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: Insecurity: Government must keep its end in this social contract, says Ekhomu

Yesterday a posted an article entitled ‘Curbing the menace of ritual killings in the southwestern states‘.  Appropriate as it was to draw the attention of our readers to this worrisome and frightening situation, it nevertheless seems useful to paint a more general picture of the security situation in Sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous country.

Everyday Nigerians are facing an extremely dangerous situation consisting of political and criminal violence, ritual murders (‘money-rituals’), abductions, kidnappings, ransom cases,  by terrorists, bandits, political thugs, ritual killers, cultists, criminals, and traditional herdsmen. A personal experience in this respect may illustrate the foregoing. 

A couple of years ago I visited Nigeria for professional reasons. My employer, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, had made the use of a special, armored car mandatory for government officials when traveling in Abuja or the rural areas. The only other countries with a similar precaution and obligation were Iraq and Afghanistan. No wonder, that last year the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) ranked Nigeria the third most dangerous county on earth, after Afghanistan and Iraq.

Therefore, I consider it useful to get to know the observations and warnings of Dr. Ona Ekhomu, a well-known Nigerian security expert, when reading about and analyzing ritual murders in the Nigeria. As repeatedly said before, Nigeria ranks number One with respect to ritual murders in Africa, but this should nevertheless be judged against the background of an alarming security situation in general (webmaster FVDK). 

Insecurity: Government must keep its end in this social contract, says Security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu

Dr. Ona Ekhomu

Published: January 2, 2021
By: The Guardian News, Nigeria

I REALISTICALLY expect the security situation in Nigeria to worsen this year. Given that the national and sub-national governments have not taken the time to understand the scope of threat and risk spectrum, there is no serious effort to resolve the security conundrum. 

The authorities have continued to rely on intuitive thinking in a situation that requires critical thinking and complex problem-structuring and problem-solving methodologies. 

Therefore, the security situation will worsen because a wound that is not treated becomes an ulcer. In research design, we say that past is prologue to the future. So, what is the evidence of insecurity in Nigeria? Amnesty International recently published that in the first six months of last year, over 1,126 persons were killed mostly in the rural areas where “the authorities have left communities at the mercy of rampaging gunmen.”

According to Dataphyte Nigeria, over 70,000 Nigerians have been killed in the last nine years in acts of criminal violence. The Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency has killed over 37,500 persons, displaced 2.5 million and created 244,000 refugees. In the first quarter of 2019, Nigeria recorded over 685 kidnap for ransom cases. 

Clearly, this statistic will pale into insignificance when you consider 4th quarter of last year, where in one fell swoop, over 344 students were abducted in Kankara, Katsina State. 

In December alone, about 26 travelers were seized by bandits along Benin-Auchi road and marched into the forest at Igieduma in Edo State. The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III, at the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council meeting in Abuja in November last year, warned that the security situation in northern Nigeria had gotten out of hand and bandits (terrorists) had overrun the region. 

He said in some parts of the north, bandits walk around openly carrying AK47 rifles without being challenged by security agents. The Sultan revealed that 76 persons were killed in a Sokoto community, yet it went unreported. The frequency of kidnappings, killings, murders had become high that it was not news worthy anymore.

The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) for last year ranked Nigeria the third most terrorism impacted nation on earth. With this ranking, Nigeria is rubbing shoulders with Afghanistan and Iraq.

The security scorecard for Nigeria last year is very poor. Government performed below expectation in its most important duty of keeping citizens safe, as kidnappers, bandits, killer herdsmen, cultists, ritual killers and political thugs had a field day at the expense of citizens.

The Northwest terrorism (euphemistically referred to as banditry) intensified with several communities in Zamfara, Katsina, Niger, Kaduna and Sokoto states deserted due to incessant attacks and wanton killings and kidnappings by the aggressors. The so-called bandits have resorted to levying farmers millions of naira to harvest their farms. The situation in the Northwest is likely to trigger a food crisis in Nigeria this year. 

In the Northeast region, Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency continued to flourish, with terrorists attacking targets at will and shedding blood of innocent citizens without compunction. 

The chief driver of insecurity in Nigeria is the incapacity of security agencies to prevent attacks against soft targets. The philosophy of the security agencies is to take casualties and then counter-attack. 

The agencies are supposed to design an architecture that will prevent attacks in the first place. However, due to severe resource constraints and leadership factors, they adopt the counter-punch strategy. In other words, the authorities are adopting a law enforcement approach to a terrorist threat. 

