“It is time we put an end to these barbaric practices.”
What can I add to this cry for the rule of law, to respect human life, and to act. Governments can no longer ignore these barbaric practices based on superstition, poverty and ignorance, and fed by greed. The numerous examples of ritual murders given in this Op-Ed are frightening: all over the country though I’ve pointed at the widespread occurrence of ritual murders in Nigeria in previous postings (webmaster FVDK).
The Illusion of money-making rituals in Nigeria – Editorial
Published: February 20, 2023 By: Editorial – This Day, Nigeria
Ritual killing remains largely a crime driven by ignorance and poverty
The recent arrest of two teenagers by operatives of the Edo State Security Vigilante Network has once again brought into sharp focus the bizarre practice of money rituals. The young men were apprehended following a tipoff by the female herbalist from whom they sought help in their desperate bid for wealth through diabolical means. But they are not alone. Just recently, some young men were reported to have stormed a health centre in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state capital, asking for day-old babies. The unanswered question remains: What do they want to do with day-old babies? We can hazard a guess. They must belong to the growing group of desperadoes murdering innocent people, particularly women, children and sometimes the physically challenged, for ritual purposes.
These murderers, sometimes called headhunters, can go to any extent in the search of body parts for money-making rituals. And they are all over the country. Not long ago, there was a shocking discovery of three human heads inside a hotel room in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State. The three heads said to have been kept inside polythene bags were reportedly discovered by police officers following a raid on the hotel. Eleven persons suspected to be kidnappers or ritualists were arrested but typically, nothing was ever heard again about the case. At about the same time, the police in Kagura in Rafi Local government area of Niger State arrested four people in connection with the alleged murder of a 13-year-old son of an Islamic scholar. They reportedly lured the young boy to a secluded area where they removed his intestines and other vital organs after he had been murdered.
So rampant is this crime that in cosmopolitan cities like Lagos, Ibadan, Benin City and Kano, cases of ritual murders have now become commonplace. Indeed, incidence of ritual killings is said to account for many missing people in the country. But illiteracy is also a great factor in this crime. Even though the belief lacks common sense, many people indulge in these bestial acts for the purpose of making “instant wealth”, what some have aptly dubbed “blood money”. Yet, it is difficult to prove that these sacrifices, done at the instruction of some crafty traditional medicine practitioners and witch doctors, can catapult people from penury into instant wealth. At least, for now, there is no single person that can be named to have become rich because of human sacrifices, except the characters in some Nollywood movies. So, to that extent, ritual killing remains largely a crime driven by ignorance and poverty.
Meanwhile, the old image of the country as a citadel of humanitarianism, peacefulness, fraternity, cultural and moral renaissance seems blurred. There is disorderliness and chaos everywhere. Amid the moral confusion, it is difficult for many young Nigerians to understand that work comes before wealth. The estrangement from pristine values now finds dramatic expression in crass materialism, inordinate ambition to get rich quick at all costs. But on the prevalence of money rituals, this is also a law-and-order failure. Indeed, the increasing cases of abduction and killing of many innocent men, women and children is a poignant reminder that the police and the other security agencies have not sent a forceful message on what awaits the perpetrators of such a most heinous crime. The largely indifferent treatment of those caught has encouraged the commitment of more crime.
This is an issue that the relevant authorities must deal with and very quickly. There is also an urgent need for enlightenment campaigns to put a lie to the erroneous belief that money can grow out of the body parts of murdered people. It is time we put an end to these barbaric practices.
Recently, I posted on this site a large number of ritual murder cases in Nigeria. For this reason I wished to draw the readers’s attention to other African countries where similar crimes are being committed. However, these days Nigeria is making headlines which one cannot ignore. The number of ritual murders in Africa’s most populated country can no longer be counted – if that ever was the case. In my research and reporting on ‘money rituals’ in Nigeria – as ritualistic killings are commonly called in this West African country – I already experienced that I could hardly cope with the fast rising number of reported ritualistic murders committed by Yahoo boys, Yahoo Plus boys and whatever the names are that are given to these criminals who have no respect for a human life.
The below article by Hakim Jamiu is a cry to end these gruesome practices. She offers a grim insight in the recent spate in ritual murder cases in Nigeria, a devastating picture, and sketches a possible explanation for these practices which are based on superstition and fed by greed. I recognize a number of cases she mentions, some are notorious cases, whereas I am always unpleasantly surprised to learn about more ritual murder cases hitherto unknown. She does not have to dig deep to unveil ritual murder cases in nine states: Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Kwara, Lagos, Plateau, Rivers, Ogun, Ondo, Osun. I can without much effort add nine more states. Also see my previous posts on Nigeria (click on the category African countries in the top bar and select Nigeria in the drop down menu thus appearing).
