The police in Matari area of Bauchi state, northern Nigeria, have arrested a suspected ritualist, Tukur Adamu, for allegedly plucking out the eyes of a seven-year-old boy. Adamu is a neighbour of his victim, Augustine Bello.
A spokesman of the victim’s family, Yakubu Bello, said in Jos on Monday that the suspect committed the offence at Matari village, on the border between Plateau and Bauchi, on 17 October, 2012, at about 5 p.m.
“On the fateful date, the suspect came into the compound of the family of the victim under the pretext of fetching a herbal flower.
“But after fetching the flower, the suspect cajoled the minor into the bush as he was then alone in the compound since his grandmother had gone to the bush to fetch firewood.
“When the grandmother came back from the bush, she could not find the boy in the house.
“A search party was immediately dispatched to look for the minor within the locality, but little Augustine was only traced the following morning with his two eyes removed while his intestines were bulging out from a deep cut,’’ Bello said.
The visibly distraught spokesman said that the Ward Head of Matari village, Musa Mai-Ungwa, was promptly informed of the incident.
“The traditional ruler directed the family to take the boy to a primary health centre in the village, while the police were invited to the scene,’’ Bello said.
The spokesman said that Adamu was immediately picked as the suspect who committed the heinous crime because he was the last person that was seen with the boy.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the suspect was still being detained by the police in Bauchi.
A senior police officer, who opted for anonymity, confirmed the incident, and said that investigation had begun on the matter.
“The suspect has made some confessions and we are already trailing one Idris Sale, who the suspect claimed had given them the contract to source the two eyes for some ritual purposes.”
Meanwhile, three persons, Kingsley Linus, Martina Owelikpe and Ngozi Nwoha, were on Monday arraigned before an Abuja Senior Magistrate’s Court for alleged criminal conspiracy, abduction and selling of minors.
The prosecutor, Mr Udochukwu Jonathan, said Linus of no fixed address, Owelikpe of 51 Crescent, C Close Kubwa, Abuja, and Nwoha of Umuchigbo, Enugu State, had been in the business for a long time.
Jonathan, in a First Information Report against the accused, told the court that they had lured one Prisca Asugwo and three other female with their babies to Abuja. “The accused persons between the months of August and September, had lured Asugwo, and the three other ladies with their babies to Abuja with Linus promising to marry and take care of them.
“They conspire and keep them against their will and eventually sell the babies for ritual and other purposes afterwards,’’ Jonathan said. He said that the offences were contrary to sections 97, 272, 273, 278, and 74 of the Penal Code.
The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Senior Magistrate Binta Mohammed granted them bail in the sum of N100,000 each with a reasonable surety each in like sum.
The sureties must be civil servants, Mohammed said, adding that they must live within the jurisdiction of the court and present to the court a copy of their last promotion letter and last utility bill as evidence.
She adjourned the case till 21 November for further hearing.