…ask IGP to arrest, prosecute perpetrators

…prompt NOA, parents, heads of schools, religious leaders, media to lead campaign against killings

By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja

Jolted by the reports of incessant ritual killings across the country, the House of Representatives, Wednesday, asked the federal government to declare a national emergency on the social vice.

The House also asked the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Usman Baba Alkali to take urgent steps to increase surveillance and intelligence gathering with a view to fishing out, arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators of the killings.

The parliament also called on the National Orientation Agency, parents, heads of schools, religious leaders and the media to undertake a campaign to change the negative narrative that bedeviling the society.

The resolutions of the House came after it considered a motion titled “Need to Curb the Rising Trend of Ritual Killings in Nigeria”, presented at the plenary by the deputy minority leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu under matters of urgent public importance.

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Presenting the motion, Okechukwu noted that the incidents of ritual killings have assumed an alarming rate in Nigeria in recent times.

He said there was an upsurge of reported ritual killings with increasing cases of abductions and missing persons in different parts of the country, which in most cases, the culprits also rape, maim, kill and obtain sensitive body parts of unsuspecting victims for rituals.

He said: “The Red Cross Society in 2017 reported that it received 10,480 reports of missing persons in Nigeria.

“On January 22, 2022, three teenage suspects and a twenty year old reportedly killed one Sofiat Kehinde and had her head severed and burnt in a local pot in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

“Ogun State Police Command on Monday, February 7, 2022 reported that one of the suspects confessed that he learned the act of ritual killing from a video he watched on Facebook.”

The lawmaker recalled that the death of Sofiat has attracted national outrage and condemnation considering the ages of her killers.

“Merchants of such wicked acts often use the social media as a ready tool to advertise their evil behaviours.

“The grievous killing of Iniobong Umoren, a young woman in her 20s; after being lured to a particular location in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State for a job interview, as widely reported in the national dailies.

“The gruesome killings and heinous activities of Badoo Boys in Lagos State, which was also reported in the national dailies.

“Ritual killing has become a predominant theme in most home made movies which if not checked, our younger generation may begin to view it as an acceptable norm.

“Several reports where law enforcement agents arrested and paraded suspects of ritual killings with gory pictures of human skulls and dismembered bodies.

“Fake clerics, imams, herbalists and native doctors are often complicit in the heinous practices.

“Although our communities are getting more religious with the proliferation of churches and mosques, the ugly trend of ritual killing is on the rise as the quest for wealth at all cost pervades our society.”

Okechukwu expressed worry that while youths in other climes are embracing science and technology as a way of maintaining pace with our dynamic world, some of our youths seem stuck in the mistaken belief that sacrificing human blood is the surest route to wealth, safety and protection.

“Such cruel and barbaric acts should no longer be promoted in our society given the demands of today’s world.

“The growing rate of unemployment in the country.

“The moral decadence in our society, a trend that has promoted the get-rich-quick syndrome among our youths.

“The role of the Nigerian movie industry in moulding behavioral patterns in our society vis-a-vis the mandate of the National Film and Video Censors Board as a clearing house for movies produced in the country.

“A lot needs to be done by the Police and other law enforcement agencies to checkmate this ugly trend.

“The roles of parents, schools, religious leaders, and the urgent need to curb the increasing rate of ritual killings and other related vices.

“The House is mindful of the role of media as a tool to change this wrong narrative among our youths”, he said.

Adopting the motion, the House called on the Executive Director, National Film and Video Censors Board to rise to the mandate of the agency as the clearing house for all movies produced in the country.

It therefore mandated its Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values ensure compliance of the resolution and report back to the House within weeks.

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