Of late, like never before ritual killing has taken a new dimension. This is despite the efforts of the government and security agencies. ADEOLA TUKURU in this report examines the mayhem.
The spate of insecurity and ritual killings seem to be sweeping across the country. Observation shows that this is as a result of the Nigerian history and development challenges that have been continuously rooted in conflicts and instability.
The federal government has made several efforts aimed at addressing insecurity in the country. This ranges from creation of various security agencies and several reforms of the existing ones. In spite of all these, the security challenges remained unabated.
With the wave of these happenings, Nigerians wonder what has gone wrong and why the madness is yet to be given a boot for everyone to go about their businesses without fear of molestation.
What is more worrisome about the recent wave of kidnapping across the country is that tough victims are released after payment of huge ransom, while others are simply killed and dumped after the ransom has been received by the kidnappers.
While sampling the opinion of Nigerians on killings, insecurity and ritual killings, an Abuja resident and business man, Mr Sola Mattew, lamented that ritual killings and kidnappings as well as other forms of criminalities are worringly becoming very common in the country. As a way out therefore, he said that the way to stop ritual killings and other maladies is to empower the youths with vocational skills.
He said with these, many of them would not be lured into ritual killings just to make quick money, adding that someone with a good source of living would find it difficult to engage in such act, as according to him, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
He therefore called on the federal government to prioritise youth empowerment.
It could be recalled of one victim by the name Oguche Victoria who was almost killed through ritual because one of high priests in her community chooses her for ritual to appease their gods.
According to reports, after going through two stages she fled into hiding for fear of losing her life after the scheduled last stage of the excruciating ritual.
Investigation reveals that this menace has ceaselessly continued thereby becoming the order of the day either due to neglect by the government of the day/ security agencies and the fact that it is becoming a lifestyle.
Youth leader kicks
While speaking on this, a youth leader, Mr Tony Ugwu urged the federal government to seriously engage the youths in skills acquisition programmes to keep them away from being enticed with money as according to him, the victims are mostly ladies.
He said that security agencies need to do more by investigating some individuals to know their source of income and curb this crime.
There were reports that the late Ms. Iniobong Umoren’s gruesome murder was not just a case of rape and murder but was a case of ritual killing as Mr Akpan’s entire family members are said to be involved in the act.
Recently, a report indicated that in Kwara state, a next-door neighbour allegedly murdered a groom-to-be for ritual purposes.
According to reports, the deceased, who was said to be a devout Christian, did not know that he w his neighbour with whom he used to eat together was a serial killer and ritualist who has twice served jail terms.
This wolf-in-sheep-clothing allegedly killed his victim, removed some sensitive body parts, poured acid on his remains for speedy decay to prevent it from fouling the area.
Last February in Port Harcourt, a suspected ritual killer was arrested while attempting to sacrifice a nine-year-old girl in the Ibaa community in Emuoha local government area of Rivers state.
According to a report, the girl’s parents had raised the alarm over her sudden disappearance after she went to dispose of refuse in a nearby bush.
It happened that the suspect had taken the minor to an abandoned compound, tied her with white cloths, applied white clay on her body with a coffin already stationed for the ritual purpose. He was in the process of performing the ritual when luck ran out of him.
In 2019, Port Harcourt made international headlines in ritual killings with the case of Gracious David-West, Nigeria’s most celebrated ritual killer in recent times. From July to September 2019, David-West killed at least 15 women, mainly in the state capital city. After his arrest, he confessed to his involvement in at least 15 murders.
Official statistics indicate that there has been an increase in the number of missing persons all over the country in recent times. While some are found, investigation reveals that others are not. There is speculation that the majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.
The incidences of ritual killings have assumed an alarming rate in Nigeria, but there seems to be little or no effort by concerned government agencies to checkmate the trend.
Nigerians expect that such cruel and barbaric acts should no longer exist in our society given our level of exposure, enlightenment and civilisation.
Ironically, communities seem to be getting more religious given the proliferation of religious centres in all nooks and crannies of the country. It seems these heinous acts are increasing as the quest for filthy lucre pervades the society.
While the security agencies strategise, the people continue to live in fear and panic, wondering who would be next and when they would be saved from the hands of kidnappers who appear to be taking advantage of the laxity in security in the country.