Ritual Killing And Hunchbacks in Nigeria

By Leo Igwe

Last year a court in Southern Nigeria remanded in custody 4 persons for allegedly killing a hunchback woman, Mrs Ifeoma Angela Igwe for ritual purposes. According to the report, the hoodlums went to the woman’s house and kidnapped her.  They took her to a nearby bush where they beheaded her, butchered her and removed the hunch. It is believed that the hunch contains ‘magical substance or mercury’ which can make people rich.  I do not know how Nigerians came about this erroneous idea.

Killing people for ritual purposes is a common practice in this part of Nigeria. Often ritualists target and kill family members or vulnerable members of the society particularly women, children, the elderly or people living with disabilities, to harvest body parts for rituals or for preparation of charms. The belief that ritual sacrifice can make people rich and successful is very strong among the local population including people of different faiths and educational backgrounds. The people who carry out these killings or indulge in ritual sacrifice are not necessarily traditional fetish illiterates.

In 1996 police in Owerri arrested a man, Innocent Ekeanyanwu, with the head of a young boy, Ikechukwu Okonkwo.  In the course of the investigation, the police discovered the buried torso of Ikechukwu on the premises of Otokoto Hotel, owned by Chief Duru, and uncovered a syndicate that specialized in ritual killing and the sale and procurement of human parts.

The horrifying discoveries sparked off violent protests in the city of Owerri which led to the burning and looting of properties belonging to suspected killers and ritualists.  Otokoto and his syndicate were arrested and put on trial, and in February 2003, they were sentenced to death by hanging.

Even after that the atrocious act of killing people for rituals did not stopped. The prosecution and conviction of Otokoto and others did not bring an end to ritual killings in the country.
Personally I maintain that this criminal practice will not go away until people abandon the mistaken belief in the potency of ritual sacrifice including the efficacy of charms prepared with body parts. While efforts must be made to bring to justice those who kill or maim anybody for rituals, more efforts must be made to educate and enlighten Nigerians to understand that the belief in the potency of rituals, whether conducted with animal or human body parts, is superstitious, and lacks basis in reason, science and commonsense. There is no shred of evidence at all that ritual sacrifice can make anybody rich, powerful or successful.

Sadly, the superstitious brainwashing which Nigerians are subjected to from cradle to the grave is at the root of the problem. From childhood, most Nigerians are taught to embrace magical thinking and mystical mindset. In Nigeria, we are made to understand that ritual sacrifice is a demonstration of faith. That ritual sacrifice is necessary for progress and excellence, and for understanding and enhancing success. Our educational system does not help matters at all. In most cases they reinforce this magical mentality or help the ‘educated’ to find ways of justifying these misconceptions and superstitions. That is why in our schools, colleges and universities criminal youth gangs operate as cult groups and some ‘intellectuals’ identify witchcraft and occultism as African science.
So our school system is doing little or nothing to combat the irrational beliefs,  hence they proliferate and spread and cause people to commit atrocities.

Of course, the religious groups sanctify these so called occult practices by propagating similar or related versions as demonstrations of faith. One clear example is the case of Abraham who almost murdered his only son as a demonstration of obedience or faith in god, or the horrifying crucifixion of Jesus which is believed by Christians to have universal and eternal salvation value. Though the dominant religious of Christianity and Islam preach love and care for one’s neighbor, their histories and sacred texts contain messages that reinforce the belief in ritual sacrifice.

From the homes to the schools and then to the churches and mosques, Nigerians have no place or space to question, challenge or critically evaluate the nonsense and unreason associated with ritual killing.

Even when there are institutions and programs to help enlighten the people, like the police and the courts, the national orientation agencies, the educational institutions, non-governmental organizations etc,  these agencies do not really fulfill their missions because those who head them, or anchor the programs subscribe to these irrational beliefs.

Agreed, it is difficult to change people’s mentality or abolish traditional practice even when they are harmful. But people still change their mindset anyway. And history is filled with instances where people have abandoned harmful traditional practices.  I think in this case of ritual killing, the horrendous act can stop and has to stop.

