these ugly game? Some kings justify so many ugly things pertaining to ritual killings in the name of customs and traditions. What culture and tradition are they talking about?

He even goes one step further, by directly accusing his fellow kings: “I know these comments will unsettle many kings, still involved in all manner of ritual killings.” Unquote. 

It is no small talk what Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi asserts – even though we we may be surprised by certain details.

We should congratulate him with his outspoken views and rejection of the heinous crimes which are the ritualistic killings in Nigeria, also known as ‘money-related rituals’.  

“Ritualism is not culture or tradition, as far as I am concerned”, according to the Oluwo of Iwo.

I sincerely hope that many traditional rulers in Nigeria will soon follow his example.

Read below what Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi had to say. 

Thank you Oluwo of Iwo!
(webmaster FVDK),

Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi 
Photo/ Facebook/ emperortelu1/ Taosandphotography

Oluwo of Iwo: some traditional rulers behind ritual killings in their domains

Published: May 19, 2019 – 3:07 am
By: Gabriel Omonhinmin  

On May 7, 2019, at exactly 7.45 a.m., Palace Watch got an SMS from HRM Oba Adewale Abdul-Rasheed Akanbi Telu 1, the Oluwo of Iwo, and the message was “Africans, nay Nigerians are no devils. Yoruba as a people are blessed and our culture and tradition is the best. But what is required now is for all men of goodwill to advocate upgrading of all sectors of our cultural practices to make them more appealing. As a King, I will not stop until I help to make our cultural heritage and traditional values, the envy of the world.”Palace Watch then reached out to Oluwo of Iwo, who shared his thoughts on various national issues.

What brought about the message you sent?
The message arose from the pains I currently suffer over the damming issues of ritual killings, kidnapping and other worrisome crimes, which have continued to unsettle most Nigerians and foreigners alike. For how long will all these crimes be allowed to fester unattended to in our society?

This is not the type of society we inherited, and there is no way I will continue to keep quiet like most monarchs across the country over these very worrisome matters. I have resolved to continue with my advocacy over these issues. I know most traditional rulers, who are involved in all manner of rituals will not be happy with me and will not find my advocacy funny. I am, however, determined to ensure our children no longer die unnecessarily over ritual related matters, due to age-long ignorance of ritual killings by kings and their friends or allies.

The act is not only barbaric, but it is also wicked and unacceptable in any civilized setting. We must, therefore, do all within our powers as traditional rulers to make sure African gods or deities that require only human blood are no longer appeased.Just a little over 100 years ago, it was a great woman called Mary Slessor that fought so hard to stop killings of twins in some Nigerian societies because we ignorantly believed then that twins were devils. All twins in Nigeria should eulogise and celebrate Mary Slessor. 

Nigerians are dying in thousands daily because of ritual killings. The case of Badoo in Lagos is one singular example of this evil. It is a very good example of money rituals, which have become the common practice in our society. Mind you, the practice is all about shedding of innocent blood. The situation has gotten so bad that children can no longer trust their parents and neighbours, due to societal craze and desperation for quick money. 

As if this is not painful enough, most parents, guardians and other relatives are now in the habit of selling their wards and relatives into slavery to places like Italy, Libya, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Some of these children are made sex slaves and in the process killed and unaccounted for. 

Other high level crimes are daily committed, due to desperation of seeking greener pastures abroad, which is a mirage. Enough of this. Government must now begin to act and speak up against this type of crime. If not for President Muhammadu Buhari’s quick intervention, innocent blood would have been shed by Saudi Arabian government in the case of little Zainab Aliyu and the 81-year-old man, who were implicated by a desperate drug cartel at Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano. Their lives would have been wasted just like that. 

With this type of crime, what precedent are we showing our children, especially the youths? All traditional rulers of good conscience should henceforth rise up and do all within their powers to rid the society of these elements, especially those residing in their domains. They should deliberately continue to do all within their powers to assist law enforcement agents to arrest these elements, no matter how wealthy they are. They are not good examples to any society.

