Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
A 61-year old Nigerian man who admitted decapitating a woman after he was paid $10 or 4000 naira has narrated his ordeal.
He was arrested by the police with the victim’s fresh head concealed in a bag while speeding to deliver it to the donor for some rituals meant to make someone rich or powerful.
In Nigeria, such killings are known as ritual killings. The killers often take away the fresh head of the deceased, as well as the hands, the heart and other parts.
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The suspect told journalists while he was being paraded by the police that he and three accomplices now at large were hired to kill the woman and take the body parts to a traditional doctor who would then use them either to make someone rich or powerful.
The suspect said he used a knife to dismember the victim and took away her head but was arrested before he could deliver it.
Nigerian policemen are often branded as feckless, but sometimes they do a great job. In this case, they stopped and searched him and found the human head of a lady his accomplices had encountered on the outskirts of Lagos.
Why it matters: Nigerians go to the polls in February and the killings of random people by politicians trying to access power often increase in the months before the elections. Many people still believe that being rich or being elected is not the product or hard work but the result of metaphysical pacts or sacrifices to the gods or satan.