In dealing with terrorism, the best approach is prevention and disruption of plots. Any time a terrorist attack occurs, the effects are devastating. Every incident of terror (mass kidnap of travelers, mass abduction of school children, suicide bombing, roadside bombing, attack on traditional rulers on the highway, brutal rape of female travelers, killing of farmers in the bush, even cannibalism by killer herdsmen, etc.) is a statement of grave insecurity. 

Many Nigerians avoid road travels because of fear of terrorist attacks along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, Lokoja-Okene highway or Benin-Auchi highway. These are killing fields where bandits emerge from the foliage and open fire on total strangers, not a targeted attack to rob them and then kidnap the survivors of the initial attack for ransom. Those unable to pay ransom are liable to be executed. In some instances, ransom is paid and the victim is killed.

The unfortunate trends in insecurity will continue and probably be exacerbated. What are the trends?
There would be an increase in highway kidnappings. It is a low risk and high yield venture that government does not seem willing to confront head on.

There would be an intensification of Northwest banditry, as the vast landscape is largely ungoverned. A situation where bandits could hide 344 students in Rugu Forest is unfortunate.

The Northeast insurgency is likely to intensify. The new leadership of ISWAP is quite bloodthirsty and would continue to tax communities and kill persons without justification.

Attacks on Army Supercamps by ISWAP will continue. Having succeeded in overrunning military bases and posts, the terrorists would take on the more hardened targets, like Supercamps.

Ansaru terrorist attacks would multiply and flourish in Kaduna and Kogi states. These terrorists are likely to infiltrate south into Edo and Delta states. Security planners in those South-South states are urged to be forward thinking.

The epidemic of terrorist violence would continue with piracy and illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region. The IPOB agitators would continue to attack Police personnel and soft targets in the Southeast.

Cult violence would continue to claim lives in Edo, Delta, Rivers and Cross River states.
Ritual killings would continue to flourish in the Southwest states.

Source: Insecurity: Government must keep its end in this social contract, says Ekhomu

Nigeria: ritual killings everywhere (2014 article)

The following article sounds unreal. Reading it, one wonders if this can be true. Is it gossip, rumor, fantasy, or indeed the reality? The article dates from July 2014 whereas many ritualistic acts described date from much further back, even 2007.

I will return to this page and add more shortly.

Warning: some images and description of ritualistic acts may be shocking (webmaster FVDK).

Horror: ritual killings everywhere in spite of civilization

Published: July 12, 2014
By: Vanguard, Nigeria – Evelyn Usman and Ebun Sessou

Looking curiously as this reporter approached her make-shift restaurant around J4 , Aketegbo community in Seme Badagry area of Lagos two weeks ago, mama Rilwan as she is popularly called, stood up from her seat, apparently thinking the stranger had come to patronize her.’ ki lefe ra? (what do you want to buy ?)  she asked.

But when this writer disclosed her mission, the seeming expectation on her face dropped, giving way to a sad expression of a memory she never wishes to recall. She immediately beckoned on two teenagers later discovered to be her children to take over the stand while she went inside the shop, with this reporter following with caution.

After a long silence accompanied with a long stare at this reporter, she said: “ I recognize you now. You were here in 2007 when the incident that threw my entire life upside down occurred. My son, Rilwan would have been 20 years this month (June), had he not been sent to an early grave by my neighbor. He was my first child and  also my back bone”.

Tried as she could to control her emotion as she spoke, her strength failed her. Tears trickled  down her cheeks.

All was going on well for the food vendor until September 1, 2007, when her son , Rilwan, was reported missing. Three days later, his remains were found with the throat slashed, signifying that he could have been a victim of ritual killing which was said to be common in the area.

Accusing finger was pointed at one Muyideen Salam whose shop was close to the deceased’s mother’s place. He was said to have been seen with the deceased before his disappearance. After much persuasion which took a brutal dimension, Muyideen confirmed everyone’s fears, by confessing that  he killed Rilwan and used his blood for money ritual.

In an interview with Sunday Vanguard at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba ,  seven years ago (published October 7, 2007) the then  35 year-old Muyideen gave a chilling account of how he gruesomely murdered the teenager and drained his blood, with the help of his friend, one Nuru.

Strange as this sounded, Muyideen disclosed that he was sent to get the blood of a virgin by a herbalist with which to prepare the  concoction  he would use to bath for nine days, after which he would become rich.

But he never lived to see his devilish  wish come true ,even though he succeeded in killing the teenager. This was as a result of his arrest by policemen at Seme division. He was convicted for murder.

