As Nigeria grapples with poverty and insecurity, it is forced to deal with a growing issue of brutal killings for the sake of rituals or organ trafficking. What is more distressing is the pattern of young men, persons who are strong and smart enough to earn an honest living, carrying out these inhumane acts.
Jennifer Anthony, a 300 level undergraduate student at University of Jos, was declared missing by her friends early this year. Jennifer was later discovered dead, with her eyes gouged out. The suspect, the boyfriend she spent the last moments of her life with, was on the run until this week when he was caught hiding in a psychiatric facility in Benue state.
Three boys, Emomotimi Magbisa, Perebi Aweke, and Eke Prince, who are all 15 years of age, were also recently accosted for charming a 13-year-old girl to a house where her fingers were cut off for "a ritual". The family of 29-year-old Elohor Oniorosa, who was killed during a visit to her boyfriend's house on Christmas Eve last year, is still seeking justice. The culprit, one Osaretin David, is still on the run and is rumoured to have absconded to Ghana.
There's more of these horrible crimes reported in the past few weeks. Zamfara State police command just arrested six people in connection with the killing of a nine-year-old boy for ritual purpose in Gusau two days ago. One Muyideen was recaptured in Oyo State after being freed from prison by some hoodlums. He confirmed he was initially convicted for the gruesome murder of 73-year-old Pa Adeniyi Samuel for ritual purposes. The old man was killed and dismembered in his house. Muyideen collaborated with some so-called alfas to do the job.
The rate at which people take the lives of their fellow human beings in the most gruesome manners is sickening. Not everyone who walks the streets is normal, we know. But now, we have to worry about predators looking at us as preys for gory homicidal actions.
Ritual killings are not a new phenomenon. It seems to come in biennial waves; once in a few years, a cluster of homicides occur for the express purpose of these so-called rituals. There was a time Oyo State —and the rest of southwest Nigeria— was terrified because of the ritualists of Soka who kidnapped persons from far and near to kill and harvest vital organs. Such dreadful things continue for months unhindered since we have failed to put a comprehensive security structure in place.
At a time when we are worried about what to eat and what to wear, what tomorrow might bring, and how to improve our standard of living as the cost keeps rising, Alimosho people and Nigerians at large must be more vigilant than ever because there are demons walking in our midst.