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).
One of the craziest stories I read yesterday (see yesterday’s posting) follows below. It contains a wise lesson but also a chilling story. Whereas at fist sight it reports on ‘ordinary’ criminal activities, the reader soon discovers that more is going on: ritualistic activities, ‘money business’, ‘money rituals’ – and that’s the reason why the article has been included here.
The incidents took place in various parts of the country, not related to a particular region, social class, or ethnic group. The first mentioned murder occurred recently in Lagos (June 2021), but other reported ‘money rituals’ happened in Benue State, Ogun State, Ondo State, Osun State, and – again – Lagos State (2012, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). Some of these murder cases have been reported on extensively earlier on this site.
Warning: Some readers may find the following story disturbing (FVDK).
MORE AND MORE NIGERIANS ARE FALLING VICTIM TO HARBINGERS OF DEATH DISGUISING AS LOVERS, KUNLE AKINRINADE REPORTS FOLLOWING THE CASE OF A COMPANY’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOUND DEAD LAST SUNDAY IN A LAGOS SERVICE APARTMENT HE ALLEGEDLY LODGED IN WITH A SIDE CHIC.
Published: June 26, 2021 By: The Nation, Nigeria- Kunle Akinrinade
Incidents of individuals’ death in the process of romance with the opposite sex increased by one early in the week with the demise of billionaire businessman and chief executive officer of Super TV, Michael Usifo Ataga, allegedly after an outing with a side chic.
Ataga, a resident of highbrow Banana Island in Lagos, was said to have been reported missing on Sunday by concerned friends and family members as his whereabouts became unknown.
Everyone, including his wife and children who were resident in Abuja, was said to have become worried when the checks made at Ataga’s office in Victoria Island, Lagos showed that he was nowhere in sight while he could also not be found at his Banana Island residence.
It turned out later that his lifeless body was found in a three-bedroom service apartment in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos with multiple wounds inflicted on his body and several withdrawals made from his bank account supposedly by a mystery woman he had checked into the apartment with.
Investigation conducted by security agents would later reveal that Ataga’s death occurred about two weeks after he met the woman in question and they checked into the said apartment at Lekki Phase 1.
A combined team of the police and DSS operatives from Abuja were said to have unveiled the identity of the owner of the apartment in which Ataga was found dead and it was discovered that she had received payments from the side chic’s bank account into which Ataga himself had previously made a transfer.
Happily, the side chic in question has since been tracked down by security operatives and arrested alongside the owner of the Lekki Phase 1 apartment.
One death too many
Ataga’s case is one in the long list of Nigerians who in recent times have fallen victim to murderous fraudsters disguising as lovers. For instance, when Akin Alupaida invited his girlfriend from her base in Ibadan, Oyo State to his base in Apomu, Isokan Local Government Area, Osun State on June 8, the unnamed lady had no reason to suspect that she was about to be murdered by the man that had professed love to her.
However, the said lady was butchered into pieces by her supposed lover after a romp at an apartment belonging to the latter’s friend. The police said that Akin’s accomplice and owner of the apartment, Kabiru Oyeduntan, barged into the room and assisted his friend in strangling the 20-year-old lady to death and dismembering her for ritual purposes.
Parading Oyeduntan at the Osun Police Command headquarters on June 11, the Commissioner of Police, Wale Olokode, explained that the suspect was arrested based on a tip-off from members of the public. Olokode said the head, wrist, and other parts of the lady’s body were found by detectives inside a box in one of the suspect’s rooms.
In his confession, Oyeduntan said the lady in question was killed for the purpose of using her for money rituals by his identified as Akin (O’clumsy) Alupaida.
He said: “It was my friend that brought the lady to my place from Ibadan. But he already told me that he wanted to do a money ritual. He sought my assistance and promised to give me N50,000. I agreed.”
“While he was having sex with her, I came in and assisted him to hold her two legs, and he strangled her to death.
“Akin was the one who dismembered the lady’s body. He removed the heart, private parts and took them away.”
Eighteen months after she mysteriously disappeared amid preparations for her wedding in December 2019, the remains of Josephine Cynthia Onche, an operative of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), were found in a shallow grave in the Obi Local Government Area, Benue State, where her body was dumped after she was killed for rituals by the same man she had announced in a wedding invite as her husband to-be.
The arrest of Josephine’s would-be husband, Christopher, led to the exhumation of her body from a shallow grave in a local government close to Otukpo.
It was said that a commercial motorcyclist who knew about the incident reported to Josephine’s family.
Christopher had allegedly brought in a native doctor from Ogun State to carry out money rituals with Josephine’s body parts.
“The commercial motorcycle rider led security operatives to arrest Christopher, an Igbo man, and he led the police to Ogun State where they arrested a native doctor who allegedly performed a ritual with the woman’s body in Obi Local Government Area of Benue State before returning to Ogun State,” a source reportedly said.
Like Osun and Benue incidents, the murder of the first daughter of former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Khadijat Olubiyo, made headlines in 2018.
Khadijat, a final year student of Adekunle Ajasin University in Akungba Akoko (AAUA) was allegedly strangled to death by her boyfriend, Seidu Adeyemi, who was said to have buried her remains in a shallow grave in his room in Okearo area of Akure, the state capital, covered it with the rug and slept on the grave for five days.
