Warning: The following article contains graphic details of a violent criminal act.
At first sight one is tempted to think of yet another case of ritual murder in Liberia, as the article reads: ‘(…) the mutilated body of little Saah Momo was discovered in the home of his grandfather in Bomi County.’ It occurred early this year, in January.
It is known that in a large number of ritual murder cases relatives are involved – as traditionally this is part of the ritual to create or obtain ‘juju’, the spiritual power which perpetrators seek to increase their wealth, power or social prestige. However, it is not plainly stated by the police and in the article – as it is often the case – that this is about a ritual killing. In Liberia, police and journalists don’t mince their words when reporting on ritual murder cases.
The Liberian National Police arrested six persons in connection with the violent death of the 2-year old boy, Saah Momo, including the mother and an uncle of the victim. The deceased’s uncle testified in court that he had murdered his nephew upon the order of the child’s mother. Allegedly, she was motivated to have her son murdered for financial gains: she wanted to sell his organs. It has not been revealed with whom the suspects wished to trade body parts with.
Was the violent death of little Saah Momo a case of organ trafficking or another case of ritualistic murder?
Some countries in the region, e.g. Nigeria, are notorious for murders committed by criminals who wish to harvest human organs in order to sell them – albeit for ritualistic purposes to superstitious people who believe that in this way, with ‘juju’, they can increase their wealth, success in business or in politics. These murders in Nigeria and Ghana are often committed by so-called Yahoo Boys and the criminal acts are locally known as ‘money rituals’.
In Liberia, murder cases for purposes of organ trafficking are far less widespread but since – by definition – these dark activities take place in secret, we don’t know on what scale they happen.
In short, the article is not clear whether the murder of little Saah Momo was a case of ritualistic murder or of organ trafficking. However, in both cases there is a clear ritualistic component as organ trafficking is not carried out with the purpose of organ transplantation, aiming to improve a patient’s health, but to sell organs to superstitious people and ‘juju’ men who wish to use human body parts for ritualistic purposes. (webmaster FVDK)
Liberia: Two Convicted for butchering a 2-year-old boy in Bomi County
Published: May 23, 2023 By: Rachel T. Saykiamien – The Daily Observer, Liberia
Jurors at the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Bomi County have brought down a unanimous guilty verdict against two men who brutally murdered a two-year-old boy, Saah Momo, in Zealey, Dowein District, Bomi County.
The verdict followed a final argument in court by both prosecution and defense lawyers on May 23, 2023.
Defendants Momo Gray, the uncle of the deceased child, and his brother and father of the child,, Siafa Gray, were found guilty of murder; a first-degree felony under the law. In February of this year, the two were indicted by the grand jury of Bomi County for their involvement in the murder of Saah Momo.
On May 10, Momo Gray, the accused uncle of the two-year-boy, pleaded guilty to the crime of murder after his appearance at the 11th Judicial Circuit Court, while the father of the boy, Siaffa Gray, pleaded not guilty.
From the beginning, several individuals, including the mother and grandparents, were arrested but released after it was established that they had no hand in the act. However, the uncle and father, who played a major role in butchering the boy, were charged and tried in court.
On May 23, 2023, defendants Momo Gray and Siafa Gray were found guilty of murder; a crime that contravenes Chapter 14 Subchapter 14.1 of the penal code law of Liberia. Under the law, a person who is convicted of such a crime may be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.
A pre- sentencing hearing is expected to take place before the defendants are convicted.
Judge T. Ciapha Carey has ordered the clerk of the court to inform the probation officer of the Ministry of Justice to investigate the lives of the defendant’s prior to the incident. This is done to ascertain if the defendants were law abiding citizens or had stayed out of trouble prior to the crime.
In January, the mutilated body of little Saah Momo was discovered in the home of his grandfather in Bomi County. The Liberia National Police (LNP) arrested the deceased’s uncle and five other persons in connection to the death of the child.
Those arrested were Momo Gray, Siaffa Gray, Cooper Ross, Satta Wonda, the mother of the deceased, and Omacy Nyei.
At the time, police established that all of the suspects committed the act for financial gain and were subsequently brought to the headquarters of the Liberia National Police to be questioned. But the police failed to state whether their investigation discovered who these suspects were trading body parts with. However, four people, including the deceased’s mother and grandparents, were set free.
Defendant Momo Gray, the uncle of the deceased, taking the witness stand and testifying on his behalf on May 19, admitted to murdering his nephew, but alleged that he acted upon the order of the child’s mother; whom he said was encouraged to have her son killed in order to sell the major organs for money due to hardship.
I am flabbergasted after reading this investigative report of a courageous reporter who posed as a desperate internet fraudster who wants to ‘get-rich-quick’ by contacting herbalists tracked online. Her experiences are recommended reading!
It is hard to believe this happens in real life. Judge for yourself. (webmaster FVDK)
Inside the world of Nigeria’s deadly money ritualists where human parts are traded like commodities (Part II)
The craze for getting stupendously rich through the senseless killing of humans for rituals has reached an alarming crescendo in Nigeria. The phenomenon has thrown families of victims into untold anguish. For two months, posing as a desperate internet fraudster searching for mystical means to acquire wealth, our correspondent using the pseudonym, SEGUN ADESINA, met with herbalists tracked online for help
Published: May 14, 2022 By: Special reporters – Punch, Nigeria
Ifatunde’s identity unveiled
That same day, our correspondent set out for the agreed meeting point after receiving several calls from someone that claimed to be Promise, Ifatunde’s son.
At Ipeba, for safety reasons, our correspondent waited for Promise inside the commercial bus that conveyed him there, as he had yet to arrive. This move was pre-arranged with the bus driver before leaving the park.
After a while, a young man descended from a bike and moved toward the bus after scanning his surroundings suspiciously.
After locating our correspondent through repeated calls, he introduced himself as a 19-year-old Promise and demanded N20,000.
With his facial expression changing from that of shock to confusion when our correspondent refused to give him the money, he quickly hopped on the bike that brought him, which all the while was parked at a relatively safe distance and disappeared into a bush track. A frustrated Ifatunde would later call to ask why the money was not given to his son. He was told that the money would only be sent if the herbalist revealed his face via a WhatsApp video call.
Desperate to collect the last tranche of payment, Ifatunde agreed but insisted that our correspondent’s camera must be switched off.
At the agreed time, as soon as our correspondent initiated the video call and Ifatunde’s face became visible, a screenshot was quickly obtained.
When PUNCH Investigations compared the face captured with the one obtained from a source that carried out an independent background check on the Bank Verification Number of the account provided for the transaction, it was a match.
The 19-year-old Promise Oyewole, whom the old herbalist claimed was his son, was the manipulative voice behind the scene all the while.
When confronted with PUNCH Investigation’s findings, Ifatunde, still pretending to be an old man, vehemently denied being the same person and curiously asked, “How did you get the picture of my son?”
When he was told to refund the N30,000 paid for the money ritual or risk being arrested by the police, he went into an angry tirade and said, “I didn’t force you to bring the money. Even when we got to the police station, they would ask if I came to your house to collect it. They will also ask what you paid for. I am sure you can’t tell them you wanted to do money rituals.
“If you want to collect your money, I will send it, but you will have to be patient until I get another customer that needs the same ingredients.”
As of the time this report was published, Ifatunde had yet to make any refund and refused to pick up our correspondent’s calls.
Still wanting to explore the murky waters of money rituals, PUNCH Investigations approached Fayemi Fafunke, another Facebook user posing as a herbalist.
Like others, he advertised his skilled ability at money-making rituals and was deft at using proverbs. He also sounded like an old man when a call was sent to him with a number found on his post. After our correspondent told him about his experiences with the two other herbalists, he was quick to condemn their actions.
However, PUNCH Investigations would later discover that he was no different.
When asked how much it would cost to prepare the ‘Osole Gbigbona’ money ritual, Fafunke said, “We have different types, and they range from N20,000 to N100,000. It depends on you.
“The one that would be prepared with human parts will cost you N100, 000. You will get a good result within a week. You can ask for a refund if nothing happens.”
When told that the amount available for the money ritual was N30, 000, Fafunke grudgingly accepted the amount.
It was agreed that an initial deposit of N10,000 would be paid to procure the items needed for the charm. At the same time, the balance of N20,000 would be brought by our correspondent to Ilaka, an area in Oyo State, to collect the charm.
Surprisingly, not long after N10,000 was transferred into a bank account provided by Fafunke, he called the next day to demand another N10,000.
“Things are now very expensive,” he claimed, adding, “In fact, when I got to where I would get the human parts, I was charged N18,000. You have to send N10, 000.”
When reminded of his earlier promise not to demand any additional money, Fafunke became furious and told our correspondent to send his account details for a refund.
An hour after the account details were forwarded, the herbalist called back and, in a calm tone, requested N5,000.
Fafunke said, “I want to help, and it’s for your own good. You can send N5,000. I am still in the market,” he said.
When our correspondent insisted on a refund, Fafunke claimed he had purchased some items already.
“So, what do you want me to do with what I have bought,” he asked and disconnected the call.
Since then, every attempt to reach the herbalist has proved abortive, and no refund has been made.
Human lives and sanctity violated
These encounters are just a glimpse into how individuals violate the sanctity and sacredness of human lives to carry out money rituals for an alarmingly increasing number of people (majorly young) possessed by a get-rich-quick syndrome.
Based on widespread reports, such adventures always have sad endings.
Despite dire consequences known to be associated with such actions, which include sudden loss of senses, loss of lives, including that of loved ones, loss of limbs, blindness, sleeplessness, and loss of properties, among other things, they are undeterred.
No week passes without the media reeling out graphic, horrifying activities of those caught with fresh or decomposing human parts or of mutilated bodies discovered in hotels or dismembered, with most victims being declared missing earlier.
While there has been glaring evidence and confessional statements from those arrested in possession of human parts or involved in the actual killing, linking their intent to ritual purposes, some victims have been suspected of being killed due to circumstances surrounding their demise for such purpose.
The menace, going by reports, is not peculiar to any region of the country, even though some have gained notoriety lately.
A report by the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta revealed that an estimated150 women and girls were killed for ritual purposes between January 2018 and December 2021 in the Niger Delta region of the country.
“Recent incidents also indicate an upsurge in targeted killings of women and girls for ritual purposes in the region, particularly in Cross River, Delta, and Imo States. In January 2022, for example, more than 10 girls were reportedly killed for rituals in Ogoja town, Cross River State. Some vital organs of the victims were allegedly harvested,” it stated.
The report, among other cases highlighted, revealed an attempt by a young man to kill his mother for ritual purposes in Owerri, the Imo State capital, and the killing of an 80-year old woman who had her body parts harvested for ritual purposes in Olomoro town, Isoko South Local Government Area, Delta State on February 7, 2022.
Hotbeds for ritual killings
Although the data only captured states in the Niger Delta, media reports indicated that the phenomenon had become endemic in states such as Oyo, Ogun, and Lagos.
Recall that several drainage tunnels were discovered to be used by ritualists in Lagos, while in Oyo State, the activities of ritual killers became known in March 2014, when a slaughter slab was uncovered in Soka, a few metres from the popular Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The abandoned building was initially a traditional treatment centre for mentally ill people.
A raid on the den by the Oyo State Police Command led to the rescue of malnourished victims meant for the slaughter slab and uncovered mutilated body parts of victims and decaying corpses.
Eight years after the sordid discovery, the business of abducting, killing, harvesting, and selling human parts for ritual purposes still thrives in Ibadan, PUNCH Investigations revealed.
This claim was mainly validated with the conversation and aborted transaction with Oladipupo, the Ibadan-based herbalist.
Money-making charms strange
While speaking with PUNCH Investigations, Dr Ajibola Olosun, a traditionalist, decried the alarming trend. The sexagenarian, who said he succeeded his father, Baba Olosun of Osogbo, in 1977, revealed that young internet fraudsters usually approach him with mouth-watering offers for money rituals but that he always declines.
“These Yahoo boys are not ashamed and don’t hide what they do. I am surprised because these recent developments are strange. Our forefathers don’t bequeath charms to just anybody. My father, the late Olosun of Osogbo, warned us against preparing charms for fraudsters and robbers,” he said.
On the rising use of human parts for money rituals, Ajibola, who is also a law student, told our correspondent at the Ifetedo campus of the Osun State University, where he is studying, that those killing for money rituals were not traditionalists.
“Those killing for money rituals are not traditionalists because the tradition has ethics and taboos. Ifa asks us to pray every day, how then do you do evil and keep praying? Yoruba tradition does not support such evil,” he said.
He, however, said, “Sometimes, we can use bones of the dead for rituals, but it’s not fresh ones. Maybe when you see a human bone after erosion must have washed it to the surface, you can pick it up and keep it for use. In fact, we are not allowed to exhume dead bodies.”
