Festus Adedayo PhD
Is there any causal link between human body parts and wealth? Without any prejudice to the outcome of police investigation, this discourse was again provoked last week when the body of Timothy Adegoke Oludare, an MBA student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU) was found buried in a shallow grave in Ile-Ife, Osun State. Oludare had lodged in a hotel in the university town and suspicions are rife that he had been a victim of the thriving market of human rituals among a Yoruba people for whom the indigenous epistemology of prosperity through human body parts rituals has become a centuries-old pastime.
I first came in contact with this epistemological body of knowledge in my pre-teen years. This was in the 1970s Nigeria. Parents sternly warned their wards to religiously avoid being alone in desolate places. It was the period when that caustic-mouthed Yoruba Apala songster, Late Fatai Olowonyo, released the vinyl that bore that iconic track entitled Laye Gbomogbomo (In this world of kidnappers). Padding the song up with his rhythmic acoustic guitar sound that literally sent dancers into gymnastic fits, Olowonyo had warned, especially the young ones, to avoid lone-walking as kidnappers luxuriated in lonely places. When they grabbed their victims, he warned, such victims honked like mouse in a trap. “Iwo nikan ma se da rin mo, bi won ba ki o mole labe agbado, wa si ma dun fin bi omo eku…” he sang.
I lived with my parents in a town called Ikirun, also in today’s Osun State. There was this highly dreaded spiritualist called Baba Aladokun who specialized in the spiritual healing of mentally-challenged patients. His house, which I frequented every Saturday with my father, was usually filled to the brim with all manner of patients, many sent to his herbal sanatorium from several lands away. When his patients were in the twilight of receiving their healing, he loaned them to farmers like my father to work on their farms for fees. The farmers in turn gave him reports of the perceived level of the patients’ sanity. Dark, pot-bellied, Baba Aladokun sat cupped up in a corner of his herbal hospice, welcoming oncoming people afar off by saying, “e wee”, a style of greetings which a pre-teen boy like me smothered the urge to laugh at.
A few years after, Baba Aladokun was embroiled in a criminal allegation of human body parts ritual. The Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had received report that the herbalist had veered into human body parts rituals. A police detective who pretended to be mentally deranged was promptly seconded to his sanatorium. In the course of simulating mental derangement, she had reportedly witnessed the herbalist pounding bodies of a newly born baby in a mortar which was then garnished with black soap and other accoutrements. Baba Aladokun was subsequently arrested, remanded in the Ilesa prisons and later released for want of evidence. Not long after, one of the old herbalist’s mentally ill patients was said to have beheaded him right inside his sanatorium.
Traditional African Spiritual System (TASS) believes in the centrality of spiritual beings and has its roots in relationship with the spirit world. This world is believed to be responsible for happiness, protection, material wealth and health. Any dislocation with TASS was believed to lead to sickness, barrenness, death, among others. A scholar once explained that in human body parts rituals, the soul of the sacrificed victim is sent on an errand to the supra-physical realm. There, the soul then engages in the laborious exercise of harvesting wealth for the usage of the victimiser.
In African films, worldviews and the totality of our social engagements, instant riches not accessed by sweat, mental rigour and tenacity jut out prominently. That is why our children no longer engage in works that take them through byzantine and laborious paths of hard work. Nollywood, though teaches that voodoo wealth leads to calamity, dwells on its sociology and its reality, thus legitimizing it.
This same spiritual and occult economies in wealth generation are also being deployed in the sustenance of cyber crimes committed by youths called Yahoo Yahoo or 419, a Southern Nigerian version of banditry in the Northwest. Recently, the incidence of theft of female underwear became pandemic, with this trade traced to the rituals of Yahoo Yahoo boys using them to spiritually keep on the trade of cyber fraud.
For centuries, human sacrifice was prevalent in traditional Africa. For example, archaeologist, Graham Connah discovered 41 skeletons belonging to women thrown into a pit in Benin in the 13th century AD. In his submissions, Connah indicated that human sacrifice or murder was prevalent at the time. During the early days in most parts of Africa, human sacrifices were considered to be an essential component of state religion, while sacrifices to the god of iron, Olokun the water goddess, source of economic power were rife, mostly done with human beings. Worship of many other deities was common. Olokun, the water deity, is culturally and popularly believed to possess immeasurable riches in its kingdom beneath the sea. Poet John Pepper Clark, dwelling on the ancient mythology of the Benin kingdom on the Olokun goddess, had developed the significance of this deity. He had written, So drunken, like ancient walls//We crumble in heaps at your feet;//And as the good maid of the sea,//Full of rich bounties for men,//You lift us all beggars to your breast.