In 2019, one Abosede Adeyemi Iyanda was gruesomely murdered by her former boyfriend, Segun Olaniyi, who dismembered her and used her body parts for money-making rituals.
As the story goes, Olaniyi, 42, was Abosede’s ex-lover, who promised to help her with some money but instead hatched a plan to use her for money rituals.
Olaniyi called one Akanbi Babalola and Ayo Adeleye on the phone to come and do the slaughtering of the woman who was formerly his girlfriend but now married to another man when she visited him in his offshore office.
While in his office, Olaniyi told Adeleye to go and buy food for the woman, who they said felt very tired after walking a long distance to get there. Segun then put in the food a drug that would make her feel weak and sleepy.
Olaniyi later told her to go to the stream beside his office and wash her hair while she was completely naked. He asked Adeleye and Akanbi to lead her there.
But while Abosede was washing her hair, Adeleye pushed her head into the river, brought out a pocket knife and killed her. Both of them then pulled her body out from the river and dismembered it, separating the flesh from the bones as instructed by Olaniyi.
They later cut the flesh into pieces and sold them to some herbalists, alfas and a pastor who needed them for money rituals. Some of them also allegedly roasted the meat and ate it, washing it down with hot drinks.
Police said that Olaniyi was tracked and arrested, and his arrest led to the recovery of Abosede’s body parts from different Ogun villages where he buried or sold her mutilated remains.
Other suspects arrested in connection with Abosede’s murder include Adeifa Sogbeyinde (37), Rasaq Rasaq Arabs (27), Sunday Akinyemi (41), Adewole Olwafemi aka Pastor (38), Mustapha Ajibola aka Alfa (31), Mustapha Iliya (30), Shilola Amodu aka Alfa (38), Jamiu Abass (25), Smooth Kazeem aka Alfa (37) and Adesola Oduyemi (56).
Confessing, Olaniyi said: “She called me on the phone saying that she was coming to see me. I asked her the reason for her visit and she said she wanted financial assistance to boost her business.
“I called Akanbi, who is my helping hand, and told him to come around because someone would be visiting us. Already, we had work at hand, so Akanbi suggested that we use her for the work.
“We killed her beside my house. I took the head, two hands and part of the meat. I sold the head to Africa for N40,000. I sold one of the hands to an orthodox doctor named Murideen for N15,000 and the other hand to Tonight for N15,000. I sold the flesh to one Alfa named Sunday Akinyemi (N10,000), Rasaq (N5,000) and Mustafa (N5,000).
“It was Ajibola that introduced Mustapha Iliya to me. I used part of the flesh to do powdered medicine which if taken with a hot drink would draw customers.
“At times, we kill the husbands of some of our customers to turn them into widows so that they would join us in bringing victims to be slaughtered.”
His confession led the IRT detectives to Abeokuta and different Ogun villages like Ifo, Itori, Papalanto and Adigbe, where eleven suspects were arrested and eight of them confessed to the kidnapping, killing and selling of the body parts of the victim.
Among the items recovered by IRT operatives were decomposed human breasts, burnt human flesh mixed with liquid substance in a bottle and calabash, one complete human foot, pieces of dry human skull, a Laura SUV with registration number KTU801FP, one Bajaj Boxer motorcycle with Registration number JGB019VC, one unregistered Toyota Corolla and one Toyota Matrix with Registration number AKD703FU.
Other recent cases
It will be recalled that in June 2020, a 39-year-old man, Chris Ndukwe, committed suicide in Lagos after killing his 25-year-old girlfriend, Olamide Alli.
Police said that Ndukwe and Alli were found dead at the former’s residence at Road 5, House 16A, Victory Point Estate, Ilasan, Lagos, after a tip-off to officers of Ilasan Police Station.
A statement issued by the then police spokesman, Bala Elkana, said: “The woman was found lying in a pool of blood, with deep cuts on her head, while the man’s mouth was foaming with whitish substance.
“It was alleged that the man stabbed the woman to death with a kitchen knife and thereafter drank some poisonous substances suspected to be insecticides.
“Two blood-stained kitchen knives, two empty bottles of the poisonous substances, three empty cans of Red Bull energy drink and a plier were recovered from the scene.”
Elkana added that family members of the deceased lovers revealed that they were not married but had a relationship for over seven years, adding that they had two boys, aged seven and three.
He said: “Their relationship is described as complicated, as the couples were on and off over the years. While the man lives at Victory Point Estate Ibadan, the woman lives at Ogba (Lagos).
“The woman was said to have visited the man alongside her 22-year-old sister a night before the incident, on his invitation.
He said that Alli’s sister was the first to have noticed that they were both dead and raised the alarm.
Elkana added: “In her (Alli’s sister) statement, she was woken up by a loud music from the room where the corpses were found, as herself and the kids slept in a different room.”
On July 21, 2012, a postgraduate student of Nasarawa State University, Cynthia Osokogu, then 25 years old, was lured from Abuja to Lagos by Okwumo Nwabufo, who she had met and befriended on Facebook.
Nwabufo had paid for the deceased’s flight ticket from Abuja and lodged her in Room C1 at Cosmilla Hotel, Lake View Estate, Festac Town, Lagos, where he later connived with one Olisaeloka Ezike, and murdered the young lady.