In the background of claims by Ifatunde, the Ibadan-based herbalist who said that traditionalists preparing money charms are not meant to meet with a client, Ajibola said in Yoruba tradition, transactions must be transparent.
“Why would he not meet with his client? I have not heard it in my life. You have to know the person you are dealing with when it involves money.
“Some taboos associated with such charm might be that a woman should not touch it or that the charm must not touch the ground. Others might require a naira note to be placed underneath,” he clarified.
All money rituals have dire consequences
The traditionalist warned that money rituals have rebounding consequences.
“My fear is that some of these things have repercussions. Some of these Yahoo boys run mad because Osole Gbigbona, requires sacrifices, and it has an expiry date. When it expires, no one can predict the repercussions. It’s like a give and take arrangement,” he warned.
Ajibola said it might be difficult to curb the excesses of individuals like Oladipupo because they are not under any recognised body.
He then advocated education as a viable tool to curb ritual killings and money rituals.
A country’s weak fight against money ritual
Embarrassed by the global outcry over the rising trend in Nigeria, especially with enthusiasts, mostly teenagers, claiming to have carried out ritual murder or taken an interest in money rituals after watching a series of trending videos online, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said steps would be taken to ensure the responsible use of social media. He also said national awareness would be raised against the scourge.
He said, “For those who may still be in doubt, ritual killings have assumed a worrisome dimension in recent years. Recently, in Ogun State, four young men, one of whom is 18 years old, murdered their 20-year-old female friend for money rituals.
“One of them said they learnt about using human parts for money rituals from social media. Of course, you are also aware of a case involving a female student of the University of Jos, allegedly killed by her boyfriend for ritual purposes. These killings have been widely reported by the media.”
However, based on PUNCH Investigation’s findings, nothing beyond the categorical statement had been done by the Federal Government.
Five ritual cases reported in six months —Police
The spokesperson for the Nigerian Police Force, Muyiwa Adejobi, while speaking with PUNCH Investigations, revealed that cases of money rituals were rampant in the South West.
He said, “In other parts of the county, we just have some isolated cases. In the South West, the state that has recorded the highest number is Ogun. Within six months, we recorded almost five cases in the region. Fifteen suspects were arrested, and almost all of them confessed to the crime. They have been charged to court.”
Adejobi advised parents not to entrust their children to strangers or estranged friends, adding that the police had embarked on enlightenment programmes, especially in schools to curb the menace.
“Be careful. Don’t just keep your children in neighbours’ hands,” he warned.
How ritual killers operate —Amotekun
The Oyo State Commandant, Western Nigeria Security Network, code named Amotekun, Col. Olayinka Olayanju (retd), revealed that three groups involved in human parts sales were arrested within two years of its operation.
He revealed that those into money rituals had targets and could trail their victims for some time.
“They know the identity of their victims and sometimes can trace the body of a dead victim to the burial site and have it exhumed to remove the part needed or take the whole body.
“Some will kill physically and extract the part they want for ritual purposes. As for those that sell, some people patronise them, but I don’t know much about that. They will only tell you they have lots of clients.”
PUNCH Investigations gathered from the retired military chief that most of those patronising body parts merchants are affluent.
“People now call it Yahoo Plus, no longer Yahoo Yahoo. It’s purely money rituals and what they use are human parts,” he added.
Slow justice system
On the challenges faced by the outfit in arresting and prosecuting suspected ritual killers, Olayinka complained about the slow justice system and the friction with the police.
The Amotekun boss said that while some were being tried by the police, others were prosecuted by the Oyo State Directorate of Public Prosecution.
“We arrested a suspect and handed him over to the police, but he was returned to us. The police claimed that we didn’t follow proper procedure. We approached the DPP and threatened to release the suspect.
“He (suspect) actually killed a 73-year-old man. The DPP took it up, and he has been remanded in Abolongo prison pending when the case would be charged to court,” he said.
Olayinka called for better synergy between the police and Amotekun corps to succeed in the fight against ritual killings.
Oyo State upholds prosecution –Oyo AG
The Oyo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, said the state upholds the law when it comes to prosecuting ritual killers, adding that the DPP has not failed to wield prosecutorial powers when necessary.
“Investigations and prosecution are not the sole prerogatives of the Ministry of Justice. It is the police that will arrest, and we will write a legal opinion on whether there is enough evidence,” he added.
Our members not ritualists —OPC reacts
When contacted, the Chairman, Oodua People’s Congress, Oyo State chapter, Rotimi Olumo, denied the alleged involvement of its members in ritual killings or human body parts sales.
“The OPC, led by Iba Gani Adams, is only concerned about the security of the people,” he told our correspondent.
Psychologist harps on empowerment
A clinical psychologist, Olawumi Oluwatosin, attributed the trend to unpleasant childhood or life experiences, peer pressure, and mid-life expectations.
She recommended that empowerment programmes should be part of incentives through which the government can curb the menace.
Oluwatosin stated, “It might be difficult to convince a person already exposed to large amounts of money, rituals, and other bad things, except to replace the pleasure, which is money, with something else. But it can be done by probably providing an alternative source of livelihood like empowerment programmes.”
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.
The cases of ritualistic activities, attacks and murders in Nigeria are too many to include here on a daily basis. I have stated this more than once. The article below not only confirms this. Some of the ritual murder cases referred to in the article have been previously reported on this site, some not. More importantly, the author of the article, Otuya Daniel, explains the reasons for this, seemingly, surge in what is popularly called ‘money rituals’. One of the contributing factors, he argues, is the example set by Nollywood movies idealizing the importance of a social status based on material wealth and the way one can ‘get rich quickly’: through a ‘money ritual’ which implies the use of someone’s organs and other body parts in a ‘juju’ ritual performed by local ‘herbalists’ who often are nothing else but criminals conniving in the act of murder.
For the interested readers: the article also explains the difference between Yahoo boys (internet fraudsters) and Yahoo Plus boys (ritual killers).
Warning: certain descriptions of ritual murders contain shocking, graphic details (FVDK).
The prevalence of ritual killings amongst Nigerian youths
Published: January 28, 2022 By: Otuya Daniel – The Street Journal, Nigeria
Never before have the quest to get riches by all means been so magnified among Nigerian youths than as it is now.
To satisfy the need for getting money, youths today have fully invested their time in learning and practising internet fraud popularly called Yahoo Yahoo.
They have created various ingenious ways to rip unsuspecting victims of hard-earned income.
As if that is not enough, the new wave amongst these fraudsters is to add killing of human beings for money rituals or as it is popularly called, Yahoo Plus.
While families and friends came together to celebrate this past Yuletide, it was not the case for two families who were thrown into grief as in two separate incidents, young girls were killed by their boyfriends in suspected cases of money rituals.
In one of the incidents, it was reported that a Yahoo boy simply identified as Osas who had recently returned to Nigeria from Ghana killed his girlfriend, Elohor Oniorosa for ritual purposes.
It was reported that the deceased and the suspect had gone out only for the young girl to be found dead with her throat slit and the fraudster went on the run.
A few days on, A 300-level student of the University of Jos (UNIJOS), identified as Jennifer Anthony, was found dead in a hotel room with her body mutilated and some body parts missing.
Jennifer was reportedly lured to the hotel by her 20-year-old boyfriend, Moses Okoh who drugged, killed her and proceeded to pluck off her eyes and other body organs before running off.
Such stories are not really new. In fact, in 2018, there was a public outcry in reaction to the gruesome way a student of Delta State University, Abraka, Elozino Ogege was murdered by some group of ritualists and internet fraudsters.
Not only was the poor girl killed, her organs were reportedly harvested while she was still alive.
The frequency of how these incidents has got many wondering, how did moral decadence in the Nigerian society get to the point where someone will unilaterally decide to kill, butcher and harvest another’s organs just for the sake of making quick riches.
Nigerian youths now consider the amount of money they have as the only accepted measure of success as such, they are ready to do any and all things possible to get it.
The ‘glorification’ of internet fraud in Nigeria is the root cause of this trend of ritual killings.
As a matter of fact, that it is called ‘Yahoo Plus’ depicts that many of these youths consider these killings as a necessity in the advancement of their ‘fraud business.’
Some days back, one of such fraudsters was arrested and his confession shocked many.
The 32-year-old, Afeez Olalere who was arrested by operatives of the Lagos State Police Command narrated how his mother encouraged him to kill his younger brother for money rituals.
His words, “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 me.”
Shockingly, the mother and son proceeded to kill a younger sibling for the stipulated rituals and were about to dump the body before they were apprehended.
It is not just parents of fraudsters who ‘support’ them, young girls are also now encouraged by their parents to date these Yahoo boys despite the attendant risks just for the financial ‘gains’.
A lady in Edo State recently said “In Benin city, at least 90% of parents are aware that their daughters are dating Yahoo/ G- boys and they are 100% in support of it.”
She also revealed that parents will gladly give out in marriage their daughters to such Yahoo boys and will even shout the catchphrase “them get money?” when these fraudsters shower them with money.
Worse still, social media has been vehemently used to convey the misleading message of ‘get rich or die trying’ to the youths.
Pictures and videos of flamboyant lifestyles displayed over Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc deceive these youths and sometimes serve as motivation or the final push to some who were having doubts about going into such business.
Celebrities and/or social media personalities who should know better are not even helping matters. Sometimes even, they themselves display these luxuries lifestyles.
Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh recently revealed the extent some of these social media personalities go to display fake lifestyles when she said some people would rent money from bureau de change operators just to show off.
Although many of these displays are fake and only done for social media engagements, it does not register as such to the gullible youths.
Earlier in the month, two 15-year-old boys were caught in the act trying to use a 14-year-old for money rituals in Bayelsa.
According to reports, they lured the girl with charms, cut off her finger and had already begun the ritual process when a passerby saw them, raised alarm and the boys were arrested. It begs the question, where do these kids learn such?
Nigeria music producer, Samklef has said that Nollywood movies are a contributing factor to the rising cases of ritual killings among young people.
The musician argued that by constantly promoting fetish-themed content, Nollywood movies have influenced a lot of young Nigerians negatively.
His words, “Igbo Nollywood, English and Yoruba movie are the reason why a lot of young boys are doing rituals. They keep promoting fetish stuff in all their movies.”
Considered, there is some element of truism in the words of Samklef. For a long time, making money through rituals has been the predominant theme of Nigerian movies.
In fact, just by seeing the cast of a movie gives away the plot as some actors it may seem are only cast to play such ritual roles.
The plot of the movies have always revolved around a struggling young man, who meets a rich friend who introduces the poor man to a group of ritualists and after someone is sacrificed, the poor man instantly becomes extremely rich.
Having been fed with this content for a long time, it comes across to youths that a sure way out of poverty is money rituals and so, it is a route a desperate youth is willing to take.
Peer pressure and the company of friends a youth keep are also contributing factors.
As the saying goes, birds of a feather, flock together. Constant exposure and association with fraudsters will actually have a knock-off effect on many youths considering the fact that at this stage of their life, they make many outlandish decisions.
James McCue of Edith Cowan University, Australia advocates for parents to help guild their teenagers as “A teen’s developing brain places them at greater risk of being reactive in their decision-making, and less able to consider the consequences of their choices.”
In the same vein, Nollywood actor, Ime Bishop Umoh, popularly known as Okon Lagos has said that boy child needs urgent attention to stem the tide of ritual killings.
His words, “Let’s fix the boy child and do it ASAP. It’s a shorter route to decriminalising and putting an end to most societal vices in our fast decaying society.
“Let’s put a central and foundational end to all these killings of young girls by these Benz driving wannabe boys.”
Generally, society has to step up and the paradigm should shift towards appreciating good and honest labour than just money or riches.
Just as a commentator said we need to digress and abandon the mindset that making money by any means establishes fulfilment in life and until we get this right, this generation of youths and the ones to come will continue to do things that are inhumane without any remorse.
More (the following murder case has been referred to in the preceding article):
Police arrest suspected killer of 300L UNIJOS student
Published: January 12, 2022 By: Otuya Daniel – The street Journal, Nigeria
The Police in Plateau State have arrested and paraded Moses Oko, a 20-year-old suspected Yahoo boy who allegedly killed his girlfriend, Jennifer Anthony.
Jennifer, a 300L UNIJOS Student was found on January, 1st, 2022 with her eyes plucked out and other parts of her body mutilated.
According to Vanguard, the suspect was paraded alongside personal effects of the deceased and exhibits from the crime scene which included a blood-soaked bedsheet and a blood-stained fork allegedly used to pluck the deceased’s eyes
The State Commissioner of Police, CP Bartholomew Onyeka who paraded Moses Oko, stated Oko was arrested on Tuesday, January 11 in Benue State.
The CP said, “The Command through my leadership has put together a lot of strategies to prevent crimes in Plateau State. But whenever crime occurs, we put in all efforts to arrest the perpetrators for them to face the consequences of their criminal actions.