I have repeatedly mentioned on this site that Nigeria ranks Number One in ritual murder cases in Africa. The following article confirms this sad conclusion. (FVDK)
Nigeria: a harvest of ritual deaths
Published: March 17, 2022 By: Hakim Jamiu – The Cable, Nigeria
Nigeria is fast gaining notoriety as a country of ritualists with stories of ritual killings daily reported in the traditional and social media. The latest of this cannibalistic atrocity is the gruesome murder of 22-year-old Oluwabamise Ayankole who was abducted after boarding a Lagos state government-owned Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) bus and was later murdered and had parts of her body removed which confirmed the suspicion that she may have been killed for ritual purposes. Bamise, who was on her way home from work, was thereafter tossed out of the BRT Bus at Ebute Ero. Bamise, according to eyewitnesses, was still alive after she was tossed out of the vehicle at the Ebute Ero bridge but she gave up the ghost because she did not get help on time. Social media was awash with her last chat and video expressing fears for her safety inside the desolate BRT bus in which she and another lady and three men were the only occupants. As if she knew, her instinct warned her of the danger ahead but she was helpless. Murder in a BRT bus which is expected to be one of the safest means of transportation owned by the government of Lagos state is a sacrilege.
Bamise’s gruesome murder is only an addition to the harvest of deaths by ritualists in the last few weeks across Nigeria. While many Nigerians are yet to grapple with the shock of the gruesome beheading of Sofiat Kehinde, a 17-year-old girl in Abeokuta by four ritualists between ages 18 and 20, the murder of Bamise sent shock waves to all as anybody’s child, relative or friend could be the next victim. Late last year in Ado Ekiti, a seven-year-old girl, Demilade was sent on an errand by her mother four houses away but the little girl disappeared immediately and all efforts to find her proved abortive until her corpse was found in a pastor’s house the following day! Timothy Adegoke checked into a hotel in Ile-Ife to write his postgraduate examinations but he never came out alive as he was murdered overnight and buried some metres away from the hotel. The proprietor of the hotel is currently standing trial!
In Ogun state, a woman connived with her husband to kill her visiting friend and dismembered her. The remains of the victim were later found in a bucket in the couple’s room. A ritual killer, Timothy Odeniyi who was arrested by Amotekun Corps in Ondo state confessed that he used to harvest human parts at burial grounds which he sells to his clients. In Jos, 20-year-old Moses Oko killed Jennifer, a student of the University of Jos and removed some of her body parts. In Ikorodu, Lagos state, a suspected internet fraudster (Yahoo+), 32-year-old Afeez Olalore killed his younger brother for ritual purposes. In Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, Uduak Akpan, a serial ritual killer killed 20-year-old Iniobong Umoren, a job seeker and buried her in a shallow grave. In Ilorin, Kwara state, a next-door neighbour allegedly murdered a groom-to-be for ritual purposes.
In 2019, Nigerians were alarmed about the arrest of one of Nigeria’s notorious ritual killers called Gracious David West in Port Harcourt who confessed to having killed at least 15 women for ritual purposes. In November 2019, one-year-old boy Eniola Kolawole was declared missing at Sotitobire Miracle Centre, Akure, Ondo state and has not been found till today. Irate youths set the church ablaze but the pastor who had been on trial has since been discharged and acquitted. One Shakirat was murdered in Iwo, Osun state and her body was dumped behind her mother’s shop with some of her parts missing!
It is an understatement to say that Satan has taken over our affairs completely as cases of ritual killings keep rising by the day! The question now is, are rituals for money-making real? Perhaps this is why the Nigerian-American media scholar, newspaper columnist and activist, Farooq Kperogi while bemoaning the unending spate of ritual murders in Nigeria argued, “the only solution lies in the liberation of Nigerians from stupid, backward, unproductive and murderous superstitions. The witch doctors who tell people to bring the body parts of murdered people to make them rich are often one of the most wretched people you can find on earth. If money rituals were real, they would be wealthy and won’t let anybody in on the secret”. Not many people agree with the view of Kperogi because if money-making rituals do not exist, why is ritual killing on the increase across the country? There have been many unverifiable variants and anecdotes concerning how money rituals work especially among yahoo boys which is called Yahoo plus. There is a type whereby ebora (a spirit) will bring the money to the yahoo boy after necessary sacrifices with human parts have been done. There is another type that will make the victim, usually, a foreigner obey whatever the yahoo boy says including sending millions of dollars on request. There is yet another type that involves using the pant of a woman. The pant, as they say, will fetch the ritualist a lot of money. It is not only yahoo boys that are into the ritual killing but they may have influenced others who are not into internet fraudsters to kill for rituals because of the belief that it is working for them. Some yahoo boys even go to the extent of eating human faeces, having spiritual baths in broad daylight at a public place, appearing only in pants in broad daylight to withdraw money from ATMs and so many bizarre and silly things!