The duo drugged Cynthia by putting Rohypnol in her drink after which they tied her hands and legs and also gagged her mouth with a handkerchief and part of her hair weave on.
Cynthia’s killers thereafter stole her two Blackberry mobile phones, jewellery, sex toy vibrator, passport and a pair of shoes.
In December 2019, a 23-year old man, Adeeko Owolabi, reportedly connived with a 42-year-old self-acclaimed pastor of a white garment church, Segun Philip, to murder his girlfriend and final year Sociology student at the Lagos State University, Favour Daley-Oladele.
According to the spokesman of Ogun State Police Command, Owolabi, who was arrested in Ikoyi-Ile area of Osun State, confessed that he used his girlfriend to prepare a ritual meal for himself and his own mother who he claimed had been broke.
According to Oyeyemi, “the deceased was reported to have left home to an unknown destination since the 8th of December, 2019 and had not been seen since then; hence, she was reported missing by her parents at Mowe Police Station.
“Upon the report, the DPO Mowe Division, SP Marvis Jayeola, detailed his crack detectives to unravel the mystery behind the sudden disappearance of the 22-year-old woman.
Two months ago I posted on this site a cry from Nigeria, ‘Let the carnage of ritual killings stop‘. Unrelenting, the editors of the Leadership, a leading Nigerian newspaper, again draw attention to the alarming rate of ritual murders and related crimes in the country. I have repeatedly done the same on this place.
This site is entirely devoted to the crime of ritual murders, based on superstition and belief in witchcraft, fed by an insatiable greed for power, wealth or a good health, and facilitated by a weak enforcement of the rule of law, impunity, and in the worst cases, the connivance of people in high places who are put in this position by the people they are supposed to protect. Ritual murders are a flagrant and intolerable violation of the human rights of the victims, whereas a sovereign state is obliged, often by its constitution, to protect its citizens.
It is sheer impossible to report and react here on all ritual murders and other money-ritual related crimes which are surfacing and are being reported and published in various newspapers. It goes without saying that an unknown number of ritual murders are never discovered.
In the past six months I have collected numerous articles on ritual murders in at least 15 Nigerian states: Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers (which I have not yet been published on this site), although I have reported frequently on money-ritual related crimes in these states (from 2018 onwards). Moreover, I reported various cases of ritual murders and related crimes in other states: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasawara, Niger, Taraba. Hence, altogether, 26 out of Nigeria’s 36 states. When consulting the general folder ‘Nigeria’ the reader will find other articles, of a more general nature, on the scourge of ritual killing in Nigeria, the Yahoo boys, mob justice, and other atrocities.
The seemingly recent rise of ritual killings in Nigeria has been mentioned here earlier. I only wish to refer to a 2014 article which I published in December last year. In it it was alleged that ritual killings were everywhere in Nigeria. Older reports of ritual murders as far back as 2001 can be found here.
It must be emphasized, however, that nowadays an increasing number of Nigerian raise their voices against these outdated and revolting practices which are ritualistic murders (see the folder ‘Nigeria voices’), among whom the editors of the Leadership newspaper, who are to be commended for the article below (webmaster FVDK).
The Scourge Of Ritual Killings In Nigeria
Published: May 10, 2021 By: Leadership, Nigeria – Monday Column
Iniobong Umoren was a young woman in her early 20’s who lived in Uyo the Akwa Ibom State capital. She shared, on Twitter, her need for a job, and one Twitter user named Uduak Akpan asked her for a private chat concerning her application. According to police reports, Mr Akpan asked Ms Umoren to meet her at a particular location in Uyo.
When the unsuspecting lady got there, the sinister man raped her, killed her, and buried her in a shallow grave. Unfortunately for the serial rapist and murderer, the lady gave her friend the phone number of the person who invited her for an interview. This number led to the apprehension of the culprit after the lady was declared missing for days.
There were reports that Ms Umoren’s gruesome murder was not just a case of rape and murder but that it also involved ritual killing. Mr Akpan’s entire family is said to be involved in the barbaric business of ritual killings.
Two weeks ago, a report indicated that in Kwara State, a next-door neighbour allegedly murdered a groom-to-be for ritual purposes. According to the account in Vanguard, the deceased, who was said to be a devout Christian, did not know that his neighbour with whom he used to eat together was a serial killer and ritualist who has twice served jail terms. This wolf-in-sheep-clothing neighbour allegedly killed his victim, removed some sensitive body parts, poured acid on his remains for speedy decay to prevent it from fouling the area.
Last February in Port Harcourt, a suspected ritual killer was arrested while attempting to sacrifice a nine-year-old girl in the Ibaa community in Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State. According to a report in Punch newspapers, the girl’s parents had raised the alarm over her sudden disappearance after she went to dispose of refuse in a nearby bush. It happened that the suspect had taken the minor to an abandoned compound, tied her with white cloths, applied white clay on her body with a coffin already stationed for the ritual purpose. He was in the process of performing the ritual when he ran out of luck.
In 2019, Port Harcourt made international headlines in ritual killings with the case of Gracious David-West, Nigeria’s most celebrated ritual killer in recent times. From July to September 2019, David-West killed at least 15 women, mainly in the Rivers State capital city. After his arrest, he confessed to at least 15 murders.