It might not be palatable to most traditional rulers across Africa,especially Nigeria and Yoruba land. But we must henceforth learn to do away with traditional and cultural practices that encourage these types of inhuman practices. We as traditional rulers need to show love and compassion at any given time. 

We need to change what we met our forefathers ignorantly doing to harm our society. Such acts are not culture or tradition; they are simply evil that we must do away with. And once we do this, Africa will no longer be regarded as backward and evil by others, especially European countries. 

My prayer, therefore, is that any traditional ruler, especially my fellow Obas, who find it difficult supporting this type of noble act of preserving innocent lives, his family members should also experience the pains family members of victims of ritual killings, kidnappings and other violent crimes currently ravaging our society suffer.

The principal reason for placing this curse is simple. There is a common adage in Yoruba land, which says, “The elderly can’t be around and watch helplessly as children go astray or die recklessly in their presence.” Traditional rulers by our customs and traditions, no matter their age, are the elderly in any society. They, therefore, have a role to play to help stem this ugly trend that is not helping our society in any way or form. 

We are kings, so we must see everyone in our society as our children, especially the very young and vulnerable. Sadly, as we speak, no traditional ruler, as far as I know in Nigeria, is speaking against ritual killing, which is gradually becoming a norm in our present day society. If I may ask again, why are all these things going on and no king is talking about them? Are some of our kings part of these ugly game? Some kings justify so many ugly things pertaining to ritual killings in the name of customs and traditions. What culture and tradition are they talking about? 

I honestly expect my fellow Yoruba Obas to have learnt a lesson or two from the Efon Alaye king, who was hanged sometime in the 60s or early 70s for his complicity in the killing of a young child in the name of rituals. Ritualism is not culture or tradition, as far as I am concerned. That particular incident showed clearly that some of our Yoruba Obas are part of this nonsense. The Efon Alaye Oba was caught, but what about other kings, who are still doing these things and have not been caught? Is it right and proper? We are all sitting down looking in the name of culture, while they are busy killing our children.

And some people call such terrible barbaric acts culture and tradition? It was these types of acts that gave impetus to the money rituals that are almost becoming a norm in our present day society. When will they stop?All these happenings around African countries are contributing to our lack of progress. Mind you, any country that does all these things will never be at peace with itself. These are simply natural reactions that come without any curse. These ugly acts naturally recycle themselves and come with karma. People still have the erroneous belief that karma will never come. Then let’s wait and see, if they don’t stop henceforth, what will happen to them and their generations yet unborn. 

I know these comments will unsettle many kings, still involved in all manner of ritual killings. They will hate me more, but I honestly don’t care about how they feel. If this nonsense is not stopped forthwith, what kind of future are we laying down for our children and generations coming after us?

Why do you think Law enforcement agencies, particularly the Police seem helpless?
How can the police uncover the crimes, if people are not willing to cooperate with them? Police need lots of information to work with, and the people are not forthcoming with such information, just because they have been hoodwinked in name of culture and tradition. 

Just recently, an Oba in the Southwest was to be buried, women were particularly warned not to stray into the town during late hours, otherwise they would be killed. Assuming an illiterate lady that can’t read and write get stranded in that town, what is the guarantee that the innocent lady who is just going about her business would not be killed, to justify one nonsense culture and tradition? Which culture or tradition says that a king or his people should illegally take the life of another person they did not help to create?

With this position, most traditional rulers across the country, especially your fellow Obas from the Southwest, will see you as a rebel. Does this not bother you?
I don’t care what they think of me, I am only after the truth. Will I say because of what other Obas, who are mere mortals like me think or say about me, I should not speak against the barbaric acts they are involved in, and which are not helping society? If we choose to keep quiet, what are kings for? What are leaders for? What are the roles of traditional rulers in helping to make society a better place? 

