Olasunkanmi Owolabi, a 43-year-old native of Oyo town, said the concoction is also used as cure for stubborn sores, mental illness, sickle cell anaemia and epilepsy. He also said had planned to establish a specialist native hospital if government gave him the approval. Continue…
Arrested with Owolabi were his two co-travellers, Clement Omodijie and Usman Saliu a.k.a. Alfa. Omodijie, a 54-year-old indigene of Ekpoma, Edo State, says he is married with three children. A grave digger at Gbogbo Cemetery, Ikorodu, Lagos on a monthly salary of N22,000, he said he had worked at the cemetery for five years before he was arrested by SARS operatives.
Saliu, a 31-year-old native doctor from Ilisa town in Osun State and Owolabi’s ally, said he trained as an alfa (Islamic cleric) at Ralwu Islamic School, Ikewu, Osun State where he claimed he spent nine years learning native medicine. A police source said the three had been charged with unlawful possession of human parts.
Owolabi (43), who was arrested on June 22 this year, was said to have requested a human head from Omodijie, saying that he needed the skull to prepare a medicine for his patients. Omodijie obliged Owolabi by exhuming a corpse from one of the graves in the cemetery where he worked and delivering the head to Owolabi.
Upon a tip-off from a member of the public, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, was said to have directed the officer in charge of SARS, Abba Kyari, a Superintendent of Police, to fish out the ritual killers.
Kyari immediately swung into action with his team. He put a call through to Saliu, saying that a human head was urgently needed to save the life of a wealthy patient whose illness had defied orthodox medicine. Saliu asked the detectives to come to Ikorodu for the transaction. But he was arrested as soon as he showed up at the agreed place. The human head he came with was recovered and put in a polythene bag as an exhibit.
confessing his role in the saga omodijie said, “i was content with being a grave digger before i met owolabi in a restaurant in front of the cemetery in gbogbo area of ikorodu. since i met owolabi, my life has not been the same again. I have moved from one problem into another. i was enjoying my n15,000 monthly salary as a grave digger before i met him and he lured me into supplying human heads to him at n4,000 each. “The naked truth is that there is nothing reasonable i have done with the n4,000 per human head that he has been paying me. i used it to drink gin or smoke cigarettes with it. it is the devil’s money. “i hardly fell sick since i was born. but after selling human heads to him, my health has been deteriorating.
I buy drugs as if it is food, making me to spend more money than before. “i was moulding blocks before i secured a job in the cemetery as a grave digger. we were paid on a daily basis. we used wooden or machine moulder. but whichever moulder we used, we charged the owner n500 per bag of cement, which can give one about 40 blocks. if we did three bags, we collected n1,500. “when i got a job in the cemetery, i was happy because it is not as hard as moulding blocks.
The salary was small but i was enjoying it. the grave was shallow or deep, depending on the owner of the corpse and the way he or she wants it to be buried. “my trouble started a day i went to buy food opposite the cemetery. that was where i met owolabi and he said there was something he had wanted to tell me. He asked whether i was a worker in the cemetery and i said yes. he said i should give him a human head and i asked him what he meant. he said the head of a corpse already buried. “we have cemetery rules which forbid us from doing such a thing. i told him that i would not be able to do that, and he left. but thereafter, each day i went to the restaurant to buy food, he would accost me with the same request. i insisted that i would not do it because i did not want to lose my job, but he said it was better to sell human parts to him than allowing them to waste. “I summoned courage to ask him what he wanted to do with human heads and other parts. he said he was a native doctor and alfa, and that he wanted to use it to make medicine.
He said he would grind it into powder and mix it with certain herbs for pregnant women to drink in order to deliver their babies without complications or operation. he also said that he grinds human heads and mixes them with the powders some ladies carry in their handbags, saying that it helps those that are looking for choice husbands and big government contracts or companies’ lpos to secure them without stress. he also said that it can cure sickle cell anemia, among other ailments. “I told him that i didn’t have any but if i got one, i would call him.
