By Adedotun Ajayi
Money ritual is a concept that is as old as time. Many people with get rich quick syndrome have embarked on this evil quest. However, whether they succeeded in making money from the process is a matter for contention.
There have been media reports of mutilated bodies especially of women that were found at roadsides in most cities in the south west. These bodies would have had their essential body parts yanked off.
According to general belief, youths involved in cybercrime, popularly called ‘yahoo yahoo’, are the ones that have upgraded to money ritual tagged “yahoo plus”.
Yahoo-yahoo is a common phenomenon among youths in Nigeria. This is the use of a computer or phone as an instrument to achieve illegal ends, such as committing fraud, stealing identities, and violating privacy.
‘Yahoo boys’, as they are known abound in every neighbourhood and they can easily be identified. They are young, sometimes can be in their 20s and early 30s, most of them wear dreadlocks and sagging pants. They congregate in small groups and make so much noise in bars, hotels and apartments.
They rely on their computer dexterity to victimise unsuspecting persons in cyberspace. In some cases, they go a step further to indulge in ‘yahoo plus’ which is another dimension of cybercrime that involves using traditional charms and mystical powers to swindle victims.
While the practice is strongly condemned by religious groups and several stakeholders, it has been a major societal ill in Nigeria for over a decade now.
On January 11, 2022, it was reported that a 32-year-old suspected yahoo boy, identified as Afeez Olalere, confessed to killing his younger brother for money ritual.
Olalere was arrested by operatives of the Lagos State Police Command during a stop-and-search operation along Itamaga, Ikorodu Road, in Lagos State.
During interrogation, the suspect said that his mother encouraged him to kill his younger brother after a herbalist told them that he has to “sacrifice one life which must be a sibling to him”.
Olalere said: “My mother took me to a herbalist who told me if I want to be successful in the yahoo business, I will have to sacrifice one life and that person must be a sibling to me.”
“So, we went back home and thought about it, then my mother suggested that we use my younger brother since he is just 21 years old.
He added that he gave his 21-year-old brother a poison after which he died 20 minutes after drinking it.
“We harvested the required body parts, while the remains was wrapped and taken to a mortuary.
“The things we needed to prepare a concoction with was his thumbs, hair, fingers and a passport photograph,” he confessed.
Also, a 300 level student of the University of Jos, UNIJOS identified as Jennifer Anthony was lured to a hotel and killed by her alleged Yahoo Yahoo boyfriend.
The Plateau State Police Command confirmed the gruesome murder.
The student of the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Science of the University was found dead in a hotel with her eyes gorged out.
It was gathered that the lady was lured to Domus Pacis lodge along Zaria road Jos, by a man suspected to be her boyfriend, where she was drugged before being killed and her vital parts removed allegedly for ritual purposes.
It was further gathered that the boyfriend after the dastardly act left the hotel and removed virtually everything that might be used to trace him including the lady’s phone and other valuables in her bag.
In another development last month, two suspected Internet fraudsters, popularly known as Yahoo boys allegedly killed a 40-year-old man, Abdullahi Azeez, in the Owode-Egba area of Ogun State.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, who disclosed this in a statement, said the suspects were arrested at their hideout at Owode-Egba, three months after they allegedly committed the crime.
It was gathered that the victim was cut into pieces by the suspects, for ritual purposes in the South-Western state.
The suspects were 21-year-old Friday Abinya Odeh and 20-year-old Poso Idowu, and were apprehended following a report lodged at Owode Egba divisional headquarters.
The growing rate of ritual murder related cases is becoming a menace, although some observers believe that innocent human lives were merely being destroyed and wasted in the name of ritualism for money. According to them, there is nothing like money ritual.
One of the prominent Ifa leaders and the Oba Edu Worldwide, Chief Ifasayo Ifadamitan Alabi, has said there is nothing like money ritual anywhere but deceit, which many ignorant youths are falling for.
Alabi, who bemoaned the bad image that the crime had brought on genuine Ifa priests, said those involved in the deceit of money rituals were not Ifa priests but juju men, playing on the ignorance of their victims.
Alabi said Ifa priests were also strategising on how to identify the criminals among them and they would be handed over to the police for prosecution.
He urged journalists not to identify or mistake criminals caught dealing in human parts for Ifa priests but juju men, who he said should be punished by the law.
He said, “there is no money ritual anywhere. Do you think we also don’t want to be rich? If there is money ritual those doing it would do it for themselves first. We also want to beg journalists to stop describing criminals as babalawo (Ifa priests). Ask anyone caught in criminal activities and claiming to be babalawo (Ifa priest) the person who taught him Ifa.”
