Nigeria: what we know about ritual killings for money, Juju priests, Imams, Pastors, others speak

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

Published: April 30, 2022
By: Luminous Jannamike, Abuja – Vanguard News, Nigeria

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.”

Psychologist speaks

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

Additional report

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 .

Rivers state

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

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 .

Enugu

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.

Clergyman speaks

  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.

Source: What we know about ritual killings for money, Juju priests, Imams, Pastors, others speak

Cult killings create chaos in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

Halt rising tide of cult attacks, wars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: Halt Rising Tide Of Cult Attacks, Wars

Liberia: growing anxiety over ritual killings and the political fallout from the recent surge in ritualistic murders

Liberia is again in the grip of ritualistic murders. An alarming wave of insecurity terrorizes the population. Reportedly, secret and ritualistic murders are being committed. The Liberia National Police is pressed by the public to do more. President Weah is being asked to address the nation and speak out against these heinous crimes, which are far from uncommon in Liberia.

In the past, ambitious politicians have been found involved in ritualistic activities including murder. The presidential elections of 2023 are still far away but politicians and their supporters are already preparing for a fierce election campaign. Moreover, on November 16 of this year, by-elections will be held in Bomi, Bong, Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties to fill the vacancies in the House of Representatives following the election of Representatives in the Senate in December 2020.  

The combined opposition – the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) including the ANC, ALP, UP and the LP – has to come to grips with the internal battle for a unique, common presidential candidate for the 2023 elections if it wants to defat the incumbent president.  However, its political leaders: ANC leader Alexander Cummings, the UP candidate and former Vice President Joseph Boakai, ALP’s Benoni Urey and Grand Bassa County Senator and political leader of Liberty Party, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, are not on the same line when it comes to a common candidate.

The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change is also far from homogeneous. The coalition is composed of Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change plus the National Patriotic Party of warlord-turned-into-president Charles Taylor, now led by one of his ex-wives, Jewel Howard Taylor, currently Vice President in the Weah Administration, and the Liberian People Democratic Party of the corrupt and for this reason disgraced former House Speaker Alex Tyler. It is a public secret that relations between the Present and his Vice President are far from harmonious.

The foregoing does not pretend to provide an answer to the question why there’s currently a surge in ritualistic killings in Liberia – assuming that reports of a surge in ritual murders are not unfounded. Moreover, as one newspaper commented, ‘There is speculation that the majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.’ 

The Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Colonel Patrick Sudue, has labelled the reports on ritualistic murders as fake news, accusing the opposition of tarnishing the good reputation of the Weah Administration. In sharp contrast, however, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor publicly disagreed with him, pleading for an end to the many mysterious deaths that are linked to ritualistic killings.

Be that as it may, Liberia’s human rights reputation, which wasn’t that good anyway, is being further damaged by these reports of ritualistic and secret killings whereas critics  of president Weah who accuse him of inaction will be more convinced than ever that he is not the right man in the right place. 

As an observer of Liberian politics since the 1970s I’m afraid that this is not the end of the story…

To be continued (webmaster FVDK).

Public anxiety over ritual killings increases; President Weah must address the nation and speak out on the scourge of ritualistic killings in Liberia

Published: September 30, 2021
By: Editorial Board, Front Page Africa, Liberia 

THE SPATE OF KILLINGS for ritual purposes is gradually assuming an alarming rate in Liberia with little or no effort by government of President George Weah to checkmate the trend.

OFFICIAL STATISTICS indicate that there has been an increase in the number of missing persons all over the country in recent times. Some are found, while others are not. 

THERE IS SPECULATION that the majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.

ONE WOULD HAVE expected such acts to be a thing of the past following decades of civil war in Liberia which claimed the lives of over 150, 000 people, and made hundreds of thousands became refugees throughout the region. 

BUT SADLY murdering people to appease the deities appears to be on the increase in Liberia.

THESE RITUALISTS hide under different covers to get their victims. For some, they kidnap their victims from various points, while others who pretend to be commercial drivers, pick unsuspecting commuters at bus-stop only to take them to their slaughter slabs to carry out what they know how to do best.

