Friday, February 23, 2024

Ritual killings: Why women are endangered species

Uba Group

BY MAYOWA SAMUEL

The evil act of ritual killings has been on the increase lately and unsuspecting victims from all walks of life fall prey to this diabolic money-making venture perpetuated by desperate, unscrupulous individuals.

Suspects that have been caught by security operatives, in their various confessions, mostly blame poverty, unemployment, peer pressure and social media influence as their reasons for partaking in the devilish and heinous act.

Though anyone of any gender, it would seem, can be used for this purpose, lately more women have been at the receiving end of this ugly trend as victims. The question, therefore, is what makes women more of the target for these diabolical acts.

Could it be that female body parts are more potent for money rituals?

A recent viral video posted on Tiktok showed four young boys confidently talking about the effective materials for money rituals. The boys in the 30 seconds video claimed the fastest and easiest way to succeed is by getting involved in rituals.

They also claimed that using a blood relation like one’s sister or mother for money ritual is not as effective as using one’s girlfriends. The boys are however still at large.

Speaking to The Point about the development, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Abimbola Oyeyemi, played down the thoughts of any special interest in the increasing vulnerability of women to these dastardly acts. Rather, he said, just anybody can be a victim of the unfounded and controversial belief that human beings can be used for rituals that leads to riches.

Oyeyemi, however, attributed the increase in cases of women falling victims to ritual killing-related incidents to their nature of easily falling in love, which their lovers use against them. The same could be said about male victims, although it’s not as pronounced.

Oyeyemi said, “It’s not that they have a special interest in using women, what we discovered is that these people look for just anybody to use for ritual. If you watch clearly, you will see that the cases that we have been able to unravel do not involve only women. The one that involved about seven suspects at Bode-Olude side, it was a man that was killed. One Mr. Sunday Okosun was shot dead, his body was dismembered, his head was sold, with his heart and every other part of his body. The other two cases recorded involved women.”

He, however, noted that women and girls get susceptible easily and so get endangered due to the fact that they are easily blinded by love.

Oyeyemi said, “The other one we arrested at Ijebu-Igbo involved a woman and her son. That is to tell you that these people are looking for just anybody to use, not necessarily a woman but women are the ones who always fall easy victims to them because some of them are used by their boyfriends and the likes. You know women have that soft heart to easily fall in love with somebody and when they invite them, they don’t normally put into consideration if this person is evil or not,” he asserted.

“These people are looking for just anybody to use, not necessarily a woman but women are the ones who always fall easy victims to them because some of them are used by their boyfriends and the likes. You know women have that soft heart to easily fall in love with somebody and when they invite them, they don’t normally put into consideration if this person is evil or not”

In January, the Ogun State Police spokesman disclosed in a statement that the State Command had arrested a suspect, Soliu Majekodunmi who orchestrated and led his gang in the killing of his girlfriend simply identified as Rofia. Oyeyemi confirmed that four teenagers were caught after they killed and burnt the skull of Soliu’s girlfriend, Rofia allegedly for money ritual. This was after he lured her to have sex with her in his house at Oke-Aregba, Abeokuta.

The police said, “They killed Rofia, cut her head, packed the headless body in a sack and started burning the head in a pot.”

he suspects confessed to wanting to use it for money ritual while the gang leader, Soliu stated that he learnt the ritual practice from Facebook by typing ‘how to make money ritual’ on the platform and got details instructing him to behead and burn a female skull in a local pot.

The 18-year-old said he squeezed his girlfriend’s neck and beheaded her immediately after making love to her. He added that they got involved in the practice of money rituals because they wanted to ride exotic cars and live in luxury apartments.

The suspects also revealed that they bought three pigeon eggs, called ‘Eyin Aparo’ in Yoruba language, and other fetish ingredients, all of which cost N2, 500, which they all contributed among themselves.

A community security guard in the area, Segun Adewusi, reportedly observed some boys burning something in a local pot.

Adewusi alerted the police in Adatan Police Station who arrested the boys but the gang leader, Soliu fled the scene before the arrival of the police.

The most recent case which caused outrage, was in Lagos, regarding the late 22-year-old BRT passenger, Oluwabamise Ayanwole, whose corpse was recovered at Carter bridge by Ogogoro Community, Lagos Island. According to a relative of the victim, her body parts were tampered with and missing. She was also found without panties but her top was still on her.