My friend, people are free to use their mouths anyhow they like. I am for the truth and will never leave that path, which is pleasing to the Almighty Allah. Nigeria is just like the personal domain of every king. Once traditional rulers begin to genuinely speak against these evils, people involved in these acts will no longer have the liver to continue with their acts. And with this position, the entire country will become safer for all of us.

What is the way forward and how do we stop all these acts?
Our message goes out daily to the Obas and kings involved in these ugly acts, but they are not ready to change. The few of us that believe in the truth and the betterment of society will force them to quit the acts that do no one any good. Their alibi is that they inherited these customs from their forefathers, but they fail to realise that their forefathers were not living in a civilized and enlightened society, such as the one we have today.

Most of these secret cults that require human sacrifice, which some of our kings and their people cued into, were never founded by kings. The association founded by kings as a group, is the Assembly of traditional rulers, which is called Council of Traditional rulers in states and local government and the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria at the national level. 

Indeed, these groups are voluntary associations of kings across the country, where the welfare and well-being of kings are discussed alongside other issues of national importance. These groups or bodies do not demand any form of sacrifice nor human blood or that of an animal. 

So, I am henceforth advocating that we now have bodies that should be known and called for example, the “Yoruba Council of Oba,” an assemblage where all Yoruba speaking Obas should sit down once in a long while and discuss matters concerning the Yoruba nation generally. Similarly, we should have Ijaw Council of Obas, Igbo Council of Obis or Eze, and the Hausa Fulani Council of Emirs.

These groups should be able to meet separately at different times, compare notes about things happening around their areas that are bothering them, and then bring such before the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria. Please, try to get the point I am pushing here. These Yoruba, Ijaw, Igbos and Hausa Fulani Councils of Kings do not in any way invalidate all other existing councils in the Local Government Areas and the states across the country, which meet more frequently than the one I am proposing, which will only meet in a very long while.

If government wants the security situation in the country to improve drastically, it must henceforth learn to empower traditional rulers and traditional institutions. No security system can impact on the ordinary people without the cooperation and collaboration of traditional rulers across the country. 

Are you comfortable with the level of funding for traditional institutions by government?
Nice to know that efforts are now being made by the Federal Government to channel Local Government Areas’ allocation to them directly. But much as this move is applauded, it will not help the present security situation in the country. The Obas, Obis and Emirs are the Chief Security Officers (CSO) in their domains.

If this is true, then the kings need to be funded. The Federal Government should make provision for a special budgetary allocation for traditional rulers to deal with security needs. This is the way to go. Oftentimes, the kings that are not funded by government are the ones supporting and providing funds and other logistics for the police to fight crimes in their domains.

The Nigeria Police can hardly do anything meaningful without the kings’ cooperation. Honestly, the salaries of Obas, Obis and Emirs are nothing to write home about. If I tell you the monthly salary of a First Class Oba in the Southwest, especially in Osun State where I am, you will be ashamed and scandalised. Yet, so much is expected from these kings. The North is slightly better, but it is still not enough. 

Once the government at the centre begins to offer reasonable resources to kings across the country, and they are legislatively empowered to take some actions and decisions, things will naturally improve security-wise across the country. Most criminals see kings as toothless bulldogs that can do little or nothing. 

When a king wants to correct criminals in their domains, they go to court, saying the king does not have the power to do this or that to them. But if kings are given some legal backing, most criminals will run away from their domains or decide to behave themselves. Criminals are not ghosts, but there is little or nothing a king can do the way things are now.The government should, as a matter of urgency, formulate policies to criminalise some of these practices. Some kings are hiding behind ritual killings to commit all sorts of atrocities. These acts are nothing but cultural corruption.

