Ritual-Murder in Nigeria

There are various names for it; witchcraft, juju, oturumokpo, jazz, medii, ogwu, etc. They all represent the practice of resorting to esoteric, often times vile methods of harnessing seemingly supernatural forces to achieve one's aim. This "aim" could range from seeking to ‚Äėdefend' oneself from perceived (potential and real) enemies, to ensuring a life of wealth, abundance and power. In this context, ritual-murder is a breed apart, however, because it involves the taking of an innocent soul. I wish to examine how this cultural phenomenon has impacted upon us and shaped our world view as Nigerians.

Humankind has always believed and will continue to believe in the existence of supernatural forces. Over eons of time, we have fashioned out ways of seeking to ‚Äėengage' these forces to our ‚Äėbenefit', for good or ill of society. However, with the advent of the "Renaissance" in Europe, ideas assumed primacy over this often terrible, debilitating practice. It is still practiced in most parts of the world, but nowhere else does it quite assume the horrendous specter that it has become in Africa. And it has its roots in earlier times when lives (lots and lots) were slaughtered, on a regular basis, to appease some gods, or to accompany deceased rulers to the great beyond.

In Africa (I shall limit myself to Nigeria, thence) the jazz phenomenon has remained on the ascendant. Despite our colonial heritage. Despite the pervading influence of Islam Christianity, formal education and our westernized life-styles. Jazz has refused to let go of its strangle-hold on us. It is part and parcel of our collective consciousness. Some of us deny its existence, yet have a morbid fear of it. Is it possible to fear something we have declared to be non-existent? At the other end of the spectrum, you come across folks, usually functional illiterates, who are ready to swear to the efficacy of jazz. And they readily resort to it, without qualms. And then you have the elites, the power-mongers and ‚Äėmovers and shakers', in-between. My question is: if indeed these powers exist and can be harnessed by us, how come we've refused to use it for positive outcomes? 

Nigeria is indeed a land of paradoxes in this regard. In this country, you will come across a well-educated, enlightened person, or self-professed ‚Äėstaunch Muslim/Christian' who assumes an enlightened, cultivated mien by day, and consults with the jazzman, by night. I've even read and heard of cases where a ‚Äėpastor' secretly buries a whole, live being, at the entrance to his ‚Äėchurch'. This is done allegedly to ensure a sizable congregation!

What could be responsible for this state of affairs? Why the surreptitiousness? Why the reluctance to admit openly that one indulges in this practice? Why are the elite, who are supposed to be in a position to foster enlightenment, why are they the ones who seem to be falling over themselves in their quest for the acquisition of occult powers?

There can be only one answer to the questions above; evil. It is evil, when in your quest for money, you murder, or cause to be murdered, a fellow human-being who has done nothing to you. It is evil when you rip out someone's eyes, tongues, genitals, or other assorted body-parts, to use in your quest for political power, by any means necessary. It is evil when you engage in human sacrifice in order to further your personal goals. Evil of this sort is usually indulged in or carried out stealthily, for fear of societal backlash. Every other day, we are inundated with reports in the dailies, about people caught with fresh human heads, or other body-parts!

I'm not sure if I'm the only one who's noticed this: it seems the reported incidents of ritual murders increase with the approach of election periods. Power corrupts and the quest for power in Nigeria corrupts absolutely, it seems. What we do not seem to realize is that one of Newton's Laws, which posits that "for every force, there is an equal and opposite force" applies not just in the realms of science, but also in life generally. I sometimes wonder if folks who engage in ritual-murder realize that there are consequences for their actions. All the almajiris, dibias, and evil babalawos of this world cannot alter this basic natural law.

The consequences already abound; we have refused to take responsibility for our actions. We have remained at the nadir of the development-ladder. We go round in circles of evil, confusion and ignorance, blindly stumbling from one cesspool into the next. We believe our personal, private salvation lies in the accumulation of wealth and power, to the total exclusion and/or elimination of the next person. We do not believe in the Greater Good. We do not venerate ideas. I would argue that our spiritual and moral bankruptcy, directed at ourselves, is greatly responsible for our perpetual quagmire. When we indulge in these negative, occult acts, it becomes exceedingly difficult to reason in logical, scientific sequences. Science/Technology and juju do not mix. They are like oil and water. Let's look around and note that in the most powerful countries of the world, there is a sharp alignment of scientific-mindedness with overall peace and prosperity. Therein lies our predicament as a people.

