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: curbing the menace of ritual killings in the South West

This posting is the first in a row of three which focus on Nigeria’s security problems. The objective is to outline a general phenomenon – ritual killings – not to focus on a specific murder case. Eventually, we will include specific examples of ritualistic acts, notably murders, known in Nigeria as ‘money-rituals’ (FVDK).

Nigeria: Curbing The Menace Of Ritual Killings In South West

The reported cases of missing persons are on the increase. Almost on a daily basis someone gets missing or killed and this has become a source of concern to most Nigerians. In this report, ALO ABIOLA, examines the menace and what could be done to check it.

Published: January 29, 2021
By: Leadership, For God And Country – Alo Abiola

When irate mob, made up of mostly youths stormed the Sotitobire Miracle Centre and razed it over a missing child known as Kolawole Gold, who was a year old in Ondo State allegedly killed for rituals, many had residents of the state had thought that the menace of ritual killing would be a thing of the past in the entire South West region.

More so, that the church building and other property worth millions of naira were set ablaze on the day of the attack. Two other houses located close to the church were also torched. About five cars, including a police van, were also burnt.

Alas, the reverse is the case. Innocent lives are still being lost to the activities of armed robbers, bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and particularly ritual killers, with little or no action taken by the government and security agencies to arrest the situation.

Killing for ritual purposes and dealing in human parts are gradually assuming an alarming rate in Nigeria and the trend calls for serious actions from government at all levels.

It has been discovered that people get involved in ritual killings for different reasons and purposes.

Observers opined that the basic reasons why people irrespective of gender, age, race, religion are into it, is the lust for money, power and fame.

To achieve their dream and make things happen fast, most of these people kill while others prefer to dig graves or visit mortuaries to remove needed human parts for rituals.

As the menace snowballs, cemetery guards and workers are said to be conniving with those who deal in human parts to exhume bodies and remove vital parts and place the body back into the grave.

Reports have it that some herbalists, especially those trading in herbal stuff and even influential Nigerians engage people to get human parts for them.

It is unfortunate that this is still happening despite the increased religious activities in the country and global technological advancement.

The issue came to fore again on Sunday, January 17, 2021, when a man, people claimed was a suspected kidnapper, was arrested in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.

The yet-to- be identified man, who was arrested in an uncompleted  three-storey building located opposite Ekiti State Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), Ado Ekiti was alleged to specialise in selling human parts.

It was gathered that pictures of the victims of the suspect, ATM cards, filled passbook leaflets, a damaged phone and a cow horn were found in his possession in the building.

Some residents of the area, who could not properly identify the suspect, accused him of feigning madness and disguising as a lunatic on the street, insisting that he was using the building for his evil acts.

It took the intervention of the police to rescue the suspect from being lynched by a mob at the scene.

Reacting to the development, the Ekiti State Police Command through its spokesman, Sunday Abutu, an assistant superintendent of police said the mental state of the suspect is being investigated.

He said, “Today being  January 17, 2021 at about 1350hrs, information was received that an irate mob was about to lynch a suspect at the front of an uncompleted building, opposite Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), Ado-Ekiti.

“The Rapid Response Squad (RRS) personnel swung into action immediately by moving to the scene. The suspect was rescued to the station where investigation is currently ongoing to ascertain the state of the mental health of the suspect, as he is currently showing a sign of somebody with an unsound mind.

“Items recovered from the suspect are: two damaged handsets, one cow horn, five bank cheque leaves, six ID cards, nine ATM cards of four banks, all belonging to seven different people.

“The command implores everyone to disregard the information that the suspect is a kidnapper until investigation is concluded while assuring the people of Ekiti State that the investigation will be extended to the psychiatric hospital for medical examination.

“The Ekiti State commissioner of police, Mr  Tunde Mobayo, while advising citizens to avoid taking laws into their hands anytime a suspect is arrested, implores them to always report to the nearest police station, any person or group of persons suspected to be criminals found around their environment or call 08062335577.”

For Muyiwa Salako, a community leader in the state, with the proliferation of religious groups and faith -based organisations in our country, one would have expected that these heinous acts would have reduced drastically, but unfortunately the opposite is the case.

‘’Happenings in recent times have proved that some self-acclaimed religious leaders and clerics are evil men using religion as cover up.