The question remains, how much is ritual killing giving those involved in it that is worth the desperation of taking the life of a fellow human being? Definitely, it cannot give billions because many of the Yahoo plus boys even get broke after about three to six months while some go mad! So what’s the need for ritual killing? Apart from Yahoo boys, there are reports of a well-organised clientele of ritual killers which means that not all who are involved in ritual killing directly use the human parts but they are agents of some powerful personalities who buy the parts from them. There are reports that human parts markets exist in some areas of Lagos. It is also ridiculous that human life has been so reduced to nothingness that a human head is sold for as low as N20,000. Research also shows that many people who seek power and wealth like politicians and businessmen also use human parts for charms for good fortune and for fortification against real and perceived enemies! I wish to remind this group of politicians and businessmen that the greatest fortification and blessings come from God who is the custodian of power and fortune.
The underlying factor responsible for the present malaise is desperation on the part of our young ones who are eager to get rich quick. There is unprecedented moral bankruptcy and total collapse of family values of hard work, honesty and integrity. We should go beyond lamentations and take drastic actions. We must dig into the root cause of this barbaric act and approach it from there. What we are seeing are symptoms rather than cause. Our society has been sold to the dogs and many souls sold to the devil, the result is what is confronting us. A 17-year-old wanting to ride the latest automobile sold for millions of naira, not through any work but by any means. Society celebrating any rich person not minding the source of his or her wealth is responsible for the present madness. Images of boys displaying wealth on social media and messages that all that matter is money and the message is sinking fast and spreading like wildfire!
In one of the videos that circulated on the social media, a boy was asked if he could use her mother for rituals, he didn’t hesitate before saying yes as long as he will be rich! That’s what our society has turned to! We are breeding monsters and heartless beings who would not mind going to any length just to be rich! A child who would not blink an eyelid before killing his own mother for rituals would kill anybody without thinking about it! It is such a pity! It is common these days to find human head in a cellophane bag carried by a teenager sitting next to you in a bus! Human parts have become very common like animal parts ! It is such a shame that we have become a cannibalistic society! It is now normal to suspect the man or woman sitting next to you in a public place as a ritualist! It is that bad!
Beyond lamentations that have not helped, we must all resolve to end this monster that is threatening to consume all of us. Nobody is immune from ritual death. Bamise and other victims of ritual killings must not die in vain. Now that the driver of the BRT bus and his cohorts have been apprehended, their trial must be swift and transparent. Cameras must be installed in all BRT buses that would be monitored at a base station and on no account must this be switched off by any BRT driver.
The national and state houses of assembly should begin to work on laws to empower special courts to try ritual murder cases with stiffer penalties. Everybody must be vigilant and we must de-emphasise material wealth in our society while the source of wealth of emergency millionaires and new kids on the block must be questioned and such characters ostracized by the rest of the society as it was the practice on the days of yore when there was sanity.
We must say no to ritual killings! We are neither animals nor vampires! Even animals don’t kill themselves senselessly as we are witnessing presently!
During the past year, many of my posts on this site focused on Nigeria and the alarming scale of ritual murders and related crimes in this country, contributing to a nation-wide security problem though, one knows, Nigeria’s security problem has many faces. See my February 2, 2021 post Security challenges in Nigeria.
On May 26, 2021 a Nigerian reporter, Ayodele Oluwafemi, of The Cable, a Nigerian news outlet, published a frightening analysis of mysterious disappearances and ritual murders during the past seven years. Already the list of missing and/or murdered persons is impressive.
“Although reported cases of ritual killings show that the incident happens in all regions of the country — media reports suggest that the south-west accounts for a large percent of the killings.”
Subsequently the author analyses some of the media reports published in the past few years on ritual killings in the south-west region of the country.
Warning: the graphic description of the ritual murders may upset certain readers (FVDK).
NB: The links included in the following Cable article are the original links and consequently, I am not responsible for their proper functioning (FVDK).
Overview: how south-west is becoming a hotbed of ritual killings in Nigeria
In recent times, reported cases of ritual killings have surged in many parts of the country. Law enforcement agencies have arrested many suspects of ritual killings — with gory pictures of human skulls and dismembered bodies.
Aside from the arrest and parade of suspected ritualists by the police, the Nigerian social media space has become a place where users mobilise members of the public to help find missing friends, colleagues, and family members.
As a result of this trend of missing persons, Enough is Enough (EiE), a civil society organisation, created a website alongside social media platformsto document cases of missing persons.
“Nigerians are reported missing daily. But most often, there are no records of these missing people, it is our mandate to document these records and make it easy to find those who are lost and missing,”an excerpt on the website’s front page says.
In most cases, some of these persons declared missing are found but many remain missing — with the hope of getting found by their families and friends dimming every passing day.
The trend of missing persons and the police’ arrest of suspected ritual killers suggest that many of those declared missing may have been victims of ritual killers.
Although reported cases of ritual killings show that the incident happens in all regions of the country — media reports suggest that the south-west accounts for a large percent of the killings.
TheCable analysed some of the media reports published in the past few years on ritual killings in the south-west region of the country.
The incident was said to have happened at Challenge bus stop, Mushin, after a vulcaniser sighted a suspected mad man discussing with someone in a tunnel at the bus stop.
On October 7, 2017, the Ogun police arrested six members of a syndicate allegedly involved in killing people for ritual purposes at different locations across the state.
The police said two members of the syndicate were caught with a bag containing fresh and dried human parts.