Muyideen’s startling confession was, no doubt, a reflection of a society that is fast becoming bestial. Killing of human beings for rituals or whatever reason, dates back to the ancient times when people used to appease the gods of the land with human blood and for the purpose of winning wars. Twins, who were considered an abomination, were killed until its abolition through Mary Slessor’s missionary works.

One would have expected that such pseudoscience should rather  be imagined than witnessed  in Nigeria in this 21st century, when other countries of the world are experimenting and advancing in technology. More baffling is the fact that some Nigerians still indulge in such superstitious process of ritual killings in spite of  the escalation of religious groups across the country as  well as the exposure of majority of  the populace to education and Western culture.

Sadly, even some acclaimed high and mighty indulge in ritual killings. Some politicians and government officials have been accused by arrested suspects (and herbalists), alleging that they use human beings for rituals in order  to sustain their affluence as well as  to remain in power. Records also show that cases of ritual killings and subsequent disappearance of persons are usually on the increase whenever elections are around the corner.

In Lagos  state for instance, about fifteen cases of kidnap attempts have reportedly been recorded in the last four months. One of the foiled attempts was at Ori-oke, in Ejigbo local council development area, two months ago, where a woman who kidnapped two primary school pupils was heard describing  them as goods to an unknown person on the phone.

The saddest part of this evil act  is that hundreds of victims of ritual murders only get mentioned as missing persons. While some manage, by sheer stroke of providence to escape the slaughters’ slab, others never live to share their ordeal with any person.

Investigation by Saturday Vanguard revealed that agents of these vampires who hide in  forests and other unknown places are spread across the country, lying in wait like a hungry lion for their preys. Majority of their victims  are innocent school children, poor street hawkers, commercial sex workers, stranded visitors  and unsuspecting commuters.

Watch out for these black spots

Investigation carried out by Saturday Vanguard showed that black spots where these agents prowl include areas like Otta, Ibafo and Mowe , all in Ogun state,  Epe, Ikorodu, Shagamu Road Isheri/Olowo Ira,Cele Express along Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Badagry axis, Ikeja, Toyota Bus-stop, Mile Two, Ajah,all in Lagos State; Lagos / Ibadan Express Road; Lagos/Benin by-pass in Edo State; Igwurita ,Rumuokoro in Port Harcourt, Rivers state; Ilorin/Oro Road in Kwara state; Lokoja, Abuja Highway in Kogi State and River Kaduna. Other areas are bush paths, markets, lonely environments, hotels and brothels, popular bus stopovers or terminals, and other hot spots across the country.

Modus Operandi

Some of these agents, most times disguise as lunatics. A typical case in mind was that Clifford Orji  who  was arrested under the bridge at Toyota Bus-stop along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos with human parts in 2001. He confessed  to be selling human parts to prominent Nigerians who undoubtedly used them for ritual purposes. The amazing thing about this peculiar case was the fact that Orji who later died while in Prison custody, was presumed a lunatic. Unknown to passers-by, he only masqueraded as a mad man in order to achieve his sinister motives.

Investigations further revealed that one of their ways is to attack job seekers. They print fliers for recruitment. Some even go the extra mile to advertise for vacancies in national dailies. They then send text messages or email to applicants, informing that they have been listed for the job and will be invited for interviews. In many cases, hotels turn out to be the venues for the interviews. At this point, if the prospective  applicant gets to the designated hotel, he/she will reportedly  be hypnotized and thereafter taken to the slaughter’s slab which is usually in the bush or some remote places. At other times, an applicant will be informed that the venue for interview has changed on reaching the hotel, from where they will provide a vehicle, which unknown to the applicants, have been sprayed with substance that automatically puts them to sleep.

Barely four months ago, Nigerians received with shock, news of a den in Soka village, Oluyole Local Government area of Oyo state, where about 20 corpses, majority of which were  declared missing  by their relatives were found and 18 victims were rescued. From all indications, it was obvious that the den has been existing for long before it was uncovered, following a heap of victims’ clothes. One of the rescued victims was reported to have said he was kidnapped in Ogun while attending an interview.

The most celebrated ritual killing in the recent past was the notorious Otokoto saga in Owerri, Imo State where a businessman belonging to a cult was alleged to have used his apprentice for ritual. The boy’s corpse was later exhumed at the premises of Otokoto Hotel. It exposed many other bizarre acts in hotels.

