Chukwuani Victoria, Otio Justina
Ayobamidele Ayodele, a kidnap suspect who was recently nabbed by the security operatives in Ogun state for abducting a six-year-old, Ebube Eze, confessed that he had learnt the act of kidnapping by watching the films of Nollywood actor, Zubby Michael.
Naija News reported the ritual suspect, Ayodele said; “Zubby Michael is my favorite Nollywood actor and he is good at kidnapping roles. I decided to try out some of the methods used by Zubby to kidnap children and adults in the movies. I started by visiting several schools around Ojo to see the possibility of picking children without anyone noticing”
A few months before Ayodele’s confession, ace Nigerian movie star, Yul Edochie, popularly known for his roles as an occult member cried out to young people motivated by his ‘ritualism-themed’ movies that he was just a very good actor and not an actual ritualist.
The actor, due to the overwhelming messages received on a daily basis from young people seeking to make quick money through fetish and harmful means, coupled with the scourge in incidents of ritual killings that has assumed an alarming rate in the society, was forced to make a declamatory announcement to the general public.
Yul Edochie in his statement noted he is only an actor that acts according to storylines given to him, and that doing money rituals in the movies did not mean he does in real life.
Interestingly, Yul, is not the only actor who has publicly disassociated himself from ritualism and its irks after the ripple effects started to take on giant strides in the lives of those who watch their movies and tried to emulate them.
Another prominent actor who tolled that part is veteran actor, Kanayo O Kanayo. Contrary to the allegation of being a ritualist due to the roles he plays in movies, he clarified on social media in 2021, that he only interprets roles in movies and is not an actual ritualist.
Undoubtedly, Nollywood films with its replete themes and scenes of ritual murder, magical and spiritual powers have attributed to the prevailing belief system that ill-gotten wealth can be made through the diabolical means of ritual killings and dubious kidnapping, hence the rising menace of youths in the Nigerian society.
Rapid cases of ritualism in the Nigerian society.
The influx of killings for ritual purposes in Nigeria has hit a high level as the economic situation in the country has declined greatly. Youths are constantly seeking ways out of the hardship in Nigeria.
It seems for some, to work hard is no longer in vogue as the fastest way they believe is to murder someone for ritual and get loads of cash at your disposal.
Below are some recent cases of murders and failed murder attempt for the purpose of rituals that have rocked the Nigerian society.
The most recent case is that of three youngsters aged within 17 – 20 who murdered and beheaded one of their girlfriends.
The suspects, Wariz Oladehinde, 17 years, Abdul Gafar Lukman 19 years and Mustakeem Balogun 20 years were all apprehended in Ogun state after a report was made in Adatan divisional headquarters from the head of the community security guard, that the boys were seen burning what seemed to be a human head in a local pot.
The DPO Adatan division, SP Abiodun Salau, led detectives to the scene where the boys were arrested and admitted to the crime during preliminary investigation.
In another incident of attempted murder, security operatives attached to the Imo State Police Command apprehended one Francis Chukwura, for allegedly attempting to use his neighbor’s son for ritual in Ubommiri, Mbaitoli LGA of the state.
The State Police spokesperson, CSP Michael Abattam revealed in a statement that on January 6, the accused lured his neighbor’s 14-year-old son, Henry Ekwos to his room in the guise of helping to install WhatsApp application on his phone.
However, when the boy entered the room and sighted the grave he took to his heels. Chukwura pursued him with a machete, gave him some cuts on his head and body while he screamed for help. Luckily, passers-by heard his cry and came to his rescue. The police were alerted, when they arrived at the scene they disarmed the suspect and took him into custody.
When asked about the reason for digging a grave in his room, he said he did it to spite his landlord because he gave him quit notice. However, his wife when questioned stated that they were not given quit notice.
About a week ago, operatives of the Plateau State Command apprehended a suspect who allegedly harvested his girlfriend’s body part for rituals.
Recall that Naija News earlier Plateau State Command apprehended a suspect who allegedly harvested his girlfriend’s body part for rituals. She was later found in a hotel with her eyes gouged out and other body parts missing. Jennifer who was a 300 level student of the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Science of the University of Jos was lured to the Domus Pacis lodge along Zaria road Jos.
The man, identified as Chidi Onyishi of Taylor Avenue, Coal Camp, Enugu allegedly killed his seven-year-old son, Chimdalu Chidi, and reported him missing to the police on 22/10/2021.
After series of investigations were conducted by the police, the assailant later confessed to murdering his son, revealing that a 95 years old blind pastor by the name Okeke Eneokwor had helped in committing the crime.
Onyishi later led the police and a medical team to a stream in Abakpa-Nike, Enugu where he buried his son on October 20, 2021 after murdering him.
The spokesperson of the state police command, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, corroborated the incident and revealed that the state Commissioner of Police, CP Abubakar Lawal, has ordered the Enugu state CID to conduct a thorough investigation that will lead to the prosecution of all those involved in the dire incident.
Ndukwe also appealed to the residents of the state to be vigilant and report any suspicious incident to the nearest police station.
The above situations listed are few of the murder and attempted murder cases that are ritual related amongst many.
Nigerian celebrities’ reaction to the rapid killings
Below are some celebrities’ reactions to this money-hungry pandemic that has eaten deep into our youth’s mindset.
Nigerian singer, Samklef claimed that the reason for the increase in rituals related murder is due to the projection of it as a get rich quick scheme in Nollywood movies.
He alleged that the movies promote “fetish stuff in all their movies”.
He asked Nollywood movie produces to create movies with a better plot and stop focusing on religion.
Nollywood actor, Imeh Bishop, better known as Okon Lagos, has also expressed his shock over the way youngsters are ready to murder to get rich quickly.
He pleaded with parents to pay more attention to their male children and raise them better.
The recent murder of a young girl by four young boys earlier mentioned in this article has also led Timaya to speak up on the issue. He urged people to be careful of those around them as no one is safe anymore.
He wrote: ’17 years old boys doing money ritual?? Innocent humans killed for money, even your own homeboy can use you. Watchout guys, it’s really Cold Outside.’
What the Nollywood industry can do to mitigate ritual killings in Nigeria
Glaringly, the above deductions show Nollywood movies have proven to affect the behavior of their viewers, thus playing an injurious role in the increased and uncontrolled desire for a life of affluence through ritual killings, kidnapping.
One of the effective ways the movie industry can curb the rising menace of ritual killings and kidnapping is for Nollywood movie practitioners to make it a point of duty to thoroughly regulate the contents and quality of films pushed out to the society from the make-believe industry.
In addition to these, the regulatory bodies and practitioners in the movie industry should create content sensitizing people on the repercussions of indulging in such a heinous lifestyle. Informative movies that will be aimed at dissuading young people from engaging in such crimes and lifestyles should be promoted and encouraged more than ever as we are already in crisis.
Due to the spate of ritual killings, which has become so problematic, movie marketers and producers who faults and continues to promote ritual killing themed movies should be made to face stiff jail sentences to deter potential producers/ filmmakers motivated by greed to continue to produce such content despite its damaging effects on our society.
The fight against ritual killings and other menaces in our society should not be left to only the regulatory bodies, actors and actresses should make it a duty to turn down storylines and scripts promoting the menace.
It is the duty of the movie industry to create a culture through its contents that will invariably promote and uphold the sanctity of life, and must in every way desist from contents that aim to collapse morality, ethics, and law of our society.