Source: Some traditional rulers behind ritual killings in their domains — Oluwo Of Iwo

Ritual murder of Bouba in Ivory Coast: “Witchdoctors should be hunted”

Also in Ivory Coast witchdoctors (locally called ‘marabouts’ and ‘féticheurs’) are held responsible for ritual killings committed in this country. The article reproduced below focuses on the case of a 4-year old boy named Bouba who disappeared, had his throat sliced and was found back buried. In the article, the author André Silvar Konan also mentions the wave of kidnappings of small children that terrified the population of this francophone West African country in 2015. André Silvar Konan criticizes the local authorities, accuses them of complicity, and demands justice: those who are responsible should be traced, arrested, tried and spend the rest of their lives behind bars. He points at corruption and illegal enrichment as driving forces behind these ritual killings and pleads for another, more healthy, state of mind – not only in Ivory Coast, but in the whole of Africa.

The original article also contains 20-plus interesting comments published on Facebook.
(webmaster FVDK)

Crime sur le petit Bouba en Côte-d’Ivoire: « Les marabouts et féticheurs des brouteurs ne doivent plus connaître de repos »

Translation (mine – FVDK – free translation):
“Witch doctors of predators should be hunted”

Published: February 28, 2018
By: André Silver Konan

“Missing” (left); “The suspect” (right)

Après le crime sur le petit Bouba à Williamsville (Abidjan), André Silver Konan exige que les marabouts et féticheurs des brouteurs soient traqués, arrêtés, jugés et condamnés à vie. Ci-dessous sa position.
Personnellement, j’ai un problème avec la manière dont le ministère public mène les enquêtes en Côte d’Ivoire chaque fois qu’un criminel rituel est mis aux arrêts. Dans l’affaire Bouba, on a une unique occasion de démanteler un vrai réseau criminel qui a choisi comme cible, nos enfants.

Pour mettre fin à ce genre de crimes rituels, opérés par de stupides gens qui pensent encore au 21è siècle, qu’ils peuvent devenir riches, en volant la vie d’un homme ; la justice doit amener les personnes arrêtées, à citer, non seulement leurs complices et commanditaires, mais surtout leurs marabouts et autres féticheurs.

On ne pense pas souvent à ces derniers, mais ils sont l’alpha et l’oméga de tous ces crimes. Les marabouts et autres féticheurs sont les premiers criminels dans ces affaires, il faut les arrêter parce qu’ils sont soit des complices soit des commanditaires de ces meurtres. Tant que ces derniers ne seront pas inquiétés, harcelés, arrêtés, emprisonnés à vie (je milite pour la prison à vie de ces gens-là), ce phénomène ignoble va continuer.

Heading (translated): Case of 4-year old child kidnapped, sacrificed and buried: “Suspect mentions ‘big shot’ – Accomplice arrested” (Source: Soir info, Wednesday, February 28, 2018 – Ivory Coast / Côte d’Ivoire).

Je répète : les marabouts et féticheurs de ces brouteurs stupides ne doivent plus connaître de repos. J’avais proposé en 2015, après la vague historique d’enlèvements d’enfants dans le pays, qu’un procureur spécial et une brigade spéciale soient nommés, pour lutter contre les atteintes aux droits de nos enfants. Je réitère cette proposition, elle reste d’actualité.

J’avais déjà dit que la corruption était un état d’esprit en Afrique. Je soutiens aussi que l’enrichissement illicite est un état d’esprit. Nous vivons tous dans des quartiers avec des brouteurs, qui deviennent riches du jour au lendemain, alors que nous savons pertinemment qu’ils ont, au pire usé de sacrifices rituels criminels pour devenir ce qu’ils sont, au mieux de vols et de détournements de fonds d’autrui, pour être ce qu’ils sont.
Mais qui d’entre-nous songe à les dénoncer ? Qui au sein de la justice, songe à traquer véritablement les brouteurs, si ce ne sont de petites actions médiatiques ? Quel DJ n’est pas fier de chanter les louanges d’un brouteur et n’est pas heureux de recevoir son argent dégoulinant du sang de nos enfants ?