Female parts

Investigation shows that female parts are more in demand than their male counterparts. This is because of  what was described as the potency of some parts like the breasts and lower private parts in money rituals and other purposes by herbalists and occult groups.

Virgins  and  babies on the other hand are also reportedly used by some politicians and government officials  for ritual purposes as their blood is said to be used to elongate the user’s life span as well as fortify them against spiritual attacks.

Security hints at Saturday’s Vanguard’s disposal reveal that sometimes, these ‘celebrities’ employ the services of some restaurant owners, hotel operators and their trusted domestic workers  to get them virgins who are  subsequently murdered for ritual purposes. Majority of girls who have fallen prey to these death traps were discovered to be secondary school students as well as those in tertiary institutions as they were at the initial stage carried away by money and expensive gifts from their  assailants.

A particular case in mind was that of a South-West politician alleged to have been caught by his driver with a dissected day-old baby whose blood he was drinking. The incident as reported two years ago, occurred inside a bush, while the driver was taking his boss (names withheld) to a purported function. Half way into the journey, the politician was said to have ordered his driver to pull over.

*Joshua caught with some human skeletons

He thereafter, alighted and headed for a bush with a promise to be back. Having waited  without any sight of his boss, the ignorant and curious  driver reportedly went in search for him,only to meet  him stark naked and pouring the blood of a dissected baby into his mouth. Barely two weeks later, the driver reportedly  died under mysterious circumstance. The event that occurred  before his death was related by a Pastor friend whom the deceased  confided in before his demise.

The lust for money and power drives these people into ritual killings.

While some kill to achieve this unfathomable dream, others  resort to digging graves  and removing needed human parts for ritual purpose. Saturday Vanguard scooped that most guards at cemeteries connive with agents to sell human parts.

It was learnt that if a fresh human head is needed, an agent will contact some  cemetery workers ahead. In this case, the cemetery official will be on the look out for fresh dead bodies, preferably those of Muslims  who are usually buried within 24 hours after death. Immediately the body is interred, cemetery worker will exhume the body at night, cut off the needed parts and place the body back in the grave.

Human parts for sale

Those who patronize cemetery officials are usually herbalists, herbal traders and even prominent Nigerians who usually use middle men. Surprisingly, human parts  are sold in some markets in Nigeria. We gathered that a fresh human head could go for N60,000 and above, while a skull is sold for N20,000. Fresh legs are sold for N30,000 each while a decomposed leg is sold for N20,000. A fresh finger is sold for N5,000 each while the decomposed is sold for 3,000. Fresh intestines are sold for N20,000 while dry ones are sold for N5000. Pieces of fresh bones are sold for N2,000 and above.

Arrests made

Five months ago, the Oyo  State Police Command, arrested a Muslim cleric, one  Alfa Gbolagade Dauda Ileanwo, in Agbaje area of Ibadan with  three human skulls and charms. The suspect, according to the command, confessed that he had been in the trade for ten years. Though he claimed to be using the human parts for concoctions to assist sterile women, his accomplice, Saheed Azeez, countered  the  claim, stating rather that his boss was into money making rituals.

The command also arrested two other suspected ritual killers,Musa Dauda and Sango Olojo-Onile with a human head and two heel bones. During interrogation, Dauda revealed that the human parts were removed from a grave at Ojetete village, Kisi, for money ritual.

Olojo-Onile  according to the command was  arrested in April  with a fresh head of a woman which still had cotton wool stuck inside the ears.

Also in Epe, the  lifeless  body of a  68-year-old man,Ade Lekuti, earlier declared missing was discovered at Owode, near Ogombo in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, with the head, hands and  private organs cut off.

Surprisingly, the alleged killer was discovered to be his in-law, one Teju Rajimu. The suspect according to the deceased’s family, confessed to have given the missing parts to a herbalist who prepared  concoction with them for him. The missing parts were reportedly pounded into powdery form and mixed with a greasy substance which was discovered in the suspect’s apartment.

Similarly, in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, a three-man gang  led by one Kamaru Yusuf allegedly  beheaded  one Omobola Moses at Ira, a village in Oyun Local Government Area.  The deceased who was a niece to one of the suspects, was reportedly lured from her parents’ abode into a bush where her head was severed. The suspects, according to report, confessed that they took  the head to  a 52-year-old herbalist whose name they gave as Saliu Oyewole, for money ritual.

From the West to the East and North to the South , the story is same.

In Enugu state for instance, an evil forest suspected to be a den for killers was discovered  in Igbo Eze North local government area with fresh and decomposing human parts littered all over,with vital parts of some bodies missing.

