The craze for getting stupendously rich through the senseless killing of humans for rituals has reached an alarming crescendo in Nigeria. The phenomenon has thrown families of victims into untold anguish. For two months, posing as a desperate internet fraudster searching for mystical means to acquire wealth, a reporter, using a pseudo name, met with herbalists tracked online for help.
What was uncovered was a frightening, sadistic romance involving young men, voodoo, and traditionalists that are ready markets for booming human parts harvesters.
Oladipupo Olalere looked remarkably fresh for a herbalist. His eyes were fixated on a book of mystics propped on his lap. Not even the presence of a potential customer could distract him. He only managed to nod his head to acknowledge the presence of this correspondent, pointed to a weather-beaten wooden bench and went on to flip through the pages of the book, mumbling inanities.
The 30-year-old plies his trade somewhere inside the densely populated area of Oja-Oba in Ibadan, Oyo State. His shrine is a ramshackle building sandwiched between two old structures with brown corrugated iron sheets. His dimly lit room was littered with fetish objects, mostly wrapped in red cloth. While some were displayed on wooden tables, others thickly coated with dust, hung loosely on the dirt-stained wall. Inside the room, which was crammed with other odd-looking objects, was an area demarcated with a cream cloth.
Staring at the space generated an eerie feeling as it oozed secrecy. From all indications, it was not meant for prying eyes. Before the visit, this correspondent had been in talks with the herbalist, who has over four thousand followers “liking and sharing” his fetish suggestions.
Known as Ifatunde Ifayemi on Facebook, his timeline is littered with adverts beckoning on individuals interested in all manner of charms, especially those that hold great promises for individuals seeking avenues to get rich mysteriously.
With his page, a beehive of interactions, he constantly fed fans with content that boasts his mystical powers and deep-rooted traditional beliefs. With flagrant disregard for identity protection, he flaunts his clients as a way to prove his success rate as a money-ritual guru.
It was from one of his posts that this correspondent got his phone number and began a negotiation that, with time, led to a face-to-face meeting.
Initially, when the conversation was initiated, the picture painted by our correspondent to Oladipupo was one of a frustrated Yahoo boy (Internet fraudster) faced with a life of struggle and lack, and was ready to stake his neck to hit the goldmine through money ritual.
A journey into the mysterious
Excited by the call from not only a new Client but one ready to go the whole hog, Oladipupo, with-no-holds barred, revealed and explained coded traditional terminologies, which he said were only known by money ritual underdogs.
Headlinenews monitoring reports gathered from him that various types of money rituals had their attached consequences. Oladipupo said the two in high demand were ‘Osole Gbigbona,’ which required human parts, and ‘Osole Tutu,’ the one prepared with animal parts.
Following promises by the correspondent to ensure a huge return after hitting it big and sensing his desperation, the herbalist voluntarily opted to prepare the ‘Osole Gbigbona’ money ritual.
While still marketing the extraordinary potency of this particular charm, he warned that it would cost quite a lump sum of money. Still, he refused to divulge the amount on the phone. Oladipupo later gave our correspondent an address in Ibadan for a physical meeting to finalise the arrangement.
Meeting days later, Oladipupo ranted about popularly held perceptions on the potency of money rituals and boasted about a sizeable number of Nigerians he had made stupendously rich. The conversation, which was more of a self-advertisement, appeared to be a mind-playing gimmick meant to mentally prepare our correspondent for what was ahead.
He said, “Osole Gbigbona is real. Some are more potent and effective than others. I have done so many money rituals. From Abuja to Abakaliki, I transfer the charms. I have clients abroad and send the charms through courier,” he boasted with a glint in his eyes.
Oladipupo said he relocated to Ibadan from Ogun State because of the huge patronage he enjoys from mostly young Internet fraudsters.
He said, “I have more customers in Ibadan than Ijebu Ode. You know that a prophet is not respected in his own town. I have customers that sometimes lodge in hotels for weeks, and when it’s time to eat the concoction made for them or to collect the charms, they will come to my place. Two friends came to me from Abuja and another from Abakaliki. I posted about them on my timeline,” he said.
A vivid description of the individuals matched some uploaded pictures discovered on his Facebook page by the correspondent.
The actual cost of money rituals made with human parts
Delving deeper into the mystery, Oladipupo explained what each money ritual entailed and asked our correspondent, “Do you want the one that will yield money immediately or that which would make people start rendering monetary favours to you?
“There is money-making soap that will be prepared for you with parts of a dead body. When bathing with it, the dead body will appear. You may not see the spirit, but you will hear words like ‘give me my head or give me my flesh,’ depending on the part used. The potion prepared with body parts is more potent than those made with the head of lizards or other animals.”
Our correspondent asked for the cost after Oladipupo’s earlier advice to go for the money ritual prepared with human parts due to its efficacy.
“Osole Gbigbona will cost you N250, 000. I am offering you this charm at a cheap price. If you can get me the money, you will have so much money within one week. You will see money and become afraid,” he blurted with accompanying incantations.
The herbalist further boasted that the charm prepared with human parts can last for three years, adding, “By the time it expires, you would have made more than enough money.”
Asked if there are accompanying repercussions, Oladipupo answered, “Since you are not the one that killed the person, there won’t be any problem.”