There were several reported cases of such fake and false clerics who were involved in the evil act.

‘’Many of them were said to have worked in cahoot with herbalists and occult people to kill and bury the head or the entire body of their victims at the altar of their church or wherever they used for their religious gathering.

‘’This is to ensure the influx of new members into their fold from time to time.

‘’Thankfully, the long arm of law is fast catching up with some of these “pastors and alfas” who are being arrested for similar acts,’’ he said.

LEADERSHIP Friday learnt that several evil forests used as kidnappers’ and ritualists’ dens were discovered in some parts of the country by security agents, where fresh and decomposing human parts were recovered.

A few years ago, there was a surge in the mysterious killing of people in one of the Southwestern state by members of a dreaded cult group.

They allegedly stormed victims’ residences while they were asleep, hypnotised them and smashed the skulls of the victims with heavy stones after which they used a handkerchief to clean the blood and brain before leaving the scene.

Some suspects, arrested in connection with the killings, were said to have revealed that each handkerchief stained with blood was sold for N500,000 to wealthy politicians, businessmen, industrialists and other well-to-do Nigerians who use them to prepare spiritual defence rituals.

It was reported some time ago that a herbalist, arrested alongside some suspected ritual killers in the southern part of Nigeria, confessed that he was preparing concoction with human parts for his clients.

Speaking with LEADERSHIP Friday on the recent incident, a resident of Ado Ekiti, Mr Akinola lamented that the abandoned building had been there for some time, saying it was not surprising that such a thing is happening there.

He called on the state government to confiscate the building if the owner was ready to complete it and put it to good use.

Another resident, Miss Tolani, said that it was the third time such an incident would be reported in the building and advised the state government to demolish it.

Source: Curbing The Menace Of Ritual Killings In South West

Nigeria: 70-year-old woman murdered and used for money ritual in Ondo State

The heading of the present case hardly sounds as ‘new’ news, but it reminds us of earlier cases of murdered victims whose vital body parts were removed for ritual purposes. Yet it is another case, the umpteenth case of ritualistic murder in Nigeria, certainly Africa’s Number One Country when it comes to ritual killings (webmaster FVDK).

70-Year-Old Woman Murdered And Used For Money Ritual In Ondo

Published: February 17, 2020
By: Sundiata Post

A 70-year-old woman identified as Sidikat Jimoh, has been gruesomely murdered by some suspected ritualists, removing her vital organs in Ogbagi Akoko in Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State.

It was gathered that the woman killed this morning and found in a pool of her blood in her residence around Ayetoro area of the town in the early morning.

According to an eyewitness, the assailants after removing the vital parts from the woman also tried to set her remains ablaze but had to leave in a hurry, leaving behind some of the vital organs removed from their victim.

He described the late Septuagenarian as a peace-loving and religious and wondered what could be responsible for the killing as no property or money was removed from her home.

He said: “This woman was full of life yesterday and even attended the weekly prayer meeting at the Ansar Ud Deen Society of Nigeria Central mosque, before returning home.

“It is unfortunate that these hoodlums visited her home and killed her and removing her vital organs.”

He, however, said the incident was reported to the police station while security operatives from the area removed her corpse to the State Specialist Hospital in Ikare Akoko.

The Area Commander for Ikare Police Division, ACP Razak Rauf, who confirmed the incident, said policemen from the town swung into action and visited the scene of the incident.

He said there was no arrest but disclosed that investigation had commenced into the killing, assuring that the killers would be brought to book.

Source: 70-Year-Old Woman Murdered And Used For Money Ritual In Ondo

Nigeria: ritual killings on the increase

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

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

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

Weird world of money ritualists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even the dead are not spared

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Compromise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Weird world of money ritualists

Related articles: 

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

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

Opinion: Insecurity in Ondo state, Nigeria

In this features article, Legit.ng’s regional reporter in Akure, Oluwadamilare Moriyeke, writes on how tackling insecurity in Ondo state is becoming more difficult for the security agencies.

