Sketchy overview of the most famous ritual murder cases in Liberia since the 1960s

As is clear from the article below, all Liberian presidents including William Tubman, William Tolbert, Samuel Doe, Charles Taylor, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as well as other political leaders  are aware of the occurrence of ritual murders in the country, notably during election campaigns. It is even whispered that some presidents had a more than passive role in this respect but these – sometimes persistent – rumors have never been confirmed or proven.

The author, Melvin Pyne, presents an astonishing – sketchy – overview of ritualistic murders from the 1960s onwards hence covering a period of over half a century. 

He hasn’t mentioned them all. Certain cases have never been discovered. The thick Liberian forests hide many ritual murder crimes, I am very sure about this harsh reality, though without having proof of it. Nevertheless I am pretty sure that many people in Liberia will confirm this ‘gut feeling’ of mine (webmaster FVDK).

The Liberian government must take charge of our security, or else…

Published: January 17, 2022
By: Melvin D. Weh – Front Page Africa 

Last year ended on a rather low note for many  Liberians with the wave of alleged ritualistic, serial killings which instilled fear across the country. Communities and residents were on the brink of paranoia. Thus is upsetting the way of life for everyone.

Liberian history tells us that such killings have happened in the past. In the 60s and 70s, Gboyos (Heartmen) ravaged the southeastern parts of the country. Gboyos were a feared society that allegedly wore top hats, black suits, and captured people for ritualistic purposes. They took body parts, especially the hearts of their victims, thus earning them the nickname, Heartmen. The situation was so bad that the citizens pressured the government to act.

In 1979, the administration of President William Tolbert, took action. It investigated and convicted seven individuals including top government officials who were involved in the ritualistic murder of Mr. Moses Tweh in Harper, Maryland County. The court, after hearing the case, established a precedent. They handed down the verdict of guilty. The convicts were sentenced to death and subsequently executed publicly in Harper. Amongst those executed were James Anderson, Superintendent of Maryland County, Allen Yancy, representative of Maryland County and Philip B. Seyton, Senior Inspector of the Ministry of Commerce, Maryland County. This deterrent action practically slowed the act.

Years later in 1989, President Samuel Doe’s administration tried and convicted Defense Minister Maj. General Gray D. Allison and his wife Mrs. Angeline Watta Allison for the ritual murder of a police officer, J. Melvin Pyne in the Caldwell community. Gen. Allison was tried under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) at a military tribunal, found guilty and sent to Belleh Yalla, the maximum-security prison in Lofa County. His wife was convicted at ‘Criminal Court C’, and sentenced to life imprisonment according to the Mr. Max  Dennis, son of Mrs. Allison.

See: PYJ Hunted As Int’l War Crimes Investigators Arrive In Monrovia – Hot Pepper Releases More On How He Murdered Gray Allison And Wife (published August 12, 2015)

Allison was the most renowned government official convicted during the Doe regime. However, it is reported that an aide to president Doe, Mr. David K. Clarke and five others were tried, convicted and executed for the ritual murder of two little boys in 1987.

See: Ritual killings brings arrest of 6 Liberians (published May 4, 1987; New York Times).

Also: Ritual killings continue to be a plague  (Part III, ‘Liberia Past and Present’; webmaster FVDK))

And: Ritual killing laid to Liberian Official (published August 15, 1989; New York Times)

Liberia: Prince Johnson sentenced my mother to death – Watta Allison’s son breaks silence (published June 28, 2018, FP Africa)  

During the war years and President Taylor’s administration, there were rumors of murders for ‘Juju’ purposes. We must note that those were years of injustice and arbitrary justice, therefore there is not much record on how those cases were legally handled. Men in arms allegedly conducted speedy quasi-investigations and punished alleged perpetrators, wrongly too. Serious attention was not placed on the issues perhaps because killings were almost the norm, sadly.

On 29 June 2005 before the special general elections, there were reports of ritualistic killings almost across the country. The interim leader, Gyude Bryant warned that candidates tempted to boost their chances by carrying out human sacrifices will be executed if caught. While no one was successfully tried and convicted, Mr. Bryant’s warning seemed to have eased the situation for sometimes, as it was observed. ( BBC News, 29 June 2005)

In 2017 during the reign of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, protesters (women in majority) stormed Gbarnga City in demand of answers to over series of young women including 12 years old girl who were seen dead with missing body parts. The women of the county under the banner Bong Women Association and the Bong Christian Association marched in the streets demanding more actions from the government in addressing such monstrous crimes.

