As a reminder I will recall what basically happened on the fateful day in December 2019 when the innocent university student was brutally murdered. Favour Daley-Oladele, a final year student of Lagos State University (LASU), was murdered and partly cannibalized for a ritualistic motive, a ‘money ritual’, by her boyfriend Owolabi Adeeko, aided by Philip Segun, a white garment church pastor and his mother, Mrs. Bola Adeeko.
Last month, a High Court found both men guilty of conspiracy and murder and sentenced them to death by hanging for murder (Owolabi Adeeko) and 14 years imprisonment (Philip Segun) for conspiracy. The court also found Bola, Owolabi’s mother, guilty of eating human flesh and sentenced her to two years imprisonment.
Read the full article below. Warning: the article may upset readers because of its shocking and graphic contents. (FVDK)
The long arm of justice, after three years, finally caught up with killers and eaters of Favour Daley-Oladele, a final year student of Lagos State University, brutally murdered and used for “victory soup” ritual concoction by her boyfriend, Owolabi Adeeko, and a prophet, Segun Philip.
Last month, a High Court found Owolabi and Segun guilty of conspiracy and murder and sentenced them to death by hanging for murder and 14 years imprisonment for conspiracy.
The court also found Bola, Owolabi’s mother, guilty of eating human flesh and sentenced her to two years imprisonment.
Favour, a student of Theatre Arts, was in a final semester and at home to meet her parents before Owolabi put a call to her to meet him, so they could meet his uncle at Ikoyi in Isokan local government area of Osun State.
The deceased, who had attended church service on the day, also spoke with her father who wished her success in her final examinations before setting out on the fateful trip.
Before leaving home on that day, she also informed her mother that she was going back to school but will also be seeing a friend on her way and the mother never knew that the friend would eventually use her for “victory soup” and together with his mother “eat her up for their own good”.
Days after leaving home, Favour’s parents became apprehensive having tried to reach her on phone severally and were not successful, an unusual character, hence, they reached out to her friends in school who told them she had not returned to school.
The parents had to report a missing person at a police station in Mowe, Ogun State.
Meanwhile, Owolabi and Prophet Philip had concluded plans on how to kill the missing girl and butcher her for ritual soup.
She had journeyed all the way from Mowe to Osun and, upon arrival, she was lodged in a hotel in Ikoyi but rather than allow her rest upon complaint of tiredness, the boyfriend urged her to meet his supposed uncle before she would later come back to the hotel for a complete rest.
At a church, which is secluded from the rest of the community, Favour still complained of the need to rest and her boyfriend urged her to enter into the partial wooden building to rest while he and his prophet accomplice concluded their talk before returning to the hotel.
While Owolabi and Segun chatted outside the building they took time to check on the poor lady and having been sure that she was fully asleep, Owolabi took a pestle and smashed it on her head. Thereafter, the prophet cut her opened and took the vital organs needed for the ritual soup.
After Favour’s parents reported that she was missing at the police division in Mowe, the Divisional Police Officer assembled a team of detectives to find her.
The team, according to Ogun Police Command spokesperson, tracked her phone to her last destination, hence, the team mounted surveillance in the town and further tracked the last location of the phone to the church where the prophet was arrested.
The cleric informed the police that the deceased was brought to him by Owolabi who was still in the hotel where he lodged. They were both arrested after Christmas in 2019.
‘I lured her to Ikoyi to kill’
After his arrest, Owolabi told police detectives that he lured the victim to Osun under the pretence to meet his uncle and spend more time together.
He added that she travelled down because of the trust she had in him as the victim had not embarked on such journey before that one which eventually was her last.
His confessional statement which was tendered in court “I called Favour on December 8, 2019 to meet me at Ikoyi-Ile so that we could spend time together. She met me at an hotel in the area, but immediately she got there, she started complaining that she was tired and needed to rest.
“I told her that we needed to visit my dad’s younger brother before she would rest. It was a lie. I tricked her into going to the church of Segun. When we got to the church, again, she complained that she wanted to sleep, so, I asked her to go into the church and rest.
“When she slept off, I used a pestle to smash her in the head and she died. After we confirmed she was dead, Pastor Segun slaughtered her and removed the vital organs from her body which he used to prepare concoction for me and my mum to eat.
“Despite what we ate, things have not improved till I was arrested. My mum’s business has not improved after what we did and despite all our efforts. I think the money ritual did not work”.
He added that his mother was not aware of his evil plans and was made to believe that she was eating ritual soup prepared from goat’s organs.
Owolabi agreed to face the consequences of his actions but asserted that punishing his mother would amount to an injustice.
On his part, Segun admitted to cutting the deceased open after her boyfriend had killed her, removed her vital organs to prepare the spiritual meal for mother and son to be victorious of spiritual attacks.
His words also admitted as confession in court: “It is true I slaughtered Favour with a knife. I removed her heart, breasts, and other vital organs so we could use them for rituals. But, I was not the one that smashed her head with a pestle. Owolabi did it.
“We deceived Mrs Adeeko that the concoction was prepared with goat’s organs. She was not aware we used human parts in the concoction I gave her. I prepared the ritual for them because I was broke and I needed money. I demanded N250,000 but was paid N210, 000.
“I was called by God, but I think I have lost the call because of what I did”.
Owolabi’s mother, Bola, said she was not aware a human was killed in a bid for her to overcome her spiritual challenges.
According to her, she was made to believe the concoction she ate was prepared from goat meat.
Following their arrest and confession, Owolabi and Segun told the police that the remains of Favour were buried in the church building. The entire community was thrown into frenzy when the remains were exhumed from a shallow grave close to the building.
The already decomposing body was packed in a body bag and transported to Ogun State with a view to delivering it to the family after autopsy.
The three suspects were first arraigned before an Osun State Magistrate Court in November 2020 after investigation by the police on two counts of conspiracy and murder.
They were later arraigned before a High Court sitting in Ikire.
The prosecution, led by Adekemi Bello, called nine witnesses during trial to establish conspiracy and murder charges against the suspects who testified for themselves.
At the end of trial, Justice Christiana Obadina found Owolabi and Segun guilty of conspiracy and murder.
She sentenced the Prophet and Owolabi to death by hanging for murder and 14 years imprisonment for conspiracy.
The trial judge also found Bola, Owolabi’s mother, guilty of eating human flesh and sentenced her to two years imprisonment.
The Onikoyi of Ikoyi-Ile, Oba Yisau Oyetunji, said the community is peaceful and the people peace loving.
He maintained that the killer-prophet is not an indigene of the community.
The monarch stressed that churches should be properly registered with a view to identifying and preventing such horrible incident.
“From my findings, the self-acclaimed pastor is not an indigene of Ikoyi. The fellow who took the lady to the place, his mother and the victim are also not from Ikoyi”, he said.
“My plea to religious leaders and residents of Ikoyi and Osun State in general is to be vigilant. We should take up responsibility to secure our areas.
“If we see any strange faces or movements, we should try and do our findings on them. Our surveillance should not be restricted to strangers alone. We should not be silent on the issue of security. We should report to the police anyone constituting security risk”.
Meanwhile, the sentencing of the killers means a proper closure to a sad tale for Favour’s parents as justice appears to have been served.
The following article is highly recommended reading, excellent work by Victor Ayeni!
In Nigeria, nearly every day ‘money rituals’ are reported, maybe not surprising in view of the country’s large population of well over 200 million people – Africa’s largest – even though just one ritual murder is already one too much. However, on the other hand, it could well be that the cases known and reported are only the tip of an iceberg.
But what do we know about ‘money rituals’, as ritual murders are being called in this part of the African continent? Most articles reporting on these crimes, which are driven by greed – for power, prestige or wealth – and based on superstition, are superficial. It is hard to find an article which treats this phenomenon in depth and in a serious way. The Nigerian journalist Victor Ayeni has done a great job and he’s to be commended for this achievement.
The traditional history of ritualistic killings and human sacrifices point to protection of the community’s interest by sacrificing one of its members. Cruel as this might be in our eyes nowadays, in the 21st century, back then relatives of the victim may have been proud of their family member’s contribution to the community. We see nowadays in many parts of the African continent that the ritualistic act which demands the death of the victim is for the (pretended, aimed) benefit of one person only who thus wants to increase his or her power, wealth or health. Moreover, the victim is often picked at random. Involuntary, the victim is attacked and tortured, what results is a gruesome, a wicked crime. Sometimes, specific groups are targeted, e.g. people with albinism, hunchbacks or bald people.
In some countries ambitious politicians tend to resort to these practices in the hope of increasing their political chances and success, resulting an increase in ritual murders during election campaigns. It’s a shocking reality – even though we don’t known the full scale of it.
‘Money rituals’ in Nigeria show another characteristic: some people consider it a business model, which enables them to ‘earn’ money from superstitious people who believe that by using another man’s organs or other body parts, ‘juju’ will be created, to their personal benefit.
Victor Ayeni explains well how this works in Nigeria. A very informative article which ends with the question ‘Are money rituals real or a fiction?’
The reader may answer this question for him- or herself after reading Ayeni’s valuable article. (webmaster FVDK)
Money ritual seekers’ dark walk into deceit, misery
VICTOR AYENI explores the subject of money ritual in popular culture, religious houses, and Nollywood movies, why the purveyors of the belief succeed in deceiving youths, and its implications on the public
The apprehension in the air was so thick that one could cut through it with a knife as Olajide (surname withheld) narrated his journey through a maze of confusion.
The 27-year-old graduate was helping a friend manage a pig farm in Osogbo, Osun State, when another friend introduced him to Internet scam, which in Nigerian lingo is called Yahoo Yahoo.
But his experience shocked the wits out of him.
“I was being paid N10,000 per month at the farm, but the money couldn’t meet my needs as time went on, so a friend of mine bought me an iPhone and from there, I was introduced to Yahoo Yahoo.
“I started off on a neutral ground and I was getting little money from my clients (victims), but after like three months into it, things became so tough that I couldn’t fend for myself again. I explained my situation to a friend and he took me to an Alfa (cleric),” Olajide recalls, shaking his head in disbelief.
This Alfa was known in Yahoo boys’ circles to be adept in the art of money magic – an occult economy that involves the performance of rituals to supernaturally conjure money.
Abode of fear
When Olajide described his financial difficulties to the Alfa, he was given two options.
“Alfa said he would help me out with small osole. I asked what he meant by that and he explained that osole (spiritual assistance) is different from oso (human body parts).
“Alfa told me oso required the use of human parts for material wealth with repercussions such as untimely death or insanity, whereas osole required the use of plants and animals for the same purpose but with lesser repercussions like being poor. I opted for osole,” he added.
Olajide was instructed to pay a sum of N12,000 into the cleric’s bank account for the materials and return in four days.
Five days later, when Olajide put a call through to the Alfa, he was asked to return for the materials.
He said, “When I got there, he gave me a small black soap and told me to find small palm oil and go to a flowing river to bathe that I had to cleanse myself first before I would use the materials.
“He explained to me that the soap was made with pepper mixed with some herbs and directed me to rub the palm oil on my body first before bathing with the soap. He warned that if I didn’t use the palm oil first, I was going to disappear and I would not be seen again. So, I did as I was told.”
