IN yet another dastardly event that highlighted the heightening level of barbarity in the country, a certain Segun Olaniyi recently murdered his former lover, Mrs Abosede Iyanda, and sold her body parts for the total sum of N90,000. His customers who allegedly made the purchases included a pastor who claimed that he needed the body parts to effect miracles, an Islamic cleric who needed them for money rituals, a medical doctor, and others. Mrs Iyanda had earlier reportedly lied to her husband that she was embarking on a visit to her mother, but she actually paid a visit to her former lover to seek spiritual help in improving her business fortunes. After she went missing on October 15, 2019, her father petitioned the office of the Inspector General of Police, from where the case was assigned to the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) for investigation.
According to media reports, the IRT operatives tracked Olaniyi down to his office and he later confessed his deeds, mentioning the names of the accomplices in the murder of Abosede Iyanda and the customers who made purchases. The remains of the 30-year-old victim were sold for much less than the cost of a well-fed ram. It is lamentable that some members of the Nigerian society have sunk to this base level in their evaluation of human life despite their pretences to enlightenment and civilisation. Many Nigerians are basically just a whistle away from barbarity in the heat of existential pressures. The much touted sanctity of human life is a ruse: the hordes of cannibals lurking in the recesses of the streets and looking for the next victim to devour do not pretend that life means anything to them.
The sordid details of Olaniyi’s confessions reveal the raw, basic instincts of a predator. His activities were all about food and survival, and it didn’t matter who perished in the process. Admittedly, though, as existence and survival become harder, the society tends to compromise its values, setting upon the weak and the vulnerable and destroying them. There is thus a humongous task ahead for the authorities. Not only must they bring characters like Segun Olaniyi to book, they must stem the tide of social predation in all forms. There is a point at which individuals become helpless and cannot be trusted to take charge of their lives any more, on account of the existential pressures confronting them. Nigeria has reached a tipping point and must return quickly to sanity.
The rate of ritual murders in the country is alarming. The metro sections of the country’s dailies are perennially awash with the sordid details of killings and mutilations. The authorities should be concerned about the kind of society they are ruling over when a medical doctor negotiates the prices of human parts with a native doctor and pastors are partakers in the trade in human flesh. It is tough enough to contend with the regular crimes, but when existence and survival begin to be premised on a compromise of the society’s humane values, then anarchy looms. The regression of the Nigerian society into barbarity and cannibalism is so shameful as to make the continuing disavowal of Joseph Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness, by literary critics a hollow ritual. The horrid events happening in the country certainly are a dent on its supposed membership of the modern world.