The spate of ritual killing in Nigeria is alarming. We are left to wonder what is actually wrong and why it seems like the people who should help in curbing this growing monster are turning a blind eye.
It’s worrisome that while other countries are experimenting and thriving in technology, Nigerians are looking for the shortest routes to making it in life, thereby endangering the lives of their fellow citizens.
This mind-boggling threat can be attributed to reasons like:
- Poverty and Hardship: The economy is blowing hot and the masses are bearing the brunt as the prices of goods — especially foodstuff — are hitting the roof. Although this is not a justification for one to engage in ritual killings, it seems to be one of the reasons.
- The collapse of moral value: Nigeria is one of the most religious countries in the world, but it is sad to note that a lot of the populace do not appear to fear God the way they profess. We seem to have a blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life.
- Get rich-quick syndrome: This is gradually taking root in the minds of people these days. Sadly some people do not want to work hard to get rich, but want instant riches and rituals seem to be the shortest route to quick riches.
- The quest to sustain affluence as well as to remain in power: Most voodoo priests and human parts dealers that have been apprehended confessed that politicians and prominent people were among their patrons. The simple reason is to gain power by all means and sustain it.
We have heard quite a lot of cases springing up in the social media and as usual draw condemnation from the public, which as expected, faded as meteorically as it started. The most painful part is that no matter how much we condemn the barbaric act or even punish the offenders, the life of the person killed cannot be restored. The family of the deceased is left to wallow in grief. In some cases, the killers go free as they remain unknown or where they are known, they protected by prominent people.
Worthy of note is that the government agencies that are saddled with the responsibilities of securing the lives and properties of citizens often fall short in curbing the spiraling trend.
Needless to say, people from all walks of life, different backgrounds, and different faith are engaged in this dastardly act and for different reasons. What they do is kill another human being as instructed by a voodoo priest to get specific human parts for rituals to be performed just to be wealthy, remain in power, or whatever the case may be. What we can’t understand is if it actually works since most times, when they are apprehended, you discover that the voodoo priest is usually looking unkempt and haggard.
The question is, if the voodoo priest, who make people kill another person, can make the killers rich, why won’t they first make themselves rich?
This brings to mind the recent case of Iniobong Umorem, a graduate in her early 20 from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, who was lured by a ritual killer after she posted her need for a job on social media. The killer deceitfully posed as an employer and invited her for an interview at a popular location in Uyo. Reports on social media claimed the killer raped, killed, and buried her remains in a shallow grave.
She was wise enough to give her friend the killer’s number before she left for the interview, this was not enough to save her life. Her friend raised an alarm after Ms. Umorem was declared missing. The killer was later traced through his phone number and was apprehended. He confessed that he was not alone in the heinous act and that Ms. Umorem, was not their first victim and there were prominent people among their clients who pay for them to murder innocent victims, harvest their parts — breast, vaginas, eyes, etc— and sell to them.
His trade has been to lure innocent people into his den, kill them and harvest the parts for people who will buy them for ritual purposes.
One of the questions that swirl through one’s mind includes: What if Ms. Umorem was not wise enough to give her friend her supposed employer’s phone number? Ms. Umorem would have been a case of another missing person rotting in a shallow grave without any trace of her whereabouts.
A lot of people have just vanished into thin air with no trace of whether they are dead or alive. It may be hard to accept and move on, but the unvarnished truth is, they might have been dead a long time ago. Killed for ritual purposes and buried in shallow graves somewhere. Never to be found by their loved ones.
We do not need to be told to be careful with our movements to avoid falling prey to these monsters. Let us watch out and assess every commercial vehicle before boarding, especially at night. Let us avoid isolated places and make sure someone knows where we are going especially if we are meeting with strangers.
The question on our lips now is, how do we curtail this menace that is terrorizing us? I believe that if we do the following, ritual killings would reduce:
Beef up security in the country: It’s sad to note that with the tales of ritual killings here and there, we have not heard any decision made by the federal government to curb it. Let the security agencies make conscious efforts at tracking down ritual killers.
- Empower the youths so that they won’t be lured into making quick riches or be lured as victims of ritual killings —Just like Ms. Umorem, whose only crime was seeking a source of livelihood.
- Create job opportunities and eradicate poverty. The majority of people are either involved in this dastardly act or have fallen victims because of poverty. Though we have menial jobs that one can do to earn a living, a lot of people want to make it big.
- Punish offenders severely. The herbalist and the human parts dealers should be made to pay for their crimes when caught. This would serve as a deterrent to others.
- The government should make deliberate efforts in combating this menace by proving modern equipment to the security agencies.
In conclusion, the fight to curb ritual killings should not be left in the hands of few individuals as we are all prospective victims. It is a fight for all. Let us all join hands to eradicate this before we are eradicated.
Roselyn Sho – Olajide works with an Audit Firm in Jos, Plateau State. She loves reading and writing and can be reached via email@example.com