A preponderance of reports indicates that there is a sustained rise in the incidences of ritual killings in the country mostly for money. This is by no means a recent occurrence. It is just that it is adding to the fears and anxieties generated by the security challenges that are so pervasive in the nation.
No one is spared by the perpetrators of this heinous crime who indulge in it as a short cut to wealth and affluence. They are not restrained by the obvious blood stains on the wealth they eventually acquire through this sordid means that is crying intensely for vengeance.
In the opinion of this newspaper, ritual killing is a crime that ought to have been wiped out from the society if not that the security agencies, overwhelmed by other acts of criminality such as terrorism and banditry seem to buckle, a disposition that is worsened by dirty security agents who collude with the criminals to perpetuate the malfeasance
Recently, it was reported that a 20-year-old man, Moses Oko, was arrested by the police for allegedly killing a 300-level student of the University of Jos, Jennifer Anthony, for suspected ritual purposes. Anthony had been declared missing by friends and fellow students. Her lifeless body was later found at a hotel in Jos, along Zaria Road, on New Year’s Day with some of her body parts, including her eyes, missing.
Similarly, early this year, Bayelsa State Police Command arrested three teenage boys over the alleged attempt to hypnotise and use a teenage girl for ritual. A Benin-based suspected internet scammer (‘Yahoo boy’), simply identified as Osas, is on the run over the alleged ritual killing of his girlfriend, Elohor Oniorosa. Edo State Police command said the father of the victim, William Oniorosa, reported the murder.
Also in June last year, the Osun state police command had confirmed the arrest of a suspected ritualist, identified as Akin (A.K.A O’clumsy) who was said to have run away after killing his yet to be identified girlfriend.
Akin, according to his accomplice Kabiru, who was earlier arrested by the police, invited the deceased from Ibadan to Apomu, in Osun State on Thursday, June 10, and killed her. Akin had after killing and butchering his girlfriend in his friend’s room, to use her head and heart for a money ritual fled the town after hearing of Kabiru’s arrest.
In October last year also, the Police Command in Oyo State had arrested two suspected ritualists, Ismaila Wasiu, Mutairu Shittu, and recovered fresh human heads from them. The list is endless as the security agencies strive to cope with macabre phase of the nation’s social life.
Criminologists and other experts attribute the rise in ritual killings to the inordinate desire for quick and easy money. This situation seems to be worsened by the fading parental and cultural values as well as gross unemployment.
Unfortunately, in our view, there are also reports of parents encouraging their children to go into crime especially internet scams. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had repeatedly expressed its worry over this attitude on the part of parents who should know better. The anti-graft agency also warned that with the rate of cybercrime among youths, soon, a sizeable percentage of that segment of the population will be ex-convicts.
Obviously, there is a nexus between the recent money ritual cases and rising cases of internet scams in the country popularly called yahoo yahoo. It is instructive to note that according to the 2020 Internet Crime Report which includes information from 791,790 complaints of suspected internet crime, there is an increase of more than 300,000 complaints from 2019 with reported losses exceeding $4.2 billion. And Nigeria is ranked 16th worst affected country.
Other countries that ranked better than Nigeria are Pakistan, China, Colombia. Hong Kong is also high on the list. Apart from Nigeria, South Africa was also listed among the ‘worst’ 20. South Africa was rated sixth with 1,754 victims while Nigeria had 443 victims.
According to a study conducted by a group, Techshielder, Nigeria is reported to be the second most notorious country in the world with romance scams, next to the Philippines. The research revealed that last year, dating scams cost the world a massive $218million, which works out to an average loss of $17,661 per victim.
It turns out that the Philippines is responsible for the highest number of dating scam cases. Over 1,300 romance fraud cases have been reported against the country, and they are responsible for a whopping $4 million in financial loss.
Ranking in second place is Nigeria. With a population of 201 million, Nigeria has accounted for 1,129 reports of scams. The total amount of money lost due to Nigerian dating scams is a staggering $16.8 million, this totals to an average loss per victim of $14,892.
As we have consistently advocated on this page, crimes continue to fester because punishments are not adequately meted to criminals. The judicial process takes forever to conclude and when sentences are passed, in most cases, they are a slap on the wrist.
From the foregoing, we call on the government to severely punish perpetrators of ritual killings and internet scams in the country to serve as a deterrent to future offenders. The maxim crime does not pay should be in action and not in words only.