Money Making Rituals and Superstition in Nigeria By Leo Igwe

By Leo Igwe

Early this month, the police in Kogi State arrested a 46 year old man who murdered his 4-month old son for ritual purposes. According to the report, the man on the fateful day quietly moved the baby around midnight from the mother’s bedside while she was deeply asleep. He killed the child and hurriedly buried him. The ritualist is right now in police custody while investigation continues. On several occasions in the past, the police have often arrested and prosecuted people for ritual killing and related crimes. But this criminal practice continues. Is prosecution really the answer- the only answer-to this savage crime? I do not think so.

In Nigeria, the belief in ritual money is very strong and widespread. The belief is entertained both by the eductated and the non educated, by people of all faiths, and by those who indulge in ritual killing and sacrifice of human beings and those who do not. Modern education in science and logic has not suceeded in eradicating the belief. The existence of relevant laws have not stopped people from carrying out money-making rituals. The belief in ritual money, often seen as self evident has driven people across the country to kidnap, murder and mutilate other human beings including their family members. Children have targeted and murdered their parents and grandparents for rituals. Parents, as in this case, have used their children or housemaids for ritual purposes. What happens is that people who desperately want to get rich consult a local medicineman or witchdoctor. The charlatan then directs the client to procure, among other things, some human body parts; sometimes the head, private organs, the liver or breast, for a ritual sacrifice. Sometimes witchdoctors ask for the human embryo or the body part of a particular family member-one’s father, mother, sister or child- for sacrifice.

When ritualists cannot kill by themselves they commission others to do so on their behalf.

In some situations where those commissioned cannot kill, they go to cemeteries and dig up bodies and use their body parts. In November, more than 100 bodies were desecrated in a cemetery in Porto Novo in the republic of Benin. According to the report, “The grave robbers cut the heads off the bodies and also stole some internal organs”.

The witchdoctors use the body parts to perform some sacrifice or to prepare charms, concoctions or magical substance that will purported make the client rich or make him experience a financial breakthrough. The time has come for Nigerians to take a critical look at money-making rituals and the belief in ritual wealth. The practice of ritual killing and the money-making rituals are based on deep-seated superstitions which the structures and institutions in our society have refused to challenge and debunk. Until these irrational beliefs are dispelled, the savage act of ritual murder will not stop. The prosecution of ritualists will only drive the practice underground as is often the case. Prosecution should go with education and public enlightenment.

There is no evidence that the sacrifice of a human being or the use of charms prepared with human body parts could make anybody rich. I challenge anybody who thinks otherwise to come forward with proof or evidence. I challenge any witch doctor anywhere who thinks he can carry out an effective money-making ritual to come forward. For a long time people have been decieved, misinformed, misled and exploited by these occult doctors. People have been brainwashed with baseless beliefs that lead them to commit atrocities.

How long are we going to keep entertaining the belief in ritual money based on hearsay. Nigerians need to be supplied with proof and hard evidence for ritual wealth. This is because the belief is sending many people to their graves and others to jail. The belief is turning children against their parents and parents against their children. There is an urgent need for proactive measures to combat this cultural scourge. Sadly the bloody act of ritual murder continues. The irrational belief persists. And the bogus claims by witch doctors, most of whom are desperately poor and miserable, that they have the power to make people rich through magic and ritual sacrifice continue to motivate people to commit criminal and actrocious acts. No doubt those who murder, conspire to murder or kidnapp for money rituals or for any prupose at all should be arrested and prosecuted. But more importantly, there is a need to put in place a public education and enlightenment campaign to reorientate the mentality of the people. Ritual murder starts in the mind and any initiative to stop it must involve programs to change the mindset. The belief in ritual money is a deep seated cultural belief and traditional belief particularly when they are rooted in the supernatural die hard. But they die anyway. In this case, there is need to take measures to ensure that the belief in ritual money dies and that the practice of money-making rituals stops.