Alabi, who is also the Ejemu Awo of Ibadan, said many Nigerian actors who were initiated into Ifa religion when they were looking for fame turned round and began to disparage Ifa after becoming successful.
He complained that Ifa priests were always portrayed as haggard-looking wicked beings, living in dirty environments.
According to him, the pictures being painted in Nollywood movies were not the true representation of Ifa priests.
He warned actors and actresses to desist from portraying Ifa priests in bad light, saying those who refuse to stop after the warning would begin to see the repercussion of their stubbornness.
According to an internet fraudster that wants to be referred to as rich Pablo, said in his eight years of scamming people, he has never seen anyone suggest human parts used for ritual, we all see and hear it on social media.
He said “Yahoo Plus is not real, show me a rich herbalist and I would show you a very hardworking yahoo boy.
I hope we have all heard a song that says “yahoo ni babalawo” use your head.
If an herbalist tells you to bring human head and then scams you of N500,000.
How would you involve the police? Think! you can’t because you have compromised.
There are scammers in every country, do you mean fraudsters in China, Korea and other developed countries also perform rituals with human parts? This is very ridiculous,” he added
On a phone interview with a ‘yahoo boy’ who simply identified himself as Mazi moneygram said he only uses spiritual soaps to bath.
According to him; “I don’t believe in blood money, but I strongly believe in seeking “favours” spiritually i.e anyone I seek help from will pity me and favour me, that’s the use of the spiritual soaps, and so far, it has been working for me and my friends, and it doesn’t involve killing anyone or whatever, and has no repercussions” he added.
Mazi Moneygram who attributed the choice of life he chose to the rate of unemployment in the country, in his words “when I was job hunting in Lagos then, assuming I got a suitable job then I wouldn’t have gone into fraudulent activities, and right now even if I’m given a job, I don’t think I want it because the salary I’ll get from a legit work in Nigeria for a year, I can get it in 2 days in my “hustle”.
“I have invested in property and other businesses, Yahoo has done good things for me and my family, what the Nigerian government can never do.” he boasted.
It would be recalled that on Thursday, April 1, 2021, the video of a suspected yahoo boy who allegedly ran mad after bathing with a spiritual soap in Owo, Ondo state, surfaced on social media.
The suspected yahoo boy was simply identified as Abiola by an elderly woman among the crowd.
The voice of the elderly woman who claimed to be his aunty could be heard shouting Abiola’s name repeatedly, reminding him of his earlier attempts which resulted into something similar.
“Abiola, See how you eventually ended your life, remember how we helped you the last time when you did something similar, at last you’ve finally ruined your life,” the alleged aunt maintained.
Also speaking is Mr Adeniyi Ifasikuola Afe, a traditionalist in Akure. He also aligned with others in the impossibility of getting rich through human sacrifices.
The respected Ifa priest discountenanced the concept of money ritualism in the Ifa setting. “Human sacrifice is alien to Ifa. In Odu Ifa, back in the days there used to be human sacrifices, but then it was strictly slaves that were used for sacrifices. Then, a festival came and they need a slave to use, a slave was bought and it happened to be the long lost child of orunmila himself. Ever since, he gave an order that no human being should be sacrificed.
Although there is ‘awure’, which brings increased patronage to your business. There is also ‘eyonu’, which attracts mercy and compassion to the wearer. “No true Babalawo will ask you for a human body part as an ingredient for sacrifice” he added
An Islamic scholar, Garuba Muhammad Babatunde, also discarded the idea of money ritual through the use of human parts or blood.
According to him; “Islam abhors the killing of human being 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.
The Akure based Alfa is also of the opinion that hard work, combined with relevant skills and the right connections are the best ingredients on the recipe of fortune or wealth, saying “there is nothing like ritual money.”
He however affirmed that supplication could be offered to Allah, who grants success, compassion and divinely arrange connection with the right people. “Ritual money is not real” he added
A Senior Pastor of Kingdom Lane Assembly, Mr Olatunji Oluyomi, lamented the rise in ritual murders across the country and described the act as worrisome and forbidden. He said that he doesn’t believe in money rituals because most of the people who engage in the evil act die mysteriously and charged parents to be more alive to their responsibilities. He added that any country that shed innocent blood will find it difficult to experience peace.
His words:, ”Though there were reported cases of money ritual, but I want you to know that it is a scam. It is another way the devil is sending gullible minds to their early graves. It is sad and surprising that majority of the suspects caught in the barbaric act are youths who are expected to use their youthful strength on what will be more beneficial to them and the society. Dealings in human parts does not bring money or fame as some people erroneously believe, but it brings curses, sicknesses, untimely deaths and eternal damnation. It is only the blessing of the Lord that maketh rich without adding sorrow according to Proverbs chapter 10 verses 22,” he concluded.