On August 20, 2018, the Lagos police arrested Taiwo Akinola, a suspected cult member, for allegedly attempting to kill Alice Akinola, his mother, for money rituals.
It was reported that the assailant attacked his mother by hitting a plank on her head at their residence at Raji Ajanaku street, Alaja road, Ayobo axis of Lagos after he had sent his nephew to go and buy a white handkerchief and a pack of cigarette.
It was reported that the suspects cut off the boy’s head for the purpose of selling it for N200,000.
The suspects have been remanded in prison.
On January 18, 2019, the Ekiti police busted a ritualists’ den in Odo, Ado Ekiti, and arrested two suspected ritualists, after a tip-off from members of the community on suspicion of ritual activities in the area.
On June 20, 2019, Dotun Ogunlade, a prophet popularly called ‘Arole Jesu’, was arrested in Igboora area of Oyo state for the alleged murder of Bosede Ogunlade, a 25-year-old housewife for ritual purposes.
The prophet was said to have lured Bosede, who hailed from Ilorin in Kwara state, with the promise of providing solution to her economic and marital problems.
On October 5, 2019, the Ogun police arrested two men, Emmanuel Aro, aged 25, and Anu Olofinju, aged 25, with a human skullalong Ijoun road, Eggua axis of the state.
The two suspects were said to have been sighted at a cemetery, digging the grave of the mother of one Amoo Bankole.
He said he was sent on the mission by a 50-year-old herbalist, whom he claimed was his master.
“Anytime I’m to go for the killing, baba (referring to the herbalist) will give me some charms and also teach me some incantation to be recited so that nobody will see me at the scene of the crime,” he said.
The suspects were arrested after a phone belonging to a missing person was tracked to one of the suspects. Corpses were also discovered in the suspects’ house — a development that made angry youths in the area raze the building.
On January 17, 2021, an elderly man, who according to residents, usually acts like a mentally unstable person, was arrested by the police for alleged kidnapping and ritual activities in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state.
The police discovered some items belonging to his victims like cheque books, wigs, and ATM cards in an abandoned uncompleted building adjacent to the Ekiti State Teaching Hospital, where the suspect lived.
When her corpse was discovered, the head and hands had been cut off.
RIGHT TO LIFE
Every Nigerian citizen is entitled to the right to life as enshrined in section 33 of the 1999 constitution (as amended). The right to life can only be denied if such a person is sentenced by the court when found guilty of a criminal offence.
Those who engage in ritual killings risk heavy punishment when convicted by the court as states have legal provisions to punish ritual killers and kidnappers.
Despite the legal provisions against ritual killings and other related capital offences, ritual killings still persist.
Introduction The alleged money ritual described in the first article below is not a ritual murder in the traditional sense. However, this is not meant to say that ‘traditional’ ritual murders are not repulsive and not criminal. All ritual murders are cruel and criminal.
The ritualistic act planned or performed by the three West Africans involved in the first reported case here – a Nigerian, a Togolese and a Benin national – has in common with ‘traditional ritualistic killings’ that the perpetrators act in the firm belief that their nefarious act will bring them luck, more wealth or increased power. in short, superstition in combination with unscrupulous behavior.
Unfortunately, this case is not an isolated case. On November 1, men of the Amotekun Corps in Ogun State arrested two ritualists who were in possession of a casket containing the dismembered corpse of a man, victim of a ritual killing. Operation Amotekun was created in January 2020 by the governors of six South Western states, namely: Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti and Lagos in order to combat the widespread insecurity in the region. Operation Amotekun is a kind of paramilitary security network and was declared unconstitutional by the FG in Abuja.
The two suspects who were arrested have confirmed that the corpse in the casket was for money rituals. The State Commander of Amotekun Corps in Ogun, David Akinremi, confirmed to the press that the two suspects have been handed over to the Police for further investigation.
The third case is about the arrest of two suspected ritualists in Oyo State. With their arrest, the police recovered a fresh human head and the dismembered body of the victim of a ritual murder, a young Lagos girl.
It illustrates that money rituals take place all over the South West of Nigeria, if not in more states. Sadly, if I were to report on alle cases of money ritual in Nigeria, I would fast run out of space and time.
This is a sad conclusion but unfortunately very true (webmaster FVDK).
Ogun police arrests Benin national, Togolese for killing daughter, beheading neighbour’s corpse for money ritual
Published: November 15, 2021 By: Otuya Daniel – The Street Journal
Men of the Ogun State Police Command have arrested two suspected ritualists, Monday Karezu, 32, a national of Benin Republic and Anagonou Kamelan, 44, a Togolese for unlawful possession of a fresh human head.
The suspects were arrested at the house of a herbalist while attempting a money ritual, Punch Nigeria reports.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, in a statement on Sunday, said the suspects were arrested on November 3, 2021, following information received by men of the Modus Operandi Section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department.