Olajide said he complied with all the instructions.
“When I went back to him, he gave me three different materials: a soap to bath with every morning by 4am, a potion which I must swallow daily after taking my bath, and a powdery mixture to be licked every night before I go to bed.
“He said the herbal concoction was made from animals like crow, chameleon, cat, pigeon, and some leaves. He also told me that I would experience more hardship during the first two or three months of using the ritual materials, but I should endure it because after that, the tide will turn and money will be flowing in from my clients,” he added.
The idea of recipients conjuring money through magic is a familiar theme in many Nigerian films and religious houses.
Whether through animal sacrifices or trafficking in human parts, it is erroneously believed that these rites bring stupendous wealth to those who practice them.
When our correspondent inquired from Olajide if the magic worked, and in what specific ways the money came to him, he was silent.
When he spoke, he recalled faithfully following all the instructions given to him, but for the next two months, as the cleric predicted, he experienced serious financial hardship.
At this point, he said his friend introduced him to a client (victim), who had been defrauded several times.
Olajide then began to siphon money from the victim.
The inexplicable ease with which his ‘client’ gave him money implied that he (client) had been hypnotised.
“I ended up getting plenty money from this client. The cleric had assured me of having lots of money from osole, but he advised me to return to him for an upgrade of the ritual by paying N450,000, saying I would be making millions of naira after using the alleged ‘upgraded’ soap.
“But I didn’t go back because I asked my friend who took me there about what the new upgrade entails since that was what he did, and he warned me sternly against it because of the repercussions behind it.
“He said once I bathe with the ‘upgraded’ soap the cleric would prescribe, I could only wear the clothes and shoes I had and I must not change them for the next two years,” he added.
Four months after he dabbled in osole, Olajide realised that his fortunes began to dwindle as reality pulled the plug on his gravy train.
He said, “Things suddenly turned sour after four months. The client I was getting money from was arrested and ended up in jail and I no longer had any financial link. I ended up becoming more broke than before.
“My friend found me another client but I ended up wasting money rather than gaining some. Then, I was taken to another voodoo practitioner. This one said he would perform a ritual for me but one of its conditions was that I must never have sex with more than one girlfriend for the next three years and if I did otherwise, I would run mad.
“It was then I decided to withdraw from this stuff and went back into teaching for some time. Later on, I was introduced to the crypto business that I now do.”
The poverty factor
The belief in gaining wealth through mystical practices has gained much appeal over the decades in Nigeria with the exponential rise in poverty and lack of equal economic opportunities, especially for young people.
According to the 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index Survey released by the National Bureau of Statistics, 63 per cent of Nigerians, which account for 133 million citizens, are multi-dimensionally poor due to a lack of access to health, education, living standards, employment, and security.
The unemployment rate in Nigeria has not only increased constantly in the past years, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group has also projected that the country’s unemployment rate will hit 37 per cent in 2023.
However, investigations by Saturday PUNCH showed that many Nigerians fervently believe that they can make a lot of money regardless of the dire economic situations in the country through a supernatural supply of money.
In Nigeria, there are various tales around wealth creation that foster the concept of one becoming rich through the manipulation of metaphysical forces in nature.
Among the Yoruba, South-West Nigeria, there is the aworo phenomenon that is believed to draw large patronage to a trader in a marketplace.
There is also awure (wealth booster) which can be prepared as a traditional soap or concoction.
Research shows that many Nigerians plank their belief in money rituals on mostly unverified reports.
This has drawn many into desperate measures, including taking the lives of close family members and friends.
In December 2021, a suspected Internet fraudster from Edo State, identified only as Osas, allegedly murdered his girlfriend, Elohor Oniorosa, for ritual purposes.
In November 2022, another Yahoo boy, alongside his herbalist, one Ike, aka Ogenesu, was arrested after policemen recovered suspected human parts at the herbalist’s place in Obiaruku, in the Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State.
But Ogun State appeared to have the highest number of reported incidents of such killings.
For instance, the state recorded at least 15 cases of ritual killings between January 2022 and 2023.
In January, the Ogun State Police Command arrested a 36-year-old herbalist, Taiwo Ajalorun, who reportedly confessed to the gruesome killing of a 26-year-old mother of two and two others in the Ijebu Ode area of the state.
On December 28, 2022, in the Ijebu-Ode area of the state, a gang reportedly killed three women, including a girlfriend of one of them, after sleeping with her.
In February 2022, two suspected criminals who were alleged to be ritualists were set ablaze by an angry mob for being in possession of human parts in Oja-Odan in the Yewa-North Local Government Area of the state.
Also, in October 2022, two suspected Internet fraudsters allegedly killed a 40-year-old man, Abdullahi Azeez, in Owode-Egba.
But probably the most pathetic was that of some teenagers who were caught burning the head of a female, Sofia, whom they killed for money ritual in the Oke Aregba area of Abeokuta.
One of the teenagers, Soliu Majekodunmi, who was Sofia’s boyfriend, said in January 2022 that he learnt the practice through Facebook.
Majekodunmi said he typed, ‘How to make money ritual’ on Facebook and got the details, adding that the link instructed him to behead and burn a female skull in a local pot.
Shaman or sham man?
Our correspondent found many Facebook accounts and groups created for seekers of money rituals.
Most of the social media pages had photographs of new naira notes placed in African traditional pots, calabashes, and cowrie-strewn bags, and some showed animal blood splattered on the ground around them.
Posing as a school teacher, our correspondent reached out to one of the acclaimed shamans, Babatunde (surname withheld), who resided in Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State.
In his response, he introduced his shrine as the ‘Arab Money Family’ and sent his phone number to our correspondent.
In a rather confident tone, Babatunde said, “If you are ready, even if it is this night, you will pay me and I will get the materials ready to start the ritual work for you. Most of my ritual work is done overnight and by tomorrow, it will be completed and your money will come out.
“You will send me your bank account, photograph, and full name, and you will be receiving money in your account. You will be receiving cash thrice every two weeks.”
When our correspondent inquired whether it is spirits that would be sending the money, he interjected in a mildly exasperated tone, “Listen, I will prepare the money here in my shrine and the money will be entering your account.”
He sent his ritual material price list and asked our correspondent to select the amount of money he wishes to receive in his bank account.
The list says, “N15,500 for N200,000; N20,000 for N300,000; N30,500 for N500,000; N50,000 for N1million; N75,000 for N5million; N90,000 for N20million; and N120,000 for N50 million.”
When our correspondent selected “N20,000 for N300,000,” he reiterated that his brand of ‘money magic’ utilises native materials instead of human blood.
“I make money without human blood and I only make use of native materials. I only make use of materials called ‘Cash of Hope’ and the ‘Money Drawer Oil.’
“Mind you, my work does not require any side effects or human being blood for sacrifice or repercussions, okay? Never say never to the high spirit.
“You don’t need to travel down for the ritual; I will just send them to you and you will get your money, but you must come down to my shrine with a token of appreciation for my work, any amount your heart chooses,” Babatunde added.
When the reporter complained about being unable to afford the cost of the ritual material, the magician urged him to find the money by any means possible and contact him when ready.
Babatunde was also observed to regularly post videos on his Facebook and WhatsApp statuses featuring ‘clients’ who claim to have acquired money through his rituals but the veracity of their claims could not be confirmed.
The second acclaimed money magician, who resides in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, goes by the Facebook name, Iya Ifa Bomi.
In this case, our correspondent posed as a greenhorn ‘Yahoo boy’ and asked her for spiritual assistance in order to obtain money from his ‘clients.’
She said, “You mean you are talking to your clients and they are not giving you money? I can perform a ritual for you and it will involve the use of big Titus fish, pepper, and some fresh leaves, but it will cost you N25,000.
“When you have the money, you can come to Ogbomoso and pick up the materials. I will prepare them for you. I have done this for many Yahoo boys like you and they all come back to testify that their clients are cooperating although some of them are ingrates. We also have some of us who do this work who are scammers and have made people not trust our works.”
Another cleric contacted by our correspondent, Alfa Abdulmumeen Aremu, advertised himself as a practitioner of “money rituals for engineers, contractors, business owners and ‘Yahooboys.’”
He first demanded a sum of N2,000 and told our correspondent to send his full name and his mother’s name for spiritual consultation before he could recommend osole to him.
In a voice note, he explained, “There are different types of osole and I perform them for people like you, so don’t worry, I am adept in this work. Send me those things first and I will do some consultations to know your destiny in five minutes and I will revert to you.”
Our correspondent sent him a pseudonym along with the name of his late grandmother.
After some minutes, Aremu sent a voice note saying, “I can see you have a very bright destiny but you have some enemies. They are divided into two: some from your family and others from your workplace.
“You will cook ritual meals like rice and semo with tasty stew and give them to the children in your community. They will eat it with relish, and some of them will go to sleep. After you do that, you will be spiritually clean and we can proceed to the next stage.”
A student of Business Administration, Kazeem Akinpelu, says money rituals are real.
“If they have not been working, people will no longer be practicing them. I grew up in Ibadan, Oyo State, and I know of a market where they sell human parts at night.
“The people selling in this particular market practice voodoo and they are patronised by those who perform money rituals. There was also one time the body parts of a lynched motorcyclist here in Ibadan were used by ritualists,” he added.
However, a civil servant, Nnamdi Okeke, dismissed money rituals as a fantasy that existed only in the realm of make-believe.
“Well, I have not come across any money rituals and I haven’t thought of doing such either. I don’t believe there is anything like ‘blood money.’
“Someone can watch a film and tell you the story, but no cult will tell you what to bring if you have not passed through their ranks, and that is if such things exist, because I don’t believe in them. The question is, the person who wants to make you rich, why is he poor and even why are their children not rich?” he asked.
Similarly, a medical scientist, Mike Okechukwu, said the whole concept of ritual killing boiled down to superstition.
“People would believe what they want to believe to obtain money. Desperate people will employ desperate measures. For me though, I don’t think ritual killings are effective; I have not seen any proof to make me believe so. It all boils down to superstition,” he stated.
But a sales representative, who gave her name as Judith for security reasons, said she once dated a man whom she believed was involved in such rituals.
She said, “I was dating this Yahoo-Yahoo guy and one day, I visited him unannounced and found that he didn’t want me to go inside his room. He was just acting weird that day.
“But while I stood at the door, he didn’t know I saw a native pot placed on the floor. From that day on, I began to suspect him and that was what made me leave him eventually because I don’t want anybody to use me for money rituals.”
Money ritual mirage
Commenting on popular beliefs about money rituals, a Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the Lagos State University, Danoye Oguntola-Laguda, said herbalists appeal to Internet scammers for pecuniary gain.
He said, “My experience is that there is nothing called money rituals. What many people mistake for money rituals is the prayer for getting rich. That could definitely involve some sacrifices of animals or birds or cooking for the whole community (saara) which brings the blessing of feeding multitudes and people may not be able to determine how you become rich.
“I don’t want to say that those who believe in osole or perform oso are wrong because there are a lot of myths that point in that direction, but if you ask many of them to tell you or show you the real thing, you will see that they have nothing to show.