I have earlier reported on the growing insecurity situation in Ondo state, notably the alarming increase in number of ritualistic killings. See my posts dated April 19, 23, 28, 29 and May 2 of the current year.
The cases mentioned below are no new cases, but the purpose of this post is to demonstrate the growing uneasiness (read: fear) of the population of Ondo state. One of the unalienable human rights is the right to be without fear. It is an obligation of the state to protect its citizens and to guarantee a peaceful life. To realize this, the rule of law is indispensable. 
(webmaster FVDK)

Opinion: Insecurity in Ondo State

Published: May 15, 2019
By: Wale Akinola – NAIJ.com 

(….)
But now, it is more pronounced in gruesome murder, arson and abduction for ritual purposes as the state records nothing less than five incidents within the past five weeks.

In Ondo city, the headquarters of Ondo west local government, a 62-year old woman with hunchback, Ibironke Abodunde, was reportedly abducted by some gunmen and all efforts to find her were to no avail. There were rumours that her son sold the mother to ritualists for N7 million but there arose a heated argument between the ritualists and the said son, who was asked to return the money after the purpose for her hunchback failed. According to report, they threatened to kill him if he did not refund their money and he too insisted that they should return his mother, who was kidnapped while selling fish, before they could get their money. However, the first child of the woman out of two, Monsurat, refuted the report and revealed that their mother did not have any son, adding that the only male child by the woman died at infancy some months after birth. Nonetheless, a source within the family pointed out that the son might be mistaken for one of her tenant, who is a herbalist and had disappeared since the incident happened.

Without leaving the vulnerable group, a septuagenarian mother of five, Medinat Ala, was killed at her residence by suspected ritualists, who removed her womb, vag.ina and brea.sts at Okeagbe area of Ikare, the headquarters of Akoko north east council. The landlady, Ala, was attacked in the wee hours of the day and clubbed to death with pestle before they removed those vital organs from her body. It was learnt that a neighbour who wanted to rescue her was attacked too and later died in the hospital. According to sources, one of the tenants, Moses Olaniyi, is now in the police net as prime suspect to the crime, while the youths and community leaders are on the watch to stop a re-occurrence as there were two cases of such incidents in recent past.

Similarly, a 80-year old Mrs. Kajosla Mogaji, was also killed under same gruesome circumstance as her head was battered and found dead in a pool of blood the next morning.
(….)

Source: Opinion: Insecurity in Ondo and concept of ‘Abiku’ by Oluwadamilare Moriyeke

Nigeria – ritual killings: Ondo community on marathon prayers, fasting

Published: May 7, 2019
By: Damisi Ojo, Akure  

Disturbed by two recent incidents of ritual killings which occurred simultaneously in Arigidi, Akoko Northeast local government area of Ondo state, the Zaki Arigidi,-in-council has pronounced the commencement of interdenominational prayer session and fasting to curtail the menace.

Besides, the community leaders employed the service of traditionalists and vigilante group for action.

Two women were killed in the community within one week interval, their breasts were clinically removed, a development that was strange to Arigidi Akoko community regarded as very peaceful.

Oba Yisa Olanipekun met with women who are family members of victims of the gruesome killing.

The monarch disclosed that an indigene of Arigidi Akoko from Ogo quarters, Tunde Ajileye alias Efo, 30 year old had been napped when his father surrendered him to the traditional ruler who handed him to the police.

The police men took him to Akure to join two other suspects now at the state Criminal Investigation Department, Akure.

A woman leader, Mrs. Ayoka Oshodi on behalf other women blamed youths looking for blood money.

She appealed to parents to monitor their children living above their income.

The chairman, Akoko Northwest local government, Elder Samson Akande said his administration would give priority to security and generation of revenue.

He said he was not happy with the recent killings of two innocent women at Arigidi Akoko.

Akande called on his management team to liaise with traditional rulers to make sure life and property are safe in the local government.

He hailed Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for his leadership style which made infrastructures possible in every nook and cranny of the state.

Source: Ritual killings: Ondo community on marathon prayers, fasting 

Related:

Ondo community laments ritual killings

Published: May 7, 2019
By: Adebayo Waheed, Ibadan

Community leaders have decried incessant ritual killings in Arigidi Akoko in Ondo State, saying the people have resorted to divine intervention.

It was gathered that the Zaki of Arigidi, Oba Yisa Olanipekun and the Oba-in-Council and the entire community have embarked on interdenominational prayers, traditional efforts coupled with local vigilante efforts to unravel the scourge of ritual killings.

