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

Why killings for rituals are on the increase in Nigeria (2017 article)

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).

NB This article was posted before, on May 24, 2018.

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.

Ritual den

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 suspected ritualist

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.

Ritualist den

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.

Public react

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.”

Source: Why killings for rituals are on the increase in Nigeria

Nigeria: Head hunter confesses: I sold boys heads for N170,000, girls’ for N160,000

Mustapha Aliyu, man who kills innocent children and sells off their heads 

Published: June 22, 2019
By: Molly Kilete, Abuja

A 22-year-old man, Mustapha Aliyu, has landed in custody of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) police for the gruesome murder and decapitation of a three-year-old boy for ritual purposes.

The three-year-old boy was the fifth victim the suspect had killed and beheaded before he was eventually caught.

The ritual head hunter was beaten to a pulp by resident of the area where had he killed the child victim identified as Usman Awalu. The deceased was said to be the child of a Fulani man resident at Rugan Fulani, close to Leleyi village in Kwali Area Council of the FCT.

But for the quick intervention of the police, the lynching of the murder suspect would have resulted in his death, with the village rallying after vigilantes caught him with a bag containing the fresh head of the innocent child.

Caught in the violence of the lynch mob, a policeman who led authorities to arrest the suspect is said to be lying critical ill in one of the area hospitals.

The suspect, who claimed he had made good money killing innocent children and chopping off their heads, confessed that he used the money to purchase lands and build houses in the area.

Though not unmarried and without children of his own, the suspect, who said he was looking forward to getting married, told this reporter that he would not like anyone to kill his child.

In the following interview, the suspect narrates how he went into the bloody head hunting ‘business’.

“My name is Mustapha Aliyu. I am 22-years-old and I am from Lele-Gwari village in Kwali Area Council.

“I got into the business of killing children though my master who asked me to go and cut human heads for him. I met my master after I went to meet him to assist me with money because I wanted to go to school,  and he said ‘no problem’. After that he entertained me with rice and palm oil, and after I ate I started obeying his orders, I could not argue with him.”

“To start the killings, he equipped me with a machete, a cloth and charms; that was how I was recruited into killing innocent children.”

“He specifically asked me to bring heads of children for him and promised to give me N170,000, if I bring the head of a boy and N160,000 for that of a girl.

“My master gave me one charm with which I operate with whenever I go in search of my victims. All I do is put the charm on my hand and if I see any child I will just touch the child, and once I do that the child will just lose his or her senses and won’t be able to talk again; then I will take the child to a lonely place, push them to the ground and kill them with the machete and other things given to me by my master.”

“To separate the head from the body of the child, I usually hit the head two times, after which I will put the head in a bag and deliver to my master and he will give me the cash (payment) immediately.”

“So far I have killed four children, two boys and two girls, and this one was the fifth one before I was caught. Apart from the head, I don’t take anything from their bodies because that was the instruction my master gave me.

“My master bought me land for doing a good job and I have built houses with the money I made from the business. I am not afraid of sleeping in the house that I built using the blood of innocent children, I am happy with it.

“I am not yet married I am looking forward to getting married but honestly I will not be happy if somebody kills my child like this”used to pay me.”

Source: Head hunter confesses: I sold boys heads for N170,000, girls’ for N160,000

Related articles:

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Confession: How I beheaded 4 children
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Police arrest man with child’s head in Abuja
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Why ritualistic killings are on the increase in Nigeria

Ritualistic killings in Nigeria are rampant. Nigerians call these appalling crimes ‘money rituals’. I have been studying ritualistic killings in Africa since the mid-1970s and have come to the conclusion that Nigeria ranks among the Top-Five of African countries where ritual killings are most widespread. Even if we take into account that Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country, with close to 200 million people in 2017. The following article illustrates this conclusion. (webmaster FVDK)

Why killings for rituals are on the increase in Nigeria

By Evelyn Usman
Vanguard Nigeria
Date published: September 2, 2017, 8:27 AM

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.

Suspected ritualist arrested – Nigeria

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.

Ritual den – Nigeria

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 

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.

Public react

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.”