The practice has since continued. Despite the huge influence of Christianity and Islam, Nigerians have maintained very deep syncretic link to traditional African magic and rituals and indigenous epistemologies of prosperity. Pastors, Imams and worshippers of the two major religions have not severed their links to this past and still strongly associate wealth, health and societal advancement, alongside other existential matters, with mystical and spiritual powers. Though religionists ascribe those existential matters to God’s intervention, the invisible world of magic and the spirit world are believed to hold the ace as the source of wealth and earthly glory in their hearts and acts.
Apart from politics, one of the central things that many Nigerian elite, on the route to seeking wealth, engage in is money rituals. This happens when perpetrators murder their victim and gorge out vital parts of their bodies for rituals. Spiritual epistemology says this makes its perpetrator acquire money in the process. This is because, like Nigerian politics where easy and unearned wealth resides, rituals that are believed to lead to accumulation of wealth involve less arduous perspiration and most times, less engagement of the mental faculties of proponents of such evil processes.
Many people have asked what constitutes the efficacy of that thinking. In other words, what is the causal link between human body parts and wealth? How does harvested human parts lead to money? While the ontology of that belief system, like all spiritual things, may be very illogical and even silly to science, the fact that the practice and belief in it have endured for centuries is a pointer to two binary possibilities: either that believers in the efficacy of money rituals are downright stupid, naïve or conversely, that there is a reality about human parts rituals that lures people into it. And our people cannot be said to have been stupid for centuries now.
Apart from the criminal implications and moral burden of having to kill a fellow man and harvest their organs for money-making rituals, a spiritually embedded economy like ritual killing disadvertises itself to many people in Africa. This is because wealth gathered by doing so does not endure and has been known to attract fatal repercussions. Conditionalities attached to them are oftentimes stringent, leading to early deaths of the perpetrators and evaporation of the acquisitions in their lifetime. It is said that children of the perpetrators reap the evil seeds sown by them and the wealth vamooses suddenly like vapour.
However, the major reason why rituals involving body parts thrive in Nigeria and Africa as a whole is because the bulk of Africa rests on a pagan and unscientific past. While the world scientifically reasons itself into wealth and its acquisition, Africa’s wealth-creating modem is founded on metaphysics which is not only unexplainable but crude. The metaphysics of African wealth creation does not conform to the nine features of science which are objectivity, verifiability, ethical neutrality, systematic exploration, reliability, precision, accuracy and abstractness. This is why Africa is nowhere to be found on the loop of wealth in the world. The few Africans who are there, like Mike Adenuga, Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola and co must have chosen to shun all those burdens of our crude and unrewarding approach to wealth. If not, they won’t be there.
World richest man, Elon Reeve Musk, was born on June 28, 1971 to a Canadian mother and South African father. Raised in South Africa, Elon attended University of Pretoria for a brief period before moving to Canada at the age of 17. In America, he got bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Physics. Elon however had to delink the African wealth-creating mentality to be able to get to where he is today. The land of his birth is very rife with metaphysics of wealth and existence. In Southern Africa and some parts of the African Great Lakes region for example, in what is called muti or medicine murder, body parts of albinos are believed to have the power to transmit magical powers. Witch doctors in these areas are renowned to ask for such victims so that their parts could be used as ingredients for concoctions, potions and rituals to divine prosperity for the user. In Nigeria and other parts of Africa, hunchbacks are endangered species as they are deployed for money making rituals.
However, Elon has been able to systematically rise to become a world-class entrepreneur and business magnate whose wealth can be tracked scientifically, deploying all those afore-mentioned indices of science. Gradating his business development growth, he established Space X, the aerospace manufacturing company and became its founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer. In 2004, he moved over to the giant electric vehicle manufacturing company called Tesla Motors, Inc to become its chairman and product architect. He became its CEO in 2008. Today, Elon has an estimated net worth of over US$250 billion.
Why then is it that in Nigeria and Africa, we are still trapped in the puddle of occultic wealth creation that causes pain, sorrow and death for victims and families of our fellow man? Why do we still believe in a wealth model that demonstrates that we are what Trevor Roper and other racist historians said we are – a bunch of unthinking, crude animals jumping from one tree to the other?
Human rituals thrive because there is a contemporary socio-economic demand for them. Though majority of the people do not believe in it, virtually all of us have strands of the dark practice in our closets. As shocking as human body parts rituals are, many people justify and even legitimize them. Until we begin to reason scientifically like other people of the world, we will forever be trapped by these centuries-old epistemologies, rather than the ones of a post-modern world. Unfortunately for us, when Forbes brings up the names of wealthy people of the world, we cannot see names of those who scooped up wealth by killing human beings for rituals. Why then do people still follow this path that leads to obvious, irredeemable perdition?
