Ritual killings for economic gains among youth in Nigeria have become a disheartening trend and currently threaten the peace and security of the nation. If this issue is not urgently addressed, more youth will be lured to believe in the trend that the fetishization of violence is a major gateway to acquiring wealth and liberating oneself from economic hardship.
It is no longer news how some youth are increasingly joining the internet scamming business to solve their individual and family social challenges. These scammers known as ‘Yahoo Boys’ have recently been seen on various social media platforms carrying out one form of ritual or the other all in an attempt to make money and live ostentatiously. The increasing spiritualization of money-making coupled with defrauding of innocent and helpless victims, especially among the youth is also a fallout of the weak socio-economic systems in Nigeria as seen in the high rate of unemployment and poverty in the country.
Between last 2021 and 2022 there are several cases recorded on the fetishization of violence by the youth for economic empowerment: A Yahoo boy, known as Osas, from Benin City, Edo State, was alleged to have murdered his girlfriend, Elohor, for money ritual in December 2021; on January 11, 2022, police in Plateau State, Nigeria, arrested a 20-year-old suspected Yahoo boy called Moses who allegedly killed Jennifer, a 300 level student of the University of Jos; in the same month, three young boys were arrested in Ogun State for killing their friend girlfriend and burnt her head for money ritual; a first-class graduate of medical laboratory attempted to kill his mother for money ritual on January 23, 2022.
Many of such violent attacks are against the female gender which also makes it imperative for the Nigerian government to proffer a solution to curb the root causes-which are poverty and lack of economic empowerment schemes for the youth. The legislative arm of government must also begin to look into finding lasting solutions to this menace vis a vis formulation of relevant policies and actions.
We also call on civil society organizations and stakeholders in the conflicts prevention and peacebuilding sector in Nigeria to rise to the occasion to foster peaceful co-existence among the Nigerian youths.
Parents and religious leaders also have a huge role to play in sensitizing their wards on the essence of humanity and sustainable pathways to wealth.
Building Blocks for Peace (BBFORPEACE) is a non-governmental organization working on Conflict Prevention, the Prevention of Violent Extremism, Peacebuilding, and Sustainable Development in Nigeria.
Director for Research
Building Blocks For Peace Foundation