“Sequel to the gruesome murder of Miss Jennifer Anthony, a 300 level student of the University of Jos whose lifeless body was found mutilated on 01/01/2022 at Domus Pacis Guest House, Jos by a man named Moses Oko ‘m’, aged 20 years, suspected to be her boyfriend who fled after committing the crime, the Command in a bid to arrest the perpetrator launched an aggressive manhunt on the suspect and tactically trailed him to Benue State where he was arrested by hawked-eye police operatives of the Command.
“The suspect will be arraigned in court as soon as investigation is completed.”
Suspected yahoo boy kills girlfriend for rituals in Edo
Published: December 27, 2021 By: Otyua Daniel – The Street Journal, Nigeria
A suspected internet fraudster popular called Yahoo boy who was simply identified as Osa has allegedly killed his girlfriend identified as Elohor Oniorosa, for ritual purposes.
It was reported that the incident happened in the Egor Local Government Area of Edo State near Benin on December 24, 2021.
It was gathered that the suspect, who recently returned to Nigeria from Ghana, allegedly killed the girl for ritual.
According to the report by Daily Trust, the deceased went out with the suspect but was found dead with her throat slit with a knife even as the suspect absconded.
The details of how it happened are however still sketchy at the moment.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, Kongtons Bello, who confirmed the incident, said the suspect is on the run.
He said that the father of the deceased, William Oniorosa, reported the case to the police and investigation is on to arrest the suspect.
The PPRO said, “The suspect’s name is Osas and his surname is unknown, who is a boyfriend of Elohor Oniorosa, daughter of one William Oniorosa, who also reported the incident to the police.
“Investigation is on while the suspect is on the run. The Incident happened on the 24th of December 2021,” the PPRO added.The Street Journal earlier reported how a sex worker developed a strange sickness and started vomiting blood after an encounter with clients suspected to be yahoo boys in Ondo.
Two months ago I posted on this site a cry from Nigeria, ‘Let the carnage of ritual killings stop‘. Unrelenting, the editors of the Leadership, a leading Nigerian newspaper, again draw attention to the alarming rate of ritual murders and related crimes in the country. I have repeatedly done the same on this place.
This site is entirely devoted to the crime of ritual murders, based on superstition and belief in witchcraft, fed by an insatiable greed for power, wealth or a good health, and facilitated by a weak enforcement of the rule of law, impunity, and in the worst cases, the connivance of people in high places who are put in this position by the people they are supposed to protect. Ritual murders are a flagrant and intolerable violation of the human rights of the victims, whereas a sovereign state is obliged, often by its constitution, to protect its citizens.
It is sheer impossible to report and react here on all ritual murders and other money-ritual related crimes which are surfacing and are being reported and published in various newspapers. It goes without saying that an unknown number of ritual murders are never discovered.
In the past six months I have collected numerous articles on ritual murders in at least 15 Nigerian states: Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers (which I have not yet been published on this site), although I have reported frequently on money-ritual related crimes in these states (from 2018 onwards). Moreover, I reported various cases of ritual murders and related crimes in other states: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasawara, Niger, Taraba. Hence, altogether, 26 out of Nigeria’s 36 states. When consulting the general folder ‘Nigeria’ the reader will find other articles, of a more general nature, on the scourge of ritual killing in Nigeria, the Yahoo boys, mob justice, and other atrocities.
The seemingly recent rise of ritual killings in Nigeria has been mentioned here earlier. I only wish to refer to a 2014 article which I published in December last year. In it it was alleged that ritual killings were everywhere in Nigeria. Older reports of ritual murders as far back as 2001 can be found here.
It must be emphasized, however, that nowadays an increasing number of Nigerian raise their voices against these outdated and revolting practices which are ritualistic murders (see the folder ‘Nigeria voices’), among whom the editors of the Leadership newspaper, who are to be commended for the article below (webmaster FVDK).
The Scourge Of Ritual Killings In Nigeria
Published: May 10, 2021 By: Leadership, Nigeria – Monday Column
Iniobong Umoren was a young woman in her early 20’s who lived in Uyo the Akwa Ibom State capital. She shared, on Twitter, her need for a job, and one Twitter user named Uduak Akpan asked her for a private chat concerning her application. According to police reports, Mr Akpan asked Ms Umoren to meet her at a particular location in Uyo.
When the unsuspecting lady got there, the sinister man raped her, killed her, and buried her in a shallow grave. Unfortunately for the serial rapist and murderer, the lady gave her friend the phone number of the person who invited her for an interview. This number led to the apprehension of the culprit after the lady was declared missing for days.
There were reports that Ms Umoren’s gruesome murder was not just a case of rape and murder but that it also involved ritual killing. Mr Akpan’s entire family is said to be involved in the barbaric business of ritual killings.
Two weeks ago, a report indicated that in Kwara State, a next-door neighbour allegedly murdered a groom-to-be for ritual purposes. According to the account in Vanguard, the deceased, who was said to be a devout Christian, did not know that his neighbour with whom he used to eat together was a serial killer and ritualist who has twice served jail terms. This wolf-in-sheep-clothing neighbour allegedly killed his victim, removed some sensitive body parts, poured acid on his remains for speedy decay to prevent it from fouling the area.
Last February in Port Harcourt, a suspected ritual killer was arrested while attempting to sacrifice a nine-year-old girl in the Ibaa community in Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State. According to a report in Punch newspapers, the girl’s parents had raised the alarm over her sudden disappearance after she went to dispose of refuse in a nearby bush. It happened that the suspect had taken the minor to an abandoned compound, tied her with white cloths, applied white clay on her body with a coffin already stationed for the ritual purpose. He was in the process of performing the ritual when he ran out of luck.
In 2019, Port Harcourt made international headlines in ritual killings with the case of Gracious David-West, Nigeria’s most celebrated ritual killer in recent times. From July to September 2019, David-West killed at least 15 women, mainly in the Rivers State capital city. After his arrest, he confessed to at least 15 murders.
Official statistics indicate that there has been an increase in the number of missing persons all over the country in recent times. Some are found, while others are not. There is speculation that majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.
Incidents of ritual killings have assumed an alarming rate in Nigeria. There seems to be little or no effort by concerned government agencies to checkmate the trend. We expect that such cruel and barbaric act would no longer exist in our society given our level of exposure, enlightenment, and civilisation . Ironically, as our communities seem to be getting more religious given the proliferation of churches and mosques in all nooks and crannies of the country, it seems these heinous acts are increasing as the quest for filthy lucre pervades our society.
It is disheartening to point out that as developed societies invest in science and technology to keep abreast with a dynamic world, ours are still stuck in the mistaken belief that sacrificing human blood is the surest route to wealth, safety, and protection.
No doubt, ritual killings are performed to obtain human body parts for rituals, potions, and charms. Ritualists search for ‘human parts’ at the request of herbalists, who require these to make sacrifices or prepare various magical potions to give power and wealth to an individual. Some people engage in ritual killings to obtain charms that would make them invincible and protect them from business failure, illness, accidents, and spiritual attacks. Whether they succeed or not is open to debate. However, it is not easy to prove a link between such sacrifices and financial success or any type of success empirically.
Amongst a large group of Nigerians, including the well-educated and people from different faiths and social backgrounds, there is a strong belief in the supernatural and the effectiveness of rituals. This belief has a direct correlation to the prevalence of ritual killings. It is a well-known fact that some elite in society indulge in ritual killings. Some people apprehended for ritual killings, and witch doctors who perform the sacrifices accused politicians, government officials and wealthy businessmen as their sponsors. They are said to use human beings for rituals to sustain their affluence and remain in positions of power.
Therefore, it is not surprising that there are usually increased cases of mysterious disappearances and ritual killings during elections. Some desperate, fetish and superstitious politicians always consult herbalists and native doctors during elections to help them overcome their opponents. These spiritualists usually demand human heads and other body parts to perform hedonistic rituals.
Given the rate of increase of ritual killings, no one is immune from becoming a victim. But some people are at greater risk. People with mental illnesses and virgins are unique targets as the ritualists allegedly believe that their eccentrics and purity make for a more viable sacrifice. Also, people living with albinism have equally become victims of ritual killings, fuelled by the belief that their ‘body-parts’ could allegedly make one wealthy or prolong one’s life.
Sometimes, it is difficult to understand the mind of the ritual killer. How can someone take another person’s life in the quest for wealth, protection, and power? More worrisome is that sometimes it is not just an issue of a depraved mind but also a depraved group of minds.
Sometime in 2017, Lagos State, the country’s commercial hub, was gripped by Badoo ritual killings. According to news reports, over 50 people were killed by a Badoo Boys group, who moved about with an air of invincibility until the Nigerian Police routed them.
The Vanguard newspaper reported about the activities of the group thus: “Before the raid and subsequent arrest of over 200 suspected members of the cult group by the Police with the support of the Oodua Peoples’ Congress, OPC local vigilante and the Neighbourhood Watch Corps, Badoo Boys had been unleashing an orgy of killings, during which they crush the skulls of their victims. Their modus operandi included storming victims’ residences while they are asleep”.
People suspected that they usually hypnotize their victims, as none of them had ever been conscious of their presence. After that, they would smash the heads of their victims with a grinding stone and use a handkerchief to clean the blood and brain before leaving the scene.
During interrogation, one of the suspects confirmed that “they sold each handkerchief stained with blood for N500,000. He further revealed that they were mere errand boys for rich politicians within and outside Lagos state. But in their case, the blood and semen-stained handkerchief were used to prepare the spiritual defence for some wealthy Nigerians.”
What are the root causes of ritual killings? How can society tackle this menace? What role should the government and relevant agencies play in ameliorating the negative impact of these dastardly acts?
Poverty and economic hardship in the land are reasons for ritual killings. However, these are not justifiable reasons to commit ritual murder. Impunity encourages ritualists to commit murders because they believe they will not be apprehended or punished.
Another reason for ritual murders is the collapse in our moral values, ignorance and superstition, and lack of an adequate punishment system. We should also consider poverty and unemployment as a significant risk factor. If Nigerians have equal opportunities to earn income legitimately, there will be a reduction in horrific crimes such as banditry, human killings for ritual, and terrorism.
Besides, the inordinate quest and pursuit of quick wealth are said to be driving some people to resort to the use of human parts for rituals. And some usual suspects include fake clerics and herbalists who carry out the ritual practices for their clients.
Some analysts have recommended that government should investigate suspected pastors and imams and checkmate their activities because what they do under cover of being religious leaders sometimes leaves much to be desired.
o curb the increase in ritual killings, the government should thoroughly explore the intelligence-gathering approach and prosecute arrested culprits. Timely arrest and prosecution of arrested suspects would serve as a deterrent to anybody contemplating perpetrating ritual killing. Record of successful prosecution of ritualist is not in the public domain. When there are not consequences for deviant behavior , it is incentivized.
For the public, commuters should always write down the identification markings of public conveyance vehicles they enter and make phone calls to loved ones to pass on the information. In the case of Iniobong Umoren mentioned earlier, the fact that she confided in her friend about the phone number of the person that invited her for an interview was instrumental in apprehending the culprit.
Most ritual murderers always wish to be unidentified. They want to kill people but do not wish to be apprehended. Once information about them has been exposed to someone else, it becomes difficult for them to remain anonymous and perpetrate evil.
Commuters should also assess public transport vehicles before boarding in order not to board vehicles occupied by hoodlums. I advise ladies to carry whistles on them to raise the alarm if there is an attempt to abduct them.
In addition to these, people should avoid staying in isolated areas where criminals can quickly attack without being noticed, and everybody should be conscious of their immediate environment.
The spate of ritual killings has become so problematic that our political leaders should declare a national emergency on the crises. I call for stiffer jail sentences to deter potential perpetrators from engaging in ritual killings. Citizens should have trust and confidence to motivate them towards providing credible intelligence for security operators.
We should also make good use of whistleblowers. These are invisible law-abiding citizens whose primary function is to disseminate information that provides details towards the arrest of suspected ritual murderers. They should be anonymous, and the law-enforcement institution should not reveal them as their link persons.
The fight against ritual killings and other menaces in our society is for all. We should not rest until we create a culture where we always uphold the sanctity of life at all cost and the safety of everyone is guaranteed irrespective of social status, religion, or ethnic background. This task calls for authentic leadership. We must swim or sink together . Our only option is to swim to survive the social disaster we are becoming as a nation because of the collapse of morality, ethics, and law.
Nigeria ranks Number One in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) when it comes to ritual murders (locally referred to as ‘money rituals’) – and not only because this West African nation is SSA’s most populated country. Nevertheless, I was astonished reading about the number of recent ritual killings in some of Nigeria’s main cities. In Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, in less than four weeks, beginning from June 1 of this year, at least five persons were savagely murdered by suspected ritual killers. One of the victims was a five-year old boy. Also in August 2019, ritual murders had been reported, with six victims within one month in the same Akinyele Local Government Area. Consequently, the population of Ibadan lives in fear, everyday, of becoming victim of the suspected ritual killers, despite the assurances of the police and governmental authorities and the attention of traditional rulers for these heinous crimes.