Source: The Vanguard Nigeria, dated September 2, 2017

Related articles:

How “Badoo killings” sent shock waves across Lagos State in 2017
Vanguard Nigeria, dated January 2, 2017

Assembly to legislate against ritual killings in Kwara
Vanguard Nigeria, dated December 6, 2017

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Nigerian couple working to eliminate infanticide in Nigeria

The remarkable recovery of Hope abandoned in 2016 after being accused of witchcraft in Nigeria made headlines. Photo: Nsidibe Orok/ Anja Ringgren Lovén Facebook

By on April 19, 2018

There is an ongoing culture of killing twins and other infants in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) area councils. Christian missionary Steven Olusola Ajayi and his wife Chinwe opened the Vine Heritage Home to shelter children deemed “evil” by their communities.

Bwari, Kuje, Gwagwalada and Kwali are some of the area councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where communities use infanticide to “rid” themselves of twins and other multiple-birth babies, albinos, babies whose mothers die within three months of the baby’s birth, babies who grow upper teeth first or babies born with defects. To the people of the community, these are signs that the babies are evil and will cause harm to its parents or the community at large.
The penalty for this evil is death by poisoning with a deadly mixture of plants and herbs, starvation, neglect, suffocation, crushing or being buried alive, especially in instances where the mother passed away before the baby is weaned – the baby will be buried alive with her body.

Infanticide was once common in parts of Nigeria, but work by missionaries in the late 19th century meant it became less so. Yet it continues to occur in secret in a host of communities. Campaigners and the government are trying to tackle the superstitions behind these killings and also to address the denials and secrecy that surrounds them in an attempt to protect vulnerable children.

Vine Heritage Home
Christian missionaries Steven Olusola and Chinwe Ajayi opened the Vine Heritage Home in 2004, a shelter for so-called “evil” children. For more than 20 years, Ajayi has been working with 40-plus communities on the traditions of ritual infanticide in the Abuja area.
In a sign that his 20-year-long grass-roots effort is having an effect, some communities are now willing to give away the “evil” children, rather than kill them. Ajayi says this is progress. “They don’t kill them, but they don’t want them,” he told Afrocentric Confessions.

Ajayi told Reuters that he and his wife do not put the children up for adoption but look after them until it is safe to “return them to their families”.

It has been difficult working against the culture but it is slowly bearing fruit, despite push back from some communities and their spiritual leaders. Their attitudes are reflected in their reasoning for the infanticide: Alkali Magaji, the spiritual leader of Kaida, told Afrocentric Confessions, “Our people believe that these children come from the evil one and no one wants it. We have a god we call Otauchi and we offer the children to that god. We suspect those children to be witches or wizards. That’s why we eliminate them.” The practice is so deeply interwoven with the local spiritual beliefs that complete eradication will be difficult.

Some places have progressed, however, such as Kutara village, where seven pairs of twins are living within the community. Ajayi said it’s one of the first villages to end baby killings. The local chief, Bature Dangana, told VOA that he is happy to see twins living among them.

Government Intervention
The Nigerian government began investigating infanticide in 2013, starting off a campaign to eradicate the practice. The campaign includes building primary health care centres and primary schools. Dr Matthew Ashikeni, the executive secretary of the FCT Primary Health Care Board, was part of the investigation panel.

“There was a need for enlightenment and education, so that the communities would know … medical science has the capacity to correct most, if not all, such defects. Billboards were erected in strategic places in those area councils, informing them that that was a stone-age practice and should not be done now when we have opportunity and exposure to science and education,” Dr Ashikeni told VOA.

Director Garba Abari of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), a government body that communicates policy, told Reuters that the campaign, dubbed ‘Eliminating Negative Cultural Practices’, operates mainly in Abuja although children are killed elsewhere in Nigeria. Abari said this was due to the fact that authorities had failed to find civil society groups to work with them to combat infanticide as there was a great deal of denial in communities and suspicion of outsiders.

The NOA therefore went on to employ local people to work on the issue, an approach that seems to be working as the government has received no reports of infanticide in Abuja in more than a year.

“You don’t just go and confront them, saying that you are coming to talk to them to stop it … The best thing is to use the traditional leaders and heads of communities,” he said.

However, the decline could be attributed to the practice going further underground, with communities now committing it in deep secrecy.

No matter what the numbers are, people like Steven and Chinwe are desperately needed to fight this outdated belief and provide a safe haven for children under threat.

Source: This Is Africa – Opinion