“I want to say that most of these traditionalists do not even know that those who consult them are ‘Yahoo boys.’ They just see them as people seeking a way to be rich and they do a ritual, pray for them and tell them to go and kill one goat. The babalawos are also human beings who have families to feed so when they see a victim with such a proposal, they grab it with both hands.”
Oguntola-Laguda also explained the difference between religious practice and occultism.
“Religion is experiential; it is about your experience. If I tell you that prayer doesn’t work, it’s because I tried it and it didn’t work and if I tell you that it works, it’s because I tried it and it worked for me.
“There is a need to separate occultism from religious practices. Occultism is the appropriation of spiritual agents, who in most cases are negative, and it’s not limited to African traditional religion; it is something that cuts across the board.
“Many religious people appropriate these negative spiritual agents for these money rituals and power to be able to do things that are extraordinary, like the power to be able to tell the sun to go down or to tell the rain to stop.
“So, it is occult people that will tell you that they will make you rich and invite a spiritual agent to do that for you but they always come with a price and that is what many people have come to call oso or osole.
“In the past, in Yoruba traditional society, the wizard who is called oso doesn’t mean he is rich but has power appropriated through spiritual agents that he deploys for good or evil of society,” he added.
Nollywood magical realism
The scenarios of materially wealthy people enmeshed in sinister rituals and pacts with spirits, is a recurring theme in Nollywood plots.
Findings by Saturday PUNCH revealed that whether in the predominantly Muslim North or the largely Christian South, many religious Nigerians believe in the reality of an unseen world, and the fictive representations from Nollywood plots have heavily shaped their perceptions of reality.
A Nollywood screenwriter, Mr Abiola Omolokun, argued that the depictions of money rituals in films are a true representation of Yoruba culture.
He said, “First, I don’t write such stories, but they are true representations of reality. Money rituals are real and are reflected in our cultural beliefs; they are not fiction.
“We tell a story just to teach morals and make people see things differently. Our stories make them know that for every action, there are consequences.
“Through our movies, we teach that patience is a virtue that youths need to walk on the right path, and in due time, with hard work and perseverance, everything will lead to success.”
However, a researcher in African Studies, Akin Faleye, contended that such stories lack historical precedent and are fraudulent.
“As a student of global history, I will say that there is no evidence that the Yoruba practised money rituals in the pre-colonial time. All these stories of money rituals are fraudulent and emanated from psychopaths rather than people with some actual spiritual knowledge of how to make money,” he stated.
Money rituals in other cultures
In some other cultures, what could be termed as money rituals are often symbolic acts or dramas that appeal to psychological and cosmic powers through an application of symbolic structures.
In Ireland, there is a tradition of taking a piece of straw from the nativity scene/crib in the church at Christmas and keeping it in your purse or wallet, which is believed to bring financial prosperity throughout the year.
An Indian author, Suresh Padmanabhan, in his work, I Love Money, devoted a chapter to ‘Money rituals’ and wrote, “Take a currency note in your hand and wish it ‘Good morning.’ “Express gratitude to your wallet, accounts book, cash box, bank passbook, or any other tools connected directly to money. Smile at yourself in the mirror and pat yourself when you perform a task well.”
Some practitioners in western traditions also perform what they define as money spells/rites, which involve the invocation of spirits and archangels, drawing ritual circles, erecting a temple and an altar, and presenting offerings to ancient deities.
However, these rituals are often believed and practiced by religious groups on the fringes and are based on cultural paradigms that only allow clearly defined routes of financial access through hard work, lucrative business, and clever exploitation of market gaps.
Lamenting the lack of profitable skills available to Nigerian youths, a United Kingdom-based personal development coach, Mr Toyyib Adelodun, highlighted the need for popular magical ideas about money to be refuted.
“Nigerian youths need to understand that money is a unit of account to measure, therefore the more value you produce for the community, the richer you are supposed to be. So, the first thing a young person should seek is education and skills to earn money.
“Money is always circulating in an economy. It is the Central Bank of Nigeria that prints money, it doesn’t come from anywhere else. We saw a practical example of this recently when the CBN embarked on the naira redesign and there wasn’t enough money in circulation. So, there is no magic that is going to bring money from anywhere unless you offer your skills as a person of value.
“I have been to several countries in the world and I can see that money only comes from value creation. Unfortunately, Nigerian youths are not equipped with the relevant skills; we just go to religious houses to pray and sit back at home and don’t market skills or deliver an excellent service in order to generate wealth. We don’t have to resort to crimes,” he said.
Clerics urge re-orientation
A Senior Pastor at Christ Life Church, Ibadan, Prof. Wale Coker, told Saturday PUNCH the youth need a re-orientation that would see them embrace a new value system other than the present mad rush to become wealthy overnight.
“The scriptures state that ‘wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished, but he that gathers by labour shall increase’. Youths should be encouraged to walk in the fear of God which is the beginning of wisdom,” he added.
The National Missioner of the Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Shiekh, Abdur-Rahman Ahmad, stated, “All those who claim to be Muslims and Alfas that are involved in money rituals know within their hearts that they are doing something wrong and deceiving people.
“The reality is that there is no money ritual. It is not only against the letter and spirit of the laws of Islam but also against human conscience. Islam recognises only three sources of legitimate wealth: direct labour or hard work, inheritance, and a legitimate gift and this doesn’t mean a Greek gift or bribe or something induced.”
On her part, a traditionalist, Omitonade Ifawemimo, said, “There is no shortcut in Isese (traditional spirituality). If you don’t work, you won’t be wealthy. Nollywood and the fantasy it creates bears responsibility for the concept of money rituals.
“Human sacrifice for money rituals does not exist in Isese. It is fake, madness, and a scam! It’s tragic that Yoruba movies have messed up people’s thinking into believing all these lies.”
Osun State is one of Nigeria’s 36 states. It is located in southwestern Nigeria and with a population of about 5 million people it is Nigeria’s nineteenth most populous state (whereas it is the ninth smalles in area). The total population of Nigeria is an estimated 200 million people. Ogun State’s main ethnic group is Yoruba including Bolo, Igbomina, Ijesha and Oyo subgroups. Ogun State has a large Christian and Muslim population as well as people who are traditional believers. (webmaster FVDK)
Muslim Group Dissociates Members From Ritual Killings In Iwo Community
Organisation of Iwoland Muslims for Societal Responsibilities on Sunday dissociated its members from the spate of ritual killings and other criminal acts being carried out by some unknown persons in the town.
The group which condemned the inhumane act in a communique issued and signed by Sheikh Musakalimullah Olaitan after its meeting pointed out that if any Islamic clerics get involved, they should not be spared in facing the penalty.
He thereafter called on security agencies to fish out those that might have been responsible for the untoward acts and bring them to book.
“The security agencies should double their efforts in searching for the perpetrators of the past incidences in protecting future occurrences.
“The security agencies are hereby advised to ensure that identities of perpetrators are revealed, whenever they are caught and be punished accordingly, no matter how highly placed in the society.
“Members of the communities are also enjoined to work and cooperate with the security agencies in curbing this menace, by alerting the relevant authorities whenever evil men are suspected around their environments.
“Members of the organisation and indeed all religious leaders across Iwoland are by this release enjoined to always preach against the ritual and other gatherings in accordance with the teachings of Qur’an.”
Sheikh Musakalimullah added that preaching against the act should also be carried out all their respective mosques, schools and other gatherings in accordance with the teachings of Quran and sunnah.
“Also, the government and those in the judicial circle should not relent in righting all wrongs concerning the matter,” he stressed.
Security agents in Osun State, have been challenged to expose those behind ritual killings in Iwo town, regardless of their status, in a bid to stop the barbaric act.
This demand was made in Iwo town on Sunday by a group, the Organisation of Iwoland Muslims for Societal Responsibilities, at a press conference held at Iwo Central Mosque.
The group, in a communique signed by its Secretary, Sheikh Musakalimullah Abdlhadi, but read by Dr Abdulaziz Bello, also declared that killing for ritual henceforth should not be associated with Muslim clerics in the community, adding that a true believer would not engage in such activities.
The communique further read, “The organisation frowns at, and condemns the rampant and incessant act of ritual killings in Iwoland. We also frown on associating the evil act of the ritual killings with the Muslim clerics in Iwoland.
“The Organisation, therefore, calls on the security agencies to double their efforts in searching for the perpetrators of past incidences. The security agencies are by this release called upon to ensure that the identities of perpetrators are disclosed whenever any of such are caught and that they are brought to book, no matter how high in status, including any Islamic clerics involved.
“Members of the communities are also enjoined to work and cooperate with the security agencies in curbing this menace, by alerting the relevant authorities whenever any evil acts or evil men are suspected around.”
I must admit, frankly speaking, that I don’t know what to think after reading the following articles. I have no connection with the supernatural world. I find it hard to believe, but who am I to say that what Gbenga Maxwell Ajayi and Pa Muftau Lawal are telling is not true?
I invite readers who can advise me to contact me. I am eager to learn. (webmaster FVDK)
‘Their oracle rejected me’, says London-bound man abducted by ritualists in Lagos
Pa Muftau Lawal, father of the member of Osun State House of Assembly representing Ede North State Constituency, Adewunmi Kofoworola Babajide, has narrated how his abductors almost used him for ritual purposes.
According to Daily Post, Pa Lawal said that he was caught unawares on the day he was kidnapped in front of his house at Ede over a month ago.
Narrating his experience, the octogenarian said, “I was in front of my house in the evening when I saw these people in their numbers. They alighted from motorcycles and some children who were playing beside where I sat, ran away. Some of them said they should burn me alive while some said they should gun me down and I was already scared when one of them said they should pour petrol on me and set me alight.
“Not long after they left, another set of people came and immediately they alighted from the motorcycle, they ordered me to climb the motorcycle. I asked them where are you taking me to? One of them responded, ‘we are taking you to meet your son, Akogun’. Because of my age, my sight is already blurry, I couldn’t see clearly as we were going. But after a while, I noticed we were on the Ilesha route, because that’s my route when I was young.
“I asked again, where are you taking me to and the one behind me said ‘if you ask any question again, we will kill you here’. I stopped asking them questions. We were going at a high speed. Then, it was already dark, so I couldn’t see anything again.
“Later, we got to a place, there is a house there and I was asked to go inside. I met an old man with a boy, the man is a herbalist and he welcomed me. Those who carried me to the place left. I saw the herbalist as he consulted his oracle; after many incantations, the herbalist asked me if we have any deity in our family and I told him no, that we don’t have any deity but my wife family has one they do worship which is “Sango”– God of lightening. The herbalist now said, ‘I can see’ as he shook his head. Later, I noticed that he was calling those who brought me to him to come and carry me, that I can’t be used.
“Those who brought me didn’t answer and I was there for weeks before they came back six days ago around 3 am to carry me. As we were going in the middle of the night, I noticed that a car was coming behind us and not quite long, the motorcycle that they used to carry me stopped and I was asked to enter the car. It was the car that carried me to Lokoja in the morning.
“The car, which carried me, after getting to Lokoja, asked about any police station to present myself to them and explain how I got there, which I did. It was there in the station that they contacted some people in Osun to get my son’s phone number. They called him to inform him that I came to explain how I got to Lokoja. It was my son who arranged how I got back to Osun.”