As one of the local chiefs stated: “The way the killers have been operating left me with no option than to believe that they are killing for money rituals.”
Warning: the following article contains graphic details (webmaster FVDK).
Ibadan – City of blood Fear, anxiety in Ibadan over ritual killings • Police, government assure residents
Published: June 27, 2020 By: The Sun, Voice of the Nation- Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Ibadan is fast turning into a city of blood, no thanks to a yet-to-be-apprehended group of ritual killers that invaded the city recently and left in their wake a long trail of blood of victims. The affected local government district, Akinyele Local Government Area, is currently under a siege. In less than four weeks, beginning from June 1, 2020, at least, five persons had been killed by suspected ritual killers in different communities of the local government.
Understandably, the development has sent shivers down the spines of residents of one of the 11 local governments that makes up Ibadan, the state capital, and one of the 33 local government areas of the state. The local government, which has 12 wards, was created in 1976 and occupies a land area of 464.892 square kilometres with a population density of 516 persons per square kilometre.
Experts have said that using 3.2 per cent growth rate from 2006 National Population Census figures, the 2010 estimated population for the local government has been estimated to be 239,745. It hosts notable institutions including International Institute of Tropical Agricultural (IITA) at Idi-Ose; Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) at Ojoo, Federal School of Statistics at Ajibode Road; 2nd Division of the Nigerian Army and reasonable percentage of the University of Ibadan land.
A spate of mysterious killings
Since the first ritual killing that took place on June 1, 2020, at Akinyele town, the ritual killings have been consistent. The June 1 incident involved Miss Baraka Bello, a female student of the Department of Science Laboratory Technology (SLT), Federal College of Animal Health and Production, Moor Plantation, Ibadan. She was reportedly raped before being killed. The killers, operating in a way that is reminiscent of the infamous Badoo Boys, were said to have smashed her head at the back of her father’s house at Oloro area of Kara in Akinyele town.
On June 5, 2020, ritualists also smashed the head of 29-year-old woman, Mrs. Azeezat Somuyiwa, with a big stone, at Ijefun community, near Ojoo. She was said to be seven month pregnant at the time of killing.
On Saturday June 13, 2020, a National Diploma student of Oke Ogun Polytechnic, Saki, Oyo State, Grace Oshiagwu, 21, was raped and killed inside a church at Idi Ori, Sasa, Ojoo area of Ibadan.
On Monday, June 22, 2020, five-year-old boy, Mujib Tirimisiyu, was killed by ritual killers, who reportedly hit his head with a shovel at Olorunsogo Phase II, Tose, Moniya, Ibadan. He suffered the fate while he was allegedly defecating behind their house. His loud shout attracting the attention of his mother to rush to where he was defecating. On getting there, she saw some boys dragging his lifeless body into the bush. On sighting her, the attackers reportedly dropped the corpse and fled.
On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, the life of 42-year-old woman, Mrs. Olusayo Fagbemi, residing at Ajibade Street, Sasa, Ibadan, was cruelly cut short by ritual killers. She was allegedly attacked while she washed plates in front of her residence on that Wednesday morning. And, the assailants were said to have hit her on the head, with either a shovel or a cutlass.
On being hit with the weapon, she shouted. This made her husband to rush out from their room. On getting outside, he met his wife in a pool of her own blood. The attackers reportedly took to their heels the moment they sighted her husband and other alamed residents of the house, rushing out. The woman was said to have been rushed to a private hospital for medical attention to save her life. But unfortunately, she could not make it. She was confirmed as ‘brought in dead’ (BID) in the hospital.
Police reassure residents, amid fear
A climate of fear now exists among the natives as no one knows who could be the next victim or when detectives could crack open the conundrum of ritual killings ravaging the community and help bring rest to restless minds. A resident of Sasa, who agreed to speak on the promise of his name not being used in print, blamed suspected ritualists as being behind the incessant killings in the local government area.
“I don’t want my name to be mentioned because those evil people may be residing in the same community with us, and I don’t want them to zero in on my family,” he said. “I think communities should set up vigilance groups to address this ugly trend. Also, the security agencies and the state government should halt the incessant killings in this local government area.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in Oyo State, Olugbenga Fadeyi, who confirmed the death of the five persons, said the police, who he said, are already on the trail of the assailants, have already commenced investigations. Confirming the incident that occurred at about 5:40am on June 24, 2020, he said the deceased “was attacked right at the frontage of her house while she washed plates and she sustained injury on her head. At her shout, her husband rushed out and met her in the pool of her blood, while the assailant(s) ran away. She was rushed to a hospital where she was confirmed dead. Efforts are being intensified to apprehend the culprits as the Police is on their trail.”
Fadeyi who confirmed that some arrests have been made, assured that efforts are being made to nip the incessant killings in the bud. He explained that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Nwachukwu Enwonwu, and Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Security, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, a former Commissioner of Police in Lagos and Benue States, had visited Akinyele and have been working assiduously to arrest the situation.
Speculations on the cause of killings
Meanwhile, some residents of the local governments have accused some landlords and village heads (Baales) of either letting their houses or selling their land to suspected ‘Yahoo Boys’ or ‘Badoo Boys’ who have in turn been decided to terrorize the local government. A middle-aged man, who did not want his name mentioned in print said he warned many of the village heads then, but they did not heed his words because of pecuniary purpose.
This correspondent had, in August 2019, exclusively reported two stories in the Daily Sun, about how ritual killers resurfaced in Ibadan, after a similar development was nipped in the bud at Ikorodu in Lagos. It was reported then that at least six persons were dispatched to their early graves within one month. They killed all the six victims then in the same Akinyele Local Government.
Then, the first reported incident occurred at Abatakan, near Ojoo where four persons were said to have been killed. The second and third reported cases happened at Fatokun in Moniya and Olomowewe in Akingbile, on Saturday August 24, 2019. One person each were reportedly killed in the two places. The three incidents followed the same pattern as the assailants, operating like the Badoo Boys that once terrorized Ikorodu, Lagos, were said to have struck their targets at about 10 a.m. The killers, it was gathered, used grinding stones to smash the heads of their victims, and handkerchiefs to wipe their blood before taking their leave, without stealing anything from their victims.
Lawmaker’s advice on how to stay safe
The recent resurgence has filled the residents with déjà vu. Their leaders assure that this time around they are up in arms. Chairman, Oyo State House of Assembly Parliamentary Council, Ayotunde Fatokun, and the member representing Akinyele Constituency I, told Saturday Sun: “On the issue of ritual killings in Akinyele Local Government, we are trying to do a number of things to ensure that the phenomenon is curbed. In terms of security, we appreciate Governor Seyi Makinde for his efforts and for moving the Special Adviser on Security to the local government to see things for himself and have a first-hand view of what is going on there.
“Many arrests have been made in the last couple of weeks on the incessant killings. But the new killings have shown to us that there are more than one group involved. And efforts are ongoing to ensure that we bring the perpetrators of the evil to book. Most importantly, one major concern as the lawmaker representing the constituency is to enlighten my people on basic security tips and steps they should take to ensure that we are able to curb this menace in no time. Of course, I will like to advise people that they should stop staying outside alone and that they should ensure that they are in company of somebody to guide against eventualities.
“For houses that are close to the bush, we should clear the bushes in order to make it uneasy for these perpetrators of evil to get in and out of residences of people, and also make it uneasy for them to run away. If you are inside the house, let us ensure that we lock our doors. If we notice anything, let us make calls so that something can be done. You may need to shout for your neighbours to come to your aid. If you are able to reach your phone, you can call the 615 Emergency Number of Oyo State, so that security agencies can attend to you promptly.”
Traditional rulers speak on security measures
Speaking on the scary insecurity issue, Alakinyele of Akinyele, Oba James Odeniran, in a chat with Saturday Sun, said: “I must confess to you that we have to subscribe to the fact that the people that are committing the crime are living within our local government. That is why as one of the steps being taken, we have resolved that the issue of landlords and tenants relations should be taken into consideration. At the landlord association’s level, they should be able to know where their tenants come from, the jobs they are doing, know whether they have means of livelihood and know if they are working.
“Also, based on the name of the name of this council, people have found it difficult to differentiate between Akinyele Local Government Area and Akinyele town, with regard to the incessant killings in the area. I want to say it categorically here that apart from that of Barakat Bello, all other incidents were not from Akinyele town. As a result of these incidents, people are now afraid of coming to Akinyele town. I want to say to the whole world that there is relative peace in Akinyele town now. We have taken some steps when the incident of Barakat occurred to ensure adequate security in Akinyele town.”
The Oniroko of Iroko, Oba Olasunkanmi Abioye, believes that if the ritual killings have something to do with the alleged sale of land to the so-called Yahoo Boys, it is not so in his domain. “As far as my own town is concerned, there is no land that was sold to ‘Yahoo Boys,” he said. “But these developing areas like Moniya and Ojoo, if you get there, you would find ‘Yahoo boys’ there. The way they behave and the amount they pay to rent houses in those areas is something else. They can rent a flat for N450,000 per year. Is the money available in circulation like that?
“On this development, we should warn landlords and the Baales about accommodating these people in their houses and communities. The baales and Kabiyesis should be vigilant. They should not sit in their houses or palaces without taking actions. They should go round their domains and get people that should be giving them information about their domains. They should not sit down and expect people to come to them and give them envelopes, and many things. What we need in Akinyele Local Government now is to watch out for those ‘Yahoo Boys’ because they are too many in our local government areas now.”
One of the village heads in the local government, the Alagbagi of Agbagi, Chief Babatunde Fabunmi, said he did not believe that the people perpetrating the evil are ‘Yahoo Boys,’ who bought land from Baales. “The baales could have sold land to people, irrespective of whether you hail from this local government or this state or not,” he said. “To fish out the killers, we should not focus only on those we sold our land to. The evil people could also be among our own people from this local government. God is the only ultimate judge.
“The way the killers have been operating left me with no option than to believe that they are killing for money rituals. They would use dangerous objects to break the heads of their victims and would use white handkerchiefs to collect their blood and run away with it. I must tell you that in our different communities, we have put strong security measures in place, with the support of the government. I can tell you that in Ikereku area now, the government has beefed up the presence of security personnel there. If you are passing through Ikereku now, no matter your personality, the security agents would stop you and do thorough search of your vehicle before they allow you to go.”
LG chairman thanks Gov. Makinde
The Chairman, Akinyele Local Government, Toaoheed Adedigba-Jimoh, thanked Governor Makinde, for his continuous support. “The support that we need to overcome this menace in Akinyele Local Government, he is ready to give us,” he said. “He has directed his Special Adviser on Security, and relevant security commanders in the state to visit this local government.
“They have allowed us to incorporate community policing into the security architecture of our local government. They include hunters, Soludero Hunters Associaton, members of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and local vigilance group. So, we are using all security means to overcome this challenge.
The International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, is an independent, nonprofit news agency that seeks to promote transparency and accountability through robust and objective investigative reporting. The ICIR’s mission is to promote good governance and entrench democratic values by reporting, exposing, and combating corruption.
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Confession of Yahoo Plus Boys: “Ritual does not give us money”
Published: November 8, 2019 By: Ejiro Umukoro
IN their desperation to join the ranks of their compatriots who have been making millions of dollars out of online-scams, young Nigeria- based wannabe scammers known as ‘yahoo boys’ are resorting to the use of traditional charms and mystical powers to charm potential victims.
Yahoo Boys are young men —usually aged between 22-29 years—who specialize in various types of cybercrime. Many of them may be undergraduates or college dropouts whose distinct lifestyles of fast cars, wealth and ostentation is the envy of many of their age-mates. The Yahoo Boys are not limited by geography— the internet is their home— and their victims are as diverse as there are naive and people ready to fall for get-rich-quick scams.
There are numerous websites dedicated to providing tips for those interested in joining the growing ranks of Yahoo Boys. According to a research report, Understanding Cybercrime Perpetrators and the Strategies They Employ in Nigeria, the use of voodoo and charms for spiritual protection and to charm potential victims is very common among Yahoo Boys in Nigeria. The practice is referred to as “Yahoo Plus. According to the report, another level in the use of charms is known as Yahoo Plus Plus, which “involves the use of human parts and may need kidnapping other human beings for rituals, which is not necessary in ‘‘Yahoo Plus.’’ In Yahoo Plus Plus, the use of things such as victims finger nails, rings, carrying of corpses, making incision on their body, sleeping in the cemetery, citing of incantation, using of their fingers for rituals, and having sex with ghosts are common.”