The PPRO added that the policemen got a hint that some men were going to a herbalist’s house with a human head to make a money ritual. He said, “Upon the information, the DSP Nurudeen Gafar-led team swiftly moved to the area where the herbalist’s house was situated and laid ambush there.
Two hours after being there, the two suspects arrived on a motorcycle with a bag containing the human head, and they were promptly arrested.
On interrogation, Karezu informed the police that he got the head from a place known as Ijale Papa.”
Further investigation revealed that Karezu is a resident of the Sabo area of Abeokuta, and that the human head with him was that of a woman who died three months ago during childbirth and was buried not too far from his house.
It was further discovered that the suspect had one time killed his nine months old daughter and used her head for the same purpose, but did not succeed.
He had also exhumed another corpse, removed the head and used it for money-making ritual, but failed.
The latest one that landed them in trouble was introduced to him by Anagonou Kamalen, a Togolese, who informed him that he knew a herbalist who could do an original money-making ritual for him with a human head, hence he exhumed the corpse of the woman buried not too far to his house, cut off the head and in the company of his accomplice, took it to the herbalist’s house, where they were apprehended before delivering it.
Oyeyemi said the state Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole, had ordered a full investigation into the past activities of the suspects with a view to charging them to court at the end of investigation.
Ogun Amotekun arrests two ritualists with casket of dismembered corpse
Published: November 2, 2021 By: Otuya Daniel – The Street Journal
Two suspected ritualists, Dare Banjo and Toheeb Talubi were arrested by men of the Amotekun Corps in Ogun State on Monday, November 1st, 2021 in the Ijebu-Igbo area of the state with a casket of a dismembered corpse, Daily Post is reporting.
The State Commander of Amotekun Corps in Ogun, CP David Akinremi (rtd) said in a statement on Tuesday that the suspects were apprehended following a tip-off that “some persons were sighted bringing in a casket in the middle of the night.”
As a result of the information, Akinremi said his officers quickly mobilized to the scene, where they arrested Dare Banjo, who claims to be a herbalist and one of his accomplices, Toheeb Talubi.
The statement reads, “At about 8pm yesterday, November 1st, 2021, Amotekun operatives in Ijebu Igbo received an information that some persons were sighted bringing in a casket into a house in Fara area of the town.
“The operatives quickly mobilized to the scene and on arrival, they discovered that the building is the residence of one Dare Banjo, who is a herbalist.
“A casket was seen at a corner of a room in the house and the stench from the casket triggered suspicion. The herbalist, Dare Banjo was then asked to open the casket.
“Behold, inside the casket was a dismembered corpse, without head, of a suspected male victim of ritual killing by the herbalist and his cohorts.
“Hence the said Dare Banjo and of his accomplice named Toheeb Talubi ‘m’ were immediately arrested.
“The two suspects who confirmed the corpse was for money rituals have been handed over to the Police for further investigation,” Akinremi concluded.
Published: October 28, 2021 By: Otuya Daniel – The Street Journal
Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force Oyo State Command have arrested two suspected ritualists, Ismaila Wasiu and Mutairu Shittu and recovered a fresh human head from them,Vanguard is reporting.
The state Police Public Relation Officer, DSP Adewale Osifeso made this disclosure in a statement issued on Wednesday, October 27th, 2021 in Ibadan, the state capital.
Osifeso said that the police received credible intelligence from residents of Ayekale, Saki Area of Oyo State, at about 2:30 pm on Monday who alleged the suspected ritualists, Ismaila Wasiu, 29, and Mutairu Shittu, 35, were in possession of a fresh human head.
He said, “Oyo State Police Command attached to Saki Divisional Police Headquarters immediately swung into action which resulted in the arrest of the duo, the recovery of the fresh human head and the dismembered body of the victim, who has been identified to be one Mujidat.
“Preliminary investigation reveals that the victim was lured from Lagos through a phone call by one of the suspects, Ismaila Wasiu, before they killed her.”
Osifeso said that the investigation into the incident was ongoing and the dismembered body of the victim has been deposited in a morgue.
“The dismembered body has been deposited at the morgue, while intensive investigations regarding the incident continues,” he added.
He noted that the suspects will be charged to court after investigation.
The Commissioner of Police of Oyo state, CP Ngozi Onadeko urged citizens to draw lessons from the gruesome murder of the victim.
She also called on all law-abiding people resident in the state to give their unwavering cooperation towards the rendition of timely and actionable information capable of fueling the Command’s crusade against crime in the state.
Almost nine weeks have elapsed since my last post, on June 30. As was the case when I introduced a four-week pause in my reporting on ritualistic activities and killings in Sub-Saharan Africa, this silence does not mean that there weren’t any ritual murders in this period. On the contrary, far from it!
The nine weeks’ pause resulted in a substantial backlog. Newspaper articles published during this period report new ritual murders all over the continent. A quick scan shows that in the past two months ritual murders have been committed in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe (in alphabetical order), in most countries more than one. In Nigeria, with 211 million people Africa’s most populated country, ritual murders – aka ‘money rituals’ – were reported in the following states: Delta, Ekiti, Imo, Niger, Osun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and in the FCT Abuja.