Responding to if he was attended to by the Osun State police, Pa Lawal said he met with the Commissioner of Police, Olawale Olokode, who asked him questions and later asked one of his men to take his statement before he was asked to be taken to Ede.
He lamented that all he had was burnt down and that the only thing left for him was the attire he had on him, adding that it was a police officer in Lokoja that gave him a pair of sandals that he wore to Osun.
Recall that in August, controversies broke out in Ede when Pa Lawal’s son, Kofoworola Babajide, was accused of inviting police officers to harass and kill members of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during a ward meeting in Ede.
It was gathered that during the fracas that ensued, two persons were reportedly shot by a police officer. Meanwhile, the lawmaker has denied being behind the crisis. However, he declared his father missing and that his father’s house was burnt down.
The article below contains a number of interesting views – from various points of view – which throw light on the why and how of ritualistic murders and associated activities in Nigeria, commonly referred to as ‘money rituals’. It also mentions a number of recent ritual murder cases, some of them have been included in previous posts.
Personally I find the statement of a Catholic priest, Fr. Oluoma, perhaps the most convincing, simple as it was. He said that, had killing for money rituals been proven to have any form of potency, juju priests would have been on the World’s Richest Peoples list. Hilarious, simple, and convincing.
But another expert spoken to, the Chief Priest of Aroh Deity in Abagana community, Njikoka Local Government Area, Dr Paul Anieto, said that logic alone cannot explain the whole of life, including the accumulation of wealth.
Without mincing his words he stated that money rituals work. Nevertheless, he was quick to point out that there are various kinds of rituals for wealth.
According to the Aroh Deity Priest, some rituals involve the use of human body parts while others don’t. (…)
The native doctor clearly stated that he does not engage in the kind of money ritual that involves human body parts or blood, because it is criminal. Moreover, he said, it has deadly consequences for everyone involved: the instigator, the perpetrator, and the juju priest who executes the ritual.
Let’s hope he was sincere. (webmaster FVDK)
What we know about ritual killings for money, Juju priests, Imams, Pastors, others speak
• Money ritual real but there are consequences —Aroh Deity Priest • If money rituals have potency, juju priests would be on Forbes’ rich list —Fr. Oluoma … •Faulty parenting, poor education, bad governance driving youths to money rituals —Rev. Hayab … •Money rituals promoted by materialistic clerics – Sheikh Nuru Khalid … •Killing for money rituals, haram in Islam —Shi’ite cleric
These days, reports of certain killings in Nigeria, where the human body is decapitated and sensitive parts harvested are believed to be for ritual purposes. In some instances, especially, if the motive remains unclear, some people assume they must have been about money-making.
However, other people, including Christian and Muslim clerics, don’t believe in the efficacy of money rituals. By that, they mean there is nowhere in the history of humankind where anybody has made real cash appear through the means of magic. They simply describe such an idea as a mirage.
But the belief in the efficacy of money ritual killings continues to be rife, especially in a society like the Nigerian context where religion and the supernatural appear to be the opium of the people due to bewildering economic hardship and widespread poverty.
Investigations reveal that the ritual killings heighten around December and the year before general elections, because people need money to spend during the annual yuletide celebrations and other financially draining pre-election meetings and rallies.
As the gap between the rich and the poor; the haves and the have-nots widen across the country, the desperation to overcome the expanding class divide propel many citizens, particularly the youth demography to turn to the dark sides of the supernatural with the hope there will be a wealth redistribution in their favour through unseen support.
Recall the recent tragic drama in Ogun State where a 20-year-old lady, Sofiat Kehinde, was gruesomely murdered and her head severed for money ritual by four teenager suspects; Soliu Majekodunmi; 18, Wariz Oladehinde, 18; Abdulgafar Lukman, 19, and Balogun Mustaqeem, 20.
They conspired to kill Kehinde and played different roles in her murder. Her skull was severed in her lover’s( Majekodunmi) room after a passionate round of love-making.
Fortunately, the teenagers were apprehended by security men after they got wind that the boys were engaging in something sinister in a building located at Isale-Ijade, Oke-Aregba area of the State.
That is the nature of the Nigerian society where people, including kids who should be minding their studies and dreaming of a glorious future for themselves are pre-occupied with looking for metaphysical explanations to clarify otherwise simple phenomena of pervasive poverty in the land.
However, while some traditional religion practitioners speak of some fetish rituals some embark on for money-making, religious leaders, especially in Christendom and Islam agree to an extent that although life in general is guided by faith in the invisible, those who pursue wealth through the execution of any form of violent homicide are under an illusion, from a spiritual standpoint, that genuine help will come to them.
One of such clerics is Rev. Fr. Oluoma Chinenye John, a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja who commands a following of 689,903 people on Facebook alone.
If money rituals have potency, juju priests would be on Forbes’ rich list — Fr. Oluoma
According to the Catholic priest, had killing for money rituals been proven to have any form of potency, juju priests would have been on the World’s Richest Peoples list.
In an exclusive chat with Saturday Vanguard, he blamed society’s emphasis on material prosperity for the pressure felt by those, particularly youths who resort to voodoo to make money.
Fr. Oluoma also chided fellow preachers who promote the perception that financial “seed-sowing” in religious houses would translate into miracle wealth.
“Two things I want to say are: First, ritual killing for money is an illusion, it doesn’t work. If it did, the Babalawo (juju priest) who is paid to do the rituals would have done it for himself and be living large. Even the governments would have been using prisoners condemned to death for money rituals instead of wasting their blood by hanging or firing squads. It (money rituals) is an illusion like magic.
“Secondly, preachers of the gospel should stop the prosperity gospel, they should teach people the values of honesty, diligence, generosity and hard work. The emphasis on material prosperity puts pressure on people who resort to any means to make it,” Fr. Oluoma, who shepherds a congregation at St. John Mary Vianney Catholic Church, Trademore Estate, Lugbe Abuja, said.
Faulty parenting, poor education, bad governance leading youths to money rituals —Rev. Hayab
For Rev. John Hayab, the Vice Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the 19 Northern States and the FCT, nowadays many people including minors seek supernatural solutions to basic economic issues that could be resolved through education and logic partly because of bad leadership and the faulty upbringing of children.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard, the vocal preacher who is also the Country Director of Global Peace Foundation in Nigeria, also said people who traffic in stories of how supernatural power has prospered certain people do so largely to further mislead those who find it hard to accept that someone else can succeed through the ethics of hard work, prudence, and sheer ingenuity.
He said, “The way and manner many of our youths are deviating from moral values and embracing evil just to make money are dangerous for a peaceful future. There are many factors responsible for their going into ritual killings to make money instead of pursuing education that will lead them into researching and investing in science and technology.
“Other nations are doing well in these regard because they have laid a good solid foundation for both the educational, moral and spiritual growth of their nation and children.
“The Bible has admonished us to train a child in the way he should go so that when he grows old he will not depart from it (Prov 22: 6). So, what type of training and upbringing are many Nigerian children getting from parents, neighbors, and even leaders?
“Our society celebrates rich people without questioning the source of their wealth. Churches recognise the best-dressed worshippers and members with big cars not minding the source of all they flaunt around.
How will poorly brought-up children not think that money is everything and go after money anyhow just to be recognised and celebrated?
“Our society and our youths will reject the temptation of killing for money when parents bring them up in the fear of God and love for fellow human beings. Everyone should therefore take parenting seriously by helping to raised godly and responsible children.
“Also, the government must help to make sure our teeming youths have an equal opportunity like their counterparts around the world. A country where basic services are not available can make the youths who are not patient want to make money by all means just to afford some basic human needs.
“When you (government) give your youths poor education, they will use their half-baked knowledge to do wrong things. We should lead our youth by example.
“Likewise, faith leaders should preach sermons that will guide the young people right not misleading some of them with wrong definitions of prosperity. Prosperity is not just about having money. A healthy man, contented, and happy doing what he knows best for the glory of God and the good of all humanity even if he has not much cash in his account or pocket is a prosperous person.”
While there appears to be no logical link between wealth and rituals, the rising incidences of gory killings in our society by suspects who got into trouble with the law, because of their desperation for money are worrying and the society must be held to account for the phenomenon.
Money rituals promoted by materialistic clerics —Sheikh Nuru Khalid
The immediate past Chief Imam of the National Assembly Legislative Quarters’s Jum’mat Mosque, Apo, Abuja, Sheikh Muhammad Nuru Khalid who spoke to Saturday Vanguard from his location in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where he is currently observing the lesser Hajj, said the society has lost its sense of value; thereby, placing materialism above spirituality.
He also said that the ultimate goal of some people who engage in gruesome murders for money was the acquisition of political power in the country; stressing that greed also forms the basis of such gory killings.
Sheikh Khalid maintained that greed was condemnable not only in Islam, but in other religions.
The Islamic scholar, who also commands a mass following of 138,266 people on Facebook, stated: “We have to acknowledge that our society is in trouble. Values are lost. Gradually, we are becoming a valueless society. We glorify money and other forms of materialism above spirituality which is increasingly becoming absent in the mosques and churches.
“Materialism is taking the place of spiritualism in our preaching and actions, because the Imams and Pastors are less concerned about spiritual things. If you have a lot of money, you can garner a lot of respect in the society.
“Other issues responsible for the mad rush for money rituals are corruption and the get-rich-quick deceit. Our political system is also one of the factors fueling criminality in the form of money rituals, because without money, you don’t have power. People want money to acquire power. So, they are desperate in search money to reach the political position of power.
“But, if you put all these things together, they will tell you why all the religions are against greed. There are many verses of the Qu’ran and Hadiths of the Holy Prophet, cautioning people to desist from greed. That is why Islam is against inhuman activities that endanger lives, dignity, and the wealth of the common man.
“Above all, we need to do more to bring back the society to its normal sense, because abnormalities are becoming norms in our society.”
There is a telling example of this odd trend of abnormality becoming the norm in the story of 33-year-old suspected ritualist, Afeez Odusanya, who was arrested by operatives of the Osun State Security Network, codenamed ‘Amotekun’ for extracting teeth of dead bodies at a burial ground.
Odusanya, who said he did it for a money ritual when he was paraded at Amotekun command, Sabo area, Osogbo, disclosed he started his quest for money ritual in 2016 but it failed twice after extracting teeth from two different bodies in Sagamu, Ogun State.
Rather than accept that what he set out to achieve is impossible, the suspected money ritualist doubled down on his exhumation of buried corpse believing it would ultimately succeed if he added this and that to the process.
People like Odusanya have never seen the rituals translate into money or success, but they still attempt it anyway. By killing people, they get drawn into the relatively profitable trade in human body parts. They do not need to see it work; they just need to believe and start relating to the phenomenon as true.
Killing for money rituals, haram in Islam —Shi’ite cleric
But, a leading Muslim cleric of the Shi’ite sect in Sokoto caliphate, Sheikh Sidi Munir, maintains that tampering with the human body for ritual purposes whether efficacious or not is inglorious in Islam.
He, however, noted that the more killing for money ritual is hyped, the more people believe that others participate in it because it is perceived to be efficacious, and the more those who benefit in the trading of human parts oil the demand and supply chain.