See: Vote-Rich Liberian County Protests Election Year Ritualistic Killings (published August 15, 2017, Front Page Africa)

Another notable case of ritual killing was the murder of seventeen years old Cyrus Yeawonyee in September 2015 in the suburb of the commercial city of Ganta. Cyrus was killed and body parts including eyes, ears and tongue were extracted according to report. Cyrus’ convicted killer was another teenager, Jacob Vambo who was sentenced to life in prison in February 2016. Vambo confessed to luring his friend Cyrus into the trap of powerful muscular men who allegedly killed him for a well-connected government official. His claims of the involvement of others in the killing could not be authenticated to punish those he had accused.

However, his lawyer (a Public Defendant) Cllr. Mewaseh Payebayee (late) and some observers believed his claims as they felt such a lanky looking child was incapable of overpowering someone and committing such gruesome murder.

A day after the investigation into Cyrus’ murder case by the Liberia National Police-LNP on 29th September 2015, Ganta experienced one of the most violent disruptions since the civil war. This time, it was a motorcyclist. The news of Cyrus killing was gradually fueling tension when the young man was discovered dead with blood allegedly drained from his body for the wealthy businessperson. Though, investigation disproved the allegation of ritual killing and established that the killing happened as a result of robbery, the damage was done. The popular Alvino Hotel in the City was looted and burned while two persons were reported dead, among the many damages done. About fifty arrests were made in connection to the riot. 

Blood and Power: Investigating a Ritual Murder in Liberia. November 28, 2017 article.
While a teenager is convicted of a gruesome killing, questions linger about occult violence among the power elite. By Ashoka Mokpo 
Click on image to access article 

With such history, it is no surprise why the public will be alarmed if there is a rearing up of such activities. The FrontPage Africa News Paper September 23, 2021 edition reported the alleged murder of John Tubman at his residence with deep cuts in the neck. John was the son of Liberia’s longest serving president William V.S. Tubman. Barely a month later, the death was reported of the renowned Rev. William Richard Tolbert, III, a peace ambassador and son of another former president, William Richard Tolbert, Jr. then, a Madam Maude Elliot of the Liberia Immigration Services (LIS) was also found dead. Both were murdered in their respective homes in similar conditions.

Additionally, amongst many others, the FrontPage Africa newspaper published on November 8, 2021 a list of several murders all of which occurred this year alone with victims displaying similar conditions. On that list was Jane Doe (Unidentified Woman) found on 17th Street Beach (September); Mordecai Nyemah (May), Florence Massaquoi (February), as well as, Robert M. Blamo, Jr., Bobby S. Gbeanquoi, and Siafa G. Boimah.

While last year, amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic, several other killings occurred- Elijah Polumah, Abraham Tumay, and George B. Fanbutu, mentioning a few.

But most troubling of all this were two separate incidents. First, is a statement by President George Weah in November, when he signed the book of condolence for the late Mr. Emmanuel Barten Nyenswa. Mr. Weah is on record urging citizens and residents to install at their premises, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Cameras. He pointed out that government’s focus of security was on the country’s borders. Mr. Nyensuah’s death like three other auditors from the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is still being investigated. Many believe their deaths were for political reasons or cover up for some malpractices they may have uncovered.

Mr. Weah is either unaware of the financial hardship in the country or does not care much about the innocent lives being lost. A people that can barely afford, how does he expect them to buy CCTVs that cost $1000 USD at a minimum? With many parts of the city out of electricity, how does he expect the cameras to work?

The second concerning issue is the remark made by the Liberia National Police Inspector General, Col. Patrick Sudue at Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) press conference.  Col. Sudue alleged that the news of serial and ritualistic killings in Monrovia and other parts of the country were fake stories being created by opposition politicians who want to implant fear and give negative image of the country and malign government’s reputation.

The IG’s statement on these recent issues suggests a political posturing. While Col. Sudue is a political appointee, the office of the Inspector General needs to be apolitical and professional, always endeavoring to maintain the integrity and independence of the Liberia National Police.

In midst of this scaring security situation, such comments undermine the confidence of the people in the government and the ability of the Liberian National Police to combat these criminal acts.