Pretending to be pleased and convinced, our correspondent asked Oladipupo for his bank details, promising to transfer the amount needed for the money ritual once he gets to Lagos.
Surprising ease of obtaining human parts
Before taking his leave, pretending to be worried, our correspondent asked the herbalist how he intended to source the human parts required for the money ritual.
He dismissively answered that he was unaware but later said it could be harvested from accident victims or dead bodies.
After a deep thought, he (herbalist) claimed to also source from herb sellers and “from old members of Oduduwa People Congress.”
In order not to arouse suspicion by probing further, our correspondent left with a promise to transfer the N250,000.
However, three days later, instead of returning with the money, our correspondent called to make an odd urgent request – to procure a human toe for personal reasons.
Without hesitating, Oladipupo promised to contact his supplier and revert back on the price and mode of delivery.
A few minutes later, he called back with the news that the toe could be delivered at any location. He (herbalist) was ready to act as a middle man to broker the deal.
He revealed that it would cost N50,000, but after negotiation, the duo settled for N40,000.
“Once you send money and it is confirmed, I will get it from the supplier and bring it to your place. If you send the money today, I will bring it to Lagos today. My delivery fee is N5,000,” he said.
The Correspondent, however, aborted the mission by not contacting Oladipupo, as it was unclear where the toe would be sourced from.
It is worth noting that the transaction was hinged on an agreement of payment before the supplier would source for it.
After two weeks of silence, the herbalist sent a message to our correspondent to find out why he had yet to hear from him, but he got no response.
Enter Ifatunde, 19-year-old herbalist cum swindler
In Oyo State, Ifatunde, a 19-year-old, who hoodwinked our correspondent into believing he was in his 70s, held sway.
He was the second herbalist that the search unearthed on Facebook and was contacted via a number advertised on his posts. In what could pass as a veiled attempt to deceive desperate victims, Ifatunde had the ‘Odu Ifa Corpus’ symbol as his profile picture.
However, the Correspondent stumbled on another of his Facebook accounts with another mystical symbol used as a display picture through a WhatsApp number given to our correspondent by the herbalist, which he claimed belonged to his son.
Findings showed that the first Facebook account had 2,140 friends, while the second had 1,000.
He spoke with an unadulterated Ibadan accent in a series of telephone conversations with our correspondent that spanned two weeks. He pretended to be a gruffly old man. He continuously referred to our correspondent as ‘Omo mi’ (my child).
Still sounding like a desperate Internet fraudster, our correspondent reeled out why he needed to become rich. Ifatunde wasted no time boasting that he possessed the ultimate mystical power to conjure wealth and success.
However, his bill was small compared to that of the Ibadan-based herbalist.
“Are you ready for it now?” he asked after days of back and forth on the phone with our correspondent.
“I will charge N95,000 for the one that needs human parts. Since you are 30 years old, there is no problem. If you are not up to a certain age, you cannot use it. Some people that are 19 and 20 years old have approached me, and they got what they wanted. Put your mind at rest,” he said.
After pleading with Ifatunde to reduce the fee, the amount was brought down to N40,000. It was agreed that the amount would be paid in two instalments of N20,000.
The herbalist explained that the deposit would be used to buy the human parts and other items needed to perform a particular sacrifice. At the same time, the balance of N20,000, would be paid once the charm was ready.
“I will do it for you. I hope you won’t be an ingrate because the N40,000 is too small. Do you have the money with you now,” he asked.
However, the money ritual came with a clause – no physical meeting between him and our correspondent until the charm is ready.
“Seeing me would render the charm useless,” he warned.
In what appeared to be a tactic to avoid being traced, Ifatunde requested that the money be transferred to a POS operator, claiming to have issues with his bank account but when our correspondent insisted on paying through a bank or back out, he agreed to send the bank details of his son.
He kept demanding more
After an account with the name Promise Oyewole was sent, the first instalment of N20,000 was paid. However, two days later, Ifa Tunde called to demand an additional N10,000 to purchase ‘essential materials’. He claimed the N20,000 was insufficient and highlighted the dangers of aborting the ritual halfway. The money was sent but with an agreement that only a balance of N10,000 would be paid when the charm was ready.
Surprisingly, the herbalist called the next day to demand another N20,000, to carry out another special sacrifice to fortify the money ritual. He said, “Something appeared to me last night, and I had to suspend the preparation. Before I finish the process, we need to make a sacrifice. I saw something with positive and negative side effects. If the sacrifice is made and you start using the charm, you will get results within three days, but if not, it won’t work.
“It seems that you have been using other charms before now, and they don’t work. I don’t want that to happen again. And you know that there is no way we can perform the sacrifice without money. N20,000 should be enough.”
At this point, it dawned on our correspondent that he could possibly be dealing with an Internet fraudster masquerading as an herbalist.
Our correspondent offered to bring the N20,000 to his shrine, pretending to play along. Still, Ifatunde refused and voiced fears that it portended danger.
He referred to an earlier discussion wherein he warned that the charm forbade any physical meeting with a client. Instead, he proposed sending his son, Promise.
“He would wait for you by the roadside at Ipeba to collect the money,” he said.
Findings by the correspondent showed that Ipeba is a remote village along the Ogbomoso-Oyo Road.
To be continued…
Monitored from Punch