Report said the  victims were taken to the forest and butchered by killers who then removed the vital parts needed for money-making rituals. Some prominent citizens of the state and environs were alleged  to be patrons of herbalists and native doctors who perform rituals in the forest.

One of the mind bugling  incidents was the discovery of another horror sight at the Okija shrine in Anambra state.  The shrine achieved notoriety in 2004 when it was raided by the Anambra State Police Command ,where  50 decomposing or shrunken bodies and 20 human skulls were found. The shrine was also  reportedly patronised by politicians. Till date, politicians still visit Okija shrine.

It is tragic  enough that some Nigerians still believe in gaining power and making money through this practice. But more worrisome and astonishing   is the use of loved ones, such as one’s parents, siblings and wives  for this devilish purpose. One of such horrifying incidents occurred in Abia state, when a 26 year-old boy allegedly killed his mother for ritual. The suspect,Ebi Onu, who hailed  from Igbere, Bende council area of the state, reportedly  went to Nguzu Edda in Ebonyi State where he consulted a herbalist to make charms that would make him become rich. The herbalist was said to have asked Ebi to kill his mother and bring her private part  which he said  would be used  to prepare  concoction for him. He allegedly connived with three of his friends to lay ambush for his mother along a bush path and lured his mother into taking a walk with him along that route.  On sighting them, his killer friends reportedly sprang out from  their hiding and hacked Ebi’s mother to death after which they  cut off her  private part .

Worried by her disappearance, a search party with Ebi  reportedly combed the vicinity for her without luck.  Report said some of the residents said they saw the missing woman with her son and consequently Ebi was subjected to questioning  and tortured by some youths until he allegedly owned up and took the youths to where he buried his mother at the bank of a river .  The angry youths were said to have beaten him to death , thereby depriving him of living to see his  inordinate ambition of becoming rich through ritual means.

In the same vein, residents  of Bale Ilado village in Morogbo area of Lagos State were thrown into panic recently after  a member of the community identified as Segun Adisa allegedly  beheaded his own father for money ritual .

However, in his confessional statement to the Police, the suspect claimed that he had to strike first to prevent his father whom he claimed earlier took him to a shrine where he claimed there was an attempt to kill him for money ritual.

Again in Aba, a landlord was alleged to have killed his two children for ritual purpose. The landlord (names withheld) as gathered, dashed out of his  three-storey  building on Omenazu road in Aba, on sighting some policemen approaching. Policemen from the Abia state command who acted on tip off, were said to have  swooped on the  building and according to residents of the area , two unconscious children identified as his children were found inside one of the rooms transfixed.

Not too long ago in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory , the body of a lady was found in the boot  of  a Honda  car with plate number AG 847  SUL belonging to an Abuja based businessman whose identity was given as Abdullai Ibrahim.  The suspect was said to have been arrested by policemen on patrol while he was cleaning the blood stain on the back seat of the car. Preliminary investigation, according to police sources, revealed that the suspect slit the deceased’s throat with a knife for alleged ritual purpose.

In Kaduna state, three youths were reported in 2007 to have lured a 17 year-old sugarcane hawker,  Ibrahim Shehu, to the outskirts of a village and  strangled him. They were said to have been at the verge of removing his eyes when  policemen  that were  alerted by a farmer swooped on them. The suspects, according to the Kaduna State Police Command, confessed to have wanted to pluck out the eyes for money ritual.

Same year in Ibafo area of Ogun state, a woman who managed to escape from a kidnappers den alerted policemen led by one Charles Ogenegbe, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who  stormed the hideout , where a shrine used as slaughter for human beings was discovered.

Also same year in Benue, a 77 year-old woman identified as Adiya Omachi was murdered in her farmland at Odaleko, along Ikachi Adum road. Not done , her assailants reportedly slashed her private parts, signifying they could be ritualists.

In Niger state, three persons were arrested by the police for allegedly   beheading a 10-year-old boy in Amale Village, Kaffi-koro District, Paiko local government area of the state for ritual.

The deceased as gathered, was  lured by one Salleh Ibrahim who took him on his motorcycle from Amale village to meet two of his other accomplices: Usman Sarki and Dantala Doma. During interrogation, Sarki told policemen that he was contracted   by one Gajere to bring the boy’s head  for money ritual. The lad’s headless body was reportedly found in Salleh’s residence while the head was found buried in a shallow grave  near Erena in Shiroro local government, pending when they would take it to the herbalist.

