Cult killings create chaos in Nigeria

The following figures are frightening. Watch out: I don’t want to be misunderstood. Not all of these killings were ritualistic murders, but many if not most of them were related to occult practices including ‘money rituals’.

Between April 2021 and April 2022, 281 people were killed in violent cult attacks across 20 states. Anambra state tops the list with 41 cult killings, followed by Benue state: 34, Lagos state: 29, Rivers state: 26, Delta state: 26, Cross River state: 23, Ogun state: 17,  Akwa Ibom state: 17, Osun state: 14, Bayelsa state:, 9 and Imo state 9. Notably, Anambra and Ogun states, in recent months, became notorious for cult killings.

In recent weeks, Ogun state became the epicentre of cultism and ritual killings. Between 2019 and 2022, at least 64 people were killed in various violent clashes among cult groups in Ogun state.

Nigeria is at a dangerous crossroads. Persistent state fragility increasingly leads to jungle justice. Poverty and poor perspectives provide powerful motives for the army of jobless young boys and girls to seek a better life in cult groups. The authority of the state is at stake (webmaster FVDK).

Halt rising tide of cult attacks, wars

Published: April 15, 2022
By: Editorial – Daily Trust, Nigeria

While some states in North West and North Central Nigeria contend with banditry and kidnapping, more than a dozen states in the southern part of the country suffer from cult killings. Between April 2021 and April 2022, 281 people were killed in fierce cult attacks across 20 states. The states include Anambra which tops the chart with 41 cult killings, Benue 34, Lagos 29, Rivers 26, Delta 26, Cross River 23, Ogun 17,  Akwa Ibom 17, Osun 14, Bayelsa, 9 and Imo 9. Anambra and Ogun states, in recent months, became notorious for cult killings.

In February this year, at least 20 people were killed when suspected cultists invaded a burial in Ebenebe, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State. They also desecrated the corpse of a suspected member, identified as Ozo, which had been prepared for burial. In recent weeks, Ogun became the epicentre of cultism and ritual killings. Between 2019 and 2022, no fewer than 64 people were killed in various violent clashes among cult groups in Ogun State.

In the latest onslaught, 16 persons were killed in Abeokuta including a kingpin identified as Tommy, who was hacked down at Panseke in a renewed cult war. Tommy ruled streets of Oluwo, Onikolobo, Adigbe and Panseke areas of Abeokuta. Tommy’s assailants tracked him to the chaotic Pankese area at night, stabbed him in the head and left him to die in the pool of his blood.

Responding to the clashes between the Eiye and Aiye cult groups in Ogun State that lasted for over a week, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, directed the police and other law enforcement agencies to confront groups seeking to destroy peace.

Governor of Ogun State Adedapo Abiodun had, in January this year, re-launched the state joint security outfit, code-named OP-MESA, where he threatened to make Ogun inhabitable for all criminals. In February 2022, Abiodun signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, in Abeokuta, where he declared that criminals were after his life because he was “making life unbearable for them”.

Cultism suggests nothing but evil. It involves the coming together of a group with  deviant  beliefs and practices that are not only exclusively kept away from the knowledge of others but such activities are carried out at odd hours of the day. Some plausible causes of cultism include peer group influence, parental background, drug and substance addiction, societal decadence, poor education standards, loneliness and the lack of recreational facilities.

In Nigerian tertiary institutions, for instance, Black Axe, Buccaneers, Vikings, Aro Mates, Supreme Eiye, Black Eye, Black Beret, Black Bra, Daughters of Jezebel are common names of cult groups. Their common features of identity include initiation through the use of blood or inscription of marks on the bodies of new members; oath-taking; and the use of specific colour as group symbol. It is in the character of cult members to engage in armed robbery, sexual assault, drug abuse, examination malpractice, harassment and bullying of students, and intimidating lecturers for grades.

Cultism has continued to survive partly because of the patronage from the society including politicians who use cultists either as hit men during elections or for assassinating political opponents. While some become cultists in their search for protection, others join cult groups to avenge an assault or a painful past. Some students become cultists out of the desire to become “Big Boys” and superior to their peers.

To halt the rising tide of cultism, parents must give more quality time and attention to their children’s moral development than they give to their businesses or office work. Good parenting requires bridging all communication gaps between parents and their children. To de-radicalise our youths, we call on the National Universities Commission (NUC) to make moral education a General Studies (GST) course for all students of tertiary institutions in the country.

As we recently reiterated on this page, only concrete security measures, not empty directives, would rescue the country from the security challenges confronting it. Government must demonstrate genuine political will to protect lives from cult attacks. The need to deploy modern technology in surveillance, intelligence and detective operations of security agencies cannot be more strategic than now when criminal elements have become more sophisticated.

