THE SOUL-NUMBING trend is in your face. Homicide has become our everyday companion. It wasn’t always like this. Life used to be sacred. It was not considered fashionable for acorns to be devoured before they became trees. Now, we are inundated with gory tales of gruesome stabbings, decapitations, gun violence and more. If you turn off the radio, the stories are waiting for you on television; if you refuse to read them in the newspapers, they’ll waylay you on social media. There is no escaping the epidemic of bloodletting sweeping through the land.
What, in God’s name, is going on?
To fully appreciate the extent of the problem, let’s examine a few cases which seriously traumatised the society and left our jaws agape in horror.
Story 1: Jennifer Ugadu, a 200-level student in the faculty of Education of Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, was found dead in her room at an off-campus hostel of the institution. Her roommate named her boyfriend, James, a military officer, as the killer. He allegedly took her phone away and replied those sending him WhatsApp messages of enquiry as to why he killed her: “The day I killed her, I called my mom and told her; her aunt is also aware. I’m also prepared to die because I wanted to commit suicide because of her. But I want her to go with me. So don’t trouble yourself. Cuz, I’m going to die also.”
Story 2: Favour Seun Daley Oladele, a 22-year-old 400 level Theatre Arts student of Lagos State University (LASU), was murdered by her boyfriend, Owolabi Adeeko, in collaboration with his mother. Motive: Money ritual. In his confessional statement widely published in the media, Owolabi disclosed that he took her to a hotel, drugged her and smashed her head with a pestle while Prophet segun Phillip, the chief ritualist, slit her throat with a knife and removed some parts of her body, including her heart, to make the ritual soup which Owolabi and his mother ate in the belief that such cannibalism would make them rich. Owolabi’s mum, Bola, on her part, put all the blame on her son who she accused of conniving with Prophet Phillip to make her eat and bathe with human remains.
Story 3: 39-year-old Kabiru Oyedun, assisted his herbalist friend, Akin, who strangled and killed a girl during sexual intercourse in his room. Oyedun confessed that he held the girl’s legs while she struggled for life. His fee for assisting in the murder was N50,000. His friend, Akin, now at large, took away the girl’s heart after dismembering the body. A vigilant neighbour tipped off the police, otherwise the murderers would probably have escaped detection.
Story 4: A 26-year-old corps member serving in Akwa Ibom State, Chidinma Pascaline Oduma, was arrested for allegedly hacking a man, Akwaowo Japhet, to death in his house. She was apprehended while trying to scale the fence of the compound where the man lived. The irate mob that caught her, beat and stripped her naked and would have lynched her but for the timely intervention of the police who are now investigating the murder.
Story 5: A 28-year-old lady, Ebiere Ezekiel, reportedly stabbed her boyfriend, Godgift Aboh, 21, to death in Yenagoa over an argument about a missing sum of N1,500. The suspect, a hairdresser, and the deceased had been dating for over one year. It was alleged that the deceased slapped her (Ezekiel) for daring to ask him about her missing N1, 500. She allegedly stabbed her boyfriend in the stomach during the argument. He died shortly after.
Story 6: 17-year-old prospective Law student, Esther Alex, set her 28-year-old boyfriend, Chidinma Ikechukwu Omah, ablaze in Makurdi. She alleged that the young man had been two-timing her, had made her commit abortion three times only to ditch her in the end. Sources disclosed that Esther got wind of the plan by her boyfriend to finalise wedding plans with another woman after promising to marry her. Indeed, he had earlier visited Esther’s parents to introduce himself and declare his noble intentions when the going between both lovers was good. On the fateful night, Esther sneaked out of Ikechukwu’s room where they both slept to fetch a container of petrol which she had hidden in the premises and returned to set her victim ablaze. He later died of his wounds.
Story 7 : A lady named Hannah Adesuwa Osazuwa stabbed her boyfriend, Lifeoftomson Seun, to death with a pair of scissors for chatting with another girl on WhatsApp. She believed he was cheating on her. She challenged him. A quarrel ensued. The atmosphere became heated. She pulled out a pair of scissors and stabbed him close to the heart. It was a terrible wound. He bled internally, and died on the spot.
Story 8: A 12-year-old boy, Muhammad Sani, has allegedly killed his girlfriend at Damutawa village in Jahun Local Government Area of Jigawa State. Muhammad and his 15-year-old girlfriend, Habiba Junaidu, were hanging out at his uncle’s house. By some inexplicable twist of events, the boy was alleged to have suddenly taken his uncle’s loaded dane gun and shot the girl from the back. She died instantly. The police are working hard to get to the bottom of the matter.
Story 9: A 15-year-old boy allegedly beat a teenage girl to death for refusing his love advances. The boy and the deceased were students of Reverend Kuti Memorial Grammar School and Nawar-ud-Deen Grammar School respectively. The police prosecutor disclosed that the boy accosted the victim on her way home from school and asked her to be his girlfriend, but she refused. Be then assaulted her gravely. “As a result of the beating”, said the police, “the victim was taken to the General Hospital at Ijaye for treatment and was later transferred to the Federal Medical Centre Abeokuta, where she died”.
And of course, the famous Chidinma case is still unravelling!
What kind of society are we building? The frightening thing about the recent spate of homicides is that they are being committed by young people who ought to have a great future ahead of them. We should be worried when our teenage children are prime suspects in homicide cases. And the frequency of the terrible happenings is heart-rending. The only solace, if it could be so called, is that all suspects are presumed innocent until found guilty by a competent court of law.
If you add the bad news from young killers to the insecurity casting a shadow over the nation, the resultant picture is depressing. When the bandits of Kaduna started their crime wave, we did advocate that the authorities throw everything — including the kitchen sink— at the terrorists to send an unmistakable message to terrorists that they would not be allowed to profit from their crimes. See where we are now! We are at the mercy of outlaws.
Each time I review the findings of StatiSense on security in Nigeria, I have a foreboding feeling that the worst is yet to come unless we do our utmost to destroy the terrorists in our midst. Take a look at the local government areas with most deaths (reported cases) in the first half of 2021:
Birnin-G, KAD: 233; Maradun, ZAM: 196; Katsina, BEN: 171; Chikin, KAD: 154; Zurmi, KAD: 152; Gusau, ZAM: 122; Marte, BOR: 119; Gwoza, BOR: 115; Ohaukwu, EBY: 114; Igabi, KAD: 107.
Again, spare a thought for the local governments with the most kidnap incidents in the first half of 2021:
Rafi, NIG: 443; Talata-Marafa, ZAM: 317; Shiroro, NIG: 225; Maru, ZAM: 195; Kajuru, KAD: 145; Chikun, KAD: 115; Yauri, KEB: 102; Konduga, BOR: 74; Faskari, KAT: 74; Kachia, KAD: 72.
Perhaps we should be studying the link between hard drugs/voodoo and crime more closely, especially with regard to crimes committed by teenagers and other young people in their twenties. We need a scientific approach now more than ever before.
I am reminded of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan: ”No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
- Wole Olaoye is a public relations practitioner and a public affairs commentator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org