The House of Representatives, alarmed by reports of ongoing ritual killings around the country, asked the federal government to declare a national emergency on the social vice Wednesday.
It also requested Usman Baba Alkali, the Inspector-General of Police, to take immediate steps to boost surveillance and intelligence collection in order to find, apprehend, and prosecute the killers.
The parliament also called on the National Orientation Agency, or NOA, as well as parents, school principals, religious leaders, and the media, to launch a campaign to transform the society’s negative narrative.
The House passed the resolutions after debating a motion brought at plenary by the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, headlined “Need to Curb the Rising Trend of Ritual Killings in Nigeria,” which was filed under matters of urgent public significance.
In presenting the motion, Okechukwu stated that the number of ritual killings in Nigeria has increased at an alarming rate in recent years.
He said there has been an increase in reported ritual killings in conjunction with an increase in abductions and missing persons cases in various parts of the country, with the perpetrators in most cases also raping, maiming, killing, and obtaining sensitive body parts of unsuspecting victims for rituals.
“In 2017, the Red Cross Society received 10,480 reports of missing persons in Nigeria,” he stated.
“On January 22, 2022, three adolescent suspects and a 20-year-old were accused of murdering Sofiat Kehinde and severing her head and burning it in a local pot in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
“On Monday, February 7, 2022, the Ogun State Police Command announced that one of the suspects admitted to learning the act of ritual killing from a video he watched on Facebook.”
Given the ages of Sofiat’s killers, the lawmaker recalled that her death had sparked national indignation and condemnation.
“Merchants of such wicked activities frequently utilize social media as a convenient tool to publicize their terrible behaviors,” he stated.
“The assassination of Iniubong Umoren, a young woman in her twenties, who was lured to a certain place in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, for a job interview, was widely publicized in national media.
“The horrible killings and heinous deeds of the Badoo Boys in Lagos State, as documented in national newspapers.”
“Ritual killing has become a common motif in most home videos, and if this trend continues, our younger generation may grow to accept it as the usual.”
Okechukwu expressed concern that, while youths in other countries were embracing science and technology as a means of keeping up with the fast-paced world, Nigeria seemed stuck in the mistaken belief that sacrificing human blood was the surest route to wealth, safety and protection.
“Given the challenges of today’s world, such cruel and inhumane behaviors should no longer be glorified in our society,” he stated.
The House, in passing the motion, urged the Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board to fulfill the agency’s duty as the clearinghouse for all films made in the country.
It also instructed the House’s Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics, and Values to monitor the resolution’s implementation and report back to the House within weeks.