In an exclusive interview with Saturday Vanguard, the Islamic cleric said: “In Islam, human dignity is a right given by God to all humans, who are referred to in the Qur’ân as God’s vicegerents on earth.
“Islam grants certain rights to humans before they are even born and others after their death. Whether dead or alive, the human body, created by God in the perfect shape, must be given dignity and respect.
“So, money ritual is condemnable in Islam, and the use of human body parts for making medicine, charms and amulet for any reason is haram (forbidden). It is unlawful in Islam to tamper with a human body, and a Muslim who persists in committing these kinds of rituals will find himself on a path that will eventually lead him into becoming a non-Muslim.”
On how to turn the minds of people, especially the youths from killings for money rituals, Sheikh Munir alluded to one of the Hadiths (traditions) to buttress the need for clerics to keep preaching repentance messages from the pulpits.
He said, “In one of the Hadiths of the Prophet Mohammad (SAW), a man was in the habit of digging up graves to harvest human body parts.
One day, he met a woman in a grave and had sexual intercourse with her. Afterwards, a great calamity befell him. He went to a Mallam who told him he would burn in hell fire, because his predicament was a result of his evil deeds.
“The distressed man seized the Mallam and killed him. Then, he went to another Mallam who told him that if he would repent of his sins, the Almighty God will forgive him and take away his reproach. The evil man turned away from his evil ways and became a good Muslim. So, as clerics, we need to keep preaching repentance always.”
Money ritual is real, but… —Aroh Deity Priest
Meanwhile, the Chief Priest of Aroh Deity in Abagana community, Njikoka Local Government Area, Dr Paul Anieto, told Saturday Vanguard that logic alone cannot explain the whole of life, including the accumulation of wealth.
According to him, to say there is nothing like money rituals is to say there is nothing like mysticism in life. He said that to stretch the logic of that denial, implies that there is nothing like God, because many believe that there is a mystical side to the nature of God.
He explained that there are Christians who believe in the transubstantiation of substances i.e. the transformation of forms, for instance, of the water and the wine into the body and the blood of Jesus Christ once they are consumed in the Holy Communion.
Chief Anieto without mincing his words stated that money rituals work. Nevertheless, he was quick to point out that there are various kinds of rituals for wealth.
According to him, some rituals involve the use of human body parts while others don’t. However, the blood of certain animals like rams, bulls, and birds are required.
The native doctor clearly stated that he does not engage in the kind of money ritual that involves human body parts or blood, because it is not only criminal, but also has deadly repercussions for all the parties – the wealth seeker, his collaborators, and the juju priest who executed the ritual – involved.
Dr Anieto said: “Some ignorant juju priest make use of human beings as sacrificial materials for money rituals and lucky charms. But this is not what the African culture teaches.
“Rituals are basically an intercession between the mundane and the spiritual. It is unfortunate that what we see today are so many committing various forms of dangerous and inhuman acts in the name of money rituals.
“I don’t engage in human money rituals and you can never see any real adherent of Odinnani (Igbo traditional religion) engage in money ritual, because “Ani” forbids the shedding of human blood. Violating this taboo comes with devastating consequences, because all deities in Igbo culture requires tooth-for-tooth and blood-for-blood.
“To accumulate wealth requires hardwork and business acumen. This is what Odinaani teaches but it is unfortunate that today’s youths lack this important virtue. They want to succeed at all costs, not minding who gets hurt in the process. They are ready to kill and sacrifice human beings for money rituals without considering the consequences of their action.
“There is prosperity charm which does not require the use of human beings or human parts but you must first have a mundane source of income to make it work. Do not be deceived into believing that there is a spirit that brings money for anyone out of thin air without a mundane source of income even in odious money rituals where human blood and body parts are involved.”
Above all, a professor of psychology at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Oni Fagboungbe, said rituals for both money and success exist only in the perception of the people.
He explained that for those who do money ritual, it is their faith that makes the ritual for money work for them and not the incantation or the ritual itself.
To him, it is the law of perception that is at work in cases of successful money rituals. If you perceive a situation as real, it becomes real. That is it. It is not the ritual that brings money, it is their mind and the attachment they give to it.
Fagboungbe decried the spate of ritual killings for money among the youths, and said there are several psychological laws that explain these behaviours.
According to him, “There is the Destalk psychology that says the part can never be better than the whole. The children cannot do something that is not rampant in their country.
“There is also what is called observational learning. This is the most active form of learning. These youths observe what goes on and imbibe it.
“Additionally, the law of effect says any stimulus that brings pleasure will be maximised and the one that brings pain will be minimised. These youth see the society. They see politicians commit crimes and they also see them get out of them and all sort of things. They see how the society eulogise and applaud dubious characters.
“So, there are no deterrent variables available. People do as they like and get away with it. You will hear Yahoo boys say that if they give money to the police, they will be let off the hook.”
While Christian and Muslim religious leaders attempt to undermine the phenomenon of money rituals by appealing to reason and by pointing out how illogical such a belief is, some analysts say that both logic and the law are powerless to serve as the basis of dissuading those who would not be dissuaded from their culturally perception of life and their place in it, because the irrational often trumps the rational in the real world.
Legal prosecution of suspect may have the power to nip in the bud any attempt at senseless killing in the name of seeking wealth, but people will keep believing what they want to believe about the efficacy of money rituals.
Therefore, to effectively tackle the obnoxious practice of money rituals in the society, the government must entrench the practice of good governance and do all it would take to pull the economy out of the doldrums that has widened the gulf between the rich and the poor in the country.
Ritual killing is real, herbalist speaks too
By Evelyn Usman
According to him: ‘ I inherited this trade from my late father. Before he died, he warned me never to indulge in any rituals that involves human blood. He told me that some of his professional colleagues died miserably because they practiced money rituals.
“He also told me one of them lost seven of his children after killing a virgin for money rituals. My job is to prepare concoctions with herbs and soap for cure of diseases that are planted into individuals by wicked people.
“Unfortunately, some of us who do legitimate business in this profession are not rich, when compared to those who are into money rituals. While they could be paid between N500,000 and N2 million naira depending on the outcome of the rituals, the legitimate herbalists may die without having N100,000 in bulk .
“Blood is potent for money ritual making. It has several types . But the only thing those patronizing herbalists who practice money rituals don’t know, is that one killing may never be enough. Killing of one person is just the introductory part. As long as the person wants to be rich, he would be sacrificing human beings to renew that evil covenant because the demon in charge of money always requires blood.
“Unfortunately, most people who patronize these herbalists don’t also know they are destined to be rich. These herbalists only demand human blood to fast track their predestined wealth”.
Some recent ritual killings —Lagos
A vivid instance was the murder of 24-year-old Precious Okeke, who just concluded her National Youth Service Corp. The unsuspecting lady had paid a visit to her fiancé ,Maxwell Njoku, at his Ajah , Lagos abode, only for her decomposing remains to be discovered in the apartment three weeks ago.
Report had it that her supposed fiancé allegedly killed her for money rituals, with an instruction by his herbalist to keep her body in the apartment for seven days, after which he would transform into a multimillionaire. Unfortunately, a curious neighbour traced the disturbing stench to the apartment before the expiration of the seven days .Another bizarre incident occurred at Araromi Street in the densely populated Oshodi area of Lagos, following the alleged killing of a mother of five by her husband for money rituals.
In this case, the suspect Sogei Jafairu, who hails from Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo state, was suspected to have poisoned his wife’s food and mistakenly ate it. While his wife did not survive it, he did and reportedly opened up on his deed.
Again in Lagos, One Sherifat Bello was arrested by the Police after he confessed to killing his wife and burying her remains in a shallow grave, for money rituals .
This barbaric act assumed a cannibalistic dimension following the arrest of a suspected kidnapper alleged to have killed one of his victims and used his intestines to prepare pepper soup in River State.
The suspect, Roland Peter, according to the Police in River State , abducted his victim from his house and was at the verge of eating pepper soup and yam porridge prepared with parts of the body of his victim’s when the police swooped on him and some accomplices.
Ogun State seems to be taking the lead in the report on killings for money rituals. Recently, three teenagers were allegedly caught burning the head of a girl they killed for money ritual purposes at the Oke Aregba area of Abeokuta in Ogun State.
The teenagers: Wariz Oladehinde, 17, and Abdul Gafar Lukman, 19, and the 20-year-old, Mustakeem Balogun, confessed during interrogation that the victim identified simply as Rofiat, was the girlfriend of one of them who was lured into their apartment, where they cut off their heads .
On why teenagers engage in money rituals remains a riddle to unravel.
Other arrests made by the Police in Ogun State involved Pastors and Islamic clerics allegedly involved in killings for money rituals.
There had been several other cases of killings for money rituals in the state .
In Enugu, the south-east region of Nigeria, the story is the same. A housewife, Mrs Ifebuchukwu Onyeishi narrated recently, how her husband, Chidi Onyeishi, a tricycle operator , in connivance with a nonagenarian Pastor, allegedly killed their seven-year-old son for a money ritual.
The list is endless, with the introduction of different devices to achieving the devilish act.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard, the General Overseer, Apply Praise Ministry International and Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Jakande /Bungalow district of Ejigbo, Pastor Segun Olatunde , said killings for money ritual did not just begin today, adding that he met the ugly phenomenon while growing up as a child.
Asked if it worked , he replied affirmatively . According to him: “Yes, it works for them. Because if it isn’t, people will not be indulging it in the practice . It has been for a long time . I recall as a growing child , our parents warned us never to accept anything from strangers, especially when going to school.
Today, there are different versions of it. Some use human parts to prepare charms , while others use the parts to enhance their business. For some, it is to attract money and favour, to them. It is mysterious, just as money is mysterious and answers to blood.
“Recently some persons were arrested while they were burning some human parts to prepare charms for money rituals. I don’t know how they do it but those arrested said they were burning the human hand for money rituals. For some, the money must be spent in a day, for new ones to come and failure to finish it that day attracts dire consequences.
Killing humans does not guarantee being rich — Ifa Priest, Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon
By Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
A foremost traditionalist and Ifa priest, Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon has said that killing human does not guarantee being rich stressing that many spiritualists that embark on it are actually living a miserable life.
According to the renown Ifa Priest, “money ritual is in two ways, first, the popular gruesome killing of human with a view to using their body parts for money is more of magical than ritual. Over the years of my being a priest, I have never seen or heard any Ifa corpus about killing human for money rituals. It is not a certainty but magical. Many of the spiritualists involved in the illegality are themselves poor.
“If it is certain that once you kill someone and severe body part, mix it with certain things you start getting money, why are the herbalists still poor? Many of those caught after perpetrating the killings and used the body parts still complained that it didn’t work for them. So, it is not ritual but magic. Ritual is what you do regularly to sustain a level of flow of spirituality. In Yoruba tradition, the money ritual does not involve killing humans. It is called ‘Awure’, ‘Osole’. It involves mixing natural materials to enhance business and getting favours, it does not involve killing humans, it may involve using goats, pigeon etc. Those who are responsible for the act are mostly Muslim and Christian clerics. The records are always clear, most of those arrested by police and even paraded are either pastors of Church or Muslim clerics. “To stop the menace, parents must be responsible and train their children in the way of God. We must return to our values, placing integrity above materialism. Parents must be responsible for their children’s welfare and they should not be expecting their children to pay house rent and feed the family. Also, religious leaders must stop giving respect or title to those with questionable wealth. We must collectively eliminate the menace in our society. Killing humans does not guarantee being rich.