Nigerians need to abandon this primitive and outrageous belief that the ‘hunch’ contains mercury or any substance of magical value. A little knowledge of human biology reveals the crass ignorance and misconception underlying this thinking. A hunchback is actually a ‘condition of over curvature of the thoracic vertebrae, a result of degenerative disease or developmental problem’.  Hunch back is a health problem. The hunch does not contain any mercury or magical substance.
People with hunchback, like other persons living with disabilities, need love, care and protection from the society. They should be treated with dignity and respect. We should strive to dispel and debunk all superstitious and irrational beliefs that put them at risk, or expose them to danger, mutilation or death.

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Christian hate tactics

Interesting that you do not choose to tackle the points made in the article but instead launch an attack on the author by suggesting various fantasies. Poor show!

Nope

It seems you are quick to judge Leo. It is obvious aspects of Christianity contain aspects of human sacrifice, but Leo makes it clear that these religions *now* preach love and care for one's neighbour (which is a rather generous comment!). And stop being so dramatic with your "retract your steps and ask God for forgiveness" comment! That's not your business.

Leo did you say Christianity,

Leo did you say Christianity, sanction ritual killing? you most have got it wrong. You seems to have read your Bible upside down but most importantly I believe you are out for mischief, such attack on Christianity takes you no where but guarantee your doom. Igwe God is merciful, retract your steps ask God for forgiveness you'll get it if you genuinely do.

The people indulge in this acts remains.......

The people indulge in this acts remains unrepenter and the end of them will be a total disaster.There is no science proofs whatsoever that has ever justified this claims that one can becomes rich through killing of another humanbeing for ritual purposes.The bible do not teach us but because of ignorance of our people,in nigeria people continues to terminate another people lives for the fake believes.

Leo did you say Christianity,

Leo did you say Christianity, sanction ritual killing? you most have got it wrong. You seems to have read your Bible upside down but most importantly I believe you are out for mischief, such attack or Christianity takes you no where but guarantee your doom. Igwe God is merciful, retract your steps ask God for forgiveness you'll get it if you genuinely do.

Leo did you say Christianity,

Leo did you say Christianity, sanction ritual killing? you most have got it wrong. You seems to have read your Bible upside down but most importantly I believe you are out for mischief, such attack or Christianity takes you no where but guarantee your doom. Igwe God is merciful, retract your steps ask God for forgiveness you'll get it if you genuinely do.

Re: Ritual Killing And Hunchbacks in Nigeria

This article still could made its point without the author dabbling into "occult practices", mysticism and biblical stories. Rituals and fetish practices are not mystical nor occultic. And the Bible certainly does not support or preach ritual killings. A literal reading of scriptures always misleads.

Don't get me wrong: ritual killings are certainly primitive and barbaric and condemnable. Ignorance and desperation for wealth are the immediate factors fueling it.

You the writer of this news caption,

You the writer of this news caption,may Chineke God Kill you,your mama,papa and your entire family for make such a dirty statement that Igobs are involve in rituals.

May you never see good.

Kaparak’s hunch would be worth $bln to NdibeO if ritual were....

@Omoaholo – thanks for the commonsensical comment. Ritual killing for money is the biggest myth to emanate from the dark continent. If it were possible to make money through ritual, I’m sure thousands, myself included, would have queued up to have the baboon, Kaparak, slaughtered for his hunchback – the first task being to lure him to Nigeria from his Washington perch.

That is women affair trying

That is women affair trying to nailed their husbands, but that is not religious.

I condem ritual killings but

I condem ritual killings but the author of the piece is suffering from colonial mentality. By saying there is no juju. I can categorically say juju is real i have seen live performance or am i brain washed too? ΨђåƮ he should be saying is that juju has limitations not that it doesn't exist. The writer even wrote God I̶̲̥̅̊n̶̲̥̅̊ small letters there his ignorance is further exposed. If you believe juju is rubbish come let it be tested on you

It cuts across all tribes

@ jaeggar. You must be one of the ignorant fools in Nigeria to say that ritual killing is strictly an Igbo problem.
So there are no cases of the crime among other tribes?
Stop spewing rubbish and showing your stupidity and cluelessness