Getting a Victim – The Kidnapping
The car drives by in a lazy fashion. Its three passengers, all male: Macaulay Desmond Oghenemaro, Emese Emudiaga Kelvin and Onoriode Enaike are good spotters. They know a victim when they see one. The signs are usually obvious: a response to a cat-call, eye contact, a smile, a wave of the hand, a thumbs up or just the mere sight of their expensive car is enough to pull a vulnerable, or even, willing participant. This is their fourth recon for their next task. The last three girls they got had been easy catch, their names unremembered, their bodies long decomposed; each one, a girl on the lookout for quick money, free food, or free drinks in return for a one night, short term, or simply a girl keen on dating only men who drive cars.
The three of them sight a potential victim. She flags them down and gets in. She looks about twenty-years-old. She’s not a student; a fashion designer she tells them. They drive to the hottest spot in town for drinks, skewered meat and food. They continue to pour alcohol into her glass, ordering more bottles of beer. She guzzles down the beer as she feasts on the meat and other goodies that they push before her.
The night was about to be ushered in. Their day job as ‘Yahoo boys’(online fraudsters) has taken a new twist. They are now Yahoo Plus Plus, a code name for ‘ritualists’ – or those who are in the business of getting human body parts for use in rituals and occult practices which are supposed to guarantee success of their internet scams. They signaled each other: it was time to take her out. They get her into the car in a drunken stupor then drive several kilometres to the outskirts of Oghara into a bush where they first plucked out one of her eyes while she was still alive. The young lady was crying, begging them to forgive her and let her go, but they went ahead and pluck the other eye, remove her breasts and heart before she died.
Three hours later they are done with her. They abandon her body out in the open, her hands and feet bound with marine ropes. Within three hours they cut off her organs: breasts, heart and eyes. Once they were done, they head for their next stop at the ‘Jazz Man’s’ shrine in Alegbo, Warri.
His name is Ojokojo Robinson Obajero, a 63-years-old man, who though an expert in herbal medicines, mixes his craft with occult practices. They call him the ‘Jazz Man’ in pidgin patois. When the three men meet him and presented the human organs, Obajero tells them when to return. They leave. Four days later, Obajero summons the three men and hands over the burnt ashes of the deceased’s body parts he claims he used in preparing a “money ritual concoction”, which he tells them will guarantee that their online victims fall prey for their tricks to obtain money through fraud.
Several weeks later they returned to Obajero, disappointed and angry. Their business of internet fraud has not been booming as they expected. Instead, it seems that the online victims they have been targeting have become smarter and are no longer falling for their scams. It’s also been several months since they made any money from female victims looking for love on the internet.
They demand to know from Obajero why his ritual did not work. He tells them that he has been testing them – the first three victims whose body parts they brought to him for conjuring was a test to confirm they would not divulge his identity as the person making the charms. He tells them he is confident they will keep their mouths shut and demands that they must get a fifth victim whose body parts he will use to make a new charm.
The three scammers are not happy with this new request. Desmond tells Obajero that they had put in a lot of effort to get the body parts from their four previous victims, and yet they had not got any results. Desmond is angry that even though they had invoked the occult, they were not as successful in luring victims as they had been before they started engaging with Obajero. But this time, Obajero makes a firm promise: “This time you will make money through the death of the girl and the ritual I will do for you.”
The three men left wondering where to get their next victim. Less than 24 hours later, Onoriode calls Desmond and Emese. He tells them there is a possible victim — a student in Abraka University where he works as a security guard. The girl, Elozino Ogege is a 300 level Mass Communication student of the Delta State University who had a few days earlier, asked him if he could help her with information regarding available rooms for rent within the school’s staff quarters, and he had now has asked the girl to return the next day. He told his two accomplices this would be an opportunity for them to kidnap her and take her out of the school premises with the help of the head of security, Nwosisi Benedict Uche, who will be paid N30,000 for allowing them to pass through the gate without the boot of the car being subjected to a search.
Inside the Lecturers Staff Quarters, the three of them waylay Elozino, incapacitate her with a toxic fume, and dump her in the boot of the jeep they brought. While Onoriode waited behind at his guard post, the other two drove to Emese’s house in Umeghe and waited for Onoriode to join them after work hours. Once Onoriode arrived, they drive towards Abraka just before Obiaruku by the right when coming from Warri axis into a large expansive land thick with vegetation. They drive through the bush track of lined palm trees. The bush track leads to Ugunu Community but they do not drive inwards, parking the Corolla car a few metres from the expressway. It was already dark. They get their tools and torchlight.
Desmond had drank half a bottle of strong expensive alcohol but his two friends had no need to dull their senses before they mutilated the girl they had successfully kidnapped. Elozino was crying, begging them to let her go but they ignored her pleas while they plucked her eyes out, removed her heart and cut off her nipples. Two and a half hours later, they are done with the deed. They drive off and deliver the dismembered parts to the occultist who once again instructs them to return after two days when he would have completed preparing the charms.
This was their 5thvictim. In their desperation to make money through ritual killings and sacrifices, they covered an estimated distance of at least 78KM, a journey of about 1hour 27mins between Abraka to Otefe, Oghara in at least 10 instances (780KM) (870 minutes); including traveling back and forth from Abraka to Warri on at least 10 occasions to meet with the occultist who prepared charms, estimated distance of 490KM both ways, a total of 660 minutes; in addition to navigating their way from their home base in Abraka to Delta State University, DELSU, towards the expressway some distance from Obiaruka where they committed their last crime, a journey of at least 41KMboth ways and roughly 50mins at the least. On average, it took them about 3 hours on each victim to extract the organs, an average total of 15 hours spent.
While they were at home awaiting the call from the jazz man, in less than 48 hours later, in the early hours of Saturday 10thNovember 2018, all three men including the occultist were rounded up by the police. A tipoff from the victim’s family led to an investigation that helped the police trace the girl’s cell phone, a Tecno K7 Mobile, to the murderers. Elozino Ogege was their fifth victim.
ON MISSING GIRLS
A follow-up investigation into the other 4 missing girls was made. Reports from Police Missing Person data does not have any record of reported missing girls during this period when the acts were carried out. According to the Police IPO in charge of Elozino’s case, who followed up on the perpetrators confession, no bodies of the missing girls were found when they went to inspect the areas where their bodies were dumped in the bushes in Oghara.
When the police was asked why there was no missing persons’ report, one theory postulated was that since the bodies of the girls according the yahoo boys were left abandoned in the open, decomposition was fast and the decayed bodies and bones likely eaten up by animals.
The other reason he explained was that, as a rule, because police don’t trust anyone, many people prefer not to report such cases of dead or mutilated bodies found so they are not mistaken or held for being responsible for such deaths or incidences. To remedy this, he suggests that citizens in general can report such cases to NGOs whose focus covers such issues who will then bring the case to the police. That way, the person who made the report is at first protected until investigations into the matter are completed.
But most importantly, citizens should begin to take it upon themselves to report suspicious activities and suspicious persons to the police early on as a preemptive call-to-action. Neighbourhood Watch is a must in combating crimes, illicit and illegal activities in all communities, especially more so in the ‘ember’ months ahead, where end of year activities are highest.
Efforts were also made to reach the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) to give us data on activities surrounding violent killings of females within the context of Yahoo Plus Plus using the FOI Request but no response, over two months before this report was filed, was gotten from EFCC regarding this. Violence of any kind against women: yahoo plus plus, other occult related killings, rape, assault, etc., are human rights abuses that must not be condoned by society. Cases must be reported and speedy justice administered to stop the scourge and prevent future incidents.
More needs to be done to collect data on missing women in Nigeria, to better understand the scope of the problem and work towards making university campuses a safe space for female students.
As foreign law enforcement crackdown on online scams in a bid to protect their citizens from online fraud, it will become harder and harder for the Yahoo Boys to keep operating as they have in the past. Ritual killings and the belief that their victims’ body parts will create charms that will enable them to earn a living from scams are just one of the results from a population of young people who are turning to crime to make a living.
Nigeria’s youth unemployment rate averaged 36.5% iin the third quarter of 2018, while the national average rose to 23.1%. With graduates entering the workplace in greater numbers, there needs to be a concerted effort by national and state governments to provide an environment that will enable job creation to give young people better choices.
Yahoo Boys as also adept at cyber-enabled financial fraud. A six month operation wire wire conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service resulted in 74 arrests in the United States and overseas, including 29 in Nigeria, and three in Canada, Mauritius and Poland. The operation also resulted in the seizure of nearly $2.4 million, and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers. Many of these scammers who were in Nigeria have since fled to other countries eg Ghana, Dubai ,South Africa, Gambia as the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes commission closed in on them.
I set out to interview Desmond and Onoriode who admitted to practicing Yahoo Plus Plus rituals. Together as a gang they spent an estimated 1,311KM, equaling a total of 1,580 minutes on the prowl looking for vulnerable women they can lure. Their lead-man, Emese, was alleged to have slumped and died when the police were close to catching him. Desmond and Onoriode were both in police custody while awaiting trial when this interview was conducted. During the interview, they were unemotional as they narrated how they kidnapped their victims and mutilated their bodies.
Sitting down on a short bench close to a hedge of plants, the sun shining overhead with a white plastic table separating us, this is an excerpt from the interview I conducted in the presence of the police:
Q: What’s your name and how old are you?
Macaulay Desmond. I’m 32 years. I Finished secondary school in 2008 (Urhuoka Secondary School, Abraka) but I was born in Lagos. I did my primary school in Benin and secondary school in Abraka.
Q: Were you in business before?
Desmond: I was into photography work and sand dredging from high sea. My job was to pile it up. I dredged in Bayelsa and with Delta Glass for two years and six months. Photography was from 2006 to 2013. I was learning photography as an apprentice at the same time I was schooling in secondary school. After school I go to do my apprenticeship. I was good with snapping photos, creating handbills, all types of photo enlargements, making complimentary cards, CD plate transfers and so on. But after I finished secondary school I stop my apprenticeship and left the job. Because I didn’t have the money to open my own shop I decided to work for my boss. After a while I left the job because it wasn’t paying that well. So I went to Lagos to work for another construction company. But that too wasn’t paying me well.
So I approach my Uncle to help me with money to further my studies. So my Uncle put me in the line of dredging sand from 2013 up till 2016 when I now leave for Ghana. I left because the dredging contractors who supplied the sands to Beta Glass was not paying, they owed us for long periods. Life was difficult. When I complain to my uncle he no show concern; im own be say e don put you for line. His own is to build the barge, rent it out or sell it out. The weather in the place too was a problem especially when I was hungry. So I got fed up.
Q: Why didn’t you learn how to make barges yourself from your Uncle? Or you didn’t want to learn how to make barges?
That’s not what I discussed with him actually. I told him I have finished my photography work and I just need money to finish my studies. My Uncle told me he does not have that kind of money. But the best he can do for me is put me in the line of working in the barge.
Q: So how did you get into this other line of business?
When things got rough with the dredging business, I called my friend and told him things are rough with me here (Nigeria) that’s when my friend now ask me to come in 2016.
Q: So what happened in Ghana? What were you now doing in Ghana?
We are doing the yahoo yahoo.
Q: Where exactly in Ghana?
Q: How long were you there for?
I was there like 8 months.
Q: So you were living with your friend there? How were you paying or compensating him for living in his house?
There was no compensation because he’s my childhood friend. We went to the same secondary school. The agreement we have is that if I collect money, then the percentage we’ll share it. If I collect N300,000 we can share it 40/60 because he’s the one providing for the network and feeding. That’s how they do it everywhere. Everybody that travels to Ghana that’s how they do it. It’s 40/60. Or some chairman the one that’s not greedy 50/50.
Q: Describe this your yahoo business for me.
Yahoo is kind of internet relationship. When you meet a woman.
Q: So you target women?
Yea its women. Some people do male one or female, depends on the one you want. You tell the woman that you love her and you want her to be your wife for the starting when you propose to her if she agree. For the first week you push love to her then may be for the second week you still push love to her. From there she will give you her number so you can be communicating with her so both of you can be talking. Then may be she can tell you that you cannot be talking on phone-phone that she want you to come over. That’s when she’s in love. She’ll tell you to come over. Because them they believe in love. Once they tell you that they’re in love they’re really in love.
Q: Which kind of women are you targeting? African women or …?
Any woman. Let me say in Africa, only South African women because it is the currency we’re looking at. We target women in Germany, U.S, Italy, London,
Q: So do you target this women? You look at their profile or you randomly choose anyone you want?
We bond them through Facebook. Facebook show your location, your name. So you can use your name and put your phone number and everything about you will show. And if you like to accept you accept, and if you don’t like to accept…
Q: So once I accept your friendship, the next thing you’ll be sending me messages?
We’ll be chatting.
Q: How long does it take before a woman gives in?
It depends on how long it takes for the woman to fall in love. In the past it used to take two weeks for her to ‘fall in love’. But these days it can take up to three years because many are now aware that there are scammers. So most of them are very careful. So if you tell her you love her, she will say no, because most of them have been played before. Those ones that have been played before will tell us so and so person did this to me. Those types of women, we leave them. No need wasting time with them. Once they tell you they’ve been played before its best to leave them because nothing you’ll tell that person will change them. You dump her and look for another one. Those who have money will give you.