Such levels of insecurities lead to several dire consequences. Those who can afford, would now take the law into their own hands, those who can’t might find other means not necessarily legal. Are we to now become a lawless society? Then, there is the investment angle. It doesn’t present a secured environment for investors. They could then leave the country and with them other citizens and residents out of fear would flee the country. Investors (local and international) do shy away from investing due to insecurity and lack of justice. When investors do not invest, economically the country is affected as unemployment increases. Government incomes (personal and corporate income taxes are lost. Aggrieved citizens usually take mob justice as the only alternative. These amongst many negative reactions are recipes for chaos and anarchy.

The questions now are: what can be done here to change the atmosphere of fear? And how can we do it?

To these questions considering the preceding, the government is under obligation to protect the lives of those residing in the country. To ensure that the citizens do not regret electing the current administration, she has to act, and do it now. To avoid mob justice, the government must take charge of matters immediately. To avoid fleeing of citizens and other residents from the country, the government must muster the courage to dig deep into these happenings and punish perpetrators. To ensure current and potential investors that their lives and properties will be protected here, the government must change gear and expedite investigations into these matters.

In closing, while these acts have happened in the past, the onus is always on the government to fight them and protect the people. The Liberian National Police has to step-up, take control of the security, and avoid becoming political in handling these issues.

Source: The Liberian Government Must Take Charge Of Our Security, Or Else…

Nigeria: six suspected ritualists nabbed over killing of 9-year-old boy in Zamfara State

Another sad story about the ritual killing of a 9-year old boy for ‘money rituals’ in Nigeria, this time in Zamfara State, in the islamic north of Africa’s most populated country. As I have recounted several times before, ritual murders occur in virtually every state in Nigeria and I fear that the cases which become known are just the tip of an iceberg.

Fortunately the police has reacted swiftly and arrested a number of suspects. Let’s pray that the story doesn’t fizzle out and that after a fair trial justice will be done. But there’s more work to do: the prevention of future ritual murders by eradicating the belief in ‘juju’ (webmaster FVDK).

Six suspected ritualists nabbed over killing of 9-year-old boy In Zamfara State

Published: January 12, 2022
By: Shehu Umar, Gusau – Daily Trust   

Zamfara State police command has arrested six people in connection with the killing of a nine-year-old boy for ritual purpose in Gusau, Caliphate Trust has learnt. 

The police had launched a manhunt for the culprits after a tip-off that the boy was  seen with one of them on the day he was abducted and killed.  

The suspects, upon interrogation by the police, revealed that they were assigned to kill the boy and extract parts of his body by an individual in Tudun Wada area of Gusau metropolis. 

One of them was reported to have said they had earlier killed two persons for ritual. He said he had been experiencing nightmares over the killing as the slain boy kept appearing to him in his dream smiling. 

The ring leader of the group responsible for the ritual killing was later apprehended and confessed to security operatives that he was the brain behind the killing of the boy.

Sources said the suspects had named one person in the state’s business community but that could not be independently verified.

The remains of the boy, identified Ahmad Aliyu Ijaba, was found in an uncompleted building in Barakallahu area of Gusau metropolis in December.  

The owner of the building spotted the decomposing body of the little boy when he went  to continue his construction work and immediately alerted the police. 

Ahmad went missing shortly after he came back from Islamiyya School in Gadar Baga  area of the city.  

The state police command’s spokesman, SP Muhammad Shehu, said investigation is ongoing and that he would not talk further about the matter.

Source: Six Suspected Ritualists Nabbed Over Killing Of 9-Year-Old Boy In Zamfara

Ghana: Church leader speaks out against the rising number of ritual murders in the country

Looking behind (at 2021) and forward: the new year 2022, the founder and leader of the Cornerstone Bible Church International sited at Ayiga in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, Apostle Godbless Boateng, urged the Ghanaian authorities to act swiftly in view of the rising cases of ritual murders in recent times. He was speaking to the reporter of ‘Modern Ghana’ in an interview on Sunday, January 2.  

For more details and background, the interested reader is advised to listen to the interview, below (webmaster FVDK).

Enter 2022 with change of mindset — Apostle Godbless Boateng to Ghanaians

Screenshot – click link below (‘Source’) to watch this video

Published: January 10, 2022
By: King Amoah – Modern Ghana

Founder and leader of the Cornerstone Bible Church International sited at Ayiga in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, His Eminence Apostle Godbless Boateng has asked Ghanaians to enter 2022 with a change of mindset.