If the startling confession  of 20 year-old Agu Nwanu, who disclosed that he had  so far killed  twenty children for money rituals, all in his bid to ensure he does not end up like his poor father must be taken seriously,  then all hands must be on deck to address this rising incident of ritual killings. Security operatives appear to be doing their best to curb these evil and very primitive rituals. But their best appears not to be enough as the menace is on the increase going by daily reports of these killings.

Police react

When the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide was contacted on the spate of ritual killings, she said about Lagos.

“I will disagree with you on the issue of ritual killing being on the increase in Lagos state. There has not been any of such since my assumption. Sometime last year and   about two months ago ,we paraded some suspects for being in possession of human parts. The arrests were effected by men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad and the suspects were arrested from other states.

“During interrogation, we discovered they had same modus operandi. They always go to the grave yard to exhume corpses. It’s something they commit in connivance with the security men at the cemetery. And the buyers, comprising the native doctors and other persons will be there.

“Let me state here that the Police as security agents do not believe in mystics. We work with facts and   physical evidence. So, when you say people indulge in rituals, we do not understand that language.

What we have also recorded are cases of persons suspected to be kidnappers who were attacked by the mob. It happened at Apapa, Iyana-Ipaja , Shahsha areas . In Shahsha, a man was sighted with a little child in his car and they accused him of wanting to use the child for money ritual and a mob attacked him, without giving him room to explain himself. But for the quick intervention of the traditional ruler of the area who contacted policemen, the man would have been lynched.

“On interrogation, it was discovered that parents of the child begged him to help drop the child in school and on the way, he started crying. We invited the parents who collaborated the claim. If they had killed him, the news would have been all over the place that a ritualist was mobbed.

“Another case was of an elderly woman at Ajegunle who was seen with a day old baby. Before you knew it, people rounded her up and started beating her, claiming she wanted to use the baby for ritual. The local government chairman contacted the police who rescued the woman who said she was the grandmother of the baby and that her daughter just gave birth but was in an unstable condition in the hospital. What we did was to invite the doctor of the hospital who collaborated her claim . The doctor said he advised the woman to take the baby home while they tried to stabilise the mother. I want to use this medium to advise Lagosians not to engage in mob actions.

“On our part, we have a lot of overt and covert policemen in   strategic places in the state, considering the nature of security in the country right now. We have tried to cover up sensitive places like churches, schools, motor parks among other places and we have enough security men.”

Source: Horror: ritual killings everywhere in spite of civilization

‘We’re promised N5m to deliver ladies’ breasts and hands’, suspects tell police in Niger State (Nigeria)

Published: March 9, 2020
By: The Nation – Justina Asishana, Minna      

THE suspected killers of three female students of College of Education, Minna have been arrested while trying to sell the victims’ body parts.

The suspects, Musa Smart, Ndakolo James and a voodoo priest, Bature Nathaniel, were arrested by police in Niger State at different locations.

The suspects, during their parade at the police headquarters, said they kidnapped and killed the ladies and proceeded to sell their parts to one Musa Smart, who allegedly promised to pay N5 million for the parts.

Two female students of College of Education, Minna, Oladepo Blessing, and Oluwasemilore Mary, were earlier in the year declared missing and although their names were not given, the girls may have been the victims, it was gathered.

One of the suspects, Musa Ndakolo said that they were promised N5 million to get the left breasts and hands of ladies.

He said the voodoo priest had not delivered on the N5m promised even though they had kept their part of the bargain.

“We have killed three girls and removed their breasts and buried their remains in the bush. We gave the parts to the Alfa and Sile who is also part of us but has run away.”

Ndakolo said that he was not involved in the killings, “I was not there when the victims were killed but I was the one keeping vigil at the entrance of the bush and the operation was successful. I did not participate in the killing.”

Another suspect, Musa Smart said that they picked up the students at around 9.30 pm when they were returning from school to their hostel after reading at night.

Police spokesman Wasiu Abiodun said the suspects confessed to killing and mutilating the bodies of their victims for ritual purposes, adding that the suspects also took the police to the place where one of the victims was buried and they found the body which was already decomposing.

