Harvesting human parts for money is one of the inhumane and criminal activities in Nigeria. Below are some of the ritual killings in 2022.
1. 1st of January In the case of Jennifer Anthony; A 20-year-old Moses Oko was been apprehended by the police for allegedly killing her for ritual purposes. Jennifer, who was a student of the University of Jos, was found lifeless at a hotel in Jos, along Zaria Road, on New Year’s Day. Some of her body parts were also missing. Moses was arrested in Benue State after he fled from Jos for committing the crime.
2. January 11, 2022 Afeez Olalere, another case is that of 32-year-old Afeez Olalere, who is a suspected internet fraudster. Afeez confessed to killing his younger brother for money ritual purposes. He was arrested during a stop and search operation along Itamaga, Ikorodu road in Lagos State by operatives of the Lagos State Police Command.
Afeez confessed during interrogation that his mother encouraged him to kill his younger brother after a herbalist she took him to had told him to sacrifice one life which must be his sibling. He had planned with his mother to poison his 21-year-old brother to death. They harvested the required body parts and took his remains to the mortuary.
3. Timothy Odeniyi case: On February 1st, 2022, a suspected ritual killer, Timothy Odeniyi, was arrested by men of the Amotekun Corps in Ondo State, Nigeria. The 35-year-old man confessed to newsmen that he was promised N30m if he could produce and deliver human parts to Lagos. He revealed that the human parts were to be delivered to one of his bosses living in Lagos. Timothy confessed that he went to burial grounds to harvest the body parts from corpses buried claiming that he did not murder anyone.
4. On the 4th of February, 2022, four Nigerian men were charged with the murder of a 20-year-old woman in a suspected ritual killing case. The men, who are aged between 18 to 20 years, were arrested on the last Saturday of January for allegedly killing Sofiat Kehinde and burning her head for money ritual purposes at Oke Aregba area of Abeokuta, Ogun State. According to reports, the deceased was dating one of the killers. She was lured by her boyfriend, Soliu, to his room where she was overpowered and killed.
5. April 12, 2022 A man, Ifeanyi Njoku, has been arrested for allegedly killing his girlfriend, Precious Okeke, 24, in an estate at Badore, in the Ajah area of Lagos State.
Ultimately, increased incidence of ritual killings (money ritual) in Nigeria is best seen in the context of the broader economy of violence in the country, the most salient elements of which are banditry and kidnapping, police incapacity to tackle crime, a rise in vigilantism, circulation of illegal arms, and a succession of unsolved murders—all framed against the backdrop of weakening state control. Young people’s frustration with these problems factored into the virulence of the #EndSARS protests against police impunity in late 2020.
While the government continues to make all the right noises—for instance, the federal government has appropriated $2.3 billion to tackle insecurity in 2022—its irrelevance to most Nigerians could not be more pronounced.
Especially for young people desperate to “belong” and facing tremendous pressure to discharge a range of cultural obligations, ritual killings are just one among a subset of options occupying different nodes on an ambiguous moral spectrum.
Ogunobi Oluwaseyi Mary is a graduate of sociology from Bowen University. An advocate of social justice, crime reduction, and humanitarian services