Q: What language do you speak to these women?
For English women, you speak English. For Spanish women, you download an App to translate English to Spanish or English to German or English to Portuguese.
Q: When did you start Yahoo business?
January 2016. But my friend has been in it since 2013.
Q: How much do you make on a weekly or monthly basis?
Money doesn’t come in like that. But within a month, if you meet a woman who fall for you, you can get as much as $3,000 – $4,000. Once she pays you that money, you leave her for some time so you can build trust. Else if you demand too quick after the first one, she will not believe you.
Q: What do you tell her that moves her to give you such money?
The type of work I’m doing is what I used to get her. I tell her I’m an engineer. I pose as an engineer working at sea into rig drilling. That’s the only way to get a vacation from my boss. Then I’ll tell her to write to him because he’s the only one who can grant me my vacation since I’m not due for leave yet. And the only way to get out of the sea is through a helipad. If she can pay for that, plus other expenses like ground transportation, accommodation and feeding, then I can be with her fast fast. So the cost will be like $3,000 to hire the helipad plus another $1,000.
Q: But how does she know which company you work for?
I design a website that looks exactly like a popular offshore drilling website company but my pictures will not be on it because once she sees who I really am, she won’t fall for it. So I will send the company email to her which I have already created. She now writes to by ‘boss’ using that email. But the email is coming back to me. I will now reply to the email as the ‘boss’ telling her that “the message she sent has been received. And will get back to her in a few days.” After she has received this first email she’ll now copy it and send it to me to say this was the response she got from my boss.
Two days later, the ‘boss’ will now write back to me saying: “We have granted the vacation. Since this is not his normal vacation time, it will require a helipad to take him out from the sea.”
She will now copy this and send to me. That is when I will now tell her it would cost $3,000-$4,000 to pay for the helipad that will take him out of the sea to land including expenses for hotel, feeding and accommodation.
Q: How does she send the money to you?
We keep a collection of women on the internet for different reasons. Some we propose marriage to and keep promising them that to keep the relationship going but tell them we’re struggling in Nigeria with a business we want to grow so that when need for her arises like in transferring money from one European country to another, she provides the bank account needed for the transaction. By this time I would have told her I only trust her and I have a big contract in Nigeria worth $300,000 that is going to run for a year and six months (or whatever time I like to give her), but because I don’t have all the money yet to execute it, I will tell her I’m asking money from friends and families within and outside Nigeria to help me with some money so I can succeed in the business. Then the monies would be sent to her account and after the contract is done, the entire money will be paid into her account then we can be together. I will now ask her to assist too since the other monies will be dropping into her account. Because the woman sees herself as wife to be married to me, her future husband she believes me. So when I get a new client ready to pay money, I will reach out to my ‘wife’ who now provides me with the bank account and the money is wired in it. Already I’m posing as a non-Nigerian. And although I am in Nigeria, I’m working as a contractor but don’t have an account yet. I will now tell her to send the money to my supervisor who is a black man. Then I will provide her with my own account details. Or any other account needed for the purpose.
Q: Is the pickup woman part of the yahoo team?
No she’s not. She’s just like the other women looking for love too who I have already proposed to.
Q: Why send the money through her? Are you not worried she will keep it for herself?
There’s a lot of problems that will come up if I give her my account. Money transfer from inter country takes 6-7 days. And if you use your own account, your face as a black man will show and that will terminate the transactions.
Q: At what point does the woman know that she’s been deceived?
She cannot know. She does not know. The only time she begins to think so is when her daughter, friends or even husband tells her that the person she’s dealing with is scamming her.
Q: From the point she sends in the first money, how long does it take from that time for her to know she’s been scammed?
It takes a while. Even after the first payment, some of them will send more money again as long as she doesn’t realise. But once she realises, she would stop. In the past it used to take four years of continuously sending money before she realises she’s being scammed. But these days it may not take up to two years.
Q: How many women have you gotten money from like this?
Since 2016 till December 2018 I only succeeded in getting two women to give me money. But I have spoken to many women who think I’m in love with them. Many of them are genuinely in love but don’t have money. The reason being that once you mention money even after you have proposed to them and keep promising love, some will tell you they don’t have or will just stop talking to you.
Q: How much have you made since 2016-2018?
We split the money into 60/40. So the money that has come to me is up to N3.5 million naira.
Q: What do you do with this money?
I use it for myself and give my sisters too. I also have cousins I share it with.
Q: Do they know that this is how you got the money between 2016 and 2018? They didn’t ask you?
I told them I was travelling. And even after I came back to Nigeria and continued, they don’t know what I do. I don’t stay with them. I stay with my friend and we live very far from them even though we’re all in Abraka. They call me whenever they need money and I send it to them.
Q: Why did you leave Ghana?
My friend asked us to come back to Nigeria with the promise that we will return to Ghana. But to my surprise, he said we were no longer going back. He deceived me. I was very angry at him because his attitude towards me changed. It wasn’t about money. I quarreled with him. Another friend of his, a guy in the same line of business came between us. I was very angry with my friend so I left him. Later he came to beg me and I went back to stay with him.
Q: Why didn’t you just go back to Ghana on your own?
There was no money.
Q: At what point did you now add ‘ritual killings’ to your business?
It was after we got to Nigeria when the money was no longer coming in again like before. That was one of the reasons I quarreled with my friend. Nigeria wasn’t favourable. I even went back to loading tipper and dredging sand to see if I can raise money but I wasn’t even making enough money to save so that we can use it to go back to Ghana.
Q: So who introduced you to ‘ritual killings’?
My friend, Emese, who was here with us in the prison. But he’s dead now.
Q: Are you convinced ‘ritual’ gave you the money?
To me what I see there is that it’s just being manipulator. Let me say so. Or is just when things will just happen. Now I don’t believe that anybody on earth, nobody can tell me this kind of thing.
Q: Desmond you took the lives of 5 girls. Elozino was not drunk, nor drugged but awake while you guys cut her up … How did you feel when you were doing that? How were you able to do that Desmond?
It was not easy to do. But that was why I drink.
Q: But that was not your first time, Desmond. You did it 5 times. Each of the times you did it to the girls, they begged you to stop? Were they not crying?
Q: So when you saw the tears and heard their begging, how come that didn’t move you to stop? Why didn’t you feel sorry enough to let them go, to free the girls?
It’s because of what the herbalist told us. That was why we were afraid. He said we would go mad or die.
Since Desmond made his confession, he is still very much alive in 2019, several months since he committed the act in 2018.
Q: How Old are you?
Q: How long have you been a security man in Abraka?
6 months. Sometime in May. Before June.
Q: Before this time, what were you doing?
I was studying nursing at a private hospital in Eku. Life Care Hospital.
Q: What kind of nurse were you? Auxiliary or Regular?
Q: What was your job in the hospital?
I learn how to stitch people. I can stitch. After that, we learn pharmacy, to know more about drugs. I go chemist go learn drugs. You can discuss with the person to do apprentice for 6 months or 1 year.
Q: Why did you want to learn about drugs?
Because nurses just treat and do stitches and put drugs into drips using injection but don’t know drugs. That’s all they know. But when you go into pharmacy, you know more drugs. That is the reason why I go to pharmacy, to know more drugs.
Q: How long did you practice as an auxiliary nurse?
Q: How many hospitals did you go to learn this auxiliary nursing?
Nursing was in Eku, Life Care Hospital. I Learn how to treat, how to pass drip. But I do pharmacy in Obiarukwu.
Q: What year did you learn all these?
2015 to 2018.
Q: So before 2015 what were you doing?
I wasn’t doing anything then. I finished my secondary school in 2007.
Q: So between 2007 and 2013, what were you doing these 6 years?
I was farming in Abraka.
Q: What kind of farming were you into?
Q: Was it your land or you rented it?
Q: How was the business back then?
It was okay.
Q: So why did you leave it to enter nursing?
I cannot just rely on farming every time. I must look for something to do.
Q: Was the farming not a good business? If it was paying, why leave it?
I always love nursing. That’s why I go for the nursing.
Q: Why didn’t you study for JAMB (Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board conducted exam for every student seeking entrance to university), pass your exams and go to university to learn it instead?
I no get helper.
Q: Are you the first child? How many are you?
My father has three wives. Out of the three wives children, I am the last. My mother has 5 children and my stepmother has 6 children. And the third wife has 2. But my father is late. He died in 1995.
Q: But you do everyday business? And you make some money too?
Q: So why didn’t you use the funds to help you further your education if you made money from farming?
What I plan before as I finish the nursing, na to open chemist so better income will help me further my education.
Q: So what now happened that you didn’t open the chemist or go to school, but instead became a security man? What happened between this time?
I go to the chemist union. Dem tell me that before I fit open a chemist shop, I must be a union member as they cannot allow me run chemist shop without joining association first. That was when they tell me I have to register with N300,000, plus I will buy drinks and kill goat as part of the registration process before they will allow me stock my store with medicines, apart from the money to rent the store, employ a store keeper, and so on, so I gave up and tell myself to focus on other things or business until I can meet up with the requirements.
Q: So how did you get into this business of using human parts?
It was Desmond’s friend who introduced me to it. We all live in the same community in Abraka.
Q: What is the friend’s name?
Emudiaga Emese. He is from Umeghe. I am from Ovuso/Abraka. Mudiagha who is boss to Desmond came to meet one day like that asking if I remember him. I said yes. That was when he told he will teach me about his business so I can join him. He asked me if I didn’t admire him for how he has money? I said yes, I’ll like to. He now said he will put me in line so I can learn how to make money like him.
Q: Police record shows that before you got your job as a security guard in Abraka University you were put in jail. How did you get to be in prison?
I was arrested sometime in January/February of 2014 and released in December 2015. What happened was that there was a party in my compound. Someone brought a car into the compound with another person but by morning that person died. So what happened was that police raid the area and pack all of us into cell. They charged us to court then sent to prison. This happened when courts go on strike. So when I was supposed to get bail, court did not sit. So that was how I was kept in jail for one year. The court was waiting for DPP advice, so they kept me there in jail in Sapele Prison.
Q: Are you a cult member?
Q: Who bailed you out from prison?
My mother and older brothers get lawyer for me. I am the youngest of my mother’s children.
Q: When you came out of prison, what happened before you became security guard in Delta State University (DELSU)?
It was after I came out of prison I went to learn nursing work.
Q: So when exactly did they recruit you?
But they only approach me to join them for ritual killings after I started work as a security guard in DELSU.
Q: During this time you were ‘moving about’ with them, what were you guys doing?
Because Mudiagha had money, he will come to and take us in his car and then we all stroll together.
Q: What do you mean by stroll together?
We go to beer parlours to drink, carry girls, tour the town then go back home.
Q; When you carry girls. What do you do to them?
If it is a girl Mudiagha wanted to use, we carry the girl, get her drunk, take her to the bush and thereafter take the parts we want.
Q: Do you drug the drinks the girls take?
No we don’t drug their drinks. Is just a simple thing we do. We get in the car, girls see us in this beautiful car and they agree to join us then we go to a beer parlour and just get her drunk.
Q: Which kinds of girls do you target? How you know if you speak to a particular girl she will do your bidding?
We don’t target the girls! Girls dem too like cars! They like to flex, have fun, party. So when they see a young boy with a car they like to hang out with you. We don’t even spin them before they just jump into the car because they assume that before you can own a car, it means you’re loaded. You have money. So they just follow you.
Q: So how many girls have you gone and targeted like that with Desmond and Mudiagha that you were a part of?
Q: How much have you made from this online money since you started 2 years ago?
Sometimes I get N50,000 or N100,000
The next question is directed to Desmond
Q: Is that how much you give him, Desmond?
DESMOND: It depends on how the money comes. Sometimes Onos gets N200,000.
ONORIODE: You have never given me up to N200,000 at once.
DESMOND: Yes we have. 200,000 up to N300,000 sef. Will I lie against you (he turns to look at Onoriode).
ONORIODE: But I don’t have a say on how they share the money. They are the bosses that does the sharing. So whatever they give me as my share I simply take it.
Q: So how many times did you collect N50,000 and N100,000 separately?
ONORIODE: I was given money 5 times. I collected N100,000 on three different occasions. Then N50,000 on 3 different occasions too.
Q: So between 2016-2018 you made at least N550,000?
Q: What did you do with the money?
I used it to buy shoes and clothes.
Q: Did you give any of the money out as gifts to anyone? Family? Friends?
I flex with the money: beer parlours, nights in hotels, buy suya, spend money on restaurant food, and so on.
Q: Out of the N550,000 you made, who did you share part of the money with?
Q: Not even your mother?
Q: Why didn’t you give anybody out of the money?
You know, when money is in your hands, all you think of is have your bath, think of the next place to go and spend money and just flex around. You hear there’s a birthday party, and other such things and you’re there. Just like that that’s how I spent the money.