If “an idle mind” as they say “is a devil’s workshop”, local governments in the country are advised to provide recreational and sports facilities that would keep the army of jobless young boys and girls in their localities busy. While we call on state governments to seasonally organise inter-schools or inter-LGAs sports competitions, we also urge them to support schools with basic sporting equipment. We encourage the NDLEA to sustain its ongoing offensive against drug peddling and abuse, just as we urge the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to, as part of its mandate; orientate the Nigerian public on the sacredness of human life.

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Source: Halt Rising Tide Of Cult Attacks, Wars

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

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

Four burnt to death after ritual killing in Edo State, Nigeria

The following reproduced article is not about an entirely new incident of mob justice in Nigeria. It relates to the same jungle justice addressed in my February 27 posting and also yesterday’s Editorial. However, for completeness sake I want to include it here: readers who may have missed previous posts may find in the article reproduced below the necessary information to fully understand the editorial in the Nigerian newspaper The Nation (online) posted yesterday (webmaster FVDK).

Four burnt to death after ritual killing in Edo

Edo State Commissioner of Police DanMallam Muhammed, addressing journalists in Benin City, Edo State capital, on Monday, October 14, 2019

Published: February 25, 2020
The Punch, Sola Shittu – Benin (city), Nigeria

Three middle-aged men and a woman were on Monday set ablaze by a mob at Otuo community in the Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State.

The four were alleged to have been involved in the murder of a Senior Secondary School 3 pupil of Azama College, Otuo.

 PUNCH Metro gathered that the pupil was allegedly killed and her head severed from her body for ritual purposes.

A source in the community said the murder was carried out at night by her neighbour who sent her on an errand to get sachet water in the evening.

While in his room to deliver the sachet water, she was allegedly murdered and decapitated.

Our source said when the girl’s parents could not find her, they raised the alarm.

The alleged culprits were said to have been caught while attempting to dump the victim’s body in the early hours of the following day.

They were said to have identified two other persons, including the woman who performed the rituals for them.

“The two men were burnt this morning (Monday) along with the woman, while her house was razed. They were all dragged to the popular Women Centre where the community police station is located. The third man was traced to his farm and apprehended,” he said.

Later in the day, our source confirmed that the third man had also been burnt by the mob.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Chidi Nwabuzor, while confirming the incident, said two suspects were lynched.

“The command is aware that a young girl’s head was cut off and the youth of the community arrested two suspects, brought them to the front of the station and set them ablaze,” he said.

Source: Four burnt to death after ritual killing in Edo

Compounded barbarity (Editorial, Nigeria)

A recent Editorial in one of Nigeria’s leading newspapers drew my attention and I would like to share it with you. It is a cry from the heart and corresponds with previous messages which I put on this site. Referring to a recent incident in Edo State, it is about the nonsense of mob justice, it’s illegal nature, and even the damage it causes to the country’s justice system. Read it for yourself. May it contribute to less jungle justice, but – of course and more important – we have to battle the phenomenon of money rituals with all our force and eradicate it from society! (webmaster FVDK). 

Compounded barbarity

Picture from file, not related to described incident

Published: March  6, 2020
By: The Nation (online) – Nigeria (editorial)

Editorial

  • Suspected ritual killers turned victims of jungle justice is cold comfort.  Both outrage jar with civilised 21st century conduct.

It really makes no difference which of the versions of the incident is accurate, whether four or two people were burned alive for allegedly beheading a teenage girl for ritual purposes. The picture of compounded barbarity is clear enough. The girl’s beastly murder attracted jungle justice, but neither of the two is good for society.

According to the Edo State police spokesman, Chidi Nwabuzor, “The command is aware that a young girl’s head was cut off and the youth of the community arrested two suspects, brought them to the front of the station and set them ablaze.”  But media reports said a mob had set ablaze three men and a woman at Otuo community in the Owan East local government area of the state, on February 24, for their alleged involvement in the murder of a Senior Secondary School 3 pupil of Azama College, Otuo.

The girl’s neighbour was said to have sent her on an errand to get sachet water, and she was allegedly killed and beheaded when she returned with the sachet water. Two of her killers were said to have been caught while trying to dump her headless body somewhere the next day. They were said to have implicated two other collaborators, including a woman described as a native doctor.

By taking the law into their own hands, the mob demonstrated public anger over the increasing cases of ritual killing in the country. But their reaction was extreme. It is noteworthy that they had imposed their own punishment on the suspects, right in front of a police station, which suggested they had lost confidence in the police.