This, it was further gathered was strange to Arigidi Akoko which was one of the very peaceful communities in the area.

It would be recalled two women were allegedly killed for ritual killings at Arigidi Akoko with their two breasts removed clinically.

The Zaki of Arigidi, Oba Yisa Olanipekun at a meeting with the women who were the recent victims of the gruesome killing, disclosed that a son of Arigidi Akoko from Ogo Quarters, Mr. Tunde Ajileye alias Efo, 30-year-old had been arrested.

He said his father handed him over to the traditional ruler who handed him over to the police.

While noting that he had been taken to police headquarters Akure for further interrogation, he added that three suspects were now at state Criminal Investigation Department CID, Akure for their alleged roles in ritual killings at Arigidi.

A woman leader, Mrs. Ayoka Oshodi on behalf of women, blamed youths looking for hot money, appealing to parents to be vigilant on their children living above their income.

Meanwhile, the chairman, Akoko North West Local Government Area, Elder Samson Akande said his administration would give priority to security and generation of revenue.

He said he was not happy with the recent killing of two women at Arigidi Akoko, and called on his management team to liaise with traditional rulers to make sure lives and property were safe in the area.

He commended Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for his leadership style which made infrastructure possible in the nook and crannies of Ondo State

Source: Ondo Community Laments Ritual Killings

Nigeria: residents nab two suspected ritual killers in Ondo

Published: May 1, 2019
By: Channels Television

Two suspected ritualists who allegedly have been killing women in the Akoko area of Ondo state, removing their breasts and other sensitive organs were on Tuesday caught by vigilant residents in Arigidi-Akoko, in Akoko North West Local Government Area of the state.

The suspects were said to have been apprehended following an attempt to kill another woman in the town.

An eyewitness who preferred to speak under anonymity disclosed to Channels Television that “Ritual killings have become very frequent in Arigidi and some other parts of Akoko land. Five women have been killed gruesomely, with their breasts and other private parts removed”.

“Nemesis caught up with two men early this morning at Arigidi when a woman raised alarm that a man came to her room to kill her and ran away when she raised alarm”.

“Immediately the town organised a search team and caught the two men in a bush at the back of Akoko Anglican Grammar School, Arigidi-Akoko. They were taken to the palace of the traditional ruler of the town, Oba Yisa Olanipekun”.

“The Suspects were later handed over to security agents in the area to prevent jungle justice on them,” the eyewitness said.

It would be recalled that a 50-year-old woman, simply called ” Iya Dunsin” and another 80-year-old grandmother, Kojusola Mogaji were brutally killed and their breasts clinically removed within an interval of two weeks in Arigidi Akoko.

Similar incidents had also been recorded in Ikare Akoko and Okeagbe-Akoko last year.

The Public Relations Officer of Ondo State Police Command, SP Femi Joseph confirmed the incident to Channels Television.

He, however, said the case is being investigated saying the two men are suspects.

He noted that the Commissioner of Police in the State, Undie Adie has set up a security team that is carrying out 24-hour surveillance in the whole Akoko Area.

He added that the traditional rulers as well as youths, and other Stakeholders in the communities are also working with police to combat the spate of killings and other criminal acts in Akoko land and the entire state.

Source: Residents nab two suspected ritual killers in Ondo community

Nigeria: fear grips Ondo residents over ritual killings

This article is related to previous postings (see postings dated April 19, April 23 and April 28, 2019). 

Warning: graphic photo shown at the bottom of this page (webmaster FVDK)

Published: April 29, 2019
By: Adebayo Waheed Ibadan

Following the gruesome murder of an 80-year-old woman, Mrs Kojusola Mogaji, by suspected ritualists, fear, anxiety and panic, have gripped the people and residents of Arigidi Akoko in Ondo State.

The deceased, a resident of Imo Quarters, Arigidi Akoko, Northwest local government area of the state, was killed by yet to be identified ritualists.

This recent killing on Thursday night is the sixth to be recorded in recent times and in all cases, the breasts of the victims were removed clinically. (italics by the webmaster FVDK) 

Two of the incidences occurred opposite Ecobank Ikare, and another at Agbaluku Arigidi.

It was observed that since the recent killing in the area, the people have become anxious and fearful especially women, who are afraid of even going for regular Church and Mosque programmes in the early hours of the morning.