Nigerians need to be educated to know that ritual money is a hoax. That money-making ritual is a sham. That witch doctors who claim to have powers to perform money- making rituals are charlatans. Nigerians need to understand that no ritual sacrifice of anything or anybody; a human being, an animal or insect; can make anybody rich. No charm prepared with any human or animal body part can give one a financial breakthrough. In fact Nigerians need to be told that charms are practically useless and lack the potency of protecting people or enhancing their fortune as widely believed.

Before any Nigerian contemplates going to a witchdoctor for money rituals, he or she should first ask, why is the witch doctor not rich himself? If he can make me rich why can’t he make himself or his friend or family member rich? If the ritual money is good for me why is it not good for him, for his friends and family members? At home, in market places, in schools, colleges and universities, people need to be told that getting rich or becoming wealthy has nothing to do with ritual sacrifice or the use of charms. That the money ritual narrative of a human head vomiting volumes of cash in the bedrooms of rich people is a myth and has no basis in common sense or in reality. That getting rich is a factor of education, hard work, acquiring skills, discovering and developing one’s talent, excelling in one’s profession and other common sensical and confirmable means of generating income.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters


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Sophisticated Internet users?

What amazes me is some of the comments on Mr Igwe's clear thinking article. These critics are using the Internet to communicate about the equivalent of the power of magic and chicken entrails (and sorrowfully much worse) to influence the course of events. Electricity powering computer chips engineered with a mind boggling precision sending signals via lasers and glass fibres, satellites and telephone systems, all products of human ingenuity accomplished by human effort in the last few years and they want to get rich through tricks. Of course there are many who have done so in our world and many in Nigeria. The trick is corruption, sadly often helped by the dark side of religion.

Re: Leo Igwe your argument is

Re: Leo Igwe your argument is not convincing...
Very good point. My thinking is that the author finds it easier to avoid the obvious foundations on which these practices are built. Voodoo is part of Africa and it works. Now whether for good or for bad is another question all together. Like you said, what is needed is cultural change and strengthening our criminal justice system. All eventually berth at the port of good and positive leadership in the country.

How do u explain a man who is

How do u explain a man who is dirt poor one day and is rolling in money d next? With no logically explainable source of d income? Sometimes he may not have sacrificed a human,may have traded his children's intellectual development or wife's fertility etc.
Be aware that some witchdoctors are actually quite rich and even if they aren't,havent u heard of renowned doctors dying of diabetes?
Dat Africans arent topping Forbes list is also not d point.They dont have to,and can u be a 100% certain that d Gates,Helus,Kochs dont hv any spiritual pacts they've made somewhere?

Leo Igwe,unfortunately u do

Leo Igwe,unfortunately u do not believe d bible,else i'd have asked ur thoughts on d witch of Endor summoning Samuel's spirit and satan offering Jesus d riches of d world if He'll bow before him.
U write like this spiritism thing is limited to Nigeria or Africa,forgetting that ancient European and western civilizations have their origins in gothism,idol worship and frank occultism.Trust me,d spiritual world is just as real,i daresay even more so than d physical.Whether u believe it or not is immaterial.

Rituals not only for money making

A rising social cultural phenomenon on the rise, probably due in part to the rising poverty in the land. Very well pointed out by the author. Useful to also note that in some cases, these practices are also thought of as a cure for some terminal or mental diseases. The practice is definitely primitive, barbaric and evil by whatever way it can be described. Countless families have been traumatised with unsolved cases of missing family members, while the police are daily inundated with cases of missing persons and mutilated bodies. As opined by another contributor, the babalawos and marabouts should be formally registered and enter into a practice oath, with awareness on the need for a change in thinking and culture. It is assuming dangerous proportions with educated folks and politicians who have been arrested for such dastardly acts. God help us all, with 2015 around the corner?

I don`t think this writer is

I don`t think this writer is a Nigerian, in as much as i don`t support money rituals because it is evil, but to put the record straight money rituals is not anything close to a hoax, we can only preach repentance and holiness to stop the scourge even the so called learned or academics get involved in it, we should stop deceiving ourselves that it is just a hoax.