RECENTLY, the lifeless body of a girl believed to be in her 30s was discovered in Caldwell with body parts extracted.Till date perpetrators of the dastardly act are yet to be found.

A DAY EARLIER, another lifeless body of a man believed to be in his 40s was found in the Soul Clinic community. As at the time his body was recovered, some parts had been removed. They included his penis, eyes and tongue. Still, the perpetrators have not been arrested.

GIVEN THE RATE of increase of ritual killings in Liberia, no one is immune from becoming a victim. But some people are at greater risk. People with mental illnesses and virgins are unique targets as the ritualists allegedly believe that their eccentrics and purity make for a more viable sacrifice. 

ALSO, PEOPLE living with albinism have equally become victims of ritual killings, fuelled by the belief that their ‘body parts’ could allegedly make one wealthy or prolong one’s life.

IT IS DISHEARTENING to point out that as developed countries invest in science and technology to keep abreast with a dynamic world, Liberia is still stuck in the mistaken belief that sacrificing human blood is the surest route to wealth, safety, and protection.

IT’S TIME the government of President Weah play a more active role in ameliorating the negative impact of these dastardly acts?

POVERTY AND ECONOMIC hardship in the country are reasons for ritual killings. However, these are not justifiable reasons to commit ritual murder. Impunity encourages ritualists to commit murders because they believe they will not be apprehended or punished.

ANOTHER REASON for ritual murders is the collapse in our moral values, ignorance and superstition, and lack of an adequate punishment system. 

WE SHOULD also consider poverty and unemployment as significant risk factors. If Liberians have equal opportunities to earn income legitimately, there will be a reduction in horrific crimes such as banditry and human killings for ritual.

THE HIGH INCIDENCE of serial ritual killings in Liberia demands an urgent action at the level of the government of President Weah.

TO CURB THE INCREASE in ritual killings, government should thoroughly explore the intelligence-gathering approach. Timely arrest and prosecution of arrested suspects would serve as a deterrent to anybody contemplating perpetrating ritual killing.

RECORD OF SUCCESSFUL prosecution of ritualists is not in the public domain. When there are no consequences for deviant behavior, it is incentivized.

THE CONSCIENCE of Liberians are being troubled by reports of recent ritual murders including that of  those whose body parts were ripped out for ritual purposes.

LIBERIANS SEEM to be rapidly losing faith in the ability of President Weah and his government to detect and punish ritual killers, and it’s time President Weah act to address the scourge in ritualistic activities in Liberia.

THE SOONER, the better..

Source: President Weah Must Address the Scourge of Ritualistic Killings in Liberia

and:

A heartbreaking plea to political parties, religious and civil society leaders

Just where is our President and why has he maintained such a conspicuous silence in the face of mounting cries of the people craving the intervention of the state to protect their lives?

Published: September 30, 2021
By: Staff Editor – The Daily Observer, Liberia

This is a plea to Civil Society, Religious Leaders and political parties, especially the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), to act in concert and speak with one voice on the deteriorating security situation in the country. Every God-sent day is replete with accounts of mysterious and brutal killing of peaceful citizens apparently for ritualistic purposes.

This is also a plea to civil society and their respective organizations to become seized of the current situation and also speak with one voice on the current situation. From all indications, this government is failing to protect the people and this does not augur well for peace and national security.

We say this because there is an inherent danger in allowing things to deteriorate to the point where ordinary citizens begin to take action to protect themselves from harm. Judging from reports, it appears that females are being particularly targeted but in the face of such assaults against our women, especially, not a word has been heard from the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) and the same goes for other women groups.

Religious leaders, Muslim as well as Christian, etc., have also failed to take up the issue as a matter of priority concern. Innocent children of God are being slaughtered like animals, but the voices of our religious leaders have either been silent or at best feeble. Just where are our so-called men of God in the face of such brutal onslaught against the children of God, one is tempted to ask.

More importantly, just where is our President and why has he maintained such a conspicuous silence in the face of mounting cries of the people craving the intervention of the state to protect their lives? The Police have not proved very helpful in the eyes of the public. 