Official statistics indicate that there has been an increase in the number of missing persons all over the country in recent times. Some are found, while others are not. There is speculation that majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.
Incidents of ritual killings have assumed an alarming rate in Nigeria. There seems to be little or no effort by concerned government agencies to checkmate the trend. We expect that such cruel and barbaric act would no longer exist in our society given our level of exposure, enlightenment, and civilisation . Ironically, as our communities seem to be getting more religious given the proliferation of churches and mosques in all nooks and crannies of the country, it seems these heinous acts are increasing as the quest for filthy lucre pervades our society.
It is disheartening to point out that as developed societies invest in science and technology to keep abreast with a dynamic world, ours are still stuck in the mistaken belief that sacrificing human blood is the surest route to wealth, safety, and protection.
No doubt, ritual killings are performed to obtain human body parts for rituals, potions, and charms. Ritualists search for ‘human parts’ at the request of herbalists, who require these to make sacrifices or prepare various magical potions to give power and wealth to an individual. Some people engage in ritual killings to obtain charms that would make them invincible and protect them from business failure, illness, accidents, and spiritual attacks. Whether they succeed or not is open to debate. However, it is not easy to prove a link between such sacrifices and financial success or any type of success empirically.
Amongst a large group of Nigerians, including the well-educated and people from different faiths and social backgrounds, there is a strong belief in the supernatural and the effectiveness of rituals. This belief has a direct correlation to the prevalence of ritual killings. It is a well-known fact that some elite in society indulge in ritual killings. Some people apprehended for ritual killings, and witch doctors who perform the sacrifices accused politicians, government officials and wealthy businessmen as their sponsors. They are said to use human beings for rituals to sustain their affluence and remain in positions of power.
Therefore, it is not surprising that there are usually increased cases of mysterious disappearances and ritual killings during elections. Some desperate, fetish and superstitious politicians always consult herbalists and native doctors during elections to help them overcome their opponents. These spiritualists usually demand human heads and other body parts to perform hedonistic rituals.
Given the rate of increase of ritual killings, no one is immune from becoming a victim. But some people are at greater risk. People with mental illnesses and virgins are unique targets as the ritualists allegedly believe that their eccentrics and purity make for a more viable sacrifice. Also, people living with albinism have equally become victims of ritual killings, fuelled by the belief that their ‘body-parts’ could allegedly make one wealthy or prolong one’s life.
Sometimes, it is difficult to understand the mind of the ritual killer. How can someone take another person’s life in the quest for wealth, protection, and power? More worrisome is that sometimes it is not just an issue of a depraved mind but also a depraved group of minds.
Sometime in 2017, Lagos State, the country’s commercial hub, was gripped by Badoo ritual killings. According to news reports, over 50 people were killed by a Badoo Boys group, who moved about with an air of invincibility until the Nigerian Police routed them.
The Vanguard newspaper reported about the activities of the group thus: “Before the raid and subsequent arrest of over 200 suspected members of the cult group by the Police with the support of the Oodua Peoples’ Congress, OPC local vigilante and the Neighbourhood Watch Corps, Badoo Boys had been unleashing an orgy of killings, during which they crush the skulls of their victims. Their modus operandi included storming victims’ residences while they are asleep”.
People suspected that they usually hypnotize their victims, as none of them had ever been conscious of their presence. After that, they would smash the heads of their victims with a grinding stone and use a handkerchief to clean the blood and brain before leaving the scene.
During interrogation, one of the suspects confirmed that “they sold each handkerchief stained with blood for N500,000. He further revealed that they were mere errand boys for rich politicians within and outside Lagos state. But in their case, the blood and semen-stained handkerchief were used to prepare the spiritual defence for some wealthy Nigerians.”
What are the root causes of ritual killings? How can society tackle this menace? What role should the government and relevant agencies play in ameliorating the negative impact of these dastardly acts?
Poverty and economic hardship in the land are reasons for ritual killings. However, these are not justifiable reasons to commit ritual murder. Impunity encourages ritualists to commit murders because they believe they will not be apprehended or punished.
Another reason for ritual murders is the collapse in our moral values, ignorance and superstition, and lack of an adequate punishment system. We should also consider poverty and unemployment as a significant risk factor. If Nigerians have equal opportunities to earn income legitimately, there will be a reduction in horrific crimes such as banditry, human killings for ritual, and terrorism.
Besides, the inordinate quest and pursuit of quick wealth are said to be driving some people to resort to the use of human parts for rituals. And some usual suspects include fake clerics and herbalists who carry out the ritual practices for their clients.
Some analysts have recommended that government should investigate suspected pastors and imams and checkmate their activities because what they do under cover of being religious leaders sometimes leaves much to be desired.
o curb the increase in ritual killings, the government should thoroughly explore the intelligence-gathering approach and prosecute arrested culprits. Timely arrest and prosecution of arrested suspects would serve as a deterrent to anybody contemplating perpetrating ritual killing. Record of successful prosecution of ritualist is not in the public domain. When there are not consequences for deviant behavior , it is incentivized.
For the public, commuters should always write down the identification markings of public conveyance vehicles they enter and make phone calls to loved ones to pass on the information. In the case of Iniobong Umoren mentioned earlier, the fact that she confided in her friend about the phone number of the person that invited her for an interview was instrumental in apprehending the culprit.