Speaking to this reporter in an exclusive interview on Sunday, January 2, 2022 after church service, Apostle Godbless Boateng said Ghanaians have to forget the past and forge ahead. 

According to him, people who hold on to the past misses the treasures of the future. 

He indicated that one cannot be expected to reap from what lies ahead while still living in the past. 

The man of God noted that the country stands to develop if people change their mindset or attitude towards how they perceive things. 

On the rising cases of armed robberies and ritual murders in recent times, he urged authorities to act fast to clamp down on such bad nuts in society. 

According to him, drug abuse, armed robbery, ritual murder, drug peddling among other criminal acts is the order of the day. 

His Eminence Apostle Godbless Boateng advises the youth to be law abiding and stay away from actions that will cause them their life and future.

Source: Enter 2022 with change of mindset — Apostle Godbless Boateng To Ghanaians

Malawi: NGOs dismayed with executive silence on attacks and killings of persons with albinism

“Malawi is the worst case on the whole African continent as far as attacks, abductions and killings of persons with albinism is concerned.”

A never ending story?
Also see the comment(s) on the article below, follow the original link (webmaster FVDK)

Muhamba: We are challenging the police to ensure our total security from 2022 and beyond
Photo by Watipaso Mzungu – Nyasa Times

Published: December 20, 2021
By: Watipaso Mzungu –  Nyasa Times

Source: NGOs dismayed with executive silence on attacks and killings of persons with albinism

Nigeria: Ondo State – Suspect with fresh human head dies in police custody

On December 24 last I posted an article reporting the arrest of a 55-year old herbalist, Tunde Olayiwola, in Ondo State. A few days later he was dead. The suspected ritualist died in police custody. 

An Ondo State Police public relation officer confirmed the death of Tunde Olayiwola, but did not give details of what led to his death.

Is this another example of jungle justice? Further investigation will have to learn what caused Olayiwola’s death but if there’s foul play the rule of law demands that those who are responsible for his unnatural death must account for their deeds. It’s a gross violation of a suspect’s legal and human rights to be maltreated or even killed while in police custody.

But will we ever hear the truth about what happened to Tunde Olayiwola?
(webmaster FVDK). 

Suspect with fresh human head dies in police custody

Published: December 26, 2021
By: Babatope Okeowo, Akure – The New Telegraph 

A suspected ritualist, Tunde Olayiwola who was arrested by the Ondo State Police Command for unlawful possession of fresh human head has died in their custody, it was learnt yesterday.

Olayiwola, who was paraded alongside eight others suspects arrested for various criminal offences ranging from murder, kidnapping and cultism last week Thursday, died in the police clinic in Akure, the state capital.

Olayiwola, who claimed to be an herbalist of 53 years experience, said he bought the fresh human head from one of his customers for N60, 000 in order to use it for money making ritual.

He confessed that the head found in his possession was to be used to ensure he had a better life, saying he did not have any regrets for using a human head for ritual purposes.

He said if it was his son that was killed for money making ritual, he said that was his end and would do nothing about it.

He refused to give the name of his accomplices saying he wanted to be rich just as his counterparts.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Oyeyemi Oyediran, who paraded the suspect, said the Police received information that a self acclaimed cleric named Alfa Tunde Olayiwola, a suspected ritualist, was about to receive a consignment suspected to be a human head.

Oyediran said the Police immediately swung into action and the cleric was apprehended at Ajagbale Area of Oka, Ondo town.
He added that a fresh human head was found in his custody.

But on Sunday, a police source, who did not want his name in print, said the cleric, who was apprehended at Oka, Ondo West Local Government, slumped at Special Anti-cultist Section of the state police command, located along FUTA road in Akure.

The Police Public Relation Officer, Funmilayo Odunlami confirmed the death of the suspect, but did not give details of what led to his death.

Source: Suspect With Fresh Human Head Dies In Police Custody

Nigeria: 55-year-old man arrested with human head in Ondo State

Warning: the following post may upset the reader. 

The article below illustrates well how ‘money rituals’ are being organized and performed in Nigeria. A 55-year-old man who wanted to become rich, ordered ‘a fresh human head’ which was ‘delivered’ to him at his home as if he had ordered something at Amazon.com

Of course, one wonders if this man is not insane. But jumping to that conclusion is, first of all, not my job – I prefer to leave that judgement to a judge. However, the whole situation demonstrates the evil which results from the belief in superstition in combination with greed and moral decay. Hail to the Ondo police to have apprehended this man who will have to account for his deeds (read: misdeeds)! 
(webmaster FVDK).