A few days later, i called him on the phone and told him that i had got some. he asked me where i kept it and i told him that i kept one in a nearby bush. he asked me to bring it to my house so that he would come later to collect it. “he knows my house because he had followed me to my house several times after we met and became friends. he gave me n4,000 for the first head he came to collect from my house. the following day, he bought another one for n4,000.” asked how he obtained the heads he sold to owolabi, omodijie said: “The graves where i normally bring out the skulls from are shallow, and coffins are not used for the corpses brought there because of religion or financial status of the owners. it is cheaper to bury a corpse in a shallow grave than to do so in a deep, cemented or marbled one. “most burials done in shallow graves are temporary. that is why that section of the cemetery is called the temporary site. after some months, the corpses buried in shallow graves are excavated and burnt. that was why owolabi i should not allow the skulls to waste and that i should sell them to him instead.” “four of us work in the cemetery, but the other workers did not know that i was smuggling out human skulls and other parts to sell to native doctors. it was only two heads i had sold before detectives from sars arrested me. “there is no useful thing i can say i did with the money.
I was deceived by the devil. i am pleading for forgiveness because i did not kill a l anyone to sell their heads. i sold the skulls of corpses already buried and had decayed. i did not know that it would land me in this trouble.” owolabi on his part said: “i am an alfa and a native doctor. but i am not yet registered. i finished my arabic studies in kwara state about 13 years ago and relocated to ikorodu to work as a native doctor. i have the ambition of building a native hospital if the government gives me an approval. “I started by praying for sick people. last year, i met this cemetery worker (omodijie) and told him about the products (human parts) they were wasting. i learnt about using human skull to do powerful charms and medicine after travelling to kano, kaduna and other parts of the north. “in kano, i met a yoruba native doctor who told me that if i mixed ground human bones with soap and some herbs, it would bring luck for my clients or patients.
He said it could also cure chronic and stubborn sores and help pregnant women to deliver without complications or operation. it can also cure madness and other terrible diseases that defy orthodox solution. “women who are looking for husbands can also mix the ground bones with their powder. when they see a man they like, especially if they want a husband, they would rob the powder and talk to the man and the man will fall for them. it can also bring good luck and help job seekers to secure employment. “it can make somebody to become rich. it can cure epilepsy. a woman can also bath with it and men will be begging her to marry them. i sell a tablet of the soap for n2,000. it depends on the pocket of the buyer. some buy it for n1,000. I sell it around ikorodu and ajah in lagos. “saliu had told me to help him to get a human head and i collected one for him from the cemetery worker. he gave me n4,000 and i gave it to the cemetery worker that supplied the products. “when sars operatives arrested him, he led them to my house and i was also arrested. i knew the grave digger to be a worker in gbogbo cemetery at ikorodu. when he wanted to throw away some (human) parts, i told him that i needed them. i normally gave him n4,000 per skull.” saliu said: “i am a native doctor. i also spent nine years in ralwu islamic school, ikewu, osun state. i pray for women who are looking for husbands. i collected whatever amount they gave me. when the prayer worked for them, they would come to thank me with anything they liked. “i usually lock myself up to pray for my clients for between seven and 21 days, depending on the personality involved. they paid whatever amount they liked.
The only money they were required to deposit with me was the one to buy certain things that i would use to prepare the things i would use for the prayers.” asked why he had to use human skulls for his prayers, he said: “i had not used it before. one of my brothers came and met me in the house one day and told me that he went to ila-orangun in osun state to do rituals for money but the person he met told him that it would require a human skull and certain leaves. “when i met my brother, owolabi, we talked about how to get the human head. he told me that he himself used to do the same medicine with human heads and some herbs and even made medicinal soap with it. he asked me to go and bring money and he would help me get a human skull. “i asked owolabi where he would get it from and he said he had a link at the gbogbo cemetery in ikorodu. after six to seven months, my brother called me while i was still in bed and asked whether the human head was ready. i told him to let me ask owolabi about it. when i asked owolabi, he told me to come and meet him. when i met him, he said it would cost n18,000, saying that he bought it for n12,000 from the cemetery man. “a friend of shina came and gave him n15,000. owolabi took n10,000 and gave me n2,000 only, and told me that he would use the remaining n3,000 to pay for the transportation of the human head to the final destination.
Culled from The Nation