From the North, West, East and the South of Nigeria, police authorities revealed that ritual killers are spreading their tentacles.
Daily, gory pictures of people losing their lives in the most inexplicable manner to perpetrators of ritual murders flood the media.
The police stations are constantly flooded with reports of missing persons across the country. And available records show that less than 10 percent of such persons return home. While a scary 90 percent of them are never found, the bodies of a negligible number eventually seen are mutilated and dumped either on the roadsides, bush paths or inside drains and canals.
These days, some Nigerians appear to have become possessed by the weird desire to become wealthy overnight. The get-rich-quick-syndrome has overwhelmed many, turning several people to vicious, bloodthirsty vampires.
According to a crime statistics released by the Force Criminal Investigation Department of the Nigeria Police Force, ritual killings are on the rise in the country. The report also noted that perpetrators of the devilish acts cut across geo-political zones, age and gender, and include both the poor and the rich.
Initially, ritual killings, though carried out in some parts of the country in low key, was an alien practice done to appease some savage gods. But with the passage of time and development of new habits, especially the desperation for quick riches, obscene show of affluence by the youth and the need to feel a sense of acceptance, ritual murders became widespread. And those unfortunate to fall victim to evil machinations deployed by the mindless killers get missing without a trace.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in 2017 that it was in search of over 10,000 persons declared missing across the states. The Head of the Delegation of ICRC in Nigeria, Eloi Fillion, said in spite of the worrisome figure, adequate measures were not put in place to prevent disappearances or provide vital information on those missing.
From the North, West, East and the South of Nigeria, police authorities revealed that ritual killers are spreading their tentacles. Bringing the mindless operations of the evil gangs to an end appears quite difficult, the authorities noted.
According to reports, ritual killers are no respecter of age, as both the young and the old have fallen under their knives. Innocent men, women and children constantly fall victims. Most vulnerable are school children, young ladies, especially undergraduates, pregnant women and the elderly.
The recent ritual murder of Elozino Joshua Ogege, a 300 level potential First Class undergraduate of Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, shook the whole country. She was killed in the most vicious manner by a four-man gang for money rituals during her search for accommodation.
The suspects confessed to the police that they took Elozino to a bush after making her unconscious. They had plucked her eyes as well as removed her eyes and heart while she was still alive. The men also admitted to killing four other victims for ritual, noting that their vital organs were equally removed and taken to a native doctor to be burnt and pounded into powdery substance.
Just weeks back, two brothers, Ayodeji and Saheed Obadimeji, 18 and 19 respectively, killed ten-year-old Joseph Makinde in Lagos. They had been promised N200, 000, for a fresh human head. The siblings, who were apprehended by the police with the head of Joseph on November 27, along the Ajah-Lekki Expressway, said they killed and severed the deceased’s head after sending him on an errand. Joseph’s torso was later recovered in an uncompleted building in the area.
Presently trending on the social media is a video of a young man, who allegedly ran mad after using his father for money making ritual in Benin, Edo State. The man, believed to be an advanced internet fraudster, otherwise known as Yahoo Plus, bought a Lexus SUV for his father, only for the man to die in a controversial manner two weeks after driving the vehicle. The young man, according to eyewitness, reportedly ran mad during his father’s burial while spending lavishly.
Ritual killers, based on investigations, hide under several guises to perpetrate their hideous acts. While some choose to kidnap their victims from various points, others pretend to be commercial bus operators
who go on to pick unsuspecting commuters and end up taking them to their slaughter slabs, located either in a forest, underneath drainage, in uncompleted buildings or houses in deserted areas. Some others lay ambush for victims returning late in deserted areas to pounce on them and have them decapitated.
Another modus operandi being deployed by these ritual killers is disguising as lunatics. Over the years, such individuals were discovered to be using tunnels and drains as dens for their activities.
One of such den inhabited by such criminal elements was discovered along the Lagos-Abeokuta road and Ile Zik, along Agege Motor Road. Another was uncovered at Challenge Bus Stop, Mushin. The ‘lunatics’ were found with sophisticated phones, four ATM cards and over 100 syringes with bloodstains. One of the suspects was lynched by an irate mob while two other accomplices were rescued by policemen from Area ‘D’ Command, Mushin.
Even though the orgy of soul-cringing murders and harvests of deaths have died down, residents of Ikorodu and environ, will always remember the dreaded cult group known as Badoo Cult. The bloodthirsty men usually stormed victims’ residences in the night to hypnotise them. They would then smash the heads of the victims with a grinding stone. It was believed that they used white handkerchiefs to clean the blood and brain of their victims before leaving the scene.
Nigerians have been regaled with horrifying stories told by victims who escaped from being butchered by the ritual killers.