Most ritual murderers always wish to be unidentified. They want to kill people but do not wish to be apprehended. Once information about them has been exposed to someone else, it becomes difficult for them to remain anonymous and perpetrate evil.
Commuters should also assess public transport vehicles before boarding in order not to board vehicles occupied by hoodlums. I advise ladies to carry whistles on them to raise the alarm if there is an attempt to abduct them.
In addition to these, people should avoid staying in isolated areas where criminals can quickly attack without being noticed, and everybody should be conscious of their immediate environment.
The spate of ritual killings has become so problematic that our political leaders should declare a national emergency on the crises. I call for stiffer jail sentences to deter potential perpetrators from engaging in ritual killings. Citizens should have trust and confidence to motivate them towards providing credible intelligence for security operators.
We should also make good use of whistleblowers. These are invisible law-abiding citizens whose primary function is to disseminate information that provides details towards the arrest of suspected ritual murderers. They should be anonymous, and the law-enforcement institution should not reveal them as their link persons.
The fight against ritual killings and other menaces in our society is for all. We should not rest until we create a culture where we always uphold the sanctity of life at all cost and the safety of everyone is guaranteed irrespective of social status, religion, or ethnic background. This task calls for authentic leadership. We must swim or sink together . Our only option is to swim to survive the social disaster we are becoming as a nation because of the collapse of morality, ethics, and law.
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.
The heading of the present case hardly sounds as ‘new’ news, but it reminds us of earlier cases of murdered victims whose vital body parts were removed for ritual purposes. Yet it is another case, the umpteenth case of ritualistic murder in Nigeria, certainly Africa’s Number One Country when it comes to ritual killings (webmaster FVDK).
70-Year-Old Woman Murdered And Used For Money Ritual In Ondo
Published: February 17, 2020 By: Sundiata Post
A 70-year-old woman identified as Sidikat Jimoh, has been gruesomely murdered by some suspected ritualists, removing her vital organs in Ogbagi Akoko in Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State.
It was gathered that the woman killed this morning and found in a pool of her blood in her residence around Ayetoro area of the town in the early morning.
According to an eyewitness, the assailants after removing the vital parts from the woman also tried to set her remains ablaze but had to leave in a hurry, leaving behind some of the vital organs removed from their victim.
He described the late Septuagenarian as a peace-loving and religious and wondered what could be responsible for the killing as no property or money was removed from her home.
He said: “This woman was full of life yesterday and even attended the weekly prayer meeting at the Ansar Ud Deen Society of Nigeria Central mosque, before returning home.
“It is unfortunate that these hoodlums visited her home and killed her and removing her vital organs.”
He, however, said the incident was reported to the police station while security operatives from the area removed her corpse to the State Specialist Hospital in Ikare Akoko.
The Area Commander for Ikare Police Division, ACP Razak Rauf, who confirmed the incident, said policemen from the town swung into action and visited the scene of the incident.
He said there was no arrest but disclosed that investigation had commenced into the killing, assuring that the killers would be brought to book.
It’s no surprise to me to read that ritual killings in Nigeria – usually referred to as ‘money rituals’ – are rampant and on the increase. I frequently report on these crimes in Africa’s most populated country. Esther Onyegbula, the author of the article below expresses her disgust while presenting a frightening number of ritualistic murder cases, some of which have been reported earlier on this site.
Her article makes it clear that ritual murders are a plague in Nigeria, in virtually every corner of the country, but notably in the western and eastern states. Moreover, after reading her story, one is convinced that even though in some cases the authorities uphold the rule of law, in many cases the police fail to apprehend the perpetrators of these heinous acts.
Isn’t it time to wage a full-scale war against the criminals who slaughter innocent citizens in order to gain wealth or prestige, and against ignorance, the root cause of all superstition? (webmaster FVDK)
Weird world of money ritualists
Published: February 3, 2020 By: Vanguard Nigeria – Esther Onjegbula
In the last two years, ritual killings have been on the increase.
Although ritual crimes cut across almost all regions in the country, they are more pronounced in western and eastern states of Nigeria.
Every week, there are reports of one ritual killing or the other.
Some suspects are arrested and prosecuted while others arrested are not prosecuted as investigations are marred by lack of evidence or police compromise.
Last month, newspapers were awash with reports of how Favour Daley-Oladele, a final year student of Lagos State University, LASU, who went missing on December 8, 2019, was killed allegedly by her boyfriend, Adeeko Owolabi, who was said to have connived with a self-acclaimed pastor, for ritual purpose in Osun State.
Owolabi and his mother allegedly engaged ‘Pastor’ Segun Philips to end Favour’s life in a gruesome manner. The boyfriend allegedly tricked the victim from Lagos to Ikoyi-Ile, Osun State with the promise that he wanted her to meet his parents to approve their relationship.
But unknown to Favour, she was on her last journey on earth as she was led to the church where her head was smashed with a pestle allegedly by Owolabi and butchered by the ‘pastor’, who later removed her vital parts for money ritual.
