The House of Representatives on Wednesday called for the declaration of a national emergency on ritual killings in Nigeria, urging the National Orientation Agency, parents, heads of schools, religious leaders and the media to undertake a campaign to change the trend.
It also 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; and mandated the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to report back to the House within four weeks.
The House further asked the Usman Alkali-Baba, Inspector General of Police to take urgent steps to increase surveillance and intelligence gathering with a view to apprehend and prosecute all perpetrators of ritual killings in Nigeria, and mandate the House Committee on Police Affairs to report back to the House within four weeks.
The resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance on; ‘Need to Curb the Rising Trend of Ritual Killings in Nigeria’
moved by the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu at plenary.
Moving the motion, Okechukwu lamented the 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.
The lawmaker recalled that the Red Cross Society in 2017 reported that it received 10,480 reports of missing persons in Nigeria.
He noted that on January 22, 2022, three teenage suspects and a 20 year old reportedly killed one Sofiat Kehinde and had her head severed and burnt in a local pot in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Okechukwu also said the Ogun State Police Command on Monday reported that one of the suspects confessed that he learned the act of ritual killing from a video he watched on Facebook.
“Further Aware that the death of Sofiat has attracted national outrage and condemnation considering the ages of her killers.
“Also Aware that merchants of such wicked acts often use social media as a ready tool to advertise their evil behaviours.
“Recalls 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.
“Also recalls the gruesome killings and heinous activities of Badoo Boys in Lagos State, which was also reported in the national dailies.
“Aware that 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.
“Further Aware of several reports where law enforcement agents arrested and paraded suspects of ritual killings with gory pictures of human skulls and dismembered bodies.
“Also Aware that fake clerics, imams, herbalists and native doctors are often complicit in the heinous practices,”the lawmaker stated.
He expressed concern that although Nigerian 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 also 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.
“Mindful of 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.
“Cognizant that a lot needs to be done by the Police and other law enforcement agencies to checkmate this ugly trend.
Mindful of the roles of parents, schools, religious leaders, and the urgent need to curb the increasing rate of ritual killings and other related vices,” he stated.