Their action was a recipe for anarchy.   Mob justice not only reflects a negative public perception of the criminal justice system, it also undermines the institution charged with maintaining law and order.  This is yet another instance that shows the low rating of the police by the public, and the need for the police to improve their image by performing professionally.

It is unfortunate that the suspected killers were burned alive, thus making it impossible for the police to investigate the allegation against them. The accusation that they killed the victim for ritual purposes could have been more clearly established through a proper trial.

Sadly, this incident further highlights the troubling issue of money-ritual killing prompted by a get-rich-quick mentality.  The circumstances of the murder suggested it may well have had something to do with money rituals. Only the killers could have explained why they needed the girl’s head, but the beheading followed a familiar pattern of killing associated with money ritualists.

The money-ritual angle says something bad about our society.  Frequent reports of suspected money-ritual killings in the country show a dark side of the society that needs to be urgently corrected. Murder is evil; it is worse when it is connected with a get-rich-quick motive.  The love of money should never be taken to such extremes.

The question is: What drives such a desperate and unconscionable pursuit of riches?  The inadequacies of the socio-economic environment must be a major factor, but these can’t justify a do-or-die approach to getting rich. Money rituals that involve murder signify not only material poverty but also spiritual poverty on the part of the perpetrators.

Improved socio-economic conditions can discourage such an approach to getting the good things of life. That is why the government, in pursuing the greatest good for the greatest number, must pay serious attention to the improvement of the socio-economic conditions. The goal should be to significantly reduce the number of the desperately poor as well as promote enlightenment that makes it unnecessary to seek wealth through money rituals

Police arrest 10 suspects linked to the hacking to death of three workers allegedly involved in ritual killing in Luapula Province (Zambia)

Mob justice or jungle justice is not only a widespread problem in Nigeria – see my February 27 posting – and other countries reported on this site. Als in e.g. in Zambia, mobs attack and kill people who are suspected of ritualistic killing. The local, regional and national authorities are often not trusted. This may have been caused by past experiences, but it still does not justify killing people who are ‘only’ suspected of being ritual killers and have not been tried by an official court. The prerogative of using violence lies only with the State, not with citizens (webmaster FVDK).

Police arrest 10 murder suspects linked to the hacking to death of three Power Tools workers in Luapula Province

Published: February 28, 2020
By: Mwebantu

POLICE in Chiengi have arrested ten suspects in connection with the gruesome murder of  three Power Tools workers who were hacked to death by a mob on suspicion of being ritual killers.

Zambia Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo has told Mwebantu in the early hours of today, Friday, 28th February, 2020, Police in Chiengi of Luapula Province arrested ten (10) suspects in connection with the gruesome murder of three (3) Power Tools employees, who were murdered by a mob on 21st February, 2020, around 0300 hours at Kazembe Village in Chiengi District.

She said the suspects were apprehended in an operation conducted between 01 00 hours and 03 00 hours.

“They are all detained in police custody charged with murder. “She said.

Source: Police arrest 10 murder suspects linked to the hacking to death of three Power Tools workers in Luapula

Nigeria: Angry mob sets four on fire over ritual killing in Edo State

Mob justice is a serious problem in many if not all of Nigeria’s states. Early January of this year an angry mob set robbers ablaze in Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State. In early October last year an angry mob in Benue State set three suspected armed robbers ablaze over their alleged involvement in the robbery and serial killings witnessed in Gbaste community. I could cite many more examples of jungle justice in Nigeria, but this will do, for the moment. Recently, two – or four, accounts differ, see below – young men were set ablaze for alleged involvement in the killing of an SS3 Secondary Schoolgirl of Azama College, Otuo, Edo State.

The use of violence is a prerogative of State authorities. Moreover, every accused is considered innocent as long as he or she has not been found guilty by an independent and impartial judge during a public, transparent trial.
Mob justice is a sign of a weak state authority and should not be tolerated. Mob justice resulting in the death of the victim is a crime; those responsible should be prosecuted and punished by law (webmaster FVDK). 

Angry Mob Sets Four On Fire Over Ritual Killing In Edo State

Source: File photo. 

Published: February 25, 2020
By: Naija News – Richard Ogunsile

Reports reaching Naija News at this time reveals that there was an uproar at a village in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo state on Monday, following the murder of a young girl who was reportedly beheaded for ritual purpose.

According to a source in the Otuo community in a chat with newsmen, some four young men were set ablaze for alleged involvement in the killing of an SS3 Secondary Schoolgirl of Azama College, Otuo.

The source whose identity was not given due to security purpose reveals that the child’s head was cut off at night hour by the culprits while she was on an errand by her neighbour who sent her to get him sachet water.

Naija News understands that she was murdered at the point of delivering the sachet water.