55-year-old man arrested with human head in Ondo State

Published: December 23, 2021
By: Hakeem Gbadamosi – Nigerian Tribune

Men of the Ondo State Police Command have arrested a 55-year old man, Tunde Olayiwola, who was allegedly caught with a fresh human head meant for money ritual in Ondo, headquarters of Ondo West Local Government Area of the state.

Speaking during the parade, on Thursday, the State Commissioner of Police, Oyeyemi Oyediran, said the suspect was arrested by men of the state police command after an intelligence report that the suspect was about to receive a consignment.

He said the suspect was apprehended with the fresh head delivered to him and confessed that the head was meant to be used by him to ensure a better life.

He said: “On the 23rd of December, 2021, at about 9 am, the police received information that a self-acclaimed cleric named Alfa Tunde Olayiwola, a suspected ritualistic was about to receive a consignment suspected to be human head.

“The police immediately swung into action and the cleric was apprehended at Ajagbale area of Oka in Ondo town.

“A free head was found in his custody. He confessed that the head found in his possession was to be used to ensure he had a better life.”

Confessing to the crime, Olayiwola who said he hailed from Oshogbo said he ordered for the fresh head for money ritual at the sum of N60,000.

He said the consignment was delivered to him at home by a man he met at a social function on Thursday morning, saying he was about to commence the ritual when he was arrested.  

He said, “I purposely ordered for the human head to make my life better and it was delivered to me. This is my first time but I want to do it to become rich and live a better life. The head was delivered to me today.”

(….) 

Source: 55-year-old man arrested with human head in Ondo 

The danger of accusing an innocent person

The following article warrants three comments. First, accusing someone of ritualistic activities – worse, ritualistic murder – without sufficient grounds is a dangerous behavior. Not only it damages the reputation of the alleged killer but it may also easily lead to ‘jungle justice’: a mob taking the rule of law into their own hands, which is an inherent contradiction. In a country, where the rule of law exists, there is no place for mob justice.

Secondly, no accused person is guilty unless found guilty by an impartial judge in a public and transparent trial where the suspect has full access to his rights including the right of a proper defense and the assumption of being not guilty.

However, and I come to my last point, the allegations and rumor which have damaged the good reputation of Kgosietsile Tona Mooketsi, a businessman and politician, in Botswana (below) would not have existed without a base, and – before I am misunderstood – I will make myself clear what I mean by saying this.

Without a widespread belief in the existence of ‘Muti’ killings, as ritualistic murders are being called in Southern Africa, the ordinary people wouldn’t accuse someone indiscriminately from involvement in Muti murders. The uneasy reality is that people do know that Muti murders actually occur. And that’s why, this is the third reason why I publish the article below: to demonstrate that Muti murders do occupy the people’s mind and the fear of being the victim constitutes a real danger, also in Botswana as I’ve reported earlier. See some of my previous posts, e.g. ‘Botswana: Cabinet minister Olopeng condemns mob justice‘ (post of July 24, 2018 but referring to a 2017 article), ‘Botswana: Ritual killers get jail sentences‘ (March 3, 2019, on a Muti murder case dating back as far as 2006), ‘The business, science behind ritual killings‘ (June 22, 2020) and ‘Southern Africa: shocking details of ‘muti’ murders‘ (May 21, 2021).   
(webmaster FVDK).

Botswana: Suspected Raboko Clears His Name

Published: December 22, 2021
By: Portia Mlilo – The Voice, Botswana 

Former UDC Councellor denies child kidnapping rumors 

The former Umbrella for Democratic Change Councillor for Mosanta ward in Mochudi Kgosietsile Tona Mooketsi is a worried man who fears for his life.

Flustered and troubled, Mooketsi walked into Voice offices on Wednesday to tell his story in an effort to clear his name after allegations that he was a ritualist started circulating in the village.

The rumour is that the 48-year-old politician who also owns a butchery is suspected to have hired hitmen to kill a child for business muti. He has since reported to Mochudi police station commander seeking protection from possible backlash from the unfounded rumours.