As an aside, the autopsy on Timothy Adegoke Oludare must not be allowed to be compromised. The Nigeria Police has the institutional notoriety of perverting the course of justice, for whatever inclination. That autopsy holds the key to the culpability or otherwise of the accused. The moment it is perverted, Oludare’s death would be in vain and there will be no lesson learnt for the alleged malefactors in the case and for us all as a society.
Time to frighten EndSARS report vultures off their carcass
The excitement about the unNigerianness of the report of the panel of inquiry into last year’s massacre at the Lagos Lekki Toll Gate lasted for fleeting hours. The Nigerian virus then wriggled itself into the report almost immediately. In the leaked report, the Nigerian military that had made mealy-mouthed denials of its culpability in the shooting and killing of unarmed Nigerian youths who were protesting police brutality in Lekki, got deeply bruised and stripped naked.
Leaked just a few hours after its submission to the Lagos state government, the panel found that 48 casualties were recorded in the calamity, with 11 people killed, and four people missing. Their names were affixed to the report. The panel concluded that what happened on that eerie night in Lagos was indeed a “massacre,” a gross departure from official mendacity of the last one year which claimed that opposition blew it out of proportion. Apart from shooting and killing defenceless protesters, the report said that the Nigerian Army personnel at the Toll Gate that night even committed the unpardonable and inhumane sin of blocking ingress and egress around the protest area, specifically to block ambulances from rescuing victims.
The initial commendation actually went to the Lagos State Government. In a Nigeria where the hearts of people in government are as dark as tar, it was very unNigerian that a report set up by government would end up indicting that same government. It was the scenario of a piper whose tune was its crucifix. Those who could think deeply concluded that the report indicated one of two things: Either that the Lagos government gave the panel a wide range of latitude to be independent or that there was a huge dislocation between the Lagos and Federal governments, for the sake of politics.
No sooner had the report been submitted than systemic spanners began to be thrown into the works to destroy the achievement made for the Nigerian state by the report. Fifth columnists, ostensibly on the payroll of federal and perhaps the Lagos state government, went into action to discredit and dissemble it, preparatory to a White Paper that will be a total negation of the report. The disagreements of the vultures sent out to mop up the carcass of the victims of the massacre, with the report range from typographical to the content of the report, with some wondering why the panel was unprofessional as to allow its leakage.
One of those who went to the media to discredit the report was Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN. His submissions are so tepid and incongruous with reality that the only justification for them is an excuse that he was merely trying to earn his pay as counsel to the government of Lagos State. Not only did Owonikoko travel on that discredited route of denial of massacre in Lekki, he waffled effeminately on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s complicity in the bid to cover up the truth and shamelessly embraced technicalities in the service of that subterfuge. Can you imagine Owonikoko bothering about a supposed breach of confidentiality by the panel and abandoning the eerie cries of victims killed dastardly in their prime? The question to ask the SAN is, did people die at Lekki and did they die of natural causes?
The reality that is visible to the whole world is that the panel didn’t have any reason to make up the victims of that massacre. Also, Nigerians know that the philosophy of the panel’s operations synchronizes with that of the Nigerian people who are victims of their government.
The whole scenario of the brutality inflicted on unsuspecting youths at the Lekki Toll Gate smacks of same brutality inflicted on protesters at the black township of Sharpeville on March 21, 1960. Sharpeville, in South Africa, witnessed same horrific scene of police firing on a defenceless crowd of Black people during a countrywide demonstration against apartheid. The protesters had specifically called for the abolition of the notorious pass laws in South Africa.
Just like Nigeria where the panel report of the brutality has helped the world to have a window into the messy state of human rights under the Muhammadu Buhari government, the Sharpeville massacre report also helped the world to focus international lens on South Africa’s apartheid policy and the need to abandon it. The white government was never the same after the Sharpeville massacre. Thankfully, America and some governments of the world have weighed in on the report, asking the Buhari government to implement the recommendations.
While it is obvious that the federal government is totally embarrassed about the revelations of the panel and how the lid on its mendacious binge was blown so effortlessly, it is better advised to implement the report as the only self-regenerating route out of its self-imposed mess. Soldiers and police who committed those gross atrocities must be named, shamed and sanctioned so that their families would forever be held as the vermin that punctured and licked the blood of innocent children.
Government must also face the task of providing a future for the Nigerian youth, a future that is more cogent and definite than the tokenism that it is engrossed in at the moment. More fundamentally, government must collapse the huge colony of termites it had unleashed on the information highway; termites busy polluting the space with revisionism, cants, sophistry and raw lies in the name of offering the other view about what happened on October 20, 2020.