Narrating how he killed the victim, Owolabi said, “I lured the deceased to Ikoyi-Ile and lodged her in a hotel before killing her. After I lodged her in a guest house, I took her to a house which I claimed to be my uncle’s house, but knowing that the place was a den of ritualists. “I smashed a pestle on her head and she collapsed. The prophet thereafter used a knife and cutlass to dismember her body which was divided into breasts, head and legs and other vital parts. “We buried the remaining parts of her body beside Prophet Philip’s Church called ‘Solution Salvation Chapel’, while some vital parts were given to my mother to eat for spiritual cleansing”.
Owolabi isn’t the first young man who has been arrested for killing his lover in recent past. In 2018, Seidu Adeyemi killed and buried his girlfriend, Khadijat Oluboyo, the daughter of a former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr Lasisi Oluboyo. Adeyemi murdered Khadijat, a student of Adekunle Ajasin University, after inviting her to his house in July 2018. After the killing, Adeyemi buried the deceased in his room for five days before he was exposed by his father who reported to the police.
At Ologbo, Ikpoba Okha local government area of Edo State in November 2018, a teenager, Akpobome Samuel, allegedly strangled his mother to death and had sex with her corpse for ritual.
According to Samuel, who was paraded by the police, “I acted on the instructions of a witch doctor who I contracted for money ritual. “The voodoo doctor told me that after killing my mother, I should sleep with her corpse in order to get rich. “That is why I complied with his instruction and killed her. “I was caught by my grandmother who came to knock on the door having waited patiently for my mother to accompany her to church. She caught me having sex with my mother. “The native doctor told me to kill my mother and sleep with her corpse, but he did not tell me the number of days to sleep with her. “He told me to keep her dead body inside the room for two days but I was caught when I could no longer keep it.
“I did not know that my grandmother was sitting outside. She opened the door and sighted me on the corpse inside the room and raised the alarm that drew the attention of neighbours. “My mother did not offend me. I killed her because of money”.
Apart from people using their loved ones for ritual, there are instances where innocent persons have been used for ritual purposes by people they didn’t know.
Recently, there was an allegation by some residents of Kwara State that some policemen in Adewole Police Division, Ilorin had been selling suspects detained at the station to ritual killers for N 80, 000 per person. Although the state Commissioner of Police, Lawan Ado, said the allegation was false, the state Police Command redeployed policemen at the station. Ado added that no one had come forward with information to indict any police officer at the station for selling suspects to ritual killers. “But we have been redeploying the policemen there. More than half of them have now been transferred and, soon, the other half will be redeployed so that even if there is anybody who is involved – which no information has established – we will at least remove him from the area.”
But a frightening dimension was recorded in suspected cases of ritual killing in Ilorin last year when commercial motorcycle operators allegedly became targets of alleged ritualists. Motorcyclists were said to have been lured into the Government Reservation Area (GRA) of the town by ritualists posing as passengers only to be mowed down by members of the group.
Apart from the commercial motorcyclists, no fewer than six women were killed by suspected ritualists in the area and their breasts removed.
In July 2019, a young man was caught at Corporation Estate, Mile 12, Lagos after he allegedly murdered a commercial sex worker and removed her private part.
Back to Ondo State, the killing of an 80-year-old woman, Mrs. Kojusola Mogaji, in Arigidi-Akoko, created panic in the community. It incident got so scary so much so that Oba Yisa Olanipekun and the entire community embarked on interdenominational prayers and fasting, traditional rites while a vigilante group was raised to unravel ritual killings in the area.
Even the dead are not spared
It is not only the living that are gruesomely murdered and body parts harvested for ritual; the dead are also not allowed to rest in their graves as suspected ritual killers and skull miners exhume remains of dead people which are prepared for ritual.
Three young men, who were arrested by the Oyo State Police Command for being in possession of fresh human parts, confessed that their unbridled desires to get rich quick prompted them to get the body parts for money ritual.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abiodun Odude, said the suspects were arrested after a tip-off by a member of the public. Odude added that the suspects confessed to have removed the body parts from corpses at a Muslim cemetery in Isale General Area of Ogbomoso.
One of the suspects claimed this was his first attempt at using human parts for money ritual.
Another said: “We went to Isale General at Ogbomoso to exhume the bodies at about 8p.m. On our way back, two inquisitive boys, who accosted us on the road, demanded to know where the offensive odour was from. “We tried to deceive them, but they were insistent. So we had to run. They caught one of us before the police arrested us at our homes. “We wanted to use the parts for money ritual. If we had succeeded in taking the corpses to our place, we would have dried and burnt them. “After burning the parts, we will grind the same to powdery substance and mix some of it with soap to take our bath in the morning and to take pap at night. “After we would have done this, some weird creatures, who we generally call demons, will bring money to us — usually at night.”
In another case reported in November 2019, a cemetery vault builder, Kazim Olarewaju, who worked at Okesuna Cemetery, Adeniji Adele area of Lagos island, revealed that he sold two human skulls for N12, 000. Olarewaju, who was arrested by policemen attached to Adeniji Adele Division, alongside two other suspects, Muritala Salami and Amidu Kazeem, explained that this was the second time he was trading in human parts.
