Of recent, incidences of ritual killings have become rampant in the society, and these have posed serious danger to the security of lives of the people. SOLA JACOB considers the causes and the solutions to the security threats posed by such criminal act in the State of Osun.
Sickness and ailment is as old as human existence and nature had bequeathed means of healing through natural means and human efforts to cure and relieve human from the grips of sickness and various ailments.
The practice of alternative and orthodox medicine is of great importance to man and even in the modern days, more emphasis is being laid on alternative medicine of healing method, as it is considered safer and in most cases without side effect, unlike the orthodox way of healing.
Practitioners of both methods had bicker more about the practice and management of both system, but both had helped human to overcome health challenges, hence, they are both useful and had helped human to overcome health issues at different times.
Recently in the State of Osun, the cases of ritual killings had gained prominence in media reportage as on Wednesday, 7th June 2017, a self-acclaimed Muslim cleric, named Rasheed Ajibade was apprehended with human head and other body parts at Oluode area in Osogbo, the state capital and after his arrest he confessed that one of his client Isiaka Akande, who runs a traditional psychiatric centre at Aagba community in Boripe Local Government Area of the state, gave him the human parts in his possession for money making ritual purpose.
The police source even alleged that the duo, Ajibade and Akande were to be arrested at Oluode area but on the fateful day, the former was arrested while the latter fled, but was later arrested on Monday, 19th June 2017 at his herbal home in Aagba, where he confessed to the crime. One other Taofeek Tijani was also arrested alongside.
Also discovered in Akande’s residence were eleven mentally-ill persons namely; Mutiyat Otitan, Afolabi Femi, Yemisi Babatunde, Alawumi Aladokun, Ajara and Taiwo Jolayemi. Others who were fettered in one of the uncompleted buildings in his compound are Taofeek, Toyin Ogunleye, Ayobami, Adijat Moshudi and an old woman who could neither walk nor talk.
The duo later led the police to where they buried the remains of the woman whose parts were found with Ajibade. Akande confessed that his friend, Ajibade lured him into money ritual which led to the killing of one of the mentally-ill victim in his psychiatric home for the purpose.
In quick succession comes another discovery on 21st June, 2017 at a building located at Idi-Ifa in Ile-Eesu compound in Gbongan, Ayedaade Local Government Area of the state, where a suspected ‘ritualist’, Ganiyu Oladosu with three human heads and some other human parts was also apprehended and handed over to the police.
Also, on June 28, 2017, a 400-level, student of UNIOSUN, Oluwafemi Shonibare was declared missing and his decapitated body was found inside a bush beside an Islamic Cleric house nine days after. This led to the arrest of some of the killers of Shonibare as subsequently sparked violent protest by students of the university after his body was found.
Earlier this year, precisely on 12th January 2017, Elijah Oyebode, a commercial driver was paraded for allegedly conspiring with an herbalist simply identified as Jelili Raji to murder and mutilate a 400 level student of Osun State University, Miss Rofiat Adebisi. Elijah carried the late Rofiat as a passenger from the University campus at Ipetu-Ijesa in Oriade Local Government on December 2nd, 2016 with other commuters, but the deceased’s mutilated and decomposed body was later found inside a bush at Iragbiji. When he was apprehended, Elijah confessed to the crime alongside his accomplice, Jelili that the deceased’s was to be used for money ritual purpose, though both had been sentenced.
With these ugly trends in crime, which is on the rise everyday, one might ask for a synergy between the government, religion and faith based home to combat crime in the state.
A traditional practitioner, Ifawumi Eejitoosa, an herbalist and traditional healer affirmed that native herbal homes do heal different kind of sickness and ailments, especially psychiatrist cases, as well as other minor sicknesses.
He also affirmed that though human rituals still exist till date, it is sacrilegious due to sanctity of life, saying, only criminals are allowed to be used as sacrifice in olden days, but not in Nigeria of today, just as he noted that there had been departure from the practice of the old as only animals and birds are used for sacrificial purposes these days.
Ifawumi said, “all these claims do not debunk the facts that human ritual exists now and human beings are sacrificed for money making, promotion, trading, security and political appointments, saying, this ‘quick-to-rich’ syndrome, has bedeviled our society, as youths could do anything to become rich at all costs, even at the expense of their parents and other blood relatives, leading to the increase in the rate of crime”.
Another traditional practitioner, Oyedemi Awokunle of Agboniregun temple in Agurodo via Ola in Ejigbo Local Government Area of the state said, traditional herbalists have always complimented the efforts of the orthodox medicine practitioners, as some sicknesses and ailment have spiritual causes, hence they were indispensible in the society, saying, “both high and mighty do patronise herbalists and local herbal practitioner”.
“Murder or using human being for sacrifice thrives in the society, but those that are involved in such evil practice will incur the wrath of Supreme Being, Olodumare because of sanctity of life. Nevertheless, human ritual thrives because of quick rich syndrome by youths and the desperation to occupy position by the power seekers.”
