“I told her I had killed her as a sacrifice to God. She didn’t believe me. But when I took her to the scene, she saw the dead baby and raised alarm.”
Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
His name is Emmanuel Depuun Nyityo, not Abraham. Yet he claim to have heard the voice of God asking him to go into the bush and sacrifice his daughter to Him. “Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow,” advised Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, former President of India (2002-2007). But for Nyityo, nobody knows whether “God” spoke to him or not. And, even if a voice spoke to him, whose voice was it: God, as he claimed in his confessional statement to the police or Satan? But had the 23-year-old old farmer from Abaji, Mbangur Shangev-Tiev in Konshisha Local Government listened to the saner voice of Abdul Kalam, he wouldn’t have had any cause to slaughter his nine-month baby girl, Senenge, in cold blood, like he did. He wouldn’t have sacrificed his “better tomorrow”, for that is what every child is, to his or her parents, so that he might have today. And, from the look of things, now that the matter has become a police/court case, he may not even have today, no matter what he assumed that today to be.
How the deed was done
When the news initially broke out, some weeks ago, newspaper reports had it that the man was a ritualist and had used the blood and body of the baby to perform some rites. But an investigation by our correspondent who has been following the story shows that the man seems to be mentally unstable, a fact confirmed by his relatives who spoke on the matter to the police. All the same, his blood-chilling act has left his young wife in shock and deep sorrow from which only God knows when she will recover.
Narrating to Saturday Sun, how he took the life of his child, Nyityo, the killer-father who is now in custody after his first appearance in court, said that on that fateful day, something told him the day had come for him to make good his promise to sacrifice to God and the sacrificial lamb that came to his mind was his nine-month-old baby.
“I came back home at about 8:10pm that Wednesday and met the baby crying while my wife was trying to pacify her. I collected her from my wife and went out of the house on the pretext that I was going to pacify her.
“I then took her to a bush somewhere at the back of the house and wasted no time in slaughtering her with a knife in fulfillment of my promise of sacrifice to God. As I was slitting her throat, she kept crying in pain. But even though I felt pity for her, all that was in my mind was that I had been able to fulfill my promise of sacrifice to God.
“After the sacrifice, I left the dead baby in the bush and returned home to my wife. She asked where the baby was and I told her I had killed her as a sacrifice to God. Initially, she didn’t believe me. But when I took her to the scene of the sacrifice, she saw the dead baby and raised alarm.”
His arrest and investigation
Not only did that alarm awakened the sleeping community to the sordid deed of this mentally deranged man but also saved his life, his blood from being spilled alongside his innocent daughter, in a way. He explains: “When I saw that people started gathering, I became afraid of what they might do to me and fled the community under the cover of night before people could mobilize to lynch me.”
After fleeing the village, he said, he ran to another village where he slept under a tree till the next morning, adding that while there, the same “voice of God” he claimed to have ordered him to kill his own beloved daughter, instructed him to return to his village.
“On getting to Tse-Agberagba, some commercial motorcyclists who recognized me and knew about what I had done tried to lynch me but each time they tried, I would just say, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing’ and they would leave me.”
But, all the same, they eventually got hold of him and handed him over to the police. He however, did not specify which God asked him to sacrifice his child to him. One of his elder brothers, according to sources close to the family, said he started behaving abnormally about three weeks before the incident. The visibly remorseful young man who seemed to be mentally unstable said he had made covenant with his ‘God’ that he would sacrifice to Him. He explained further that before the unfortunate incident, he had been preaching to the elders of his community to repent from their sinful ways. He said while preaching one day, a man who was impressed by what he was doing gave him a Bible with which he intensified his preaching activities.
His arraignment and regrets
Nyityo further disclosed during the interview with Saturday Sun that he was initially married with three children: two boys and a girl before his first wife left him after her family kicked against their marriage, adding that it was after his first wife left that he married his second wife who gave birth to the girl-child he named Senenge, nine months ago.
When contacted, the acting Police Public Relations Officer, Benue State Police Command, Bemjamin Olade, who confirmed the report said the suspect was arrested and, after conclusion of investigation, arraigned in court.
Our correspondent gathered that when he was arraigned before an Upper Area Court in Makurdi presided over by Veronica Shangee, Nyityo broke down and wept bitterly when the charges were read to him. In tears, he said the dead child in question was his own daughter who usually welcomed him whenever he returned home. He was subsequently remanded in prison custody.
Asked if any right-thinking person can, in all honesty, claim to sacrifice his or her child to God, Stella Senewo, a student of Political Science, Federal University, Lokoja, said it’s a misnomer for a father to slaughter his child on the grounds that God had asked him to do so. “Even our father, Abraham whom God told to sacrifice his son as a test of his faith ended up not doing so because God provided a substitute on the nick of time. So, it beats my imagination that a right-thinking person would pick up a knife and slaughter his child like chicken and then turn around to claim that God asked him to do so.