Speaking to The Voice Mooketsi said it started as a rumour which spread like wildfire and eventually turned into an urban legend. He said at first he ignored it until last weekend when he heard allegations that he had hired two hitmen to kill a child and the victim escaped. He said this has damaged his reputation and put his family at risk of gullible villagers who might swallow the lie hook line and sinker and seek to revenge should any child go missing.

“My fear is that, should a child go missing I would be the first suspect. I do not want to take this lightly. Just recently a businessman was accused of ritual murder in Lentsweletau, the community was angry and some burnt his property. I do not want the same to happen to me hence I reported to the police for protection. I suspect this is politically motivated by Botswana Democratic Party activists. They are cowards! In 2019 they spread a rumour that I am a cattle rustler” said Mooketsi who lost parliamentary elections to a BDP candidate in 2019.

When reached for a comment, Mochudi Station Commander Superintendent Mokuba confirmed the report. He said they however did not open a case because the police do not investigate hearsays. Mokuba said should Mooketsi name a specific person who uttered those allegations, then he would have a case of defamation of character to launch.

Source: Suspected Raboko Clears His Name

Nigeria – Abia State University professor condemns ritual killings

Professor Ezionye Eboh of the Abia State University, Uturu, almost mentioned it casually, but he did mention it. He included ritual killings in the societal ills that urgently need to be attacked in order to restore societal values and public trust in the rule of law.

Professor Ezionye Eboh is a Professor of management at the Abia State University, Uturu, and was the immediate past Rector of Abia State Polytechnic Aba.

Increasingly, Nigerians speak out against the unabated scourge of ritual murders and related ritualistic activities in the country. Nigerians in virtually all states experience a daily threat emanating from the insecurity which results from the widespread belief in the power of ‘money rituals’. There is no place for such practices in the third millennium. After all, it’s 2021 (webmaster FVDK). 

Abia State University professor seeks social reorientation to tackle societal ills including ritual killings

Published: December 21, 2021
By: Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia – The Guardian

Restoration of societal values through social reorientation will help tackle societal ills confronting the country, a Professor of Management at the Abia State University, Uturu, Ezionye Eboh has said. 

Prof Ezionye who spoke while delivering the 61st inaugural lecture of the university, which had ‘Management: Everything, Everywhere’ as a theme, said that citizens would reap the gains and benefits of a well-managed country.

To him: “A developing country like Nigeria needs to judiciously manage its available resources, avoid all forms of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds and ensure an enabling environment for business operations”.

He lamented that over the years, greed, bribery, kick-backs among other vices, became the accepted way of the life of many citizens, which denied the country huge opportunities for healthy living and emerging as a major player in the global economy.

He insisted that negative societal values have given rise to all manner of crimes in society, ranging from armed robbery, drug trafficking, 419 activities, ritual killings, kidnapping and unbridled official corruption.

Worried that the greatest casualties are the youths, the don urged stakeholders to devise deliberate and concerted effort at re-ordering social values, saying not to do anything about the eroding social values today is to produce the worst corporate players soon.

While recommending a deliberate concerted effort at re-ordering social values, strengthening institutions and regulatory frameworks, he urged those entrusted with state responsibilities to do their work without fear, favour and partisanship.

Prof Eboh, who was the immediate past Rector of Abia State Polytechnic Aba, stated that to effect better management of the country, there is the need to initiate ‘Introduction to Management’ as a compulsory “General Studies Course (GST) “in all universities in the country to help prepare students for leadership in public and private sectors.

Source: Expert seeks social reorientation to tackle societal ills

The ugly relation between cultism and ritual killings in Nigeria

In the following report the author describes ugly incidents caused by cults in Nigeria. Many of these activities, sometimes outright crimes, haven’t anything to do with this site’s focus.

Many cultists are not criminals. But it’s not always innocent and pleasure. As explained in the article below, there also exists a relation between these cults and ritual killings.

The Field Commander of Amotekun in Osun State, Amitolu Shittu, recently stated that – in his view –  cultism is a lawless organization that should not be allowed: ‘(…) We must tackle them with force. Cultists are more or less the supporter of ritual killing and it must not be allowed in our society.”

