Ritual killing – The Nation

  • The slaughter of Gusinu betrays how savage we have become

It was horror compounded when a suspected ritual killer, 35-year-old Yewunu Tanlaju, gave an account of how he killed 17-year-old Taye Gusinu and sold parts of her body for N8, 500. The killing happened in Idosemo, Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State.

Paraded in connection with the killing at the Police Headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, Tanlaju made a chilling confession:  ”It was this man (pointing to another suspect, Olusoji Asamo) who told me to bring human parts. It was at that time I saw the girl selling puff-puff in one school. I called her, bought puff-puff from her. While she was leaving after selling puff-puff to me, I seized her from behind, tied her down and slaughtered her myself. She attempted to shout, but I blocked her mouth.” The victim’s head and hands were severed, and her intestines harvested.

Shockingly, he added: “This is the second person I have killed. It was in the same area, but I was not caught then. It was the same Soji that requested for human parts then, although I didn’t know what he wanted to use them for. When I delivered the parts, he gave me N8, 500 because we had not agreed on any amount. But it was N10, 000 he gave me when I delivered the first parts.”

This deeply disturbing picture shows contempt for the sanctity of human life, which is worsened by the cheapness of the transactions. It is unbelievable that low-priced human parts were sold and bought without compunction.

But for the involvement of members of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) whose investigation led to the arrest of the suspected criminals, the teenage victim would probably have been declared missing and her body never found as it was reportedly dumped in a well on an abandoned plot of land. A VGN official, Adebodun Omotolani, was quoted as saying:  “The parents of the girl, when they did not see their child, reported to the VGN, who swung into action, leading to the arrest of 35-year-old Yewunu Tanlaju. It was Tanlaju that named his partner, Asamo Soji, who is now in police net and confessed to killing the young girl for money rituals. He later took officers of the VGN to where her corpse was dumped after severing her head and hands, while her intestines were also removed.”

Tragically, this case is yet another in an escalating number of ritual killings. According to a report, “Virtually every day, many police stations nationwide especially in the Southwest of the country are inundated with reports of missing persons. Available records show that less than 10 percent of such persons ever returned home. A scary 90 percent of them were not found and the bodies of a negligible number that were eventually seen were dumped either on the roadsides, bush paths or inside gutters, mutilated and their vital organs removed.”

There is no doubt that ritual killers are in business because there is a high demand for human parts.  It is said that those who buy human parts for ritual purposes include the poor desperate for riches and the rich desperate for greater wealth as well as politicians desperate for political power.  It is noteworthy that a 27-year-old herbalist connected with the alleged killer was also arrested, and reportedly said: “It is true that he brought the human parts to me, requesting for money rituals.”   The guilty in this case must be lawfully punished to serve as a deterrent.

Markets are said to exist where people can shop for human parts. It is scandalous that such markets are allowed to exist. The authorities must act to check ritual killing and dismantle its enabling structures.

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