Such displayed ineptitude by the Liberia National Police (LNP) in addressing urgent security concerns of the people is leaving most people with the impression that the rise in ritualistic killings and other forms of violence is linked to top officials of this government. In their view, this is why such killings continue to happen despite massive public outcry.

In such situations, opposition political parties, religious leaders and civil society organizations are usually looked up to for help and guidance. But to the disappointment of the public, they also seem to appear helpless to deal with the situation. Whether their inaction is borne out of fear and trepidation, or out of a desire to ingratiate themselves into the good favors of the President, remains unclear.

For now, it is basically the media which has inadvertently found itself thrust into the fore to speak out on behalf of a seemingly helpless people. Their efforts are indeed commendable but grossly insufficient without the active support of civil society, including political parties and religious organizations. They cannot afford to wait until things run out of hand before they can muster the courage to step up to the plate.

For the past few weeks, the media has been awash with reports of the ongoing feud within the CPP, which has been touted as the last bastion capable of restoring hope of Liberians for sustainable peace and giving the people some respite from the suffering and hardships being experienced under the leadership of the Coalition for Democratic Change.

This coalition composed of the National Patriotic Party of disgraced and imprisoned war convict Charles Taylor, and the Liberian People Democratic Party of disgraced former House Speaker Alex Tyler, was hailed by its supporters as the answer to Liberia’s problems, following President Weah’s selection of Charles Taylor’s ex-wife Jewel Howard Taylor as Vice President. 

Under the rule of her ex-husband Taylor, Liberia became a pariah state largely as a result of runaway corruption and the massive and egregious human rights abuses committed under his watch by his security forces.

But those very vices that eventually led to Taylor’s disgraceful exit from power and subsequent trial and conviction on war crimes, appear to have now taken center-stage under the current ruling Coalition. In the face of this, civil society, including political parties especially the CPP, appear to have their attention fixed elsewhere. The CPP, for example, finds itself locked in a bitter and seemingly unending internecine feud.

Whether ANC leader Alexander Cummings and UP leader and former Vice President Joseph Boakai will find common ground on the question of who has the popularity and political strength to lead the Collaboration to elections in 2023 is anyone’s guess.

While Joseph Boakai appears to enjoy overwhelming support in vote-rich Lofa County, the same cannot be said of Alexander Cummings in any county including his home country Maryland. It may therefore be suicidal were he to quit the CPP to go it alone. And apparently he realizes this and such could be reasons why he has declared that leaving the CPP is a non-option.

Similarly, it can be said that it would be suicidal for Joseph Boakai to leave the CPP to go it alone. Both individuals appear hopelessly stuck together with each wanting out, but too timid to make the break for fear of the consequences. But the Liberian people cannot forever wait for justice, neither can they forever wait on the government to bring ritualistic killings to an end.

This can perhaps explain why there are increasing calls from the public for the reintroduction of the Death Penalty to serve as deterrent to would be ritual killers. They point to the United States of America, the foremost global champion of Human Rights, which still maintains the Death Penalty without censure from international human rights institutions. Then, why not Liberia, they ask.     

And their point of reference is the 1977 trial, conviction and public hanging, in Harper, Maryland County of several individuals including a former Superintendent involved in the ritual murder of Moses Tweh, a popular folk singer, which put a stop to ritual killings in that country for a long period.

Source: A Plea to Political Parties, Religious Leaders and Leaders of Civil Society

PS Note of the webmaster: For a detailed overview of the arrest and trial of the defendants accused of the ritual killing of Moses Tweh, see: ‘The Maryland Ritual Murders – Liberia’s most notorious ritual killing case‘. Warning: some readers may find the graphic contents, description of the ritual murder and the accompanying pictures disturbing (FVDK). 

The 7 convicted ritual killers who were sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Moses Tweh: Allen Yancy, James Anderson, Francis Nyepan, Philip Seton, Wreh Taryonnoh, Putu Dweh and Thomas Barclay.
For more information click here 
The public execution took place in Harper, Maryland County, on February 16, 1979

More recent articles:

Liberia National Police Inspector General says reports of ritualistic killings, disappearances are fake news and intended to malign government’s image

Published: September 30, 2021
By: Willie N. Tokpah – Front Page Africa, Liberia

Monrovia — In recent months, reported cases of ritual killings have surged in Liberia, but the country’s Police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue and his deputy Prince Mulbah say such reports are untrue and being fueled by opposition politicians to tarnish the image of the government.

