IT was the peak of absurdity recently in Ogun State when certain criminals were caught in a scuffle over a devious deal that went awry. After an agreement had been reached over the supply of a human hand supposedly meant for money rituals, the criminal receiver who was expected to pay for the consignment had buckled at the last minute. The price had been set at a million naira but after having been provided with the human arm, the buyer started singing a new tune. The suppliers would have none of the irritating hesitation and so they lured him to a location where they subjected him to the beating of his life.
Happily, the police arrested the human parts dealers at Idi Iroko in Ipokia Local Government Area of the state after laying an ambush for them following a tip-off. The narrative by the spokesman of the state police command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, portrayed the suspects as desperadoes willing to do anything to survive, including the heinous crime for which they were apprehended. The event was a tragic commentary on the value of human life in a country where civilisation and the rule of law are expected to be constantly reflected in people’s conduct. It is saddening that things have become so horrible in the country that human parts could be made available for sale, with active negotiations going on between buyers and sellers.
Of course, it is easy to guess that this incident signals part of what happens to the countless victims of kidnapping who could not be ransomed and many others who have never been found since they went missing. Apparently, they have been murdered and their bodies hacked into pieces for sale by traders in human flesh. It is not difficult to see how the country found itself at this level of degradation. The society has refused to let go of the quest to get rich by any means. In an age where multimedia literacy is increasingly the only way to conduct social interaction and where advances in information technology have meant that only those conversant with current trends can hope to get by, some Nigerians are still entertaining the thought that wealth can be made from rituals involving human parts. The fact that the wealthiest individuals in the world are people with well-known, legitimate businesses, not money ritualists, does not matter to such people.
But sadder still is the fact that the country’s security agencies have often failed to ensure the security of life and property, giving felons of all kinds the latitude to engage in dark practices and trades. The pervasive poverty in the society too must have taken its huge toll on the mentality of people who imagine that they can escape from poverty by looking for horrendously criminal solutions. The Nigerian society can only be saved if it embraces once again the sanctity of human lives and the dignity of labour and hard work. The country’s political leadership has a great job to do in demonstrating these values.
There are no shortcuts to wealth without dire consequences. Usually, money that is not laboured for in the right way is frittered on impulsive purchases which leave the owner on the very brink of misery. The police command in Ogun State should do a thorough job in ensuring the diligent prosecution of this case to serve as a deterrent to others who may have similar inclinations. The country must insist on the fundamental sanctity of human lives.
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