Alhaji Junaid Yunus Olalekan, lslamic cleric and social analyst, speaks on money rituals.
What is your take on the view that African traditional religion may die as Christianity and Islam flourish?
African traditional religion is as multifaceted as the population of Africans. I don’t think that it will die as soon as it is being envisaged. Rather, it will continue to hide under Islam and Christianity. In actual fact, most Africans are still believers in traditional voodooism rather than Islam and Christianity. They just prefer to wear the garment and facade of Islam and Christianity in order to ‘belong’ or to look modern. So, I am not in the least worried because, in all sincerity, I wish traditional African religion should go into extinction just like mounting on camels for a long journey is going to extinction.
Why do you think people get involved in ritual killings?
The spate of ritual killings is the product of African superstition, hence the belief that some parts of humans can bring money. This belief negates the core value of Islam and Christianity. However, the irony of it all is that most of these ritualists profess either Islam or Christianity. The most painful part is that the most notorious of these ritualists are clerics. If you asked me the position of Islam in all of this, I will tell you that Islam abhors the killing of humans for whatever reason. God warns in the Qur’aan, suratul Maidah (chapter 5) VERSE 32 that whoever kills a soul is as if he has killed the entire humanity and whoever saves a soul has saved the entire humanity. However, demons truly bring money to some of those perpetrators in order to make them believe that human part is responsible, whereas it is just deception. The wealth will have sorrowful end.
How do we stem ritual killing over the belief that there are demons that bring money?
People get involved in ritual killing mainly due to greed: people can go to the extreme in their quest for quick rich; and bad associates: some people are used to carrying out such nefarious acts due to the influence of friends and poor mannered family members. And to stem it, we need to strengthen our security architecture: The red spots should be covered by serious surveillance. Uncompleted buildings, remote hamlets, villages and isolated buildings are fertile lands for ritualists. I also recommend death penalty for ritualists. Ritualists must be taken to the gallows, enough of the excuse that there is shortage of hangmen. Death is death. Let us employ the services of infantry men to neutralize these killers. They do not deserve pity or second chance. Let them have their second chance in their graves. This will serve as deterrent to other evil minded felons. Advocacy should be encouraged to educate the people about the evil of ritual killing while enlightenment of the vulnerable people should be intensified to be more conscious of their security.
Why are albinos, hunchbacks, bald-headed people targeted for ritual killings?
Albino and other special people are soft targets for ritualists. This stems from the belief in superstition that those people’s spirits bring money faster than others.
What is the role of movies in encouraging money ritualists?
Nollywood, which is supposed to educate against this evil act, is propagating African traditional voodooism.