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The corrupt adult and ritualistic youth

By Godwin Ijediogor 
21 February 2022   |   3:47 am
Nigeria is currently suffering double-edged vices that have already affected its past and present state of affairs and could impact heavily on its future/generations if not urgently redressed.

Nigeria is currently suffering double-edged vices that have already affected its past and present state of affairs and could impact heavily on its future/generations if not urgently redressed.

While the country’s past and present have been largely plundered by a few corrupt and unrepentant political and economic class, with cases of corruption and corrupt practices dotting many past and present office holders and private sector chief executives, an emerging crop of youths are taking ritual killing for money-making purposes to a level hardly known before.

Though majority of the old and current breed of elite might not have been found wanting, the actions of the minority corrupt individuals had gradually tainted the past that most Nigerians are becoming hopeless today, with many living below poverty line in a country blessed with enviable and abundant human and natural resources.

And it is not to say that most of the youth are not doing well. Indeed, quite a number of them are budding and already-made entrepreneurs in their own classes.

But not a few youths have decided to jettison hardwork and embraced the get-rich-quick syndrome by getting involved in ritual killing.

The call for generational shift was loudest in the last decade. It reached a crescendo in the political arena some years with the enactment of the Not-too-young-to-run Act by the National Assembly, thereby making it easier for the youth to vie for even the highest political office in the land.

The generality of the youth seems in a hurry to assume leadership, citing their peers in other climes. In so doing, some of them are inheriting the traits of the generation they seek to replace.

Some years back, matters of ritual killings and the quest to get rich quick by whatever means were restricted to the older generation. But not anymore. Cases of youth involvement in ritual killings in the country have been on the rise since last year, no thanks to the new fad among the younger generation to acquire wealth with less hardwork, including via the Internet.

Just the second month into the year, Nigerians have been inundated with stories of ritual killings carried out by the youth.

Desperate for money, these killer-youths go to any length to achieve their aim, while their targets include their parents and siblings, friends and acquaintances.

It is sickening that while some youths are embracing science and technology, others, perhaps out of laziness, are turning to ritual killings to get rich quick. A few examples will suffice.

Afeez Olalere, 32, a suspected Internet fraudster, confessed to killing his younger brother for money ritual purposes after he was arrested during a ‘stop and search’ operation along Itamaga-Ikorodu road in Lagos State by operatives of the state Police Command.

Upon interrogation, Afeez reportedly confessed that his mother encouraged him to kill his younger brother after a herbalist she took him to told him to sacrifice one life, which must be his sibling. He said he had planned with his mother to poison his 21-year-old brother to death, after which they harvested the required body parts and took his other remains to the mortuary.

Towards the end of last year, 20-year-old Jennifer Anthony, a student of the University of Jos, was found lifeless at a hotel in Jos, with some of her body parts missing.

Moses Oko, alleged to be her boyfriend and the last person seen with her, was nabbed by the Police in Benue State, where he fled to after the incident, for allegedly killing her for ritual purposes.

On February 1, suspected ritual killer, Timothy Odeniyi, 35, was arrested by men of the Amotekun Corps in Ondo State.

He allegedly confessed that he was promised N30mllion if he could produce and deliver human parts to one of his bosses in Lagos, for which he went to burial grounds to harvest body parts.

One of the most recent is the killing of 17-year-old Sofiat Kehinde, who was lured by her boyfriend, 18-year-old Soliu Majekodunmi, to his room in Abeokuta and killed by her lover and his friend, 19-year-old Mustakeem Balogun, who severed her head from her neck, put same in earthenware and took it to a fireplace to burn, all with the aim of performing rituals to become wealthy.

A 27-year-old bricklayer, Olamide Odulaja, connived with a 29-year-old native doctor, Ifajuyi (29), to kill one Modupeola Folorunso and her four-year-old son for money-making ritual on February 13 last year at Ijebu Igbo before they were eventually arrested by the Ogun State Police Command.

A 29-year-old native doctor, Ismail Wasiu, in collaboration with Shittu Mutairu, having failed in his earlier bid, using a dry human skull (head) in his quest to be rich at all costs, opted for the fresh head of his ex-lover, Mujidat. In Ogun State, a hunter, Oladipupo Lekan, acceded to the request of a friend when contracted to get body parts for ritual and was arrested alongside Sulaimon Aremu, Ifayemi Madru, Shittu Saheed, Sulaimon Samad, Akanji Moruf and Adekunle Tajudeen over the murder of one Sunday Okosun and his dismemberment.

A 50-year-old man, Moruf Ganiyu, was arrested by detectives from Mapo Divisional Police headquarters in Oyo State with a human head he severed from a body which was later exhumed.

In November last year, the Enugu State Police Command arrested a 36-year-old father, Chidi Onyishi, over the disappearance and murder of his seven-year-old son, Chimdalu, for money ritual. He had earlier reported his son to be missing.

Endeley Comfort, 13, narrowly escaped death when three teenagers, all aged 15, who were later arrested by the Bayelsa State Police Command, attempted to kill her for ritual purposes. They had succeeded in cutting off her finger and sprinkling the blood on a mirror.

To evade suspicion, ritual killers use coded language to name body parts, referring to human head as ball, the heart as transformer and hands as fans.

In its effort to stem the tide, the House of Representatives, following the presentation of a motion, recently resolved to declare a national emergency on ritual killings in Nigeria and called on the National Orientation Agency (NOA), parents, heads of schools, religious leaders and the media to undertake a campaign to change the negative narrative bedevilling society.

Also, the House called on the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) to rise to its mandate as the clearing house for all movies produced in the country by censoring those found to portray or encourage ritual activities.

Many Nigerians fear that if the trend is not curtailed, and very fast, the consequence could be unimaginable, as a population of youth ritualists is a not only a sign of a failed society, but also a threat to its existence.

As a result, all, especially parents and guardians, but including government/agencies, traditional and religious leaders and groups, etc, must be involved in efforts to stem the tide, make society safe and secure the future of all.

Godwin Ijediogor is South-South Bureau Chief of The Guardian.