Curbing insecurity, ritual killings in Nigeria

The spate of insecurity and ritual killings seems to be creeping across the country. This has been as a result of the Nigerian history and development challenges that have been continuously rooted in conflicts and instability. Adeola Tukuru examines the new trend and efforts to curb it. 

The Federal Government has made several efforts aimed at addressing the situation ranging from creation of various security agencies and several reforms of the existing ones, yet the security challenges remained unabated. 

With the spate of these happenings, Nigerians wonder what has gone wrong and why the malady is yet to be given bloody nose in order for them 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, one Mr Sola Mattew, a Businessman lamented that ritual killings and kidnappings are becoming very common and observed that the ways to stop ritual killings is to empower our 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 will find it difficult engaging in the act .

He called on the Federal Government to prioritize youth empowerment  . 

It would be recalled of a victim , one Oguche Victoria Ada,  who was almost used of ritual killings as one of high priest in her community chose her for ritual to appease their god. 

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.

These menace has become the order of the day due to neglect by the Federal Government and security agencies . 

A youth leader, Mr Tony Ugwu urged the Federal Government to seriously engage the youths in skills acquisition programmed to keep them away from being enticed with money because 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 late Ms. Iniobong Umoren’s gruesome murder was not just a case of rape and murder but that it also involved in ritual killing. Mr. Akpan’s entire family is said to be involved in the barbaric business of ritual killings.

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 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 neighbour 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 he ran out of luck.

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 Rivers State capital city. After his arrest, he confessed to 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. Some are found, while others are not. There is speculation that the majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.

Incidents of ritual killings have assumed an alarming rate in Nigeria. There seems to be little or no effort by concerned government agencies to checkmate the trend. 

Nigerians expect that such cruel and barbaric acts would 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 churches and mosques 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 .