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.
NB: Message from The editors, Daily Trust, Nigeria: Dear Reader, Every day, we work hard to provide readers such as you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive information. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we’re asking that you support us to do more. Your support means that Daily Trust can keep offering journalism to everyone in the world. See the link included in the source mentioned below to sign up to become a member. (webmaster FVDK)
Nigeria is in shock. Professor Wole Soyinka, the famous Nigerian playwright, novelist, poet, and essayist in the English language is in shock too. This is not a small thing. Wole Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta, nowadays the state capital of Ogun State in southwest Nigeria. The now 87-year old Wole Soyinka was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature, the first sub-Saharan African to be honored in that category.
Read below what this famous Nigerian has to tell, how he feels about his government, the state of the nation, in particular the widespread and at random killing for ritual purposes: ‘money rituals’.
I have nothing to add (FVDK).
Wole Soyinka: State of the Nation: I have been under shock over kidnappings, ritual killings
Published: March 25, 2022 By: The Citizen, Nigeria
Nigerian playwright, Professor Wole Soyinka said that he has been under a state of shock for the kidnapping of Nigerian students and also described the state of the country as an unconcerned attitude of people and deliberation of the government.
Soyinka said this at a lecture, titled; ‘The Politics of Black Intellection and Creativity, at the University of Pennsylvania, United States on Tuesday.
The poet was asked some questions about the rate of banditry, kidnappings of Nigerian Students, and the current situation in Nigeria by Prof. Wale Adebamwi of the Department of African Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
Also speaking, Prof. Adebamwi said the people and the government have not given enough on the current challenges and he blamed both for the quagmire.
Soyinka said, “I have been under a state of shock for a couple of decades. So it was time I took my revenge and hopefully shock our people just for exchange.”
Soyinka also criticized the protests in Ile Ife about the appointment of the newly Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Adebayo Bamire who is not an indigene of the town.
In his words, he urged the government to deal with the people behind the protest at OAU and also stated that he never thought of what is happening in Nigeria.
“Things have been happening I never thought I would witness. Take for instance the kidnapping of those children under the guise of religion. More than 300 school pupils were kidnapped from a school, where we put them there to take their examination, going about our business, raise their school fees and they disappeared completely.
“People saw them going. They saw them being kidnapped. The lackadaisical response of the government at the time was a shocker. But it wasn’t just Boko Haram alone. It isn’t just ISWAP (Islamic State in West Africa Province, a splinter of Boko Haram – webmaster FVDK). It is what has been happening just among the generality of people – killing for ritual purposes.
He said, “you wake up, somebody has disappeared, the body is found, the vital organs removed. People kidnapping for ransom every day. Pick up the papers. This has been going on for decades. So, It’s been going on for a very long time. And we are pretending that this is not happening.” (italics mine – webmaster FVDK)
”I stated one time that anytime anybody is kidnapped in any state, let us shut down that state immediately until that person is recovered. It has reached that point that abnormal measures are imperative. It is no longer a choice. And yet the government continues to roll on.
He also asked that “what exactly is ideology all about? It is about humans. The human is at the basis of all ideologies. So this has been going on for a long time. It is overwhelmingly making one feel impotent useless, staining what one thinks one has been able to achieve in terms of contribution to humanity
“We have now to tackle that painful question: What is human? Somebody capable of taking another being, slaughtering that person because you want to make money, whatever the circumstances are. Is that human? (italics mine – webmaster FVDK)
“Let’s consider those who brutalize children, those who take children and sell them into slavery, which is what Boko Haram, ISWAP, and the others have been doing. Are these human? Isn’t it about time we taught all those souls about the human race?
“We better start investigating thoroughly that question: Just what is human? Once upon a time of course people tried to define it along with race, color, religion, gender, etc. No. Now we must really get down to basics and then when we have a sort of lowest common denominator of what constitutes humanity, we must be brave enough to know how to deal with those I have so identified If they are in a position of power,” Soyinka said.
Recently, I posted on this site a large number of ritual murder cases in Nigeria. For this reason I wished to draw the readers’s attention to other African countries where similar crimes are being committed. However, these days Nigeria is making headlines which one cannot ignore. The number of ritual murders in Africa’s most populated country can no longer be counted – if that ever was the case. In my research and reporting on ‘money rituals’ in Nigeria – as ritualistic killings are commonly called in this West African country – I already experienced that I could hardly cope with the fast rising number of reported ritualistic murders committed by Yahoo boys, Yahoo Plus boys and whatever the names are that are given to these criminals who have no respect for a human life.
The below article by Hakim Jamiu is a cry to end these gruesome practices. She offers a grim insight in the recent spate in ritual murder cases in Nigeria, a devastating picture, and sketches a possible explanation for these practices which are based on superstition and fed by greed. I recognize a number of cases she mentions, some are notorious cases, whereas I am always unpleasantly surprised to learn about more ritual murder cases hitherto unknown. She does not have to dig deep to unveil ritual murder cases in nine states: Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Kwara, Lagos, Plateau, Rivers, Ogun, Ondo, Osun. I can without much effort add nine more states. Also see my previous posts on Nigeria (click on the category African countries in the top bar and select Nigeria in the drop down menu thus appearing).
I have repeatedly mentioned on this site that Nigeria ranks Number One in ritual murder cases in Africa. The following article confirms this sad conclusion. (FVDK)
Nigeria: a harvest of ritual deaths
Published: March 17, 2022 By: Hakim Jamiu – The Cable, Nigeria
Nigeria is fast gaining notoriety as a country of ritualists with stories of ritual killings daily reported in the traditional and social media. The latest of this cannibalistic atrocity is the gruesome murder of 22-year-old Oluwabamise Ayankole who was abducted after boarding a Lagos state government-owned Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) bus and was later murdered and had parts of her body removed which confirmed the suspicion that she may have been killed for ritual purposes. Bamise, who was on her way home from work, was thereafter tossed out of the BRT Bus at Ebute Ero. Bamise, according to eyewitnesses, was still alive after she was tossed out of the vehicle at the Ebute Ero bridge but she gave up the ghost because she did not get help on time. Social media was awash with her last chat and video expressing fears for her safety inside the desolate BRT bus in which she and another lady and three men were the only occupants. As if she knew, her instinct warned her of the danger ahead but she was helpless. Murder in a BRT bus which is expected to be one of the safest means of transportation owned by the government of Lagos state is a sacrilege.
Bamise’s gruesome murder is only an addition to the harvest of deaths by ritualists in the last few weeks across Nigeria. While many Nigerians are yet to grapple with the shock of the gruesome beheading of Sofiat Kehinde, a 17-year-old girl in Abeokuta by four ritualists between ages 18 and 20, the murder of Bamise sent shock waves to all as anybody’s child, relative or friend could be the next victim. Late last year in Ado Ekiti, a seven-year-old girl, Demilade was sent on an errand by her mother four houses away but the little girl disappeared immediately and all efforts to find her proved abortive until her corpse was found in a pastor’s house the following day! Timothy Adegoke checked into a hotel in Ile-Ife to write his postgraduate examinations but he never came out alive as he was murdered overnight and buried some metres away from the hotel. The proprietor of the hotel is currently standing trial!
In Ogun state, a woman connived with her husband to kill her visiting friend and dismembered her. The remains of the victim were later found in a bucket in the couple’s room. A ritual killer, Timothy Odeniyi who was arrested by Amotekun Corps in Ondo state confessed that he used to harvest human parts at burial grounds which he sells to his clients. In Jos, 20-year-old Moses Oko killed Jennifer, a student of the University of Jos and removed some of her body parts. In Ikorodu, Lagos state, a suspected internet fraudster (Yahoo+), 32-year-old Afeez Olalore killed his younger brother for ritual purposes. In Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, Uduak Akpan, a serial ritual killer killed 20-year-old Iniobong Umoren, a job seeker and buried her in a shallow grave. In Ilorin, Kwara state, a next-door neighbour allegedly murdered a groom-to-be for ritual purposes.
In 2019, Nigerians were alarmed about the arrest of one of Nigeria’s notorious ritual killers called Gracious David West in Port Harcourt who confessed to having killed at least 15 women for ritual purposes. In November 2019, one-year-old boy Eniola Kolawole was declared missing at Sotitobire Miracle Centre, Akure, Ondo state and has not been found till today. Irate youths set the church ablaze but the pastor who had been on trial has since been discharged and acquitted. One Shakirat was murdered in Iwo, Osun state and her body was dumped behind her mother’s shop with some of her parts missing!
It is an understatement to say that Satan has taken over our affairs completely as cases of ritual killings keep rising by the day! The question now is, are rituals for money-making real? Perhaps this is why the Nigerian-American media scholar, newspaper columnist and activist, Farooq Kperogi while bemoaning the unending spate of ritual murders in Nigeria argued, “the only solution lies in the liberation of Nigerians from stupid, backward, unproductive and murderous superstitions. The witch doctors who tell people to bring the body parts of murdered people to make them rich are often one of the most wretched people you can find on earth. If money rituals were real, they would be wealthy and won’t let anybody in on the secret”. Not many people agree with the view of Kperogi because if money-making rituals do not exist, why is ritual killing on the increase across the country? There have been many unverifiable variants and anecdotes concerning how money rituals work especially among yahoo boys which is called Yahoo plus. There is a type whereby ebora (a spirit) will bring the money to the yahoo boy after necessary sacrifices with human parts have been done. There is another type that will make the victim, usually, a foreigner obey whatever the yahoo boy says including sending millions of dollars on request. There is yet another type that involves using the pant of a woman. The pant, as they say, will fetch the ritualist a lot of money. It is not only yahoo boys that are into the ritual killing but they may have influenced others who are not into internet fraudsters to kill for rituals because of the belief that it is working for them. Some yahoo boys even go to the extent of eating human faeces, having spiritual baths in broad daylight at a public place, appearing only in pants in broad daylight to withdraw money from ATMs and so many bizarre and silly things!
The question remains, how much is ritual killing giving those involved in it that is worth the desperation of taking the life of a fellow human being? Definitely, it cannot give billions because many of the Yahoo plus boys even get broke after about three to six months while some go mad! So what’s the need for ritual killing? Apart from Yahoo boys, there are reports of a well-organised clientele of ritual killers which means that not all who are involved in ritual killing directly use the human parts but they are agents of some powerful personalities who buy the parts from them. There are reports that human parts markets exist in some areas of Lagos. It is also ridiculous that human life has been so reduced to nothingness that a human head is sold for as low as N20,000. Research also shows that many people who seek power and wealth like politicians and businessmen also use human parts for charms for good fortune and for fortification against real and perceived enemies! I wish to remind this group of politicians and businessmen that the greatest fortification and blessings come from God who is the custodian of power and fortune.