Narrating how he got involved in the act, Olarenwaju said, “I work at Okesuna Cemetery. In September, Mr Muritala Salami and his relatives came to the cemetery to bury a relative. “After the burial, he said I should help him to get a biscuit. I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about. He said it was a human skull. “I told him immediately I couldn’t. He collected my telephone number and left but continued to call me till I bulged. “Initially, I asked him to come to the cemetery and take it himself. When he came, I helped him to take the bag outside the cemetery gate so that security guards won’t suspect anything. “The first time he paid me 12,000 for two skulls. “Last week he called me again and I told him to steer clear but he kept threatening me till I agreed to help him get two more human skulls. “It was while I was taking delivery of his order that I was arrested by the police.” Explaining further, Kasim said, “I started working at the cemetery two years ago and I have never been involved in a thing like this before I met Muritala”.
Explaining what he was doing with human skulls, Salami, who said he was a dealer in herbal preparation, said he used them to make charms to enable him get more clients. “I grind the dried human skulls, mix it with pepper and take it with local gin first thing in the morning. Before I began to do this, I was making about N30, 000 daily but afterwards I began to make between N80,000 and N100,000”
Confirming the arrest, spokesperson for Lagos State Police Command, DSP Bala Elkana, said the investigation was ongoing and that the suspects will be charged to court.
From the foregoing, it would appear that native doctors, fake pastors, Muslim clerics and cemetery workers usually work with suspects in the business of ritual killing.
Worried by the spate of ritual killings and bodies’ exhumation from graveyards, then-Assistant Inspector General of Police in Charge of Zone 2, AIG Lawal Shehu, declared war on native doctors and human parts’ dealers in Lagos and Ogun states. Shehu said each time suspects were apprehended, they usually claimed they were herbalists, adding that some native doctors were aiding and abating the practice. He made the declaration after four suspects, identified as Lukmon Bayewunmi, Kabir Badmus, Victor Nnacheta and Nurudeen Sogaolu, were arrested with dried human jaw and scalp.
Meanwhile, the police have been accused of compromise on some cases of ritual killing.
For instance during the tenure of CP Imohimi Edgal as Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, precisely in August 2018, two suspected ritualists, Folake Falade and Emmanuel Gbenga were arrested under the Cele Nicer Bridge, Ijanikin, by the police.
Folake, who was almost lynched by an irate mob, said she had been there (Cele Nicer Bridge) for nine years and that her business was to sell human parts to ready buyers. She said her customers usually parked on the bridge at night with their vehicles bonnets opened, pretending that their vehicles had one fault or the other, but unknown to people that they were waiting to buy human parts. According to her, her boys would be beneath the vehicles pretending to be carrying out repairs to douse any suspicion and, in the process, hand over nylon bags containing human parts to the clients.
A resident, Lawrence Oke, claimed that Folake revealed that “whenever she failed to find preys to meet the demands of clients, she would dress seductively and head to a nearby hotel at night”. Oke went on, “Any man that picked her for the night would become prey as he would end up in her den where his body parts would be harvested and sold off to waiting clients.”
The resident further narrated that Folake confessed that she had boys that worked for her.
He added, “She said that once her hands touched someone, that person would lose his senses and follow her sheepishly.”
However, despite what many believed was compelling evidence against the suspect and initial police stand, nothing was heard about the case after the arrest.
Meanwhile, the belief that invoking spirits or demons can bring cash after performing some rituals obviously is what is fuelling ritual killings in parts of the country.
Sunday Vanguard spoke to some of those who should know in this special report.
In this features article, Legit.ng’s regional reporter in Akure, Oluwadamilare Moriyeke, writes on how tackling insecurity in Ondo state is becoming more difficult for the security agencies.
I have earlier reported on the growing insecurity situation in Ondo state, notably the alarming increase in number of ritualistic killings. See my posts dated April 19, 23, 28, 29 and May 2 of the current year. The cases mentioned below are no new cases, but the purpose of this post is to demonstrate the growing uneasiness (read: fear) of the population of Ondo state. One of the unalienable human rights is the right to be without fear. It is an obligation of the state to protect its citizens and to guarantee a peaceful life. To realize this, the rule of law is indispensable. (webmaster FVDK)
Opinion: Insecurity in Ondo State
Published: May 15, 2019 By: Wale Akinola – NAIJ.com
(….) But now, it is more pronounced in gruesome murder, arson and abduction for ritual purposes as the state records nothing less than five incidents within the past five weeks.
In Ondo city, the headquarters of Ondo west local government, a 62-year old woman with hunchback, Ibironke Abodunde, was reportedly abducted by some gunmen and all efforts to find her were to no avail. There were rumours that her son sold the mother to ritualists for N7 million but there arose a heated argument between the ritualists and the said son, who was asked to return the money after the purpose for her hunchback failed. According to report, they threatened to kill him if he did not refund their money and he too insisted that they should return his mother, who was kidnapped while selling fish, before they could get their money. However, the first child of the woman out of two, Monsurat, refuted the report and revealed that their mother did not have any son, adding that the only male child by the woman died at infancy some months after birth. Nonetheless, a source within the family pointed out that the son might be mistaken for one of her tenant, who is a herbalist and had disappeared since the incident happened.
