Of Evil Forest And The Leaders’ Political Will To Expose The Culprit, By Monday Peter Iyara

AjimobiOdd as it may seem, thousands of Ibadan residents thronged soka, a place now Christened “evil forest of horror” to catch a glimpse of ritual killers’ den, which according to people, had been existing about a decade ago.
My impression about the media exposure and the seemingly tragic melo- drama unfolding in the theatre of life having Ibadan Oyo State as a stage is that at least the Executive Governor, the Chief Security of the state, Abiola,Mr Ajimobi was there for an on –the- spot assessment to see things himself. And I feel the governor deserves some commendations as the issue at stake borders on sanctity of human life being sacrificed at the altar of blood money or crave for political power.
Lamenting over the gory scene at the place, the governor did not waste time to pronounce that the certificates of occupancy (C of Os) of the expansive forest have been revoked with immediate effect. The governor while going round the Golgotha, this time not in Jerusalem but in Ibadan must have felt like he was watching a horror film that was not for real but ,at las it was real. He must have seen human skulls littered everywhere, he must have seen an improvised slaughter slab made by God forsaken hags, where their victims were slaughtered, he must have seen decomposed human bodies, he must have also seen yet to be killed emaciated captives, in a gory state to behold.
The governor was also quoted as saying that he had seen things for himself; that it was surprising that such a thing existed there for a long time. Besides, his announcement of revocation, he also stated that the government of Oyo State would set up panel of forensic experts, stressing that they would get to the root of the matter to find out those involved in the act.
Taking an analytical view at above statements credited to the governor of Oyo state, many questions began to emerge. For instance, I will need to ask; does the governor have the political will to really get to the root of this ritual killers’ den? Will he be really interested to bring the culprit to book no matter whose ox is gored? Well the governor’s answers to these seeming rhetoric questions might all be in the affirmative owing to the emotions the gory sight has evoked in those who have gone there on sight-seeing or seen the pictures in the media, but like a Yoruba adage says what is behind figure six is greater than figure seven. At least figure six carries a belly or pregnancy while seven does not.
As I take retrospective look at the past when we had similar situation and take an introspect look on the current situation my prayer is; may God Almighty who exposed the atrocities perpetrated in soka also grant the governor the political will to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion, to a point that many Nigerians who heard about this issue will heave a sigh of relief that justice indeed has been done. My sincere desire also as mortal being with faculty of emotion is that I would not like the governor’s promise to end up as one of those political statements leaders make in Nigeria.
To the functionally literate average Nigerians who are well informed about the happenings in our beloved country, at least Okija Shrine is still fresh in our memory lane. This was one of the cases the press gleefully swarm upon but after few days the whole thing about Okija appears to enter voice mail. The then Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun was talking tough raising the hope of Nigerians that the names discovered at the shrine would be made public, but Nigerians expectations were dashed. We kept hoping against hope that the names would soon be made public.
So, when governor Ajimobi structured one of his statements with the word “surprise”, that he was surprised the place had been in existence for long, my attention was quickly drawn to this. Drawing inference with what has been happening in Nigeria, the governor ought to know there are other evil forests across the length and breadth of Nigeria including even the arid regions of the North.
The point is that researchers have not taken the pains to research into mysterious disappearances of some Nigerians the length and breadth of the country. I am not in any way talking about those who were kidnapped for ransom. I am talking of those who disappear only to appear in ritual killers’ den. The dens where only the genuinely born again Christians get back to tell the stories of their miraculous deliverance. The high and lowly in the society are not spared if they mistakenly fall prey. The other time I read in the newspaper that a whole professor from one of the Universities was being looked for. I don’t know if he has been found till today.
Besides Okija Shrine , the media was awash with Cliford Orji’s story too. As the media revealed the story, Nigerians began to conjecture and hypothesize. Some said he was insane, others said he was feigning insanity, that big men in our society go there at night to patronise him. In this case also, the press did not get to the root of the story.
I seize this medium to commend the Nigerian press for its patriotism to the nation right from the colonial era till date, but I am of the opinion it has to do more in area of investigative journalism that will really expose the powerful and untouchables in the society who are the key actors behind these dastardly acts.
For instance, I was elated when Sahara Reporters in particular started exposing the dirty financial deals of some of our leaders which led to their being probed by the National Assembly. The point is, even if nothing comes out of the probe, at least Nigerians now know those behind their economic woes. And the implication of this is that it will serve as deterrent factor to other impudent leaders who would like to toe the same line. Those who still have some measures of shame will no doubt, try to save themselves from the embarrassment of seeing their names and pictures in social media.
The beauty and ugly sides of social media exposure also rest on the fact that while illustrious sons and daughters like Wole Soyinka, Balarabe Musa, Dimgba Igwe, Femi Adesina, Akunyili Dora, Oby Ezekwesili to mention but a few will keep receiving accolades from Nigerians because they have been proven to have written their names in gold, others who are the “troublers” of Nigeria either through corrupt practices or ritual killings to get to political offices will have their names appear in the media. So, other media should not abdicate their investigative role to social media alone, all hands must be on deck to root out evil in our land through this type of exposures.
A comparative look at some of the happenings in Nigeria glaringly reveals that they are alien to the culture of some other countries around us in the same continent, so, why are we like this? Why is it that we appear to be breaking record on the negative side by inventing evil in almost all areas of our endeavour? Yet we have prophets in the land who will tell Ahab what he wants to hear and not the mind of God.
We see hollow and ritualistic gymnastics going on here and there in the name of praying for the nation to come out of its woes, yet the prophets and pastors who pally with Ahab who are not ready to tell him the truth. A nation guilty of blood cannot make any meaningful Progress politically, economically and socially. And Nigeria is indeed guilty of blood. Killings from Boko Haram, killings from ritual killers, killings from witches and wizards on our roads through accidents, killings from kidnappers, killing from cultist group in our campuses, will see innocent blood being shed daily. It is also possible that some of the babies delivered in the so called baby factories across the country end up in ritualists hand. How shall we continue in sins and expect that grace may abound.
Nigeria no doubt needs national repentance, it is good to have national Conference but top in our priority list should be national repentance. Peter Wagner a popular evangelist and pastor led the United States of America on behalf of their fore fathers in prayer of repentance and restitution in Japan for their roles in nuclear holocaust in Horroshima and Nagazaki. Prior to this, prayer the United States missionaries in Japan were not making a breakthrough in their missionary efforts in Japan. When through divine revelation they got to know that the blood of those who died many years ago through that bombing was still standing against them, they embarked on such prayer programme. Note, it was not prayer of prosperity for their business men in Japan the type in vogue in Nigeria today, but a prayer of repentance because of innocent blood crying against them as a nation.
Back to our own domestic environment, in our beloved country today, the blood of the innocent people killed, ranging from political killings to rituals and to Boko Haram are really crying unto God. The recent visits by the President to churches where they will tell him only what will please him or his visit to Pope in Vatican will not erase the blood hanging on the neck of the current political leaders, only genuine repentance and restitution will do. This is because the holy book says whosoever covers his sin shall not prosper. Once again, I pray that when the six people apprehended over Soka rituals den in Ibadan begin to sing like canary and more names of the well-connected and the powerful are mentioned, he will not develop cold feet. Perhaps Tafa Balogun will be a better counsellor to Ajimobi on how to go about the whole issue. If he pursues the matter to a logical conclusion where even the untouchables are brought to book he will write his name on gold. But if he tries to shield some people, he will write his name on quack sand. Until then we are patiently waiting as the drama unfolds.

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