Forensic examination of the case of the ritualist’s den at Ojokoro

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – Last week, a ritualist cum kidnapper’s den was found in Lagos, at Ojokoro, along Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.

The news reports said the den was uncovered after a street sweeper heard a woman crying out for help while on duty. According to report, the sweeper raised alarm and passers-by and some members of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), a Yoruba vigilante group, went to the rescue. The rescue attempt led to the apprehension of one of the captors. But, an angry mob had set the captor ablaze in no time.

In reaction to the news, security agents dashed to the scene and tried to enter the den through the tunnel that opened out to the side of the expressway.

While the security agents attempted to enter the tunnel and search the den, a man suspected to be one of the ritualists (kidnappers) ran out. Before he could get away, he was also lynched by the angry mob. Two policemen who tried to stop the mob from lynching the suspect were overpowered and injured by the crowd, report says.

After over one hour of searching the tunnel by a combined team of OPC, police and army personnel, the woman who cried out for help was rescued and a third suspect was arrested.

The police lamented that the act of jungle justice carried out by the angry mob jeopardised the gathering of useful evidences to support their investigation, but still promised to try to probe further and crack the case.

We could feel at ease and expect that the case is being handled, but, as a thirty-year old homegrown Nigerian, I can tell there are bigger problems.

The bigger problems

Corrupt system of justice and security
This is not the first time that ritualist or kidnapper’s hideouts have been discovered in Lagos, or other parts of the country. But what happens?

In the same manner displayed in this recent case, the police would always promise to investigate and unravel the mystery behind these incidents. Then, after long, there would be no more stories about the cases. Or, another similar or totally different incident with so much intensity will spring up again and lull the attention of the people away to the point that the police and every other law enforcement agency could forget about the cases without raising unwanted criticisms or judgements. If at all people press further and demand that action be taken on the cases, those individuals at the agencies who should be responsible for initiating such action would frustrate or discourage them in any way possible.

The instruments established to manage our wellbeing in the nation we have built have failed to serve their purpose. The most critical level of our national governance, the judiciary, has been compromised.

Social filth
The leftovers of the moral decadence in our society has borne many vices. This did not happen overnight. Our social content and character had gradually eroded away for over 400 years, before the emissaries of western world came to Africa to undertake in slavery.

Social culture and institutions have continuously been degraded by the greed and need for power of some few among us.

Recently on a Facebook page titled ‘Ifa: Orisa Scientific Spirituality’, I stumbled upon the work of a Yoruba traditional religion believer and scholar that said:

‘Most black aborisas believe that the Nigerian priesthood hierarchy is the authority on Ifa. They don’t realize that the Nigerian priesthood was usurped by slavetraders 500 years ago who are in bed with Europoid enslavers. These Nigerian slavetrader babalawos (who don’t represent all Nigerian babalawos but about 95%) don’t want you to learn a self-help perspective of Ifa. They want to control you through dependency to priests and keep you away from inner-power, instead seeking out external magical solutions that are really just superstitions that have proven to have no real power.’

So, the Yoruba traditional religion as practiced in many parts of Nigeria today is not likely to be the true one. This variation of the Yoruba traditional religion that is common across South-Western Nigeria states like Lagos, Ogun and Ibadan promotes the use of animals, including humans, in rituals. This same variation is what is practiced by the OPC.

What the eye misses

Through this web of controversy, many of us would miss most of the real realities that lead to cases of ritualists and kidnappers like this one. Perhaps, we have always missed it. This is why such cases have continued to occur.

We refuse to consciously acknowledge that we have people among us who we know engage secrectly or openly in practices involving ritual killings of humans and we refuse to do anything about it. Of which, one of such people exist as the OPC and they make us believe that their mission is to secure our community.

Nigeria’s security agencies are made up of people like us who know that there are members of our society who are engaged in practices involving ritual killings of humans, like the corrupted Yoruba traditional religion, but would rather ignore the fact. They would also make us believe that they are very interested and relentless in the effort to investigate such criminal acts and bring perpetrators to justice. Meanwhile, most of them are always only interested in squeezing out as much money as they can from the pockets of the victims and offenders.

The truth is that: until we solve the bigger problems associated with these cases, there will continue to be more occurences of ritual killings and kidnappings.

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