Apart from that, it was also observed that the people were no longer willing to open their doors to just anybody for fear of being greeted by attackers.

The brother of the latest victim, Mr Vincent Sunday, has, since his sister’s death, urged traditional rulers and community leaders in the area to speak up about the unpleasant situation even as he called for a security summit in Akokoland.

He urged security agents to beam their searchlight on Akokoland since residents no longer felt safe. 

The daughter of the deceased, Mrs. Kehinde Adewumi, who is a local government official, appealed to the police to investigate and bring to book, those responsible for her mother’s sudden death.

Source: Fear Grips Ondo Residents Over Ritual Killings

Nigeria: suspected ritualists kill 80-year-old woman in Ondo State

Published: April 27, 2019
By: Channels Television

An 80-year-old woman has been killed with her two breasts removed by suspected ritual killers in Arigidi-Akoko in Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State.

The incident occurred barely two weeks after a similar killing in the town involving a 50-year-old woman whose breasts were also removed by suspected ritualists.

The octogenarian, Kajusola Mogaji, was found by her neighbours in a pool of blood in her room.

The assailants were said to have hit her on the head with an object in the night in her home at Imo quarters in Arigidi-Akoko.

Unfortunately, the other occupants of the house were not around when the incident reportedly happened.

The Public Relations Officer of Ondo State Police Command, Mr Femi Joseph, confirmed the incident to Channels Television on Friday.

He said the police would not relent in fighting crime in the state, adding that perpetrators of killings in Ondo would be arrested and prosecuted.

One of the children of the deceased, Mrs Kehinde Adewumi, also confirmed the incident.

She described the killing as wicked and appealed to the police authorities in the state to ensure the perpetrators of the evil act were apprehended and brought to book.

The remains of the 80-year-old victim have since been deposited at the morgue in the State Specialist Hospital, Ikare-Akoko.

Source: Suspected ritualists kill 80-year-old woman in Ondo

Nigeria: son sells hunchback mum to ritual killers in Ondo State

Published: April 22, 2019
By: Hakim Gbadamosi – Nigerian Tribune

Detectives from the Ondo State Police Command are trying to unravel the mystery behind the abduction and killing of a 60- year- old hunchback, Mrs Rukayat Abodunde, by men suspected to be ritual killers.

Mrs Abodunde was abducted by armed men who invaded her home at Ayetoro Street, Ondo town,  the headquarters of Ondo West Local Government Area of the state.

Apart from the suspected ritual killers, the police are also looking for the son of the abducted woman who was said to have conspired with the ritual killers and sold her mother to them for rituals.

Family source said the deceased who sold fish beside her house was abducted by two gunmen who pretended to have come to buy fish from her around 10 :00 p.m. in the night.

He said the two men started shooting into the air to scare away people and dragged  Abodunde into a waiting vehicle

The source explained that the incident was reported at   the police station in Ondo town, while men from the command visited the house to investigate the incident.

However, the gunmen reappeared few days after the abduction of the woman, demanding for the refund of N7 million from his son.

The kidnappers were said to have discovered that the hump was not a natural one but was a result of domestic accident, and called for the refund of the N7 million from the son of the deceased.

The source said the ritual killers discovered that the hump was not useful to them after killing the woman, threatened to kill the young man if he failed to refund the money.

However, the boy insisted that the ritual killers must also return his mother alive before the money could be refunded, and has run away from the house since then.

According to the source, the young man had used part of the money to buy clothes for the deceased before her abduction, part of the money to renovate and repaint the house before the incident.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Femi Joseph, who confirmed the abduction of the woman, said two suspected kidnappers invaded the home of the victim and whisked her away.

He said: “The incident was reported at the police station by one Omotola Oseyemi, while the police swung into action to ensure the release of the abducted woman.

“We interrogated the people in the area, but it was unfortunate that members of the family are not showing enough interest in the disappearance of the woman.

“Some family members visited the station to notify the police that they were no longer interested in case but will like to handle it in a  traditional way”.

Joseph, however, said the police are still investigating the incident with a promise to unravel those behind the crime.

Source: Son Sells Hunchback Mum To Ritual Killers For N7m In Ondo

Related article: Ritualists kill woman with hunchback, after paying son N7m

Ondo State – Nigeria