Moreover, newspapers in Ghana reported extensively on the Kasoa case whereas in Zimbabwe the Tapiwa Makore trial was widely covered.
It is important to mention that the murder cases reported are likely to constitute the tip of the iceberg and that our quick scan only covers the anglophone African countries.
Of the countries mentioned above two countries stand out: Ghana and Nigeria. For this reason I will elaborate on the ritual murders in these two West African countries in my next postings (webmaster FVDK).
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
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.
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
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.
Read this “chilling story of how a prison warden, moviemaker and con-herbalists abduct, butcher 30-year-old hunchback in Osun State, Nigeria, for money ritual.” The cold-blooded murder of an innocent man for money ritual occurred in September last year and the article was published in December.” Warning: the article contains graphic details of the heinous crime the accused allegedly committed (webmaster FVDK).
Reporters of the Saturday Sun were able to interview some of the suspects in police custody – which his amazing and raises several questions. Who authorized these interviews and why? Is this in conformity with the defendants’ rights, despite the horrible accusation against them and their alleged responsibility and guilt? What is the added value of interviewing people in detention who have not yet been tried by an impartial court?
The following article is a sad story. We sympathize with the victim and his dear ones. Once more, it is demonstrated that the belief in the power and juju obtained through ‘money ritual’ in Nigeria is widespread. We must fight against ignorance and superstition and compliment the Nigerian authorities for all efforts to help eradicating this evil from Nigerian society (webmaster FVDK).
Nigeria: Hunchback hunters
Published: December 21, 2019 By: The Sun, Voice of the Nation – Chioma Okezie-Okeh
On September 15, 2019, a 30-year-old hunchback, Olusegun Fasakin, was abducted from his home at Igangan-Ijesa, Atakunmosa East Local Government Area of Osun State. All efforts by the police, his family and friends to locate him did not yield any result. His abductors never called to demand a ransom.
The truth of what became of him recently resurfaced. It was an accidental discovery by law enforcement agents tracking a suspect of a robbery case.
Since then, detectives have picked some of the suspects involved and interrogated them. The suspects sang like canaries, divulging the ghastly details. The suspects are a ragtag group of desperadoes, that include a prison warden (correctional officer) and a set of herbalists who are ex-convicts previously jailed for a similar offence.
Saturday Sun interviewed some of the suspects in police custody. Their stories add up to a macabre tale of the cold-blooded murder of an innocent man for money ritual.
Discovery by mistake
Acting on a petition by the victims of the armed robbery incident that took place in Ijesa, on October 10, 2019. Head of the Inspector General of Police, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, drafted operatives at its Osun annexe to investigate the case.
The IRT team, led by Chief Superintendent of Police Bisiriyu Akindele, tracked down one Akinyemi Oyebode who participated in the robbery. While on his trail, detectives intercepted a phone conversation between him and a prison warden. In the conversation, he was heard threatening to expose a prison warder if he fails to pay him some money.
He was grilled after his arrest, during which he made a clean breast that the incident he was talking about was the abduction and killing of Olusegun Fasakin, a 30-year-old hunchback.
Law enforcement agents consequently rounded up those allegedly involved in the crime. The suspects were identified as Akinyemi Oyebode, Jamiu Adeniyi, Isaac Ayandokun (a.k.a. Baba Niyi), Kehinde Oladokun (a.k.a. Alfa), Ojo Taiwo Olasukanmi (a.k.a. Ifa) and Mukaila Kolawole (a.k.a. Baba Beji) who all claimed to be herbalists, and Charles Adebusuiyi, a serving prison warder at the Ilesa Correction Centre.
Presently, all primary suspects, save for the prison warden, have been arrested
The search for a hunchback
Saturday Sun spoke with Akinyemi Oyebode, the suspect originally tracked by IRT operatives.
He alleged that several meetings were held inside the office of Charles Adebusuiyi at Ilesa Correctional Centre.
The 24-year-old, a native of Okemesi in Ekiti State, was a school dropout who trained as a vulcanizer, but has served time in prison, jailed in 2016 after he was found with wraps of Indian hemp during a raid by operatives of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). He was released earlier this year after three years behind bar.
His family sought to straighten his life. They bought him a motorcycle so he could earn his daily bread as a commercial bike man. He soon made a lot of customers including the prison officer.
“He was one of my early customers and I normally pick and drop him in front of the prison. One thing led to another and I told him that I have spent about three years in prison. Gradually we became friends and sometimes he will invite me to come and have a drink with him,” he said.
Oyebode insisted they held several meetings in his office at the prison premises.
“This was how I got to know the likes of Alfa, Baba Beji and Ifa who are all herbalists,” he said. “One of the days that I took Charles to Sabo, I overheard them talking about doing rituals to make money. I needed money at that time so I was interested. As soon as Charles came out and we were heading back to town, I told him that I am also interested in what I overheard and he assured me that he will alert me when everything is set. I was so excited especially when he told me that he was going to pay me one million at the end of the deal.”