The only way we can progress as a people is when we have the gumption to completely exterminate this evil practice and enthrone the supremacy of the rule of law. There are parallels in history that support my stance; the hunting down and burning of witches and sorcerers, both in Europe and the United States of America. There is no evil power that can be greater than the concerted, positive effort of civil society, acting with a common purpose and desirous of a common goal. I recognize that we are still ways from building up the critical mass needed for this endeavor, mainly because Nigeria is still a ‚Äėnation of nations', but that is another story entirely. Sigh‚Ķ

Dumeme Obi Udezue

Email: dumzy69@yahoo.com



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Re: .Ritual-Murder in Nigeria
Jumi posted on 08-24-2006, 01:16:57 AM
\"The only way we can progress as a people is when we have the gumption to completely exterminate this evil practice and enthrone the supremacy of the rule of law. There are parallels in history that support my stance; the hunting down and burning of witches and sorcerers, both in Europe and the United States of America.\" - Dumeme Obi Udezue

Dumeme, you are treating a sensitive subject in this piece. Who can tell how many lives have been taken in Nigeria because the people were accused of witchcraft. Or how many people have lost their lives in the hands of ritual killers. I remember the incident involving a young man who was killed on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway in the late 90's. The story was all over the dailies and I just had goose pimples all over me for months just thinking about it.

Coming to the part of your piece I have quoted above, I believe that there is no justification whatsoever for taking another's life. There are still debates about capital punishment even in the most civilized communities today. But the other extreme is the issue of pedophiles and cold-blood murderers who walk the street. What punishment is sufficient for someone who allegedly killed 26 people? That's the most recent case in Ontario right now. It's so complicated the accused is only being tried for six out of the 26 victims. Of course this case isn't about ritual killing but still, 26 people? Even 'half a person' is one too many.

Your article gives food for thought. Thanx for sharing your views.
Re: .Ritual-Murder in Nigeria
Element posted on 08-24-2006, 04:19:52 AM
Your essay is provoking. The aspect of jazz, witchcraft, etc is a daily staple with Nigerians in the quest for power.

Our stagnation and backwardness as a nation is linked to the belief and practice of this supernatural entities. It is true that they exist but one who has been washed in the blood of the Lamb cannot be dominated by these forces.

The solution to curtailing this evil in Nigeria definitely includes extermination of witches, basically because they are evil and they will never mend their ways. You have said it right, in the Bible, witches are condemned to die. The problem is how do we identify these characters who act under the cover of their covens, agents and magic mirrors? The churches have been overtaken by these agents of darkness. The spiritual realm is difficult to penetrate except one is given the grace.

Even the US which you claim recognizes their existence and are given a place under the canopy of the Wicca church. It is difficult to get rid of the evil and exposition is a good tool if one knows of any. Note that some academics and highly placed people in society possess these powers and are not willing to let go because they are possessed.
Re: .Ritual-Murder in Nigeria
Oghre posted on 08-24-2006, 04:34:07 AM
Does anyone here believe in the following?

Witchcraft
Ghosts
God
Black Magic (juju)

I certainly don't
Re: .Ritual-Murder in Nigeria
Citizen O posted on 08-24-2006, 08:04:33 AM
I am not clear on whether the author is condemning all African traditional religions, or "witchcraft" and ritual murder alone. From my (albeit limited) understand of traditional religions, they are just as intolerant of ritual murder and harmful "spells" etc. as Christianity is intolerant to child-molesting priests or Islam is intolerant to hard-drinking, gambling imams. It's a small point, but it is often frustrating for Africans to reduce non-Abrahamic religions to sorcery and superstition.
Re: .Ritual-Murder in Nigeria
DoubleWahala posted on 08-24-2006, 17:40:59 PM
"The consequences already abound; we have refused to take responsibility for our actions. We have remained at the nadir of the development-ladder. We go round in circles of evil, confusion and ignorance, blindly stumbling from one cesspool into the next. We believe our personal, private salvation lies in the accumulation of wealth and power, to the total exclusion and/or elimination of the next person. We do not believe in the Greater Good. We do not venerate ideas. I would argue that our spiritual and moral bankruptcy, directed at ourselves, is greatly responsible for our perpetual quagmire. When we indulge in these negative, occult acts, it becomes exceedingly difficult to reason in logical, scientific sequences. Science/Technology and juju do not mix. They are like oil and water. Let's look around and note that in the most powerful countries of the world, there is a sharp alignment of scientific-mindedness with overall peace and prosperity. Therein lies our predicament as a people."


Seems to me that the above quote sums it all up. Allied to this, I would add the incidence of slavery; we have the singular dishonor of being virtually the only race that willingly and deliberately acquiesced, and sold off our kith and kin to complete strangers.... all for the lure of filthy lucre.

Make no mistake about it, our problems have a spiritual dimension to them. Heavy, collective introspection is sorely needed.

DoubleWahala
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