Sudue and Mulbah, at a news conference Wednesday, disclosed that the police are only aware of a single ritualistic incident, which occurred in MaryLand County recently, adding the perpetrators are facing justice.

“People are being paid to tarnish the image of the country and to raise false national security alert. There are inconsistencies in their statements,” Sudue says.

Meanwhile, Mulbah, Deputy Police Inspector General for Administration, described information about ritualistic killings in the country as a ploy designed by the opposition to create fear for diaspora Liberians who want to return home.

“As far our investigations are concerned, we haven’t established anything called ritualistic killing apart from what happened in Maryland County,” Mulbah says.

“We have heard a lot of people talking on social media of people being kidnapped and taken away, these are paid agents.”  

A rising number of mutilated bodies on streets in Monrovia and other parts of the country this year has sown fear in Liberians.

Recently, the lifeless body of a girl believed to be in her 30s was discovered in Caldwell with body parts extracted.Till date perpetrators of the dastardly act are yet to be found.

A day earlier, another lifeless body of a man believed to be in his 40s was found in the Soul Clinic community. As at the time his body was recovered, some parts had been removed. They included his penis, eyes and tongue. Still, perpetrators have not been arrested.

Liberians have taken to social media to raise alarm about the rise in ritual activities, urging commuters to always write down the identification markings of public conveyance vehicles as they enter and make phone calls to loved ones to pass on the information. 

But Sudue said most of these social media pictorials and videos about ritualistic incidents are not a representation of what is unfolding in the country.

He warned those involved in orchestrating a negative image about the country to desist, or face the full weight of the law.

The rise in ritualistic killings has claimed the attention of opposition political leaders, who are calling on President George Weah to redirect every penny he intends to spend on his 55th birthday celebrations on Friday, October 1.

Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Wednesday said the country is fast becoming a cesspool of crime ranging from these mysterious killings, armed robbery, drug dealing, and money laundering.

“This is in addition to the numerous past mysterious deaths of the auditors, the missing boys and other violent crimes that are yet to be investigated or the perpetrators found,” he says.

“It is clear that our security sector is under-staffed, under-paid and overwhelmed. This can not continue. I am calling on the President to redirect every penny he intends to spend on his elaborate and glamorous birthday celebration, into the security sector. We need to empower our community policing and night patrol and strengthen community vigilante groups to work with the Police in each community. This should include the distribution of basic materials and basic training. We need to also investigate these crimes with a sense of urgency and bring perpetrators to justice. The government needs to get to work.”

Grand Bassa County Senator and political leader of Liberty Party, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, who’s in the United States of America, said she would start a women movement against the ritualistic killings of children, mothers and sisters, brothers and  husbands upon her return to Liberia.

Sen. Karnga-Lawrence called on all women to rise up and ensure that the serial killings are brought to an end. “The voices of women must be heard at every level, from the vice president down. This must stop, our survival is at stake and Liberia must be safe for all of us,” Sen. Karnga-Lawrence says.

Dr. Daniel E. Cassel of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP), whose secretary general, David Beyan, was reportedly shot by unknown gunmen, called on the government of President George Weah to address the issue of ritualistic killings in the country. 

“This is the time for President Weah to act quickly and bring an end to the end to the rise in ritualistic killings,” Dr. Cassel says.

Reacting to the reported shooting incident of Beyan, Sudue rejected claims that the PLP secretary general was shot by unknown gunmen.

He claimed Beyan lied about being shot infront of his fence when medical records showed that he (Beyan) told doctors that he shot by himself.

“I think if this young man would have killed himself, the whole country would say it is the government that killed him. He lied about being shot,” Sudue says.

Sudue claimed a shell from a firearm was seen in Beyan’s vehicle, which confirmed medical records that he shot himself.

After being thoroughly quizzed about the situation, coupled with medical proof, Beyan couldn’t lie, Sudue said.