Without leaving the vulnerable group, a septuagenarian mother of five, Medinat Ala, was killed at her residence by suspected ritualists, who removed her womb, vag.ina and brea.sts at Okeagbe area of Ikare, the headquarters of Akoko north east council. The landlady, Ala, was attacked in the wee hours of the day and clubbed to death with pestle before they removed those vital organs from her body. It was learnt that a neighbour who wanted to rescue her was attacked too and later died in the hospital. According to sources, one of the tenants, Moses Olaniyi, is now in the police net as prime suspect to the crime, while the youths and community leaders are on the watch to stop a re-occurrence as there were two cases of such incidents in recent past.
Similarly, a 80-year old Mrs. Kajosla Mogaji, was also killed under same gruesome circumstance as her head was battered and found dead in a pool of blood the next morning. (….)
Disturbed by two recent incidents of ritual killings which occurred simultaneously in Arigidi, Akoko Northeast local government area of Ondo state, the Zaki Arigidi,-in-council has pronounced the commencement of interdenominational prayer session and fasting to curtail the menace.
Besides, the community leaders employed the service of traditionalists and vigilante group for action.
Two women were killed in the community within one week interval, their breasts were clinically removed, a development that was strange to Arigidi Akoko community regarded as very peaceful.
Oba Yisa Olanipekun met with women who are family members of victims of the gruesome killing.
The monarch disclosed that an indigene of Arigidi Akoko from Ogo quarters, Tunde Ajileye alias Efo, 30 year old had been napped when his father surrendered him to the traditional ruler who handed him to the police.
The police men took him to Akure to join two other suspects now at the state Criminal Investigation Department, Akure.
A woman leader, Mrs. Ayoka Oshodi on behalf other women blamed youths looking for blood money.
She appealed to parents to monitor their children living above their income.
The chairman, Akoko Northwest local government, Elder Samson Akande said his administration would give priority to security and generation of revenue.
He said he was not happy with the recent killings of two innocent women at Arigidi Akoko.
Akande called on his management team to liaise with traditional rulers to make sure life and property are safe in the local government.
He hailed Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for his leadership style which made infrastructures possible in every nook and cranny of the state.
Community leaders have decried incessant ritual killings in Arigidi Akoko in Ondo State, saying the people have resorted to divine intervention.
It was gathered that the Zaki of Arigidi, Oba Yisa Olanipekun and the Oba-in-Council and the entire community have embarked on interdenominational prayers, traditional efforts coupled with local vigilante efforts to unravel the scourge of ritual killings.
This, it was further gathered was strange to Arigidi Akoko which was one of the very peaceful communities in the area.
It would be recalled two women were allegedly killed for ritual killings at Arigidi Akoko with their two breasts removed clinically.
The Zaki of Arigidi, Oba Yisa Olanipekun at a meeting with the women who were the recent victims of the gruesome killing, disclosed that a son of Arigidi Akoko from Ogo Quarters, Mr. Tunde Ajileye alias Efo, 30-year-old had been arrested.
He said his father handed him over to the traditional ruler who handed him over to the police.
While noting that he had been taken to police headquarters Akure for further interrogation, he added that three suspects were now at state Criminal Investigation Department CID, Akure for their alleged roles in ritual killings at Arigidi.
A woman leader, Mrs. Ayoka Oshodi on behalf of women, blamed youths looking for hot money, appealing to parents to be vigilant on their children living above their income.
Meanwhile, the chairman, Akoko North West Local Government Area, Elder Samson Akande said his administration would give priority to security and generation of revenue.
He said he was not happy with the recent killing of two women at Arigidi Akoko, and called on his management team to liaise with traditional rulers to make sure lives and property were safe in the area.
He commended Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for his leadership style which made infrastructure possible in the nook and crannies of Ondo State
Two suspected ritualists who allegedly have been killing women in the Akoko area of Ondo state, removing their breasts and other sensitive organs were on Tuesday caught by vigilant residents in Arigidi-Akoko, in Akoko North West Local Government Area of the state.
The suspects were said to have been apprehended following an attempt to kill another woman in the town.
An eyewitness who preferred to speak under anonymity disclosed to Channels Television that “Ritual killings have become very frequent in Arigidi and some other parts of Akoko land. Five women have been killed gruesomely, with their breasts and other private parts removed”.
“Nemesis caught up with two men early this morning at Arigidi when a woman raised alarm that a man came to her room to kill her and ran away when she raised alarm”.
“Immediately the town organised a search team and caught the two men in a bush at the back of Akoko Anglican Grammar School, Arigidi-Akoko. They were taken to the palace of the traditional ruler of the town, Oba Yisa Olanipekun”.
“The Suspects were later handed over to security agents in the area to prevent jungle justice on them,” the eyewitness said.
It would be recalled that a 50-year-old woman, simply called ” Iya Dunsin” and another 80-year-old grandmother, Kojusola Mogaji were brutally killed and their breasts clinically removed within an interval of two weeks in Arigidi Akoko.
Similar incidents had also been recorded in Ikare Akoko and Okeagbe-Akoko last year.
The Public Relations Officer of Ondo State Police Command, SP Femi Joseph confirmed the incident to Channels Television.
He, however, said the case is being investigated saying the two men are suspects.
He noted that the Commissioner of Police in the State, Undie Adie has set up a security team that is carrying out 24-hour surveillance in the whole Akoko Area.
He added that the traditional rulers as well as youths, and other Stakeholders in the communities are also working with police to combat the spate of killings and other criminal acts in Akoko land and the entire state.