‘We sell human parts to agbo sellers’
By Evelyn Usman
Are you a regular consumer of unknown herbal mixture otherwise known as agbo? Then you have to be very careful because you could unknowingly be taking concoction of human parts. This warning followed the arrest of a 30-year-old man last Monday, with a human head and other human parts, who confessed to be taking the substance to a herbal medicine seller, whom he claimed in turn, use such for concoction.
The Oduduwa Street, Ikeja, office ofÂ the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer witnessed an unusual crowd Monday, following news of the arrest of the Ijebu, Ogun State-born suspect. The inquisitive spectators included residents of the barrack, commercial motorcyclists (okada riders), hawkers and passers-by.
However, not a few of the spectators took to their heels when the contents of a cellophane with the suspect revealed a female human head with braids, and other parts of the body. Some of the peopleÂ rained curses and abuses on the suspect as they fled the scene.
SpeakingÂ with Crime Alert, Femi Ade, the suspect revealed how he had been supplying human parts to a herbal medicine seller at Ojo Market with the aid of a worker in the cemetery.
In the beginning
Police sources said their preliminary investigation showed that the suspect had worked at Era Cemetery in theÂ Ijanikin neighbourhood, on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, as a securityman, during which he claimed he was introduced into this dastardlyÂ act.
According to him, â€œI was once a security man at the cemetery but left last year because I was being paid N3,500 per month. While on duty one day, one of my colleagues, ‘Baba Ikale’ asked me to escort him to Ojo Market. I guessed it was because I owned a motorcycle and also because he promised to give me N2,500. There, we met one Lanre whom he handedÂ a cellophane to.Â Â When he opened it, I found out it contained human parts. That was my first meeting with Lanre. I later quit the job as the money was not enough and went back to my bricklaying job.â€
Asked what transpired while he workedÂ at the cemetery, he exonerated himself from the atrocities that characterised the place. He, however, made an astonishing revelation when he said dead bodies were usually dug out for fresh ones. This, he stated, depended on the amount offered to grave-diggers.
â€œThe only thing I can sayÂ that usually go on at the cemetery is that, anytime the graves are full, they ( the workers) would exhume old bodies and bury new ones. ‘Baba Ikale’ is also a grave-digger and he is usually paid N1,500 for digging.
How Seki’s parts were brought
â€œThe human parts inside this cellophane were those of a teenager, Seki. Aside being a bricklayer, I am also an Okada rider. I was at the Era motorcycle park last Saturday, waiting for customers, when some people walked up to me that they were looking for Era Cemetery to bury their daughter.
I am well-known in my area as a worker in the cemetery.Â Â I guessed they were directed to find out from me.Â I quickly called ‘Baba Ikale’ on phone to know if there was space in the grave-yard and he said we should bring the dead body.Â Â Together, we went to the cemetery where the lady was buried and I was given N500 for taking them there.â€
Prayers at the graveyard for the soul of the teenager whose age was yet-to-be-determined, to rest in perfect peace seemed not to have been answered as barely had her remains been interred by 10 a.m, than plans to exhume them were hatched.
Mission rendered unaccomplished
This was confirmed by the suspect who said ‘Baba Ikale’ later knocked on his door that evening at 9.30 p.m, holding his regular black cellophane.
â€œWhen he brought the cellophane that night, he told me to help him take it to Lanre the next day which was on a Sunday, promising to pay me N1,500.â€
Everyday, it is said, is for the thief and one day for the owner. For Femi June 3, was his day of judgment as barely had he embarked on the journey to Ojo market than he was accosted by the police. He reportedly kept an expressionless face. But two things nailed him which were- his unregistered motorcycle and the black cellophane on the carrier. The suspicious policemen from Ojo Division stopped him, demanding that the content inside the cellophane be exposed. The heavens seemed to be closed on him as inward prayers rendered were not answered.
Frustrated, he opened the cellophane, where the human head rolled down even before the policemen could get their grip of what the contents were. A shout ofÂ ‘ah, human head! rent the air and pronto, some passers-by were tempted to go and see what was amiss. As he was about to be whisked to the station, Femi reportedly offered the policemen N5,000 bribe, which was turned down. He increased it to N10 ,000, and was also turned down. Wearing a frightening disposition, he reportedly offered them N50,000.Â It was turned down and Femi Ade was eventually taken to the station.
â€œI regret every bit of my action. I believe it was Sekiâ€™s spirit (the dead lady) that put me into trouble. I never knew her parts were the ones inside the cellophane until I opened them for the policemen. ‘Baba Ikale’ is no where to be found, so, also is Lanre, the herbal medicine seller. ‘Baba Ikale’ lured me into this. I am not the one that cut the parts. It was ‘Baba Ikale’. He only handed the cellophane to me.Â I do not know the area Seki lived neither do I know any member of her family, I would have gone to beg for their forgiveness. AsÂ I told you, they only approached me on that day to take them to the cemetery.â€
On how he managed to sleep in the room with the human parts considering the stench, without the knowledge of his wife, he said, â€œ I live in the same vicinity with ‘Baba Ikale,’ who is a widower. When he called me to come and collect the bag, I told him to hold it till the next day and he kept it inside his apartment from where I collected it the next day.
After his arrest, the operatives, according to the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, carried a search in Femiâ€™s roomÂ where some human dried bones and teeth were found.
Asked what they were doing in his house, the suspect said, â€œ It is for my personal use. I wanted to use it to do some concoction that will help me get customers.Â Â The items had been with me for a while. I was to take them to Lanre, the herbal medicine seller at Ojo.Â In fact, he demanded for them. The bones were not exhumed by me. WhatÂ obtains in the cemetery is that anytime there is no longer space, they would dig out old graves to remove the bones and thereafter burn them. The bones and teeth, according to Lanre, are used to enable one get customers and also get employmentâ€.
The suspect,Â Mba hinted, would be charged to court. But he revealed that investigation into what he described as â€˜a challenging caseâ€™ seem to be hamperedÂ following operatives inability to arrest ‘Baba Ikale,’ the grave-digger and Lanre, who were indicted by the suspect.
â€œOur investigation includes finding out the exact motive behind the action, who he claimed he was going to give, who is the end user and what they were supposed to do with the human parts.
”Of course, you do not expect other guys indicted to wait.Â The investigation will be cumbersome , challenging, but we will live up to our expectation and those fleeing indicted persons will be arrested. This is because the long arm of the law is long enough to catch up with themâ€, Mba assured.
He admonished residents of the area , â€œIf you buried anybody in the last couple of weeks at the Era Cemetery, you may have to visit Ojo Police Station to find out whether it is your relationâ€™s body that has been mutilated.â€