If Ritual Killings Make One A Billionaire, IBB, OBJ, GEJ, Atiku

If ritual killings makes one a Billionaire, IBB, OBJ, GEJ, James Ibori, Atiku, Sultan Of Sokoto, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi will not loot the Nigerian Treasuries. Some Nigerians are so dumb believing the native doctors for these garbage. The native doctors who believe in witch crafts are they themselves not interested in being rich? These people who believe in thess charms have mental problems. OBJ once advised South African Blacks to use voodo to fight the white minority in power. Albinos were once hunted in Tanzania for the same rituals. Why is it that we Black people are so dumb & primitive in this 20 century? Islam is also responsible in ritual killings. There is no state in Nigeria that is not guilty of these crimes. When someone gets rich in Nigeria, we all say, he used his wife or child in making money. If a rich man's child is sick people conclude he used his child 4 ritual. Africans get out of dark ages & work hard 4 your money the old fashion way.Earn it.

If Ritual Killings Make One A Billionaire, IBB, OBJ, GEJ, Atiku

If ritual killings makes one a Billionaire, IBB, OBJ, GEJ, James Ibori, Atiku, Sultan Of Sokoto, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi will not loot the Nigerian Treasuries. Some Nigerians are so dumb believing the native doctors for these garbage. The native doctors who believe in witch crafts are they themselves not interested in being rich? These people who believe in thess charms have mental problems. OBJ once advised South African Blacks to use voodo to fight the white minority in power. Albinos were once hunted in Tanzania for the same rituals. Why is it that we Black people are so dumb & primitive in this 20 century? Islam is also responsible in ritual killings. There is no state in Nigeria that is not guilty of these crimes. When someone gets rich in Nigeria, we all say, he used his wife or child in making money. If a rich man's child is sick people conclude he used his child 4 ritual. Africans get out of dark ages & work hard 4 your money the old fashion way.Earn it.

Human ritual sacrifice

Ritual sacrifice of humans and the use of charms is really terrifying, shocking and horrifying acts. It is something you don't believe people like you and I can do but sadly enough, it is the order of the day in Nigeria not even in the Southern part but also in the Northern. It is a criminal act to be fought by all of us (right thinking persons). This I agree with you, Mr. Leo, but Islam has never in any way or place in its scripture support or reinforce human sacrifice. In short, it is the only religion that fight against tyranny, killings, use of charms, exploitation and any evil act against animals not even man. Probably, you don't know much about what Islam says about that or you are wrongly informed. If that's so, then you suppose have asked people that know. The story that Abraham was ordered to sacrifice his son in the Quran is not showing or giving any muslim the right to kill. However, I advise you seek the message behind that from the people that know.

Hey, do not talk about

Hey, do not talk about rituals and mention southerners and christians here. I never knew that islam permits juju in its religion until when i grew up.

My friend who is a strong muslim from the Boko Haram Headquarters even confirmed it again last week and that they also apply it in managing their husbands to their favour.

Please note that in southern NIgeria, traditional worshipers abound and they practise what they like.

It shows vividly that these

It shows vividly that these southerners are bundle of fools who still perform rituals with human blood and parts in the 21st century. Shame on them. May God liberate them despite the fact that they profess christianity.

LEO IGWE EXPOSED!

mr Leo Igwe we know you were expelled from the Catholic Seminary in Bodija Ibadan because you could not measure up.

Was it because of celibacy?
Or being a homosexual?(Is that why you defend homosexuality and gay marriage)

Please tell us! So people can understand your true intention for attacking Christianity.

Killing Hunchbacks is evil and Christianity does not support it. Linking with St Abraham is a shameful attempt!

this is strickly an IBO PHENOMENOM...TELL THEM!!!

@Tundemess...i hope you get kidnapped and taken to iboland. with your loud mouth, your hunch will fetch a hansome reward and make an iboman rich.

If the Biblical teaching on

If the Biblical teaching on Abraham and Jesus Christ is what makes people kill for ritual on Nigeria, why are Americans not engaged in same practise? even in the days when they were very religious?

What then makes you think that having sex through the anus is good (i recalled you defended the gay marriage issue with your life) Make you go sleep and dream about lofe if you have nothing to offer.