Source: We’re promised N5m to deliver ladies’ breasts, hands, suspects tell police

Nigeria: two men behead eight-year-old boy for ritual in Niger State (2017 article)

Published: September 1, 2017
By: Dan Atori – The New Telegraph (Nigeria)

Police in Niger State have arrested two men said to be notorious ritual killers terrorising Bakajeba community in Paikoro Local Government Area for beheading an eight-year-old boy. The suspects, Abdulrashed Aminu (25) of Lupa and Ismaila Mohammed (27) of Makera in Paikoro Local Government Area, were arrested by the Inspector General of Police (IG) Special Tactical Squad attached to the Abuja-Minna Road.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Babaola Adewole, told our correspondent that the suspects were arrested for beheading Hassan Abubakar (eight) for ritual purposes. It was also learnt that one of their accomplices, identified as Ibrahim, is still at large and the operatives have intensified efforts to apprehend him.

The suspects, now being detained at State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Minna, had taken the police to the spot where the headless body of the victim was buried in a bush path.

They were apprehended about 9p.m. last Saturday at Minna-Paikoro Road junction during a stop-and-search. Aminu and Ismaila, according to the PPRO, confessed to the crime. They told detectives during interrogation that they cut off the boy’s head with two sharp knives.

The victim’s, Abubakar Shuaib, said his son was last seen on August 26 when he took a kettle of water from the house to give to an unknown person waiting outside. Adewole said the suspects would be after investigations.

He said: “Enough of ritual killers in the state. We will continue to apprehend them till they change to better people in the society. “We are on top of the situation and we are equal to the task. Lives of the citizens must be protected by the police.

“Niger State is one of the most peaceful states in the country and we will resist any attempt by bad people to take over the affairs of the state. It will not happen; our men are intact, ready for any eventualities.” The victim’s body, according to Adewole, has been released to his family for burial.

Source: Two men behead eight-year-old boy for ritual

Nigeria: Man beheads, harvests internal organs of Okada rider in Niger State

Published: September 15, 2019
By: The New Telegraph (Nigeria)

A suspected ritual killer, Tunde Tayo of Ungwan Roka, Maitumbi, Minna in Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State has been arrested by the Police after burying a headless body in his uncompleted building. Tayo was caught after cutting off the head and removing the heart and intestines of the Okada at the Crystal FM area in Maitunbi. The victim, 25-year-old Abdullahi Salle, our Correspondent learnt, was a bikeman popularly known as Okada.

The 30-year-old Tayo was reportedly apprehended by police operatives attached to the Maitumbi Division for killing his victim of Ungwan Rama for ritual purposes. Upon interrogation, the suspect claimed to be clearing grasses grown in the building before he was apprehended. Further investigation revealed that Salle’s body was buried by the suspect in a shallow grave near his house. In an interview with our Correspondent on Saturday, the suspect said he lured his victim to his uncompleted building in Ungwan Roka, where he carried out the crime.

According to him:“I beheaded and removed Salle’s intestines and heart for ritual purposes. I even buried him in a shallow grave in my uncompleted house. “It was when I tried to cover his body and the grave with grass that people around found out and noticed what I did. They held me, raised alarm and that was how I found myself in police net.” According to Tayo, a father of five children and a welder in Sabon-Gari area of Minna,

“I never knew that police can get at me, it was frustrations and inconsistence in life that made me to commit the crime. I am ruined.”

When asked whether his wife knew about his escapades, he said: “Nobody knows I am into ritual business, my wife does not know anything concerning the ritual business, she only knows me as a welder.” Confirming the incident, the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Muhammad Abubakar, said the suspect had confessed to the crime. Accordingly, Abubakar said: “Upon exhumation of the victim’s body it was discovered that the head and other internal parts had been removed.” Furthermore, he said the suspect would be charged to court after the conclusion of investigations.

Source: Man beheads, harvests internal organs of Okada rider in Niger

Related article: Police nab suspect for allegedly beheading commercial cyclist in Niger

Published: September 13, 2019
By: The New Telegraph (Nigeria)

The Police Command in Niger has arrested one Tunde Taiyo, 30, of Maitumbi, Bosso Local Government Area of the State, for allegedly beheading a 24-year-old commercial motorcyclist, Abdullahi Sale, at Maitumbi area.

The Commissioner of Police in the State, Alhaji Adamu Usman, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Friday.

Usman said that the deceased motorcyclist hailed from Bosso Local Government Area of the state.

“Immediately the command got the report of the incident, we swung into action which led to the arrest of Tunde Taiyo at his uncompleted building,” he said.

He said residents of Maitumbi informed the police that they noticed  blood around an uncompleted building.

“Police discovered a headless body buried in a shallow grave inside the uncompleted  building belonging to the suspect .

“The body of the commercial motorcyclist was buried without head in a shallow grave at the suspect’s uncompleted building,” he said.