The underlying factor responsible for the present malaise is desperation on the part of our young ones who are eager to get rich quick. There is unprecedented moral bankruptcy and total collapse of family values of hard work, honesty and integrity. We should go beyond lamentations and take drastic actions. We must dig into the root cause of this barbaric act and approach it from there. What we are seeing are symptoms rather than cause. Our society has been sold to the dogs and many souls sold to the devil, the result is what is confronting us. A 17-year-old wanting to ride the latest automobile sold for millions of naira, not through any work but by any means. Society celebrating any rich person not minding the source of his or her wealth is responsible for the present madness. Images of boys displaying wealth on social media and messages that all that matter is money and the message is sinking fast and spreading like wildfire!
In one of the videos that circulated on the social media, a boy was asked if he could use her mother for rituals, he didn’t hesitate before saying yes as long as he will be rich! That’s what our society has turned to! We are breeding monsters and heartless beings who would not mind going to any length just to be rich! A child who would not blink an eyelid before killing his own mother for rituals would kill anybody without thinking about it! It is such a pity! It is common these days to find human head in a cellophane bag carried by a teenager sitting next to you in a bus! Human parts have become very common like animal parts ! It is such a shame that we have become a cannibalistic society! It is now normal to suspect the man or woman sitting next to you in a public place as a ritualist! It is that bad!
Beyond lamentations that have not helped, we must all resolve to end this monster that is threatening to consume all of us. Nobody is immune from ritual death. Bamise and other victims of ritual killings must not die in vain. Now that the driver of the BRT bus and his cohorts have been apprehended, their trial must be swift and transparent. Cameras must be installed in all BRT buses that would be monitored at a base station and on no account must this be switched off by any BRT driver.
The national and state houses of assembly should begin to work on laws to empower special courts to try ritual murder cases with stiffer penalties. Everybody must be vigilant and we must de-emphasise material wealth in our society while the source of wealth of emergency millionaires and new kids on the block must be questioned and such characters ostracized by the rest of the society as it was the practice on the days of yore when there was sanity.
We must say no to ritual killings! We are neither animals nor vampires! Even animals don’t kill themselves senselessly as we are witnessing presently!
In the following article a grim picture is being painted of the widespread occurrence of ritualistic practices in Nigeria, based on the belief in the supernatural, superstition, and with the main objective of ‘getting-rich-quick’. These ritualistic practices may take different forms, varying from internet fraud to human sacrifice. It is being recognized that most ritual murder cases ‘escape the headlines’.
Warning: some readers may be shocked by the graphic details of the heinous crimes committed (FVDK).
Inside the scary world of Nigeria’s ritual money pandemic
Published: February 7, 2022 By: Business Hallmark, Nigeria
A few days ago, a video of three young boys captured conveying python in a travel bag in Owerri, Imo State trended on social media. The boys who were caught at Aladinma Housing Estate on January 26, upon interrogation, admitted to being Yahoo boys who got the live snake for money ritual purposes.
Stories such as the above, have become common in Nigeria where the belief in the supernatural is an integral part of the social fabric. From poverty to wealth; from life to death and everything in-between, nothing happens without a reason. And a new rave of money ritual is currently sweeping across the country’s landscape, intertwined with the menace of internet fraud.
It’s a world ruled by blood, sacrifice and death; a world in which young men, sometimes as young as 15, do unspeakable evil in the belief that money is made from performing human sacrifices, and for the most part, they escape the headlines.
Internet fraud, or simply Yahoo-Yahoo, took root in Nigeria with the emergence of the internet and its prevalent use from around 2005/06. It was when a new crop of big boys known as Yahoo boys began to emerge; young men who defrauded mostly European and Americans in love scams, with Benin as a hub.
But soon it spread, like wildfire, across the country, and graduated from mere posing as American soldier in Afghanistan, a widower in desperate need for life partner, etc, to full blown ritualism, hacking and fraudulent investment schemes, all of which are ecaplulated in a term known as Yahoo Plus (Yahoo+) or G+.
Fortnight ago, two teenage boys, Soliu Majekodunmi (18) and Mustakeem Balogun (19) were caught while boiling the head of a 17-year-old girl, Sofiat Kehinde, at Oke Aregba area of Abeokuta, Ogun State. They confessed to have murdered her for ritual purposes, an incident that jolted many Nigerians. But it’s not an isolated incident.
About the same time, 32-year-old suspected internet fraudster, Afeez Olalere who was arrested by operatives of the Lagos State Police Command, confessed that his mother encouraged him to kill his younger brother for money rituals.
“My mother took me to a herbalist who told me if I want to be successful in the yahoo business, I will have to sacrifice one life and that person must be a sibling to mine,” he had said, revealing that his mother encouraged him to kill his 21 year-old brother which he did with the help of a poison.
According to him, his brother died 20 minutes after consuming the poison and he went ahead to harvest the required body parts while the remains was wrapped and headed to a mortuary.
“The things he would need to prepare a concoction with are his thumbs, his hair, fingers and a passport photograph, he narrated. “So, we went back home and thought about it, then my mother suggested that we use my younger brother since he is just 21 years old.”
Stories of ritual murder have become weekly occurrence, driven by internet fraud which has become a whole industry, steeped in blood and human sacrifice. Some accounts of which are traumatising. In the East, there is an emerging ritual trend known variously as Okeite, Awelle and so on, in which young men, sometimes teenagers, perform blood sacrifices for money.
The deities, our correspondents learnt from different accounts, keep demanding such things as goats, cows and even humans as sacrifice, from time to time. And once one is in, there is no way out.
“Young people who are supposed to be the leaders of tomorrow now engage in unimaginable crimes just to become millionaires overnight,” lamented Ben Bruce, former senator in a tweet at the weekend. What has suddenly gone wrong with young people who now believe that rituals involving human blood will make them rich? So many Nigerians go missing daily, and while many are never found. Some are found dead with body parts missing. We must work to stop this trend. The narrative that poverty and unemployment get young people into ritual killings must not be accepted.”
Mostly at the receiving end of the menace are young girls who are lured with money and used for ritual through sex. The practice according to many accounts, is that the ritualists deposit their sperms into the unsuspecting girls who either become barren for the rest of their lives or rot away gradually.
“I have a cousin that was used,” Ope Folorunsho, an artisan in Ojodu, Lagos, confirmed to our correspondent upon inquiry. “The girl lives at Alagbole now with her parents. She is just in her early 20s, but she no longer sees her period. Her parents have done everything possible, gone to different hospitals, to no avail. When they finally decided to seek solution in traditional way, they were told that she had been used for ritual and that she won’t be able to give birth in her life. Her friends told me that she dated a Yahoo boy who bought her iPhone 11 Pro Max.”
Another account has it that some would deposit sperms into women whose body gradually rot away as they make money. Last week, a twitter user, Afam, @AfamDeluxo, who has been raising awareness about the menace of ritual money in the Southeast, shared the story of a friend whose 18-year-old cousin, was used.
“During my bachelors night, one of my friends that did Okeite came. He paid for seven fishes which was about N40,000 and bought two cartons of Heineken. We where all drinking and I was surprised he had already paid for things which we haven’t even eaten,” the victim’s uncle narrated.
“And it was about 11pm in the night. All of a sudden my cousin’s sister left. I didn’t see her until morning. She didn’t partake in the bridal shower. When I saw her in the morning and asked her where she went, she said she went out with my friend that bought the fish. Summary of the story: My cousin sister is fighting for her life now. From one dibia to another.
“On the 4th of Jaunary when I went for a wedding in my villa, I told the father what happened on my bachelors night. That maybe they should find a good man of God to pray for her. The father said that one native doctor said that it has already gotten deep and that it will take a lot for her to revive. The native doctor also said she was used for ritual.
“She is currently in Kogi. She is just 18 years. I warned this girl not to go out unless she wants to go to her room or like to sleep. The plot twist of the whole matter is that the elder brother contacted the guy that used her sister and asked him to show him the way. The guy gave him N1 million and sent location to him.”
In late January, the Osun State police command arrested two ritualists, Ayodeji Saheed and Tunde Obadimeji, who had allegedly murdered a young woman in a hotel. The hotel management had suspected foul play when the victim screamed twice and after that, no noise was heard again from the room.
According to the management when the two men were about going, they were asked to be escorted back to the room to see if everything was fine and why the girl they came with wasn’t leaving with them. When they returned to the hotel room, they met the lifeless body of the young woman with vital organs already removed from her body.
Upon interrogation, the two men confessed to murdering the lady for ritual. According to them, it was not their first. They admitted to having killed as much as 70 women as they specialized in getting female parts and one Abefe Sadiq who pays them N600,000 for each part.
Asked how they get these girls, they said, “getting the girls was so easy. We lure them with money and fancy things.”
There is yet another dimension. Our investigations revealed that some travelled all the way to Uzo Uwani in Enugu State where they bury live cow.
“They go to a place to go to in Uzo Uwani,” a source familiar with the practice confided on our correspondents on the condition of anonymity. “When you go there, you get a form for $1000. And after that, the conditions will be tabled before you, which include burying a live cow. If you are ready, you proceed. Burying the cow will have implications, of course. It cannot be for nothing. Some other things that are more grave may happen.”
Asked how money is made after the sacrifice, the source said, “The money doesn’t just drop for them like that. The thing is that when you have clients, the client will respond.
“You know, what they do is more of binary. You invest money and they pay you back the money with interest, till they build your confidence and when you pay huge money, they will block you,” he explained.
“They set up all these ROI schemes; these fake investment schemes. They front websites that are very neat. The victims won’t have an idea that it’s fake. Initially, they make sure they pay back the investments, most of them, even when they are broke, will borrow to make sure they pay their clients so that they can reinforce their confidence.
“They know that the money will still come back. If they pay 100 people for example, 60 will reinvest in a bigger way. Some of them start with small amount, the scammers will keep paying them back. With time, they will become confident that the scheme is real and probably take a loan to invest, then they will block everything and go with the money.
“The way they set up the website, you will never know they are Nigerians. They use UK phone lines, and most of them have mastered British and American accents. I think there is also an app they use to change their tones. So, when they speak to you, you won’t know they are not British or Americans.
“If you go to their pages, of course, everything about them is different. They have foreign accounts. Those who don’t have foreign accounts have people who collect the money for them. There are people who work as intermediaries. They accept money on their behalf, take their own percentage and send the rest to them in Nigeria.”
Mr. Maxwell Odum, the CEO of MBA Investment Company which swindled billions of naira out of unsuspecting investors, among many other similar schemes, comes to mind. Yet, determined to find out more about this ritual, our correspondent contacted a traditionalist, Eze Gbankiti, who shed more light into the practice.
“Burying life cow is tantamount to killing a human being,” he said. “I know some of my colleagues who accept to do it, but I don’t engage in such practice because it’s evil. It’s not just a cow, some use ram or cat. Once you bury a live cow, ram or cat, someone must die in the family of the person doing the sacrifice.” The traditionalist further explained that such ritual can indeed bring money, but that there will eventually be consequences.
“If you do that, money will come to you,” he said. “As with the Yahoo boys, they will get clients and the clients will respond to them. But it’s blood money.”
It’s worsening. By many accounts, the ritual fraudsters currently recruit young boys who they compel to swear an oath of allegiance, as apprentice.