He further accused cultists of being engaged in robbery, kidnapping, and ritual killing. He  warned that “he who kills with swords shall also be killed with the swords.”
(webmaster FVDK)

Cultism: Concerns as politicians, students, others glamorize groups’ activities

Published: December 18, 2021
By: Sikiru Obayarese  – Daily Post, Nigeria

A few weeks before he was attacked by suspected cultists for refusing to join their gang, Oke Ademiju, a final year student of Political Science at Osun State University, UNIOSUN, was set to write his final papers as a Political Science student.

Ademiju, according to eyewitnesses, was attacked with cutlasses, stones and thereafter set ablaze by his assailants before residents came to his rescue.

His school’s official account said, “Oke Ademiju Victor kept shouting that he was not going to join any cult but his assailants continued to pummel him with cutlasses, hard stones and even attempted to set him ablaze, partially succeeding until he was rescued.”

While his mates have graduated from the University, Ademiju could not write his final papers as he was bedridden due to the cult attack.

However, many said the aspiring political scientist is lucky to be alive since many like him have died or have been maimed for life for daring to reject the daredevil cultists’ proposal.

Only recently, a child of 12 years, Sylvester Oromoni, was attacked in his hostel for allegedly refusing to join a cult gang in a secondary school.

Many lives have been lost in clashes between rival cult groups over supremacy battle. Cult groups often count the number of deaths recorded by a gang as a sign of superiority, discarding life of all its values.

Now, some parents hesitate to send their children to boarding schools or even higher institutions for fear that their wards may be forcefully initiated into cult groups.

Keen watchers of the education system have also listed bullying, drug dealing, prostitution as some of the crimes to checkmate in Nigerian schools.

A recent investigation published by the BBC Africa Eye accused cult groups of masterminding illegal activities.

The report showed that many brutal killings and armed robberies in Nigeria were traced to dreaded groups such as The Neo-Black Movement of Africa (also called Black Axe); Eiye Confraternity; The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrate Confraternity); Vikings Confraternity; Brothers Across Nigeria (BAN) or National Association of Sealords also known as Buccaneers Confraternity and others.

This is the extent the threat of cultism has risen in recent times across the country.

Analysts say cultism has been unfortunately promoted as charity and humanitarian organisations, making it appealing to young people who are hoping to get connections or meet their benefactors.

Allegedly, prominent persons including politicians and celebrities in Nigeria, have been linked to violent cult clashes that have resulted in hundreds of unsolved murders in Nigeria. Till date, none has been indicted or arrested.

Artisans are not left out of the trend. In fact, they appear to be the only ones who are perpetrating most of the violence.

Even street urchins have taken over cult groups originally thought to be the preserve of university undergraduates.

In 2020, a 32-year-old Kabiru Ahmed, a tailor, who was described as cool-headed and compassionate, was arrested by the Anti-Cultism Unit of the Lagos State Police Command and confessed to killing four members of a rival cult group.

Ahmed was the hitman of the infamous Black axe (Aiye) confraternity. The cultist said the killing of his ‘Babalawo’ led to a killing spree for both the Black axe and its rival, Eiye confraternity.

While one wonders the role of security agencies amid all the violence, the Police have tried to exonerate themselves by arresting and parading suspected cultists for killing, robbing, raping and for engaging in other illegal activities.

But analysts say this still does not solve the problem from the root.

Checks by DAILY POST revealed that majorly, all the cult groups have social media handles where their activities are promoted.

A security expert, Nnamdi Anekwe Chife, who spoke to DAILY POST exclusively said the effect of glamorising cultism among young people by either celebrities or politicians has far-reaching effects.

Chife said it was utterly dangerous for Nigerian society to condone the flattering of the criminal side of cultism.

He said, “There are two sides of the debate. On one side, people are saying cults are charity organisations while on the other side, it is a criminal organisation, in the sense that they carry out criminal activities. If someone is glamorising the criminal aspect of cultism, definitely it’s going to impact the young ones.

The security expert also claimed that “on the security side, there are allegations that elements in the security outfits are also involved in cult activities but there is no proof to nail them.

“Political classes who partner with them to glamorise cultism could also be nailed too,” he said.

However, the Field Commander of Amotekun in Osun State, Comrade Amitolu Shittu said only a bad society and the nation without a good leader will fold their arms and allow cultism to rise.

According to him, “cultism is a lawless organization that should not be allow and we must tackle them with force. Cultists are more or less the supporter of ritual killing (italics mine – FVDK) and it must not be allowed in our society. The organization are lawless that we cannot be proud of because it is ungodly and God frowns at it as “he who kills with swords shall also be killed with the swords.”