“He told us that he criminally and knowingly took the weapon from residence as far as 20 Street and then to Soul Clinic community to hide the weapon,” Sudue claimed.

However, he said the police are in possession of a weapon by Beyan as he undergoes investigation at the Police headquarters in Monrovia.

“We will prosecute him for illegal possession of firearm and raising false alarm to security apparatus.”

At the same time, Inspector General Sudue has disclosed that the LNP has increased its patrols in major streets and communities, and has begun vigorous search and inspection operations to combat crimes in the country.

He said the LNP will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the country is stable and peaceful and that citizens are protected.

Source: Liberia: Inspector General of Police Says Multiple Reports of Ritualistic Killings, Disappearances Are Fake News Intended to Malign Government’s Image

And:

Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor disagrees with Liberia National Police Inspector General  that opposition is responsible for reports of ritualistic killings

Published: September 29, 2021
By: Henry Karmo – Front Page Africa, Liberia 

MONROVIA – Vice president Jewel Howard has joined the many voices of Liberians calling for an end to the mysterious killings of Liberians and wants those in authority of the security to take action that would end the many mysterious deaths that are linked to ritualistic killings.

In an interview with reporters, Liberia’s Vice President said, women in Liberia are feeling more insecure   than ever before in the history of Liberia. She placed more emphasis on the mysterious deaths of women for ritualistic purposes.

“I like to call upon our security sector to please put in place a regime that will enable our people to remain safe. The situation involves instances where women’s private parts are being cutoff, stories of young people being taken in specific location where others allegedly were being used for ritualistic purposes are very alarming.”

The VP also expressed hopes that in this 21st century, it will be easy for security apparatus to discover and arrest people involved in such killings of Liberians for the purpose of ritualistic killings because these acts have far reaching negative implication for the peace and security of Liberia and the investment climate.

Madam Taylor: “As far as I know, Government’s responsibility is to provide the peace and security of its people, that is why we have the different security apparatus of our country. If this was just one case people will want to wait but it is alarming; every single morning there is a report of a dead body somewhere.

“In a country like Liberia, such a thing that is happening should not be happening, so I believe we should call on all of our security forces to do more.”

 The VP also told reporters that complaints from the police and other security entities about the lack of logistic should not be an excuse, because that is a responsibility they have taken.  “The police should be more vigilant if it requires bringing in the army, we should do that because it is alarming,” she said.

She also seems to have a different belief to that of many, especially those in government, who think the alarming rate of mysterious deaths is a strategy implored by the opposition to make the state ungovernable for the ruling CDC.

According to her, such portrayal of what is happening is hard to believe because nobody will want to kill innocent Liberians because they want to make Liberia ungovernable.   

“If an opposition or politicians do that, it will be ungovernable for everyone. If we are the sitting government we must now do more to make sure that whatever is happening will be brought to an end. This is a planned act carried out by some group of people.”

Source: Liberia: VP Taylor Differs Calls on Police to Take Charge; Disagrees that Opposition is Responsible for Reports of Ritualistic Killings

Finally:

Federation of Liberian Youth condemns series of secret & ritualistic killings

Published: September 29, 2021
By: Press Release – Front Page Africa, Liberia

MONROVIA – The Federation of Liberian Youth said it is troubling the alarming wave of insecurity currently existing in Liberia.

The group through its President Amos Williams said the terrifying decline in national security is worrisome and needs to be addressed.

Mr. Williams said the growing waves of recent ritualistic and series of secret killings have the propensity to undermine the current and uninterrupted peace which the general population has enjoyed for over fifteen years now.

As a means of addressing the issue, FLY has therefore called on the attention of President George Weah including the Ministry of Justice and the Liberian National Police (LNP) to promptly act in addressing decisively the current state of insecurity by providing safety and security to all citizens and foreign residents alike in the borders of Liberia. 

Mr. Williams at the same time encouraged all citizens to be supportive and attentive in providing any important information which can be used by national security apparatus in accordance with the growing waves of insecurities in the country.

In a move to practically address the issue, FLY wants the Government to acknowledge the issue of insecurity in the Land and address it hands down.

Source: FLY Condemns Series Of Secret & Ritualistic Killings

Liberia – political map