“Our moral values are perverted and upturned right before our eyes, even as an evil and quite frightening norm is being set as the new normal,” lamented Evangelist Elliot Uko, founder of Igbo Youth Movement in a piece sent to our correspondent.
“Time-tested values of obedience, hard work, patience, diligence and respect, are discredited and mocked at, even as the new culture of get-rich-quick by all means slowly takes over our land. Every discerning citizen is scared of tomorrow. The values we are setting today as standard, will certainly destroy our tomorrow. We are unwittingly destroying our future by encouraging EGO NBUTE.
“All over our land, in recent years, self-appointed wizards, sorcerers and occultic masters, establish emergency solution ministries, where they assure young men and women, that drowning rams and goats in the stream, while bathing naked with Indian incense, perfume and coloured candles under the supervision of the Prophet or Prophetess, will turn them into instant multi millionaires in few months or even weeks.
“These Psychics and mediums of powers of darkness brainwash these hapless, naive and very gullible young folks, that their fortunes will magically turn around for good in less than no time, once these humiliating rituals are performed. They sometimes pressure their mugus to make promises of buying and donating cars in gratitude to the man or woman of “god”, immediately great door of financial explosion occur in their lives.
“These have become an epidemic, overtaking mkpuru nmiri addiction, as the number one social crisis ravaging our land. They exploit social media to advertise their ‘wonderful’ powers, to hoodwink their victims. It’s catching on like wild fire. The hard times we are in, and grave joblessness in the land probably accentuated the madness.”
EFCC Part of the Problem
Though Nigeria’s anti corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has continued to present itself as fighting the menace of internet fraud by, among other things, posting photographs of suspected fraudsters on their various social media platforms, as well as routinely invading hotels in search of the fraudsters, our investigation revealed something different.
Many sources, including lawyers who have served as counsel to accused fraudsters and the fraudsters themselves told our correspondents that officials of the anti corruption agency routinely collect bribes and destroy cases of arrested suspects, which according to them, partly explains why the menace is not abating.
They alleged further that the night raids at hotels and the publishing of names of suspected fraudsters on social media are all part of media propaganda to present a different image of themselves to the public.
“EFCC knows all those things. What happens is that when they succeed and money comes in, often huge sums of money, the bank will flag it and EFCC will probe the account and start tracking the person,” an Enugu based lawyer who has worked as a counsel for a number of the fraudsters told our correspondent on condition of anonymity to avoid being victimized.
“Of course, they know where almost all of them are living. Whenever they want to take any of them, they will just go there and pick them,” he said.
“The point is that those guys make EFCC officials rich. It’s a racket. Those EFCC guys don’t even touch their salaries. Apart from probably NNPC and FIRS, that EFCC is the most lucrative agency of the federal government. I tell you, they even make more money than those working with FIRS.
“They have really damaged that anti corruption fight. If you go there and see what is going on, you will lose confidence in this country. What they do there is just plea bargaining. That’s why, as they are arresting people every day, people are still jumping into it. They know that all they simply need to do is to pay bribe when they are caught. And that makes things cumbersome for those of us in the legal profession.
“For instance, there was a time we had some clients to defend. We reached an agreement about our legal fees, but at the end of the day, the EFCC people went behind, collected money and damaged the case.
“There was another case we had in Awka. When it was time for hearing, the EFCC guys said that there was no flight from Enugu to Awka. Has there been any flights from Enugu to Awka? The case had to be stood down for another one hour, after which it was adjourned to another date. It could be that the person who the case was against had already paid, so the EFCC could just be employing delay tactics.”
Another lawyer who also craved anonymity said, “The runs they do in that agency is terrible. I hope that one day, someone will open that can of worms. That place is nothing. It is probably the most corrupt establishment in this country. If you work there for six months, you would have started riding any car of your choice. One Yahoo boy you get can pay you huge amounts of money.
“There was one day we were at a hotel called Ntachi, one G-guy brought a Ghana-Must-Go bag filled with money and dumped it inside the booth of an EFCC guy and afterwards, they all went up to eat.
“Those guys are more guilty than the people they are arresting. Forget all those media trials they are doing. It’s just show. They are not doing anything there. The only thing is that when government is interested in a case, they will pursue it. Then if you are not complying, they will will take your picture and publish and then parade you up and down, just like what SON does to manufacturers or importers who don’t settle them.
“They may bring your goods, burn it and bring the media to cover it. It’s just nonsense. But once you are complying, you won’t have a problem. Even if your case is already with them, they can take out the case file and burn it. They will arrange for you to even leave the country. Whenever they need your attention, you can come into the country again.
“That’s why, sometimes, they will tell you that this person’s passport has been seized, but you will see the person in the United States the next day. The rot there is nauseating. It’s just business. They only take your case seriously when you are not complying. They use you as a scapegoat just to give the impression that they are working.”
Speaking of the ritual practice that drives the Yahoo industry, he said, “From the ritual point of view, it’s made me to be careful about everybody. I’m scared of human beings these days. The whole thing is just assuming the ugliest of dimensions. The one videoed at Imo State where people shit and eat it is sad.
“People can argue logically that there is no way ritual can bring money. That is true within the context of logic. But if it doesn’t bring money, they won’t be going into it. That you don’t believe in God, for example, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t exist. His existence is not dependent on whether or not you believe.
“The ritual thing works for them, whether we agree or not. What I heard is that when they are done with that, they can command those people to pay them and they will comply. It’s not unlikely that it doesn’t work, because you see them making a lot of money doing those scams. And typically those who do those rituals are mostly those who make money in the business.”
When contacted by our correspondent to comment on the allegations, EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwajeren, asked that the questions be forwarded to him in a WhatsApp message for him to respond. Our correspondent obliged, but he failed to respond after reading the message.
In the following report the author describes ugly incidents caused by cults in Nigeria. Many of these activities, sometimes outright crimes, haven’t anything to do with this site’s focus.
Many cultists are not criminals. But it’s not always innocent and pleasure. As explained in the article below, there also exists a relation between these cults and ritual killings.
The Field Commander of Amotekun in Osun State, Amitolu Shittu, recently stated that – in his view – cultism is a lawless organization that should not be allowed: ‘(…) We must tackle them with force. Cultists are more or less the supporter of ritual killing and it must not be allowed in our society.”
He further accused cultists of being engaged in robbery, kidnapping, and ritual killing. He warned that “he who kills with swords shall also be killed with the swords.” (webmaster FVDK)
Cultism: Concerns as politicians, students, others glamorize groups’ activities
A few weeks before he was attacked by suspected cultists for refusing to join their gang, Oke Ademiju, a final year student of Political Science at Osun State University, UNIOSUN, was set to write his final papers as a Political Science student.
Ademiju, according to eyewitnesses, was attacked with cutlasses, stones and thereafter set ablaze by his assailants before residents came to his rescue.
His school’s official account said, “Oke Ademiju Victor kept shouting that he was not going to join any cult but his assailants continued to pummel him with cutlasses, hard stones and even attempted to set him ablaze, partially succeeding until he was rescued.”
While his mates have graduated from the University, Ademiju could not write his final papers as he was bedridden due to the cult attack.
However, many said the aspiring political scientist is lucky to be alive since many like him have died or have been maimed for life for daring to reject the daredevil cultists’ proposal.
Only recently, a child of 12 years, Sylvester Oromoni, was attacked in his hostel for allegedly refusing to join a cult gang in a secondary school.
Many lives have been lost in clashes between rival cult groups over supremacy battle. Cult groups often count the number of deaths recorded by a gang as a sign of superiority, discarding life of all its values.
Now, some parents hesitate to send their children to boarding schools or even higher institutions for fear that their wards may be forcefully initiated into cult groups.
Keen watchers of the education system have also listed bullying, drug dealing, prostitution as some of the crimes to checkmate in Nigerian schools.
A recent investigation published by the BBC Africa Eye accused cult groups of masterminding illegal activities.
The report showed that many brutal killings and armed robberies in Nigeria were traced to dreaded groups such as The Neo-Black Movement of Africa (also called Black Axe); Eiye Confraternity; The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrate Confraternity); Vikings Confraternity; Brothers Across Nigeria (BAN) or National Association of Sealords also known as Buccaneers Confraternity and others.
This is the extent the threat of cultism has risen in recent times across the country.
Analysts say cultism has been unfortunately promoted as charity and humanitarian organisations, making it appealing to young people who are hoping to get connections or meet their benefactors.
Allegedly, prominent persons including politicians and celebrities in Nigeria, have been linked to violent cult clashes that have resulted in hundreds of unsolved murders in Nigeria. Till date, none has been indicted or arrested.
Artisans are not left out of the trend. In fact, they appear to be the only ones who are perpetrating most of the violence.
Even street urchins have taken over cult groups originally thought to be the preserve of university undergraduates.
In 2020, a 32-year-old Kabiru Ahmed, a tailor, who was described as cool-headed and compassionate, was arrested by the Anti-Cultism Unit of the Lagos State Police Command and confessed to killing four members of a rival cult group.
Ahmed was the hitman of the infamous Black axe (Aiye) confraternity. The cultist said the killing of his ‘Babalawo’ led to a killing spree for both the Black axe and its rival, Eiye confraternity.
While one wonders the role of security agencies amid all the violence, the Police have tried to exonerate themselves by arresting and parading suspected cultists for killing, robbing, raping and for engaging in other illegal activities.
But analysts say this still does not solve the problem from the root.
Checks by DAILY POST revealed that majorly, all the cult groups have social media handles where their activities are promoted.
A security expert, Nnamdi Anekwe Chife, who spoke to DAILY POST exclusively said the effect of glamorising cultism among young people by either celebrities or politicians has far-reaching effects.
Chife said it was utterly dangerous for Nigerian society to condone the flattering of the criminal side of cultism.
He said, “There are two sides of the debate. On one side, people are saying cults are charity organisations while on the other side, it is a criminal organisation, in the sense that they carry out criminal activities. If someone is glamorising the criminal aspect of cultism, definitely it’s going to impact the young ones.
The security expert also claimed that “on the security side, there are allegations that elements in the security outfits are also involved in cult activities but there is no proof to nail them.
“Political classes who partner with them to glamorise cultism could also be nailed too,” he said.
However, the Field Commander of Amotekun in Osun State, Comrade Amitolu Shittu said only a bad society and the nation without a good leader will fold their arms and allow cultism to rise.
According to him, “cultism is a lawless organization that should not be allow and we must tackle them with force. Cultists are more or less the supporter of ritual killing (italics mine – FVDK) and it must not be allowed in our society. The organization are lawless that we cannot be proud of because it is ungodly and God frowns at it as “he who kills with swords shall also be killed with the swords.”
Amitolu said that cultism and other social vices are one and the same. “We are doing our best day and night and we have apprehended some of them and sent them to jail. They are the ones that engage in robbery, kidnapping, and ritual killing (italics mine – FVDK), so they are not supposed to be welcomed in our society.
He said Amotekun has succeeded in reducing, “their illicit character and the killing of innocent people to barest minimum and we are not taking it kindly with them. Democracy should not be allowed to kill democracy, so democracy that we are practicing is that which encourages the rule of law and nobody has the right to kill a fellow human being, and whoever that does so, the law should be taken to their doorsteps,” he concluded.