Amitolu said that cultism and other social vices are one and the same. “We are doing our best day and night and we have apprehended some of them and sent them to jail. They are the ones that engage in robbery, kidnapping, and ritual killing (italics mine – FVDK), so they are not supposed to be welcomed in our society.

He said Amotekun has succeeded in reducing, “their illicit character and the killing of innocent people to barest minimum and we are not taking it kindly with them. Democracy should not be allowed to kill democracy, so democracy that we are practicing is that which encourages the rule of law and nobody has the right to kill a fellow human being, and whoever that does so, the law should be taken to their doorsteps,” he concluded.

Screenshot from the YouTube video ‘Black axe: Charitable or criminality, two sides of a coin and its danger’. To watch the video please click here.

Source: Cultism: Concerns as politicians, students, others glamorize groups’ activities

Nigeria: a frightening analysis of ritual killings in the southwest of the country (2014 – 2021)

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.

This post was the third in a row focussing the growing security problems which nearly 200 million Nigerians face 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.

Also this year I drew attention to the scourge of ritual killings in Nigeria (on May 11) and published a plea ‘Let the carnage of ritual killings in Nigeria stop‘ (on March 7). 

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

Published: May 26, 2021
By: Ayodele Oluwafemi – The Cable, 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 platforms to 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.

On March 24, 2014, the nation was thrown into a moment of confusion when a kidnappers’ den was discovered in Soka community, Ibadan, Oyo state.

The den was discovered by some commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as ”okada”, who were searching for two of their colleagues after they took two passengers to the community without returning.

After the den was busted, human skulls, dried human parts alongside malnourished victims which were reserved for ritual purposes, were discovered.

Personal items like bags, shoes, and identity cards which appeared to be victims’ belongings were also seen at the den.

Since the 2014 shocking discovery at Soka, there have been multiple revelations of suspected ritual killings, especially in the south-west of the country.

On May 6, 2015, the decomposing body of Precious Kessington Omorodion, a 23-year-old, was recovered in a  kidnappers’ den at Ota, Ogun state after 18 days of disappearance.

The police also rescued a 28-year-old woman found in the uncompleted building.

In 2016, the Ogun police discovered a ritualists’ den located within an abandoned filling station at Iyana-Ilogbo axis of Sango-Ota of Ogun state, following a tip-off from a member of the community.

The police arrested two suspected ritualists in connection with the activities carried out in the den.

On August 30, 2017, two people were killed by a mob in the Mushin area of Lagos state over alleged involvement in kidnappings and ritual killings. 

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.

On November 27, 2018, two brothers identified as Saheed Obadimeji and Ayodeji Obadimeji were said to have beheaded a teenage boy at an uncompleted buildingin Sapati town, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos.

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 skull along 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.

In June 2020, residents of Akinyele LGA in Oyo state were thrown into panic over the series of rape and murders that occurred in the area.

Within one month, three young ladies — Grace Oshiagwu, Barakat Bello, and Azeezat Somuyiwa — were murdered in their residences located in Akinyele LGA in a pattern that suggested ritual killing.

On the Akinyele killings, the police arrested one Sunday Shodipe, a 19-year-old suspect, who confessed that he received food and N500 for each of the six persons murdered in the area.

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.

On August 14, 2020,  the Ondo police arrested one Festus Adebayo, a 65-year-old pastor alongside Gbemisola Olufusi for alleged involvement in ritual activities.

The duo was accused of using the menstrual pad of one Oluwasemilore Iluyomade, a 20-year-old girlfriend of Olufusi for ritual purposes.

On 29 October 2020, Rotimi Olukoju, a guard with a microfinance bank was reportedly killed by suspected ritualists and his head cut off at Okia area of Oka-Akoko, Ondo state.

The deceased met the suspected ritualists on his way to the farm.

On December 7, 2020, Osun police uncovered a ritualist den allegedly operated by two siblings identified as Monsuru Tajudeen and Lawal Tajudeen, located around Yemoja area in Iwo, Osun state.

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.

On April 12, 2021, a woman — identified as Iya Elekuru — was murdered in a building by suspected ritualists in Ile-Ife, Osun state. Her killers were said to have lured her into the building under the pretence they went to buy food from her.

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.

Source: How south-west is becoming a hotbed of ritual killings in Nigeria