Abuja: The House of Representatives has called for the declaration of a state of emergency on ritual killings in the country, partly blaming the menace on the Nollywood industry and tasked all stakeholders to begin a national campaign to change the orientation of the people towards the crime.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the lawmakers unanimously resolved to “declare a national emergency on ritual killings in Nigeria and call on the National Orientation Agency, parents, heads of schools, religious leaders and the media to undertake a campaign to change the negative narrative that is bedevilling the society.”
The House also called on the Executive Director, National Film and Video Censors Board, Adedayo Thomas, to “rise to the mandate of the agency as the clearing house for all movies produced in the country,” while mandating its Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to ensure that the resolution was complied with.
The committee is expected to report to the House in four weeks.
The House also called on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to “take urgent steps to increase surveillance and intelligence gathering, with a view to apprehending and prosecuting all perpetrators of ritual killings in Nigeria.”
The House Committee on Police Affairs was mandated to ensure that the resolution was complied with and its report ready in four weeks.
These resolutions were based on a motion of urgent public importance moved by the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Toby Okechukwu, which was titled, ‘Need to curb the rising trend of ritual killings in Nigeria’.
Moving the motion, Okechukwu decried that the incidents of ritual killings had “assumed an alarming rate in Nigeria in recent times.”
He said, “The House also notes the upsurge in reported ritual killings with increasing cases of abductions and missing persons in different parts of the country, which in most cases, the culprits also rape, maim, kill and obtain sensitive body parts of unsuspecting victims for rituals.”
The lawmaker recalled that the Red Cross Society in 2017 reported that it received 10,480 reports of missing persons in Nigeria.
He also recalled that on January 22, 2022, three teenage suspects and a 20-year-old allegedly killed one Sofiat Kehinde, and had her head severed and burnt in a local pot in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The lawmaker added that the Ogun State Police Command, on Monday, reported that one of the suspects confessed that he learned the act of ritual killing from a video he watched on Facebook.
Okechukwu stated, “The death of Sofiat has attracted national outrage and condemnation, considering the ages of her killers. Merchants of such wicked acts often use social media as a ready tool to advertise their evil behaviours.
“Ritual killing has become a predominant theme in most home-made movies, which if left unchecked, our younger generations may begin to view it as an acceptable norm.