Oyebode admitted he knew they were going to abduct someone for money ritual only that he was not sure who the target was.
His story threw illumination on the dark deed that took place on the night of September 15.
He narrated: “Few days later Charles called me to come and pick him up that we have an important job. I took him to where his car was. Three other persons were already there. They were not the regular faces that I knew.
“When we got to Igangan Square around 10 pm, he asked us to wait, while he and the three young men went into the neighbourhood. In less than 20 minutes, they came back dragging one tall man with them. The man did not resist or shout; he was just following them like a fool. They put him in the car and drove off. Charles told me not to worry that he would handle everything.”
After waiting for some days and it was clear Charles had no intention to give him any money, Oyebode called up and threatened to tell the police what he was up to.
The warden pacified him with N18, 000. In the meantime, one of his friends invited him to join a robbery gang.
“We attacked a compound in August and raided the entire flats. I got a big phone which I sold for N16, 000,” he confessed.
That was to be his undoing, as IRT operatives who took charge of the case, tracked him down, for the robbery, and also routinely queried him about his telephone conversation with a “prison warden” he threatened.
With this background, the next logical question is, who commissioned the search for hunchback?
In their various depositions during interrogation, the suspects all claimed they were contracted by a shadowy figure, a medical doctor who promised them millions of naira in return for a real hunchback.
The answer could only come from Mukaila Kolawole, popularly known as Baba Beji. It was he who got the contract from a man whom he claims people know as a medical doctor.
The native of Iragbiji in Osun State earned a livelihood as a farmer. He was, however, jailed in the past for the killing of a hunchback. “I was framed,” he said.
He told Saturday Sun the details.
“In 2009, I was a member of Odua Peoples Congress (OPC). One of our members, known as Muritala, misbehaved and was suspended from the group. He got annoyed and formed his own local vigilante group. They were the ones who attacked a nearby village and abducted a woman with hunchback. We were at a meeting the night her mutilated corpse was found. The Muritala-led vigilante group raised alarm that we were the ones responsible for the murder. About ten of us were arrested that day and charged to court for murder. I was released last year after spending nine years.”
It was during those nine years he met Charles Akinbusuyi.
“He was our warden. He normally ‘dash’ us money. We became friends with him. He assured us that anytime names of those to be helped by government was compiled, he’d make sure my name was included.”
He was part of the inmates granted amnesty by the Chief Justice of Osun State in 2018.
Back to the business of September 15, he continued: “When I regained my freedom, I went back to farming but kept in touch with Charles. One day, he called me that he was tired of depending on monthly salary that he wanted a faster way of making money. He asked me if I knew anyone who is into money ritual and I said yes. I introduced him to some of my friends who were herbalists and they suggested to us different ways that we can make quick money. It was while we were at it that I received a call from my longtime customer and asked if I can help him abduct and kill a man or woman with a hunchback. He offered to pay us millions and I told Charles about it and he agreed to be part of it.”
It turned out that Baba Beji who claimed in the beginning of his confession that he knew nothing about hunchback killers, was the person who assembled the best hands to find a hunchback. “Millions were involved and I know that it is not a one-man thing,” he said. “I alerted my herbalist friends that I know and told them about the contract. Everyone started searching until Charles said that he knows of one in a village called Iwara where he normally goes to consult a native doctor.”
According to him, the prison warden planned the abduction. “Charles agreed to hire boys that will abduct the man,” he claimed. “He is a prison warden so he knows a lot of criminals.”
Kolawole took charge of the second part of the mission. “I assembled my fellow herbalists who would help in the killing and removal of the hump. All of us went to the area, and Charles and three other young men that I assumed are professionals, moved into the compound and asked us to wait. In less than 20 minutes, they came out with a man. The young men left and the rest of us entered the vehicle to an agreed place where we intended to slaughter him.”
Kolawole was the one who delivered the killing stroke. “When we got to a deserted area that night, I brought out my spanner, and because I knew what I came there to do, I quickly hit him on the head and he fell down. When I was sure he was dead, I used a knife to cut out the deformed part of his back.”
“We called Niyi, who is an expert in such things, to come and confirm if it was authentic.”
They received a big blow when the expert arrived and proclaimed the hump not useful because it was not a natural hump but a growth.
“We were disappointed. We had no choice but to discard the body and return to Osogbo.”
While he claimed that he had no idea what exactly the hump of a hunchback is used for, Kolawole admitted he knew native doctors use it to produce charm for wealth. “I heard that if you want good money from everywhere, that some people used their (hunchback’s) bones to make bathing soap. This is what I heard, maybe doctor [the one who commissioned the job] will explain better.”
Additional information came from Olasukunmi, popularly known as Ifa, who claimed that he was lured into the crime.
“I am a movie producer and I have successfully produced three movies as far back as 2010. During my spare time, I also do herbalist work which I learnt from my father. I am still working on one of my movies when police arrested me,” he stated.
His connection to the group was Akinbusuiyi, the prison warden.