It was said that the girl’s parents cried out after they could not find their daughter, but that the culprits were nabbed while making moves to dump the victim’s body before the rising of the sun of the next day.

Further information revealed that two out of the four culprits were identified, including the woman who is to perform the rituals for them.

The source said, “The two men were burnt this morning (Monday) along with the woman, while her house was razed. They were all dragged to the popular Women Centre where the community police station is located. The third man was traced to his farm and apprehended,”

However, after the arrest of the culprits, furious residents set the young men on fire.

Meanwhile, a confirmation from the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Chidi Nwabuzor, mentioned that only two of the suspects were burnt alive.

“The command is aware that a young girl’s head was cut off and the youth of the community arrested two suspects, brought them to the front of the station and set them ablaze,” he said.

Source: Angry Mob Sets Four On Fire Over Ritual Killing In Edo

Related article: 

4 burnt to death for kidnapping SS III student for rituals in Edo

Published: February 24, 2020
By: Vanguard – Ozioruva Aliu

BENIN CITY— FOUR persons, including a lady, were, yesterday, set ablaze by a mob in Otuo, Owan East Local Government Area over allegation of kidnapping an SS III female student and killing her for ritual purpose.

It was gathered that the victim, a student of Azama College in Ikhuera quarters of the rustic town, was allegedly sent to buy sachet water by her neighbour Sunday night.

A source said while she was on her way from buying the water that her head was severed from her body apparently for ritual.

It was also gathered that when the young girl’s parents could not find her, they raised the alarm, but her whereabouts remained unknown.

The source said one of the culprits caught in the early hours of yesterday while attempting to dump the victim’s body confessed to the crime and those involved, including the woman, who allegedly performed the rituals for them.

“The two boys were burnt this morning (yesterday) along with the woman while her house was razed. They were all dragged to the popular ‘Women Centre’ where the community police station is located. The third boy was traced to his farm and apprehended,” he said.

Vanguard gathered that the third man apprehended in connection with the ritual killing was later burnt by a mob late yesterday.

One of the suspects, the gang leader, identified as Lukeman, was alleged to be a serial killer while two of the boys, who accompanied Lukeman, are of same parents and from Ikhueran quarter, Otuo.

He also said the woman, who performed the rituals was from Kogi State while Lukeman is said to be from Auchi in Etsako West Local Government Area of the state.

Spokesman for Edo Police Command, Mr Chidi Nwabuzor, while confirming the incident, said it was only two of those arrested that were burnt.

“The command is aware that a young girl’s head was cut off and the youths of the community arrested two suspects they took to the station where they were set ablaze,” he said.

Source: 4 burnt to death for kidnapping SS III student for rituals in Edo

Liberia: Sinoe County ‘Witchcraft Case’ transferred to Grand Bassa County

Yesterday I posted an article Liberia: ‘Devils’ and ‘Deagons’ – defendant details victim’s death.  While searching the internet for more news concerning this case I stumbled upon this Front Page Africa article (dated June 12, 2019). It contains no specific new developments, but provides nonetheless some valuable information which I do not want to withhold the readers (webmaster FVDK).

Assistant Justice Minister Wesseh A. Wesseh

Published: June 12, 2019
By: Front Page Africa

Monrovia – The much-publicized “witchcraft case” in Sinoe County involving nine defendants – all men – has been transferred from Greenville to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County for trial.

The nine defendants are charged with murder, gang rape, aggravated assault, and criminal facilitation in connection with the humiliation of three ladies accused of witchcraft activities in that part of the country.

Assistant Justice Minister For Litigation at the Ministry of Justice, Wesseh Alphonsus Wesseh told FrontPAgeAfrica Tuesday, June 11, that the Government of Liberia has decided to prioritize the prosecution of the nine Defendants and assured the public that everything will be done to ensure the Defendants get a free, fair and transparent trial.

Cllr. Wesseh then frowned on individuals bent on engaging in “jungle justice,” stating that trial by ordeal was outlawed by the Supreme Court since 1916, adding that it has no place for “contemporary society like Liberia”.

Those nine Defendants from Sinoe County that were transferred over the weekend to the Buchanan Central Prison to face trial during the current May 2019 Term of Court are: Moses Solo Jr, Shelton Kelgbeh, Teah Gmawlue, Marshall Gbala, Anthony Karmoh: others are Tweh Keglbeh, Wilson Pyne, alias Swen Pyne, Victor Solo, and Sylvester T. Cherdy.

The defendants were indicted early this year by the Grand Jury of the 3rd Judicial Circuit Court sitting in the provincial capital, Greenville Sinoe County.

Source: Sinoe County ‘Witchcraft Case’ Transferred To Grand Bassa County