The commissioner said the suspect, who is married with one wife and four children, was arrested by the police at the uncompleted building, while clearing grass.

He said Taiyo would be charged to court after investigations were completed.

Source: Police nab suspect for allegedly beheading commercial cyclist in Niger

Nigeria, Niger State: brothers arrested for alleged ritual killing

The suspects

Published: May 6, 2019
By: Enyioha Opara, Minna – Punch Nigeria 

The Niger State Police Command has apprehended three brothers for ritual killing in the Borgu Local Government Area of the state.

The suspects, Saminu Usman,25; Yusuf Usman,22; and  Muhammadu Usman, 35, all of Janruwa village in the Borgu LGA were reportedly arrested by a team of policemen attached to the New Bussa division after a complaint by the father of their victim, Yakubu Garba.

It was learnt that the suspects abducted one Shehu Garba and whisked him away to an unknown location where they planned to kill him for rituals.

Northern City News gathered on Sunday that the men took their victim to a bush where they killed him and cut off one of his hands.

One of the suspects, Saminu, alleged that his eldest brother, Mohammadu, instructed them to cut off their victim’s hand for ritual to enable them to be rich.

He stated, “It was actually not our intention to kill our victim for rituals. But after killing him, we cut off his hand, which we planned to use for ritual, before we were arrested by the police.

“I don’t know what to say; but we have disappointed our parents and other family members. Imagine three brothers going to jail at the same time; we have ruined our lives.”

The command Public Relations Officer, Muhammad Abubakar, confirmed the incident, saying the suspects had confessed to the crime.

Abubakar said the three brothers killed their victim for ritual purposes, adding that the matter had been charged to court.

Source: We have ruined our lives – Brothers arrested for alleged ritual killing

Nigeria – Teenager sells brother to ritual killer to pay bride price

In Nigeria, ‘money rituals’ often imply ritual murders and trading in body parts for rituals. Below, yet another example, out of many.

It is imperative that the government of Nigeria maintains the law (“thou shalt not kill”), but it is equally important that the accused gets a fair trial and is assisted by a criminal defense lawyer – if needed, a public defender. After all, ‘civilization’ is more than just upholding the law. And we should not forget that the only way to attack this problem of ritualistic killings is to educate people. (webmaster FVDK)

Teenager sells brother to ritual killer to pay bride price

Published on June 1, 2018
By Dan Atori

Police in Niger State have arrested a teenager for allegedly selling his six-year-old brother to a ritual killer for N20,000. The 19-year-old suspect, Aliyu Basala Yakutchi, without mincing words, confessed to have sold his kid brother, Yamusa Ibrahim Yakutchi, to ritual killer in order to raise money to pay his wife’s bride price. The incident was said to have occurred about 10 days ago.

The 19-year-old suspect, Aliyu Basala Yakutchi

Aliyu, from Nagenu village in Katcha Local Government Area, sold his brother to 30-year-old Legbo, from Afuwagi village in Mokwa Local Government Area. Police disclosed that Legbo was presently on the run. Aliyu, who claimed to be the third among his mother’s six children, said that he sold his brother on credit.

Aliyu, who apparently didn’t know or understand the gravity of his action, pleaded with the police to release him unconditionally so that he could go and tend to his farm. He said: “I decided to sell my younger brother for N20,000 on credit so that I can raise money to pay for the bride price of my 14-year-old lover.

I took my younger brother, Yamusa, to Malam Legbo for money rituals because he promised to pay me N20,000 if he succeeded in using him for money rituals. I wanted to use the money to finance my marriage to Fatimah. Our father is dead, but our mother is still alive, her name is Hajiya Yakure.

“Prior to my arrest by the police, I had not been paid by Legbo. The money might not even be enough for my marriage requirements.” Asked the whereabouts of Legbo, Aliyu said: “I think he ran away with my brother when he got the information that the police were looking for him.

I blame the devil for pushing me into hatching this evil plan against my brother. I don’t even know where Legbo has taken my brother to.” While exonerating Fatimah from the crime, Aliyu noted: “She does not know about my evil plan to sell my little brother to offset her bride price.

I’m a farmer and a bachelor. I got enrolled into an Islamic school during my childhood days but my parents couldn’t afford to send me to school. I only speak our local dialect, Nupe language; I cannot speak or understand Hausa language too.”

As at the time of filing this report, the whereabouts of Legbo and Yamusa were still unknown. The police had already paid a visit to Legbo’s village, but met a cold trail.

Source: New Telegraph, June 1, 2018