Past cases of ritual killings
Not many would ever forget the notorious Otokoto saga in Owerri where the corpse of a boy was exhumed at the premises of Otokoto Hotel. Since then, several other grievous ones have continued to unravel, leaving Nigerians horrified.
In 2017, no fewer than 55 suspects were arrested for possessing human parts in states such as Kebbi, Oyo, Kwara, Osun, Lagos, Ogun, Kogi and Nasarawa. There was the discovery of a ritualist’s den in Soka village, Ibadan where about 20 corpses were found. Majority of the victims had been earlier declared missing by their relatives. Eighteen victims were rescued, while later investigations showed that the den had been in existence long before it was discovered.
Months later, a similar forest was discovered in Iyana Egbado village in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State with an underground cell.
Yakubu Hamidu, 39, leader of a notorious ten-man gang that specialized in selling human parts was arrested in September by the Inspector General of Police Special Tactical Squad. His arrest followed complaints by locals of Ankpa in Kogi State, after many incidents of abductions, ritual killings, harvests of human parts, deadly cult activities and gruesome murders.
Prior to his arrest, Hamidu had been secretary of the local vigilance group for five years and was its chairman for one year. His access to ammunitions as leader of the vigilantes made it easy for him to hunt down victims for human parts. He confessed to the killings and removal of body parts of victims whose names he gave as James, Christopher, Mohammed, Small Case, Omu and one Inspector Abdul Alfa who was ambushed and hacked to death in Ofu.
In June, a middle-aged man, identified as Daniel, allegedly connived with two others to kill his friend, Isaiah James, for ritual purposes. The heart of their victim, they disclosed was used to prepare beans for them to eat. The killing, they further said, was done to help them succeed in advance fee fraud. Daniel, who was arrested in Ajah, Lagos, said his only regret was not rolling in money after the ritual before their arrest.
On August 19, policemen in Lagos arrested a suspected cultist, 29-year-old Taiwo Akinola for trying to kill his mother, Alice Akinola. He carried out the act to further his cyber fraud business. The suspect who lived with his mum at No. 2 Raji Ajanaku Street, Ayobo, Lagos, viciously attacked his mother, smashing her head with a plank, pressing iron and UPS charger to ensure she didn’t survive the attack.
In two separate incidents, a 300-level student of Benue State University, Grace Onauvi, and a 400-level student of the Osun State University, Rofiat Damilola, went missing and their mutilated bodies later found with vital parts missing.
Though killers of Grace have remained elusive, two suspects arrested for killing Rofiat, confessed to kidnapping and selling her to a herbalist for N10,000.
Religious leaders as ritualists
Religious leaders have at various times been caught in this evil web. Some are said to use vital human parts or a whole human for rituals so attract congregation, while others use it for spiritual fortification.
The lid was recently blown off such criminals hiding under the cloak of religion to perpetuate evil with the arrest of a pastor who allegedly killed a seven-year-old boy and buried his head under his altar at Odo Kekere Odogunyan in Ikorodu area of Lagos State. Also, a 61-year-old Islamic preacher, Taofik Hassan, was arrested with a fresh human head and other body parts of a lady at Ikoga Community, Badagry. The woman was said to have approached the cleric for spiritual cleansing in Sango Otta, due to some challenges she was facing. The cleric also confessed to killing other clients that sought his help.
Also this year, an unidentified woman who left her abode in Sango Otta, Ogun State in search of spiritual cleansing ended up being a victim of ritual killing in the hands of those who pretended to be clerics.
The body of one-year-old Success lme was also discovered in a church with her heart ripped out from her body in Calabar. On August 13, a suspected ritualist, Ganiyu Idowu, 62, confessed that he connived with a Muslim cleric, one Alfa Bamigbola Edun, to use his apprentice for money rituals. The two were paraded by the Ogun State Police Command alongside another accomplice, Matthew Odunewu.
With the festive season in view and the 2019 election fast approaching, many Nigerians are apprehensive about their safety, noting that such periods usually witness a spike in the activities of ritual killers.
An Octogenarian, Funsho Adelaja, said most young men, elderly people and leaders that should know better, believe in arcane things and fetish practices.
“From time, our politicians believe ritual killings or severed human parts and organs would help them win elections. For me, they are vampires thirsty for human blood,” he said.
While also blaming the malaise on the worsening economic condition across the country, he urged security agencies to step up and live up to their responsibility of protecting lives and property.
Speaking on how to curb the malaise, a security expert Chigozie Amadi, stressed the need for people to always be vigilant and take cognizance of their environment. He advocated value reorientation and called for more jobs creation to help steer desperate youths away from turning into body part merchants, kidnappers and murderers.
Ufreke Akpan, a security analyst lamented that the inability to prosecute those caught in the act had further emboldened others to remain in the business. He called for stiffer penalty for anyone caught in the act of ritual murders.