The question 'how come africans do not dominate the list of richest people in the world with our money rituals' really opened my eyes and hope it opens others too. It is insane to think that such mentality exist in this day and age

Tell the Ignorant Fools

It is sickening to watch ignorant Nigerians talk about how this non-existent money ritual works. The believers of the grotesque and despicable nonsense somehow thinks that a gallimaufry of human body parts and some incarnations would spew money. This is insane! I always ask the fools where does the money in the ritual come from? And how come Africans do not dominate the list of richest people in the world with our money rituals?

A lot of Nigerians engage in this intellectual nihilism of money ritual and it is a shame. But then again Nigerians believe in many things that don't make sense.

Tell the Ignorant Fools

It is sickening to watch ignorant Nigerians talk about how this non-existent money ritual works. The believers of the grotesque and despicable nonsense somehow thinks that a gallimaufry of human body parts and some incarnations would spew money. This is insane! I always ask the fools where does the money in the ritual come from? And how come Africans o not dominate the list of richest people in the wold with our money rituals?

A lot of Nigerians engage in this intellectual nihilism of money ritual and it is a shame. But then again Nigerians believe in many things that don't make sense.


Any society that harbours these idiotic beliefs can never progress. Sadly, Nigeria, and most of black Africa, have people in high and low places who are irredeemably sold on these stuff...

Rituals and money making

A very good article with workable suggestions. I will add that the vernacular films that are broadcast on television should desist from making people rich through charms and ritual sacrifices. I am aware that such people end up being arrested or eventually become poor. However, the acheivement of wealth is misleading and a misinformation to a gullible audience. Producers should shift to themes that encourage education and hard work as the necessities for success. Dr Abayomi Ferreira


Any ritualist who kills deserve to die.

Leo Igwe: Your argument is not convincing 3

Mr leo Igwe, i think i have used Evans-Pritchard's study to adequately respond to your article. In case your are not clear, there are two worlds of knowledge: science and everyday life. Money making rituals, myth and superstition are bounded in the everyday life. You need to understand the cutlral knowledge production rooted in experience of everyday life of Nigerians, otherwise, you will be accused of being hopelessly out of touch with reality. Your argument would have been convincing if you have advocated cultural change through awareness campaign, strengthening of criminal law, and financial check and document of peoples' wealth acquisitions.

Leo Igwe: Your argument is not convincing 2

Evans-Pritchard concluded that by trying to compare and measure notions about intellectual superiority were inappropriate due to the fact that western science and Azande witchcraft are incomparable: they are two different ways of thinking about the world and of organising daily activities. Therefore scientific knowledge should be understood within the institution of science and not on everyday lives of people.

Leo Igwe: Your argument is not convincing 1

Leo Igwe, before responding to your article, i would like to draw your attention to earlier western misconceptions about African as people bounded with primitive mentality and are such intellectually inferior to Europeans. This misconception held sway upto 1937 when British Anthropologist Edward Evans-Pritchard debunked such generalisation when he studied Azande people of Southern Sudan.By focusing on the mythical beliefs and practices of Azande people, Evans-Pritchard held that pervasive belief in Witchcraft and Sorcery was the defining feature for Azande life. Evans-Pritchard opposed Eurosceptic view by arguing that the metaphysical ideas of any society could be treated with the same seriousness as those of any of the great world religions, and that the logic of such belief was situational, being dependent upon cultural conventions or ways of viewing the world of particular groups.

Nigerians are too easily deceived.

Nigerians indeed need to be educated on this big hoax, and other prevalent superstitions. It is so easy to deceive Nigerians with these nonsensical claims. But it must go beyond that. Pentecostal Churches especially, should stop their emphasis on "prosperity evangelism" and "miracles", and let their members realize that good education, better skills and hardwork is the real route to improved income.