As mentioned in my January 4 posting I estimate that no state in Nigeria is spared the evil of ritualistic killings – or ‘money rituals’ as these heinous practices are commonly referred to in Africa’s most populated country.
The article presented below very well illustrates this, even though it dates from 2022. Ritual murders are not only a ‘common crime’ in the south-southern, south-western and south-eastern part of the country – as mentioned in my January 3 posting – but are committed all over the country, hence also in the central part of the country and even the islam dominated states in the north.
Plateau State is the twelfth largest Nigerian state. With an area of 26,899 square kilometres (10,386 sq mi), the state has a population of about three million people. In the past, Plateau State has seen many deadly conflicts between predominantly Christian farmers and Muslim Fulani (Hausa) herders. The most recent violent clash occurred between December 25 and 27 2023 which left at least 200 people dead and more than 500 wounded.
As the following article emphasizes, Plateau State not only suffers from banditry, inter-ethnic violence and terrorist attacks but age-old belief in the power of ritualistic ceremonies and actives including murder also add to the state of insecurity which terrorizes the population.
Yahoo Boys behind increased ritual killings – Governor Lalong (Plateau State)
Published: January 10, 2022
By: Chronicle, Nigeria
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state has revealed that the recent cases of ritual killings suspected to be carried out by “Yahoo Boys” will be dealt with by government.
He also vowed to make the state uninhabitable for criminals, kidnappers and others behind criminal activities in the state.
The governor said this at an International Church Service to mark the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day and Emblem Appeal Launch held at St. Finbarrs Catholic Church, Rayfield Jos.
Lalong expressed outrage over the recent cases of ritual killings in Jos as well as kidnappings which have become a source of concern to the Government and citizens.
He said, “I am deeply saddened by the activities of criminals who are trying to disrupt the peace of our State. Of much concern is the recent cases ritual killings which are suspected to be carried out by yahoo boys that security reports indicate are migrating to Plateau.
“Let me warn that we will make Plateau hot for you and ensure that the State vomits you. After so much work we have done to restore peace and security, we will not fold our arms to see criminals take over. I warn you to vacate Plateau because our people want to live in peace. You have no place here”.
Lalong also said that the State has stiff laws against kidnapping and other violent crimes which include death penalty, warning that anyone convicted by a Court of competent jurisdiction will not be spared.
While commending the sacrifices of fallen heroes and veterans who took part in the First and Second World Wars; the Nigerian Civil War; and Peace Support Operations around the globe, Lalong said there are still very many security challenges that the gallant men and women of the Armed forces are still laying down their lives to ensure address.
“Our Armed forces are today battling criminals who have challenged our national sovereignty through terrorism, insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and many other nefarious activities that are aimed at destabilising our country and dividing the people,” Lalong said.
“We must therefore use this solemn moment to commend them for rising up to the occasion and making sure this does not happen. Despite the fact that the security situation in Nigeria at the moment is not what we desire it to be, we cannot afford to dampen the morale of the gallant officers and men who put their lives on the line daily to make sure that we sleep with our eyes closed.
Lalong noted that, “Without giving them their due recognition and honour, we will discourage not only them, but the younger generation from making similar sacrifices.”
In his sermon, the Parish Priest St. Finbarrs Catholic Church Rayfield and Chaplain, Government House Chapel Rev. Fr. Godfrey Gopep said while Nigerians are celebrating the sacrifices of its fallen heroes, there is need for them to give greater honour to the deceased by living in peace with one another to stopping other standing heroes from falling.
He said peace building cannot be possible without justice, forgiveness, tolerance and unity.
In their remarks, Chairman of the Nigerian Legion Plateau State, GOC 3rd Armoured Division represented by Brigadier General DD Kurmi, Gbong Gwom Jos represented by Agwom Izere HRH Rev. Isaac Wakili, CAN Chairman Plateau State represented by Pastor Elijah Akinwale all called on the people of Plateau State to embrace peace and support the Government in its efforts to restore Plateau State to its rightful place as the Home of Peace and Tourism.
They also called on government at levels to fulfill their obligations to the families of fallen heroes and pay proper attention to the welfare of the serving officers and men in order motivate them to continue to make sacrifices for the unity, peace and progress of Nigeria.