Q: So this period you didn’t extend any money gift to your mother or sister like a way of showing care or supporting them?
Q: So why did you take the security work in Abraka since you’re already making money through this?
I use it to patch up.
Q: Who recommended you to the management of Abraka to hire you?
Abraka na my area. I know it well and I am part of the community so they know me. I already know the man in charge of security too. So I approached him for the job and got it.
Q: What other reason did you have for applying for this security job?
To gather myself up to raise enough to start my chemist shop.
Q: Why did you go after Elozino, the last girl?
It was just a coincidence. We already get a plan to get a girl for the next ritual as the jazz man tell us to do. So our mind is set to look out for a girl that will provide the parts for us. So when the opportunity just show the day after we had discuss, and this girl approached me two days before na then I make up my mind that she go be the one. So I tell my guys. So when she show up the next day we kidnap her.
Q: In what condition were you guys when you carry out this act? Do you take any drink?
DESMOND: Yes. I take a lot of alcohol and spirits before we go out to do it. I take up to half bottle.
ONORIODE: Me I no dey take anything. No drink. No drugs. No smoking of any kind.
Q: So you do it with clear eyes, Onos?
Nods his head in the affirmative.
Q: Why do you take drink before you start, Desmond?
I take it so that when I feel the pain, because na human being like me too, na that alcohol go give strong mind to finish the work.
Q: So Onos, you said you do it with your eyes wide open, no weed, no alcohol or drugs to douse your senses. And you have done it 5 times like that?
Wetin we just talk be say e tell me say if we do this one finish before, we go get money. So na the stuff, money wey be say I no get naim make me fit do am.
Q: So you don’t feel sorry for the girls you’re doing this to as long as it’s money you’re after?
It’s not as if I don’t feel sorry for them. I feel sorry. But based on the fact that I have struggled to get money and haven’t succeeded, I just focus on the work so I can get the money.
Q: But you already have a job as a security guard. Why did you have to take this girl’s life?
ONORIODE: Wetin be N20,000? That one na money?
Q: Onos, since you started this ritual business, have you made money?
ONORIODE: No. no. no. I have not made money.
Q: So if after all this time, you didn’t make money, why did you continue?
ONORIODE: It is because the Baba, the Jazz Man, promise that this last one will bring us money. He said we will go mad or die if we talk.
Q: But the man promised you this, 1sttime, 2nd, 3rd, and 4thtime, yet did not fulfil this promise and the money you’re looking for you didn’t get it, why go for the 5thone?
ONOS: The Baba promise that this 5thone is what will give us the money.
Q: So why didn’t the others give you money?
ONORIODE: The Baba said he was testing us to see whether we will reveal the secret and now that he’s sure we will not do so, he then promise us that this 5thone will bring us the money. He said if we follow through on this one we will get money from it.
Q: The baba who is promising you all these riches, how rich is he?
ONOS: No he’s not as rich.
Q: Where does the herbalist live?
ONOS: In Warri. Alegbo Axis. He lives in the last street before Alegbo Primary School.
Q: Do people in the area know him for his ritual activity?
DESMOND: No. I’m not sure. But we hear people address him Doctor. They call the Baba Doctor. The man na herbalist.
Q: What is the role of your fellow security man who is in custody? Many feel you just named him to rope in.
ONORIODE: See the matter. He did not join us in any ritual cutting. But the thing is that anybody who drives into the school with a car must have the car searched and because he is head of security at the post he has veto power to search and approve any car passing at the main gate. So there was no way my guys can leave the school without being searched after we have capture the girl in the car. So I tell him about the deal and told him one of my big bros is a Ghana Burger and he has money. I discuss this with him two days before we get the girl.
Q: So you told this senior security man that this your boss is a Ghana Burger and he has money?
Yes. So I told him we cannot do this without his permission, and he’ll get his cut after we succeed. He asked me what I mean. So I explain to him that the person we wanted to carry is within the school premises and since he’s the one always at the gate, we need his help as the supervisor to allow our vehicle pass out of the gate without check. That we need him to pass the order so that the junior security men at the post will allow the car pass through without being held up. Once he give the order to raise the bar at the gate, nobody will challenge it because he’s the supervisor. Any order he gives they must obey him. After I explain all this to him he accept the offer and promise to do his part. The other part of the arrangement was for him to post me on my next shift to the lecturer’s lodge area the next day since I had already made arrangement with my guys to call the girl to meet me where she met me the day before. If I no reach arrangement with him, he will post me elsewhere. Because the lecturers lodge is very far we can carry our plan and nobody will see us. Any other security post by the roundabout or near the school gates is not a good hiding place. So the supervisor agree.
Q: How much did you promise to give the supervisor, the head of security?
ONORIODE: I did not mention bulk amount to him. But I told him he will get some huge cash. I tell am say better money go enter eim hand. And I know too that once we made the money the supervisor could get up to N30,000 to N40,000.
Q: What’s the supervisor’s name?
ONORIODE: Supervisor’s name is Uche Benedict Nwosisi
Q: From your experience now, does ritual killing actually bring in money?
DESMOND: NO. Na circumstances they make everything correct, just rhyme. Let me say, is just being manipulator or is just the way things will just happen.
ONORIODE: I be follow follow first. I never sabi.
DESMOND: Onos know everything already. Na the yahoo dey give us money.
Q: But since you do the ritual e bring money for you?
ONOS: e no bring money for me.
Q: So, if e no bring money for you why you kon dey do am dey go till you kill 5 girls? Sense dey the thing?
ONOS: No sense
Q: So why did you continue doing it when you realised there was no sense in continuing killing more girls?
Q: So what will happen to you now? Do you know what will happen to you going forward?
DESMOND and ONORIODE: I don’t know.
Q: What do you think you deserve to be done to you for what you both did to those 5 girls?
Q: Is that the only thing you deserve?
Q: what about you Onos? What do you deserve for all the atrocities you committed?
Q: So if you’re to give advice to people who think ritual brings money, what would you say to them?
DESMOND: That it is not how to make money. You make money with your hands, and make money from the right source, not quick money. If you have opportunity fine. But if you don’t have, you wait until God blesses you.
Q: What if you get hungry, is it enough to do this kain thing?
DESMOND: If you’re get hungry then you die. But I know that hunger does not kill somebody.
ONORIODE: it is better to build with your hand than to do this.
Q: how many were you in this yahoo ring in Ghana?
Me, my friend and two other guys from Nigeria.
Q: Where in Ghana were you living?
Kasoa. Many Nigerians are into yahoo in Ghana. We are many. They are still there. We all stayed in a popular estate, Obo(lu) Estate in Kasoa. Kasoa is big. Take a bike and tell them you want to get to Obolu estate. They’ll take you there. They will ask which of the estate. So you tell them but I can’t remember the exact name of ours. But when you say Obolu estate, they will take you there. The man Obolu has many estate. So you’ll have to tell them the specific estate because the Obolu estate is very big and there are different estates there too.
Q: The police thinks ritual killings with yahoo boys started from Ghana. Except you don’t know it?
DESMOND: People do it here in Nigeria before them go Ghana. They are the ones who introduced it in Ghana. A week, two weeks they have made money then they now come back to Nigeria. But when I was there in Ghana for eight months (2016-2017), there was nothing like ritual killing.
Desmond and Onoriode are currently under trial in Delta State, and the status of their conviction is yet to be determined.
This story is supported by WanaData a project of Code For Africa
In Nigeria, ritual killing is not a small problem – at least, according to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Muhammad, who puts ritualistic murders on the same level as internet fraud, armed robbery, kidnapping and drug trafficking. The Chief Justice of Nigeria spoke at the 7th Convocation ceremony of the Nile University of Nigeria, in Abuja, urging authorities of the various institutions of learning to take necessary steps to reverse the unsavoury trend.
It is common knowledge that ritualistic murders – in Nigeria known as ‘money business’ or ‘money rituals’ – occur in many states. These heinous crimes are often committed by so-called Yahoo boys, but – according to Ibrahim Muhammad – also by university and college students.
One of the root causes of ritual murders is superstition, the belief that body parts used to make ‘juju’ guarantee success, power and wealth. One would expect that students in tertiary institutions are well educated and reject such superstitious ideas. The fact that this is not the case shows that something is fundamentally wrong in the Nigerian educational system. I sincerely hope that Chief Justice Ibrahim Muhammad’s speech will serve as a wake-up call for the Nigerian authorities (webmaster FVDK).
Chief Justice Ibrahim Muhammad speaks out against Nigerian students committing armed robbery, kidnapping, ritual killing, internet fraud
Published: October 28, 2019 By: SaharaReporters, New York
Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), has lamented the increased rate of criminalities amongst students of the country’s tertiary institutions.
The CJN, while speaking at the 7th Convocation ceremony of the Nile University of Nigeria, in Abuja, urged authorities of the various institutions of learning to take necessary steps to reverse the unsavoury trend.
He said, “The Nigerian Judiciary will always be the hope of everybody, irrespective of his or her status in the society. The various acts of criminalities currently pervading our various university campuses across the country is a sad commentary, to say the least.
“It is very unfortunate to now see our students engaging in armed robbery, kidnapping, internet fraud, ritual killings, trafficking in illicit drugs, and several other vices. It is a trend that must, as a matter of urgency, be nipped in the bud.
“If our most cherished and celebrated future leaders are allowed to wallow in such dangerous and inimical venture, then the future looks very bleak. Our hope rests on you and you must not let us down.”
Muhammad added, “As I look through this beautiful convocation arena, I can see the galaxy of stars that are poised to change the world for the best and make indelible marks in their various professions, even on the global stage.
“My candid advice to you all, this morning, is to shun crime and any act capable of smearing the good reputation and image that the nation has carved for you. As we all know, virtue is its own reward.
“Let me assure you that hard work attracts tremendous reward and with concerted effort, your success in life will know no bounds.
“The sky will ultimately serve as your foot mat. From this moment on, you should begin to walk towards the direction of your dreams. By so doing, you can rest assured that failure will have no affinity with you.”
Continuing, the nation’s chief justice stated, “Like I always say, the Nigerian Judiciary will always be the hope of everybody, irrespective of his or her status in the society.
“We will, as usual, be pursuing the total adherence to the tenets of the rule of law by all citizens because it has always been the bastion of genuine democracy. Needless to say that disobedience of lawful court orders is antithetical to a nation’s growth and progress.
“It is our passionate desire to place the Nigerian judiciary in that strategic position where the country can occupy a pride of place among the comity of nations.
“By the grace of the Almighty Allah, Nigeria will be great and we all shall be very proud of our heritage.”
‘Yahoo, in Nigeria,’ is not necessarily linked to ritualistic activities or – worse – murders. However, what ‘Yahoo’ has in common with ritualistic activities is the ‘get-rich-quick-mentality’. From the hijacking of email accounts and related ‘419 crimes’ to ‘money rituals’ is just one step. ‘Yahoo-plus’ represents this step.
‘Yahoo-plus’ includes using diabolical means to get rich or become famous, and – according to the article produced below – usually involves the use of human blood. ‘Yahoo-boys’ now kill and use human parts for rituals. They use charms to get control over their victims who fear the ‘juju’ in the hands of these ‘Yahoo Yahoo boys’ (webmaster FVDK).
Sapele youths march against Yahoo Yahoo boys
Published: September 18, 2019 By: PM New Nigeria
Youths in Sapele and its environ have staged a peaceful rally in support of the efforts of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to rid Delta State and the entire country of cybercrimes and other forms of economic and financial crimes.
The youths under the aegis of Save Sapele Group, carried banners and placards bearing various messages such as “Sapele Say No to Crime, Yahoo Yahoo, Kidnapping and Internet Fraud”, “Say No to Corruption”, “Protect our Youths, Daughters and Sisters – Say No to Yahoo Yahoo” and ” Say No to 419″, as they marched through the streets of Sapele.
They also wore T-shirts with inscriptions condemning internet fraud popularly known as ‘yahoo yahoo’.
The youths said the rally which is coming on the heels of several arrests of cybercrime suspects in the city, was to demonstrate their disapproval of the activities of elements that engage in activities such as internet fraud, cybercrimes and kidnapping in Sapele.
“We don’t want yahoo yahoo. We don’t want internet fraud, We say no to 419 and ritual killing”, a spokesman declared.
Tuesday’s rally in support of the Commission came few days after some youths in the area staged a protest against a sister agency, claiming that officers of the agency were instigating the frequent EFCC raid of Internet fraudsters in the city.
From ‘Yahoo’ to ‘Yahoo-Plus’: Evil acts of Internet fraudsters
Published: September 19, 2019 By: Sun News Online
Internet fraudsters have intensified their means of operation by adding some diabolical features to their game. The perpetrators, who are mainly youths, now adopt all manner of conjurations to keep the cash coming their way.