Miss Ayanwole got missing as she was returning to Ota from Ajah on Saturday, February 26 when she boarded a BRT bus with number 240257, heading to Oshodi at about 7pm at Chevron bus stop. Reports say the victim was a fashion designer at Chevron Estate, Ajah and spent the weekend with her sister at Ota, Ogun State.

She got suspicious when the bus driver, Andrew Nice Omininikoron did not pick up passengers at subsequent bus stops, so she decided to send voice notes, a video of the bus number and a picture of the dark bus, to her friend. Apparently getting scared, she asked her friend to pray for her. That was the last that was heard from her until her body was found.

Unfortunately, this evil trend is not only rampant in the South West of the country. Back in 2020, it was reported in Anambra State that one Ikechukwu Atansi allegedly killed his 31-year-old pregnant wife, Rita Onyebuchi Atansi, for money ritual. She was discovered in her pool of blood on March 26 in her husband’s apartment in Awka with flies infesting the premises along with an unusual stench perceived by neighbours. The husband was reportedly found inside the apartment when the police broke into the room.

According to the Divisional Police Officer, Chief Superintendent of Police, Chucks Nwoke, analysis of the scene by detectives revealed that marks of violence were observed on the victim’s body with blood split all over the room. The husband claimed he was injected with a substance by unknown persons who must have killed his wife. Ikechukwu later confessed to his crime, describing his action as a mistake, as he told the police that he didn’t know what came over him.

The victim’s relatives, however, insisted that he must have used her for money ritual purposes.

In the Niger Delta region of the country, a case happened in Benin City, Edo State on Christmas Eve in 2021, when a suspected ‘Yahoo boy’ known as Osas allegedly killed his girlfriend, Elohor Oniorosa for money ritual. According to the police, Osas killed the girlfriend in the Egor area of Benin and immediately went underground after committing the crime.

It was gathered that Osas just returned from Ghana a week before committing the crime.

Expressing his own thoughts to The Point, the Edo State Police Spokesman, Superintendent of Police, Kotongos Bello, attributed the trend to some women’s love for materialism.

In his words, Bello said, “The only reason they are using women is because women are easily convinced due to their love for materialistic things. That’s why they are easily lured into that. It’s easy for women to love men for material things.”

A report in February by the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta, revealed that “over 150 incidents of ritual-related killings were reported in the Niger Delta between January 2018 and December 2021.”

“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. The growing prevalence of targeted killings of women and girls for rituals is a serious threat to human security.

“The prevailing situation, which is seemingly driven by a growing demand for human body parts for money-making occult rituals, has the potential to reinforce harmful cultural beliefs and practices that could endanger the safety and security of women and girls.”The report noted.

Warning that not addressing the trend could have “far-reaching” socio-economic and political repercussions at state and regional levels, the group recommended that “stakeholders should work with relevant government agencies, including the National Orientation Agency to address the underlying drivers and develop appropriate punitive and preventive measures to mitigate the situation”.

Concerned about the the ugly trend, the Federal Government in its attempt to launch a national sensitisation campaign against ritual killings in the country directed the National Film and Video Censors Board in February to avoid money ritual contents in their movies and proposed its total ban from Nollywood.

A 23-year-old kidnap suspect, Ayobamidele Kudus Ayodele who was recently apprehended in Ogun State by security operatives for allegedly abducting a six-year-old private school pupil, Ebube Eze in Ojo Alaba area of Lagos on November 16, 2021, confessed that he learnt the act of kidnapping by watching Nollywood actor, Zubby Michael in movies. The suspect was said to have kept the boy hostage for four days until a N550, 000 ransom was paid for his release.

In his confession, Ayodele said, “Zubby Michael is my favorite Nollywood actor and he is good at kidnapping roles. I decided to try out some of the methods used by Zubby to kidnap children and adults in the movies. I started by visiting several schools around Ojo to see the possibility of picking children without anyone noticing.”

Months before then, another Nollywood actor, Yul Edochie, renowned for acting roles on occult and rituals, appealed to young people not to get motivated by his ‘ritualism-themed’ movies, clarifying that he was just a very good actor and not an actual ritualist.

Giving the directive to film makers in a bid to nip it in the bud, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said, “Many have also blamed Nollywood for featuring money rituals in some of its movies, saying this has negatively influenced the vulnerable youth. To mitigate this, I have directed the National Film and Video Censors Board, the body set up to regulate the film and video industry in Nigeria, to take this issue into consideration while performing its role of censoring and classifying films and videos.

“I have also directed NFVCB to engage with stakeholders in the film industry in order to express the concerns of the government and Nigerians on the need to eschew money ritual content in their movies.”

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