“I knew Charles in prison when I was arrested by the police during a raid. I didn’t spend much time with them before I was released from prison,” he said.
He was present on the killing ground.
He explained his role: “On the day of the incident, I met them at the express. They asked me to help hold the torch because it was late at night, at about 11:30pm. I held the torch while Baba Beji cut him open. I was not the one who killed him.”
Ifa tried to distance himself from the murder, saying: “I am a herbalist and my stock-in-trade is assisting fraudsters to be successful.”
He explained he got entangled in the plot hunchback plot. “Baba Beji came to me and asked if I knew where we could get a man or woman with a hunchback. I told him to leave me alone as I was not into any money ritual. He called me one day to join him and I asked him what it was. He said that one of his friends who can pay very well wants to see me. I thought he was real till we got to the forest,” he narrated.
He tried desperately to justify his role: “I was scared, that was why I joined him. I know how these things work out ––if I don’t join them, they will kill me.”
Baba Niyi is the expert in the group, the man who could identify the hump of a natural hunchback.
He, too, once spent time in Ilesha prison. He was one of the vigilantes that were jailed alongside Baba Ibeji over the killing of a hunchback.
He, also, knew the man who commissioned the job. “I have known the doctor for many years. He normally asked for herbs. This was why he asked me to go and cross-check. I went there and discovered that it was not real,” he said.
Baba Niyi insisted on his innocence. “I did not follow them to kill anyone,” he submitted.
What became of the body?
They claimed the remains was dumped inside the bush along Osun-Ibadan expressway.
The fugitive prison warden
Charles Adebusuiyi, the prison warden, has since vanished into thin air. His office, Nigerian Correctional Services, confirmed no one has seen him at work since the case broke out. He has been declared wanted by the police.
From others’ confessions, it was he who allegedly contracted the services of the abductors –Emmanuel, Kazeem and another popularly known as MTN – to go to Igangan and abduct the victim. The three abductors, presently on the run, are suspected criminals who were once inmates at the Ilesa correction al center, where Adebusuiyi was a warden until he became a fugitive.
The victim’s family
Saturday Sun spoke with one of the relatives, Olatunji Fasakin, who was at the police station.
“I am his nephew and we live at Igangan-Ijesa, Osun State,” he introduced himself.
According to him, the family had given up hope of finding when they heard that IRT operatives had cracked the case.
He gave his side of the story thus: “On September 15, 2019, around 6 pm, I left to the forest to hunt. At about 8 pm, my wife called me that they have kidnapped my nephew and urged me to hurry back home. Upon my return, I met his mother and grandmother in tears. They told me four men took him away on a motorcycle. I took my motorcycle and drove towards the direction they were heading. When I got to Iwara junction, the persons that I met said that they have left and that some of the villagers who tried to stop them were beaten up. I returned to the village and reported the matter at Igangan police post.”
Although, some community members who heard of his abduction had rightly deduced that he was picked because of his hunched back, the family, nonetheless, had hoped his abductors would, in time, call to demand a ransom.
“But they never did,” he said, “When we couldn’t find him, everyone assumed that he was used for money ritual.”
He explained why his cousin was not a natural hunchback: “He had been sick right from birth, the constant ill-health affected his growth and he was no longer walking properly. Anyone that saw him would assume he had a hunchback. He wasn’t a hunchback.”
On how they got the news of the arrest of his abductors and killers, he said: “A family friend at Ayesan police post informed us that it was IRT Osun that arrested them.”
He said the family is still in mourning, stating, “but now we know what really happened to our brother.”
The family pleaded with the police to help them find his remains so that they can give him a befitting burial.
The police have begun an investigation into human parts peddling in Ekiti State after a 23-year-old man was found with human hands in Ijero Ekiti.
According to the police spokesman, Caleb Ikechukwu, the man, simply identified as Nifemi, was arrested by officials of the command. The police said some human hands were found with him in a black polythene bag.
Mr Ikechukwu said the man was nabbed during a stop and search operation on Saturday at Ijero Ekiti.
The suspect was reportedly on his way to Okemesi Ekiti when he was arrested.
There has been an increase in security surveillance in the area since last weekend following fears of a likely attack by bandits.
Ekiti State has also been plagued by series of kidnappings and ritual killing in the recent past. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK)
Despite the efforts of security agencies in combing the forest in the affected areas, the problem has refused to abate.
Mr Nifemi was said to have hidden severed hands in a polythene bag and was on his way to Okemesi to sell the parts to his “customers.”
He also reportedly confessed to the police that he got the parts from Asa farmstead, near Okemesi.
“When quizzed by the police, the young man said he got the two hands at Asa farmstead near Okemesi and had brought them to Ijero,” he said.
Mr Ikechukwu, who confirmed the incident on Monday in Ado Ekiti, indicated that the suspect could be an agent of a syndicate specialised in peddling human parts for ungodly purposes.
He said investigations had started and efforts were on to break the syndicate.
“Our men arrested him during one of our operations. We are gathering more facts about the case, because we are aware he has been operating with some people and they have to be brought to book,” he said.