A 50 –year-old Beninese farmer, Poni Bada, left his country home for Nigeria, with his unsuspecting nine-year-old son who he intended to use for money rituals. Three other men: Ige Koselu, Benjamin Balovi and Segun Shile, accompanied the farmer to a herbalist’s home in Owode area of Ogun State, where the money ritual was to be carried out. The trio contributed N100,000 needed to start the ritual process, with an agreement to have their share of the loot when the ritual is successful and money start to roll in.
But that was not to be, as a team of policemen from the Zone 2 Command, Onikan Lagos, who acted on intelligence, stormed the herbalist’s shrine and effected the arrest of all the suspects, while the would-be sacrificial lamb was rescued.
Crime Guard learned that the nine-year-old boy, Agbe, was brought from Benin Republic in May, 2023, to work in a farmland where he was paid N5,000. A month after, his father was said to have called his contact in Nigeria, Benjamin Balobi, complaining that the money paid to his son was too small compared to the farm work.
Explaining how he came up with the idea of using his son for money rituals, the father of the boy, Bada, said, “I have ten children from three wives. The situation of things kept going from bad to worse. I could not feed my children. I then decided to use my last child, Agbe, for a money ritual, so that I could train other children and have better living conditions.
“In May 2023, I left my home town in Jakotome, Benin Republic for Nigeria, to visit my brother, Benjamin Balobi, at Ilaro, Ogun State, who earlier told me he was doing well as a farmer and that the owner of a farmland was looking for labourers. That was how I brought Agbe to Nigeria to work.
But the thought of using him for a money ritual came up when I realized that the money paid as salary to my son was very poor. I told Balobi to help me get a herbalist that would help me with the money rituals, he said he knew no one but promised to help me find a herbalist who might have information on it. He informed Ige Koshelu (one of the suspects) who found someone that promised to take us to the herbalist’s place in Sango. But we were taken to another herbalist’s place in Owode, where we were arrested”.
Also speaking, one of his accomplices, Segun Shile, a commercial motorcyclist, said four herbalists earlier contacted declined engaging in money rituals sacrifice. He expressed regrets, saying, “If I had known, I would have withdrawn. We were warned by the herbalist I took them to at Owode, Ogun State not to use the boy.
When I called the herbalist on the phone, he said there was nothing like money rituals. Few days later, he invited me to bring the person that would be used for the rituals. Immediately he sighted the boy, he stated categorically that the child’s head was too strong to be used for rituals.
He however demanded N100,000 to take to another herbalist who would perform the rituals.
“Three of us: Balobi, Koshelu and myself, who accompanied the father of the boy there, then went outside to discuss how to raise the money. Balobi brought N50,000, and Koshelu and I added N25,000 each. We told the boy’s father not to pay since he was donating his son for the ritual. The agreement was for him to give us out of what would come out of the process. When we handed the money to the herbalist, he picked up his phone and called someone. To our surprise, the next thing we saw were policemen”.
Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2, Command, AIG Muhammed who Ali confirmed the arrest of the suspects and rescue of the minor, said the latter would be taken to a juvenile home at the end of investigation.