In Nigeria, the number of ritual killings, ritual murders, ‘money rituals’, cannot be counted. Occasionally I report on these widespread crimes in Africa’s most populated country, but it would be a daily job to (try to) cover all of them – though I doubt if this would ever be possible, also in light of the fact that presumably not all ritualistic murders are discovered.
Often, so-called Yahoo-boys are involved in these ritual practices which are nothing less than ordinary violent crimes committed by ruthless, greedy people who butcher innocent people – men, women, children – whose organs are being sold to superstitious people.
It is to be expected that in a country of over 200 million people many crimes are committed including crimes for ritualistic purposes. In Nigeria, the crime of ritual murder is so persistent and widespread that one wonders if there are other reasons than superstition, greed, and the country’s vast population which explain this ugly crime.
In Nigeria there’s a general lack of security which goes hand in hand with the lack of rule of law. Bandits, Boko Haram rebels, terrorists, ritualists, political activists, the Nigerian government is confronted with multiple agressors. Nigeria’s recently installed president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, faces many challenges of which the eradication of ritual murders in the country is just one.
The focus on Yorubaland in the article presented below is by no means meant to suggest that the problem of ritualistic killings elsewhere in Nigeria is less serious.
PS The reproduction of articles here and elsewhere on this site does not imply that the webmaster agrees with the contents of the articles published.
Unprecedented spate of ritual killings in Yorubaland and the absence of elders
Published: August 12, 2023
By: Dr. Tayo Douglas – The Nation, Nigeria
One of the epigrams often cited in Yorubaland whenever the household or the whole community is thrown into orgy and disarray is namely this;
“Agbà kó sí ní ìlú, ìlú bàjé, baãlé ilé kú tán ilé di ahoro.” Loosely taken, it means; “the absence or death of the elders turns the household into an empty shell.”
In recent times, never has Yoruba land witnessed the flurry and plague of mindless and imbecilic killing of human beings for ritual purposes. It is now a daily occurrence and it appears there won’t be an end to it. The question which all right-thinking men and women of Yorubaland should be asking themselves is; where are their morals and where have they got it wrong?
It seems these elders are yet to come to terms with the fact that they now have big problems on their hands. At the moment, it would appear that politics and how to get rich quickly through any means are now the major preoccupation of an average Yoruba man. Nobody cares any longer about morals or the good names of each family. Orientation or good upbringing in each household or family setup is already lost to vulgar and questionable lifestyles among the Yoruba youths.
If a fool would reason at all, he would be quick to point out to you that the fallout is a result of poverty or hardship in the country. A fool has reasoned indeed! The Yoruba saying of old is very much replete here and that is, “ohun tí otí bá nínú òmùtí ni òmùtí fi se ìwà wù,” That is, let no criminal plead that he committed the crime because he is drunk. After all, lawyers always tell us that an act is considered blameworthy because an accused mind is equally guilty (actus reus reum nisi mens sit rea). In essence, a murderer has gone to kill a human being for ritual purposes of getting rich quickly and not because there is hunger, poverty, and hardship in the country.
In the days of old, our parents always drummed it to our ears to remember the children of whom we were – (Rántí omo eni ti ìwo n’se), I doubt if these youths on killing spree today have houses again let alone keeping the names of the owners.
Before it is too late, a time is coming (and that is if it hasn’t come already) when whatever is left remaining of Yorubaland ethos and dignity would soon be thrown to the dogs and the winds if care is not taken. These boys’ excesses, I mean the ritualists, yahoo boys, and whatever other evil names they are called, have to be curtailed at all costs. That time is now. Instead of the Afenifere warlords turning themselves to Peter Obi or any other politicians, campaign managers, and spin doctors, they should come back home and address the real problem that is turning their lands into graveyards and other abominable monuments.
It’s quite unfortunate that these so-called elders have left leprosy untreated but keep running after ringworm. Overnight, Tinubu became their major headache. His election as president of the country was then and up till now an “abomination” that must be prevented. It is better in the sight of these Yoruba elders if ‘yahoo plus’ and other ritualists continue their nefarious activities in Yorubaland but Tinubu must not be president. “Over” their “dead bodies” are their slogans. SMH.
Never in the history of the Yoruba race have we ever witnessed the unprecedented carnage, a gory obscenity and orgy of ritual seppuku, and disembowelment of human beings for money purposes. It is highly unfortunate.
• Dr. Douglas, Ph.D. is a lawyer and social commentator, sent this piece from Lagos.