Regardons autour de nous, les gens sont nommés et trois mois plus tard, ils roulent carrosses et construisent immeubles. Mais n’est-ce pas eux que nous prenons comme modèles dans nos quartiers, que nous désignons comme respectables dans nos villages, que nous choisissons à des postes électifs ?

Nous avons une Inspection générale d’Etat, une haute autorité pour la bonne gouvernance, des Agents judiciaires du Trésor, des Inspecteurs et contrôleurs financiers dans tous les ministères, mais combien de personnes ont déjà été arrêtées, jugées et condamnées pour enrichissement illicite, détournements de fonds publics ?

Les crimes rituels en rapport avec l’enrichissement rapide et illicite continueront tant que les autorités elles-mêmes qui sont censées faire respecter les textes sur l’enrichissement illicite continueront de se comporter comme des brouteurs. Y en a marre !

André Silver Konan

Source: Crime sur le petit Bouba en Côte-d’Ivoire: « Les marabouts et féticheurs des brouteurs ne doivent plus connaître de repos »
February 28, 2018
Le 28 février, 2018

Related article:

Insécurité : Des artistes se révoltent après l’assassinat du petit Bouba
Translation (mine – FVDK – free translation)
Artists enraged after the murder of young Bouba

Published: March 1, 2018
By Philomène Yaï (Stg) – linfodrome

4-year old Aboubcar Sidick nicknamed Bouba was murdered. Marabouts and/or féticheurs had been involved (witchdoctors). Bouba had disappeared and was found back dead, buried. His murderers had his throat sliced, apparently for ritual purposes.

Artists in Côte d’Ivoire  have reacted on the brutal killing of the young child Aboubcar Sidick nicknamed Bouba. His murder was a trending topic on social media and had a tremendous impact on the showbiz community in Ivory Coast.

Read the following article (in French):

Des artistes ivoiriens ont réagi après l’assassinat du petit Aboubacar Sidick dit Bouba. L’affaire, qui a affolé les réseaux sociaux depuis quelques jours, a touché les acteurs du showbiz ivoirien.

Les artistes n’ont pas voulu rester en marge de ce drame qui a affecté la Côte d’Ivoire. Chacun a, à son niveau, posé des actes pour exprimer sa srevolte et temoigner sa solidarité.

Debordo Leekunfai a effectué le déplacement pour aller soutenir la famille meurtrie résidant à Williamsville.

Bien avant son déplacement, l’artiste a traduit ses sentiments de tristesses sur les réseaux sociaux. « J’ai le cœur qui saigne ! Un cœur en larme ! Pourquoi enlever un sourire à un enfant qui n’a rien demandé à part vivre ! Je dis NON à tous ces actes d’enlèvement ! Que cela cesse ! Chers parents, protégeons nos enfants, car ils sont la relève de ce pays ! Que ton âme repose en paix petit ange! », a exprimé le chef du robbot macador.

”Opah La Nation” ne s’est pas arrêté là. Il a ajouté que le Showtime qu’il prépare en ce moment, qui est prévu le 31 mars 2018, au Palais de la culture d’Abidjan, est dédié à ce petit Bouba.

A côté de Debordo Leekunfa, Mc One, le filleul de Kédjevara Dj, a lui aussi eu une pensée pour le petit Bouba. Avec des paroles poignantes dans un single, Mc One a rendu hommage à Aboubacar Sidick. « Petit Bouba fait la fierté de son père et sa mère, vit le jour au jour mais ne sait pas que la vie est très amère, que pout peut changer d’une minute à l’autre. La vie est un choix mais dans certains cas la vie choisit pour nous même (…), prenons conscience et posons de bons actes pour assurer notre atterrissage parce que la vie est un vol et la mort est un crash. Bouba, Petit Bouba, je sais que de là où tu es, tout va bien …», a écrit Mc One dans son texte en hommage au petit Bouba d’un crime rituel d’un bijoutier.

Source: Insécurité : Des artistes se révoltent après l’assassinat du petit Bouba
Le 1 mars, 2018
March 1, 2018