It is fast becoming an everyday occurrence across the country. In recent times, thousands of people lose their lives in an inexplicable manner. In fact, hardly does any day pass without the gory news of people being murdered in most gruesome manner for ritual purpose.
Almost on a daily basis, many police stations nationwide are flooded with reports of missing persons. Available records, according to reports, show that less than 10 per cent of such persons ever return home. While a scary 90 per cent of them are never found.
The bodies of a negligible number eventually seen are dumped either on the roadsides, bush paths or inside gutters. They are often mutilated and their vital organs removed. A few weeks back, there were shock waves across the nation, as cases of the discovery of kidnappers’ dens in parts of Lagos metropolis surfaced in the media.
The most notable being the one at Obadeyi in Ijaye area of the state. As revealed by the then state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, the dungeon was discovered through the joint efforts of security agents and members of the public.
The den was reportedly discovered after a highway sweeper with the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) raised the alarm when she heard the voice of a woman calling for help from the canal. Following the discovery, the Lagos State police command arrested seven persons suspected to be ritual killers. As this was still raging, another hideout of suspected kidnappers emerged in Ile-Zik, near Ikeja.
The Ikorodu axis of Lagos State has, for some time now, also assumed a kind of notoriety on issues of suspected ritual killings. Badoo cult group has held a firm grip of this area which they have literarily turned to a den of terror. In most of their operations, they would enter into target homes after cutting the burglar-proof bars and hack their victims to death.
“The private parts of a woman were messed up in one of their evil operations. And they often rape their female victims and use them for rituals,” a resident of Ikorodu, said. Similar cases of underground dens as sites of dark practices are not also new in other parts of the country, according to reports. One of the most shocking was the ‘forest of horror’ in the Soka area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. It was reportedly chanced on by a motorbike rider.
The forest had over 20 decomposed human bodies and hundreds of human skulls at the time of the discovery. About 20 people were rescued from it. Behind all of these, however, is the desire for illicit wealth by misguided individuals. They are, unfortunately, in large numbers.
Scores of people thronged the Oyo State police headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan to catch a glimpse of the four suspected ritual killers. They could not hold back their tears as one of the suspects, Tunde Jimoh, gave a chilling description of how they tricked their victim, Akintoye Oyeyemi, into a deep forest and murdered him in cold blood. Looking deceitfully innocent, Jimoh said: “I am a business man who deals in cashew nuts. My brother’s friend came to him and said he would pay the sum of N10 million for a business transaction.
When he was saying this, my friend was with me, he then sold an idea to me that we should kidnap him and rob him of the money. “The victim called us that he was coming to Ajase; it was there we kidnapped him. After moving deep into Igbo Nla (thick forest), I parked the bike that we used. I then pointed the gun at him. He was afraid and surprised. He then said was it because of the money he had on him that we wanted to kill him. He dropped his bag and started running away.
I shot and killed him. We then took his bag and found only N100,000 and some clothes in it.” Recently, another report of ritual murders including that of one-year-old Success lme in Calabar, hugged media headlines. Her heart was reportedly ripped out from her small body.
This was discovered in a church along with other items for occult rituals. There is also the case of Pastor Samuel Okpara in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Imo State, who was kidnapped, killed and cannibalised by suspected ritual killers.
Okpara was purportedly beheaded and his liver and intestines allegedly used for pepper soup and plantain porridge. His was also a horrific narrative. In Minna, Niger State, Abdulrashed Aminu, 22, and Ismaila Mohammed, 27, were equally caught with a fresh human head about 9pm along Minna Paikoro road’s junction during a stop and search operation not too long ago. The beheaded eight-year-old boy was later identified as Hassan Abubakar of Bakajeba village in Paiko Local Government area of the state, according to police.
Not too long ago, a Nigerian woman living in Bavarian, Germany, who identified herself simply as Mrs F. Owodunni, alleged foul play after his 20-year-old son visiting Nigeria was said to have committed suicide. She doubted such claim and insisted that her son may have been killed for ritual purposes. According to a petition she sent to the Federal Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Homicide Section, Alagbon Close, Ikoyi, Lagos, Owodunni said she started suspecting underhand dealings after people close to the boy began to avoid her phone calls while the boy was with them in Nigeria.
She said: “I am writing a petition about the suspected murder of my son, Edwin, 20, and a citizen of Germany. My son had been coming to Nigeria to visit his father and this trip was his fourth. Edwin came to Nigeria on March 16, for the burial of his paternal grandmother in the village at Owerri.
“He was expected to return to Germany on April 7. He was communicating with me (via phone). He called on April 12, to inform that he had extended his flight to May 12, as he wanted to spend more time with his father.
That was the last time the family here in Germany heard from Edwin. All efforts to reach Edwin’s father proved abortive. All efforts to reach my son also proved abortive. “But to our surprise, we were told that Edwin had committed suicide.
We got this news on June 26, while he allegedly committed suicide about three months ago in his father’s village in Owerri.” She said the boy was buried without her knowledge. This fueled her suspicion that her son may have been a victim of ritual killing.
“To this end, we want the police to thoroughly investigate this case to unravel the mystery behind the death of my son,” she begged. Ernest Nmezuwoba, father of Victory Chikamso, the eight-year-old girl abducted, raped and killed by suspect, Ifeanyi Dike, the 200 level Physics student of the University of Port Harcourt, who recently escaped from police custody in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, is also lamenting. Nmezuwoba said his joy has been cut short and that he may never recover from the trauma the death of his beloved son has left him with.
There are countless other outpouring of anguish by parents and relatives of those suspected to have been killed for ritual purposes. Incidentally, such nuisances are often not enough to deter the evil doers. Early in the year, a Mass Communication undergraduate of the Cross River State University of Technology, Joy Odama, reportedly died in circumstances believed by her parents to be ritualistic. She was said to have gone to the home of an Alhaji to seek financial help with the knowledge of her mother.
In another case, a 300-Level student of the Benue State University, Grace Onaivi, went missing and her body later found, mutilated with some parts missing, in a manner suspected to be ritual killing. Her corpse was dumped along a road in Lokoja, Kogi State. Also, a 400-Level student of the Osun State University, Rofiat Damilola Adebisi, was reportedly killed in a similar manner while on her way to a religious programme. Just like that of Onaivi, her corpse was also discovered two days later with vital parts missing.
Two suspects who were arrested confessed she was kidnapped and “sold” to a herbalist for N10,000. Just recently, a 16-year-old secondary school student, Raimi Fatai, equally suffered the same fate in Abeokuta, Ogun State. His killing was said to have followed the administration of suspected liquid substance on him by his three classmates during a moneymaking ritual. Before then, the Ondo State Police Command had arrested a 44-year-old, Shaba Samuel, for allegedly beheading his three-year old niece, Dieko Adunbarin for same purpose at Ikara Akoko area of the state. Everywhere, hundreds of Nigerians lose their lives to ritual murderers.
The killers usually go in search of human parts such as head, breast, tongue and sexual organs at the request of shamans, juju priests, and traditional medicine practitioners. These witchdoctors often require these parts for some sacrifices or for the preparation of assorted magical potions.
The beliefs in dogmas, myth, and magical thinking, many believe, fuel this evil practices. Ignorance, poverty, desperation, gullibility, and irrationalism, hold others hostage to this brutal act. Regrettably, many of those suspected to be ritual killers, even when they are arrested, often escape the long hands of the law.