The development has become disturbing to all concerned Nigerians. Many pundits believe that the trend, popularly known as ‘Yahoo,’ is creating a lazy and purposeless generation that is desperate to get rich overnight without minding the inherent long or short-term consequence.
It is indisputable that this get-rich-quick syndrome is already denting the image of not just Nigerian citizens but the country as well. Many have expressed concern over the negative impacts the illicit activities are having on Nigeria.
Gone are the days when the major means of getting funds by these yahoo boys was to hijack email accounts or email servers to intercept business transactions and redirect payments, or to spoof email addresses from external accounts pretending to be a company and authorising irregular payment transactions. Some of the fraudsters also used their victims’ credit cards to buy anything they wanted.
But it appears those tricks are no longer in vogue as their targets are in full grasp of virtually all the old gimmicks. Before their tactics were exposed, they had exploited many unsuspecting people, within and outside Nigeria. Their victims were fleeced of billions of naira and foreign currencies, as well as prized personal belongings.
An undergraduate of the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, told the reporter that two of his schoolmates were involved in ‘Yahoo-Plus,’ meaning using diabolical means to make wealth, usually involving the use of human blood.
“People should no longer be deceived over Internet fraud. What the boys do now is killing and using human parts for rituals. Many of them also use charms to manipulate the minds and thoughts of their victims. Honestly, if you have experienced the use of juju, you will understand that it works on many people. The victims would lose control of their thoughts or actions. They would become puppets in the hands of their manipulators. It may not last for long, but for the short period it is in effect, the victims might give all they have to the fraudsters.
“Recently, a student I know very well, who was in National Diploma 2, bought a car worth over N7 million. Everybody knew him as a yahoo boy. But something mysterious happened to his mother the last time he travelled to his hometown in Delta State. The news went round the campus of how his mother bled to death as soon as the boy stepped into their family house.
“Some of his siblings quickly raised the alarm and out of the fear of being mobbed by his own people, he fled and has not returned till date. He didn’t also come back to the campus. He abandoned his studies and his property at the apartment that he rented,” he said.
The source said the news did not come to most of the students as a surprise because the student in question had always boasted that he was making his money through the Internet. He stated that the student, who is now on the run, lived a flamboyant life and spent money as if it was going out of fashion.
“There is also another student who allegedly used his younger sister for money rituals. But something seemed to have gone wrong along the line that resulted in the young man running mad. Some said that he confessed to have killed his sister to get rich. Meanwhile, everyone knew him in school as an Internet fraudster.
“There are many others who are driving exotic cars on campus but they can’t take such vehicles home so that they won’t be questioned by their parents on their source of wealth. We know these people very well and many of them don’t hide their identities. They also belong to a clique and they don’t fail to intimidate others with their ill-gotten wealth.
“Yahoo-Plus is the reigning thing now. Some would travel to as far as Ghana only to return within a few months and begin to spend millions of naira. They call it ‘Ghana connection.’ They organise parties now and then for no tangible reason. Any lady they want is at their beck and call, because money is there to throw around. They would disturb their neighbourhoods by blasting music,” he said.
Different security agencies are now waging war against these breed of criminals, but they keep devising different techniques and coming out strong. It was learnt that most youths who are into this ignoble act are ready to take their chances of being caught rather than to remain poor.
But some observers have opined that the fight against them should be intensified, urging all stakeholders, including parents and guardians, to contribute their quota to correcting societal ills.
Investigations also revealed that some of the youth who engage in these nefarious activities are as young as 15 years. Immediately they finish their secondary education, they begin to explore the world of quick wealth. At the moment, one significant thread runs through the operations of these fraudsters: almost all of them are believed to have one form of spiritual backing that enables them to entice their victims.
Some of these fraudsters have vowed that they would not mind dying for a chance to get rich quickly through any available scheme.
“If you don’t belong to the new system, you cannot make a huge amount of money. Everybody is now into the ritual aspect because the old techniques have been exposed,” a vehicle mechanic, Eric Udoh, said in Lagos.
A Benin-based trader, who is in her 60s, Mrs. Eunice Efewedo, told the correspondent that the rate at which young boys were embracing Internet fraud and other illegitimate means of making money was alarming.
She expressed worry that, with the way things were going, only a few youths would be enthusiastic to pursue a degree at higher institutions or learn a legitimate trade.
Said she: “The other day, one of them, who could not be more than 20 years old, bought a car for his mother. But his father quickly condemned the move by questioning his son’s source of money. The youngster just secured admission to the University of Benin that same year.
“The father insisted on getting to the root of the matter and threatened to summon an extended family meeting to discuss the issue. But before anyone knew what was happening, the boy bought a house in Government Reservation Area and relocated his mother there.
“Sadly, the mother died two weeks after moving into the new house. The boy refused to attend her burial but he gave the family five million naira for funeral. He lied that he had an international competition to attend. Everybody became afraid of entering the well-furnished house that he built for his mother.”
She added that some of the fraudsters who have soiled their hands in diabolical ways of making money would never give out physical cash to anyone. She said those categories of people would prefer to make an online transfer or buy whatever gift using the credit card.
“The new yahoo boys in town won’t give you money by hand but they can buy any expensive gift for you. They are doing all sorts of charms but feigning to be Internet fraudsters. Unfortunately, some parents are not rebuking their children to desist from such evil ways,” she said.
Many have argued that the expansive spread of Internet fraud could be attributed to multiple factors, such as weak moral values among youths, peer pressure and youth unemployment, among others. But some others have countered such assertions, insisting that such crimes have no justification, as there were many acceptable ways youths could make ends meet in Nigeria, irrespective of harsh economic conditions.
A pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Province 27, Lagos, Mr. Albert Wilson, told Daily Sun that the home and society have failed in raising children with high morals.
“The quest to possess material things by all means at the expense of contentment has caused us a lot of damage. Except we begin to have a reorientation and set our priorities right, there will continue to be a moral decay. What we preach on the pulpit, act as films, sing and discuss in politics go a long way to shape us.
“If you shield your child or relative, it means that you are part of the societal problem. We need useful information from the general public about people who engage in such acts and can be relayed to the law enforcement agencies for prompt action to be taken”, he said.
The courtroom of the Delta State High Court, Asaba was filled to its rafters as four accused persons allegedly involved in the gruesome murder of Miss Elozino Joshualia Ogege, a 300 level student of Mass Communication at the Delta State University, Abraka filed into the court.
It was the commencement of hearing in the case against Macaulay Desmond Oghenemaro, Ojokojo Robinson Obajero, Nwosisi Benedict Uche and Enaike Onoriode accused of the killing of Elozino. The suspects were slammed with an eight charge bordering on murder, conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping.
The mood was sober and pensive. Many in court wept quietly, cursing as they sat through proceedings. Seated among Elozino’s relatives in the court with pain etched on her face and tears rolling down her cheeks was her mother, Mrs Elizabeth Ogege, who broke down in tearful ululation shortly after court proceedings ended.
As she wailed, she demanded justice for her daughter believed to have been brutally murdered in her prime for ritual purposes.
The case has been adjourned till Tuesday, June 25, 2019, for continuation of hearing.
Elozino’s case is one in the long list of ritual killings carried out by desperate youths popularly called Yahoo Boys. And while there are indications that the momentum of Yahoo menace might be waning, the fact remains that internet fraud, popularly known as ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’, and its twin practice, ritual killing, have metamorphosed into a subculture in Delta State.
This heinous crime has found an easy abode in academic environments because most of the actors are young males whose raison d’etre is primarily to acquire illicit wealth. In 2017 and 2018, there were many reports from Delta communities of unidentified female corpses with missing vital organs.
Related to the foregoing is the pilfering of female panties by persons believed to be using or selling same for ritual purposes. In the case of female panties robberies, it was reliably learnt that each pant stolen or collected at gun-point sells for about N250,000.
There appears to be an undeniable nexus between pant robberies, internet fraud a.k.a. Yahoo-Yahoo and ritual killings in the oil rich state; a link captured in a trending song, which insinuates that pant robbers engage in the crime for money to buy automobiles and other vain frivolities. “One pata-meter makes one benzi-meter,” goes the refrain.
From Jesse and Oghara to Sapele, Abraka, Warri and Ughelli, incidents of ritual killings and internet fraud are prevalent. There are unconfirmed reports that Jesse community is the unofficial headquarters of Yahoo-Yahoo in the state. But the notoriety of Yahoo boys transcends Delta State, with reports that a street in Ghana, where many Yahoo boys go to learn the ropes and also acquire dark powers for the purpose of their illicit trade, has been named Jesse Street, no thanks to the fact that it provides residence and cover for internet fraudsters from Nigeria, especially the ones from Jesse community.
At some point, a particular area of Oghara town known as Scot had a new case of ritual murder every two weeks; a situation that sparked fears within the academic communities of Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe, Oghara and Western Delta University.
“There was a time in Oghara when moving around at night became a problem,” a student in the Mass Communications Department of Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe, who preferred anonymity, lamented as he narrated the ordeal that came with living in the town at the height of the reign of notorious Yahoo boys.
“Besides the fear they stir in people, they are a major distraction because many girls sell themselves cheap for money and so-called flexing to these boys. So instead of reading and living the life they were sent to Otefe to live, many girls spend most of their time in hotels with ‘G boys’, drinking and partying.”
“Then there is the issue of pant thieves. Although it never happened to me or any of my friends, we hear stories of how some girls have been harassed because some boys wanted to take their pants by force. I won’t dare go to class at night to read.
“For now, however, those stories are not common again. But for me, being careful is important.”
A final year student of Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, who identified himself simply as Elohor, noted that calm had returned to the university town since security agents focused attention on the town and DELSU in particular in the aftermath of the murder of Elozino.
Relative peace after crackdown
The crackdown on Yahoo boys in the university was said to have yielded the arrest of the masterminds of the murder as well as their native doctor who demanded female genitals and other vital human organs from them.
The crackdown has since been expanded to other notorious enclaves of Yahoo boys in the state, and this has been adduced as the main reason for the prevailing relative peace in the state.
Describing the mood in Abraka and the university environment, Elohor said: “It has been long since I heard stories like that in Abraka. I think most of the guys involved in it have relocated away from the school and the town.
“I believe the relative peace we now enjoy is a result of the activities of the police and officials of the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission). They have arrested many of them and that has really scared them.
“The feeling in Abraka now is that of relief. I have not also heard of pant robbery in a long while. The last I heard of that was some time in January when a girl wrote on the WhatsApp platform about one of her neighbours who was robbed of her pant at gunpoint.
“There’s real calm and security now. If anything like that is still happening, they must have really coded it. But I also know that victims of such experiences would not hide it from the public. So, I think that era is gone for good.”
However, there is still a section of the society which believes that everybody, including the government, has handled the situation wrongly.
An evil that won’t abate
A Warri-based public affairs analyst, Mr. Felix Ogbomah, said the criminal trend may never stop as it has found a lifeline in society’s connivance. Ogbomah, who lamented the failure of parents to step in and rebuke the vice when it first surfaced, said just like all other illicit means of making money, those involved should be expected to embrace whatever form of hurdle of resistance that organised institutions would place before them.
According to him, “kidnapping, oil theft, armed robbery and all other forms of criminal means of making money came at one point or the other. And despite all efforts to stop them, either through psychological or physical means, criminals have continued to persist because these unspeakable activities bring them returns. “Likewise this one, we will be deceiving ourselves if we think we have seen the last of it. We started wrong with it.
“This criminal way of life may never go away. I said so because I see too much of acceptance and justification for it by the society. I don’t know if you have spoken to any of these young people about this Yahoo-Yahoo thing to sound them out. You will be shocked when you hear their general view.
“This is especially so with girls who you will find out are girlfriends of those of them who are Yahoo boys. You will hear things like ‘there’s nothing criminal about it, they are just collecting back what the white people took from our forefathers.’
“It becomes most sickening when you realise that Yahoo-Yahoo is not just about campus boys and girls but even vulcanizers, carpenters and people without any form of formal or informal training. Everybody just wants to get rich.
“The parents of some of those I have seen are also a big part of this social breakdown. Can you imagine parents of a boy without any visible income source saying with so much pride that their son has bought an expensive car? No reprimand, no questions. As a matter of fact, they will gladly ask such son to buy them their own as fast as possible.
“I know of a family, I won’t mention the name because I am very close to the father, though I have since reviewed my relationship with them because I consider their treatment of indecency in their family too irresponsible to condone.
“One of their sons, the stubborn one who has been known for always tracking the wrong trail, left home all of a sudden and started bringing things home without any visible means of income. He bought a car for their mother and set up a business for her.
“It is not like it is a bad thing for a son to do things for his parents; that is what we all pray for. But knowing that what your son does is illegal and you still partake of the proceeds of the illegality is what is unconscionable to me.
“This is just an example of how failed parentage has encouraged this evil to fester, and the more dangerous reason why I think this Yahoo-Yahoo thing has come to stay.
“The society is in connivance, and that is the only tonic any crime needs to survive.”