Another herbal practitioner, the Iyalode Isegun of Oba-Ile, Toyin Olalekan said, there are local herbalists who treat various ailments, but not all of them sacrifice human beings, noting that people are quick to point accusing fingers at traditional practitioners, while christian and muslim clerics also engage in the dastard act.
She charged government and security agents to beam their searchlights on the activities of the traditional and religious bodies in the state who are suspected to be engaging in such practice to stem the tides of ritual killing.
Commenting on the dastard act, human ritual, Apostle Ayanfe Patrick of Orisun Iye Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Aba Iya Gani area in Ife Central Local Government condemned such criminal act and said it is against the commandment of God “Thou shall not kill” from which nations of the earth derived their law, saying, human life is sacred and should not be taken for any purpose whatsoever.
He admitted that religious home also effect care of different ailments and sicknesses, for the purpose of gospel is not only to preach to save soul, but to also heal the body and the spirit.
“Most of the sicknesses and ailments that affect mankind, may also has its roots in the spiritual realm, hence some seek spiritual help after they might had consulted orthodox practitioners, all to no avail; some churches have patients that resides in the church environment, but that does not mean that they should be used for human ritual purpose.
“People patronise traditional and religious homes for healings because of the beliefs that some ailments have spiritual roots and because of poverty, especially people at the lower run of the ladder”, saying, despite that it is ungodly to conspire to use sick ones especially mentally-ill individuals for spiritual purpose or money ritual.
He however admitted that some healing homes collaborate with criminals using religious cloak to commit crimes.
A social critics, Mr Abiodun Kafidiya speaking on the prevalence of human rituals, said both the rich in the society and political office holders encourage this dastard act, as most of them engage in human rituals to get more money, renew their power and for such other purposes.
He also said that the issue of negligence of social welfare scheme via provision of free and qualitative health care for the poor in the society had made most citizen to resort to spiritual homes for ailments which should have been treated by specialist, which could eventually lured them to ritualists dens, termed “healing homes”.
He further hinted that most of the healing homes are not only ritualists dens, but at the same time criminals nests which the law enforcement agents must sanitise, revealing that some of the victims are hypnotized, especially those that are kidnapped, and they could start behaving strange because they are under spell.
“Also, women are violated in those homes, as most of the sick women become baby manufacturing machines for the ritualists turned healers. You will see some supposed mentally-ill patients in some religious home taking to market places and other public places to beg for alms, using them to generate income on daily basis.
“Some of them often give excuses that their relatives only dumped them in their healing homes without asking of their welfare and how they feed”.
Another critic, Mrs Aderanti Igbayilola, a retired Matron at Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife said, there is a need for the government of the State of Osun to register and regulate the activities of traditional and religion healing homes in the state to curb criminal activities, arguing that aside the issue of human rituals and illegal adoption of babies in such homes, some of these homes had served as hiding places for young girls with unwanted pregnancies.
She revealed that some married men who put little girls in a family way hide them in such homes without the consent of their parents and guardian, only with the support of operators of those centres.
In his own view, a community leader in Ode-Omu, Asiwaju Oyeniran said, the community and the traditional rulers role must be upheld as they are closer to the people in their respective communities, saying, there is need for effective community policing to stem the tide of increment in various activities.
He also charged government to tackle the issue of youth unemployment and upgrade our social welfare scheme so as to provide the basic needs for the needy in the society.
Chief Oyeniran suggested that the law enforcement agents should be more proactive and maintain cordial relationship with local people with the purpose of eliciting information about criminal activities in their areas.
On the Osun government’s efforts on rehabilitation of mentally challenge people, the Commissioner for Youth, Sport and Special Needs, Comrade Biyi Odunlade said the state government had rehabilitated and integrated more than 160 mentally-challenged persons and it has not stop taking them off streets for rehabilitation.
On the rescue of the mentally-challenged persons from the ritualist den in Aagba, he said the state government would conduct primary assessment on the mentally-challenged victims to ascertain the level of their insanity, saying this would guide the government to know which of them to be treated at state or teaching hospital.
He further stated that all the rescued victims would go through psychological test to know those who are mentally stable or not, saying, once they are found to be mentally stable, they would be re-integrated into the society and their various families.
On the whole, he called on the people of the state to partner with the government in ensuring effective security of lives and properties, as the issue of security cannot be the sole responsibility of the government.
There have been several excuses by those perpetrating one criminal act or the other that the hard economic situation had forced them to be cutting corners like engaging in robbery, kidnapping and the dastard act of human ritual for the purpose of getting quick money, but the collaborative stance amongst the government, religious bodies, traditional homes and security agencies would stem the tide.
The review of the activities of spiritual healing homes, should come under the search light of the government in partnership with traditional community leaders and leaders of religion in the state, if the killing for ‘quick-rich’ syndrome and other purposes must be wiped out in the state.