The Beheaded Boy By Ogun River Bank, By Festus Adedayo
On the morning of September 21, 2001, the dismembered body of a boy was found by the Thames River, near Tower Bridge in Central London, United Kingdom. He was putting on orange girls’ shorts and paraphernalia of voodoo ensconced the remains. The Metropolitan Police was astounded but it knew it wasn’t dealing with a strange phenomenon. It was said that on the average in London yearly, the Met Police and the Coroner’s Court have on their hands between forty and forty-five cases of bodies retrieved from Thames. Preliminary evidence pieced together by the police revealed that the torso was that of a male of between four and seven years old. Immediately, the police sprang into action. Unable to put a tab on his real name, he was named Boy Adam, apparently after the biblical Adam, who was said to have been naked in the Garden of Eden. After a thorough post-mortem, it was found out that Adam had been poisoned and his throat slit clinically to drain it of blood and his other dismembered parts methodically hacked like a professional butcher does. The post-mortem, which examined the boy’s stomach, found traces of minerals in his bones which seemed to establish that the boy had been brought to the UK just a few days before then. Sure that the case on their hands was voodoo sacrifice, investigators pieced together further evidence which kick-started an initial haunch that Boy Adam probably hailed from Benin City, Nigeria. Ostensibly confused about the distinction between Benin City and Benin Republic, British investigators were initially drafted to Nigeria, after the lead from one Joy Osagiede, who was believed to have trafficked the boy, proved abortive. Unable to get enough substance in Benin City, the police thereafter headed to Cotonou in Benin Republic.
Still unable to get concrete links to the killing in Benin Republic as well, investigations took the police further down Southern Africa. The police’s theory was that Boy Adam was trafficked to the UK for muti sacrifice. Muti is derived from a Zulu word called umuthi (tree) whose root is thi. Gruesome murders and mutilations are emblematic of Muti killings and they are done by excising body parts of their victims which are used as part of ingredients for concoctions of witchcraft. Professor Hendrik Scholtz, while doing a review for the Guardian of UK in April, 2002, gave the modus operandi of Muti. According to him, “the victim may be a blood relative or one of their own children, but is never a stranger and definitely never an enemy. The child is not killed because they are angry with it. They are thankful to the child. The child is actually being sacrificed so that these people can have something of an advancement. It is to attain a goal that is unattainable by normal sacrifice (the sacrifice of an animal), whether that goal is prosperity or high political office.” Till today, with millions of British pounds spent on the investigation, the Met Police haven’t given up on it. Only recently however, one of the suspects in the Boy Adam killing, a Nigerian, has owned up. Yet, the police is still on the matter.
The fastidious investigation into the Boy Adam matter is the same in virtually all sane countries of the world. The gravitas behind the keen pursuit of resolution of such knotty and criminal cases is that, being an impurity on a pure society which they attempt to foster, all efforts must be made to gorge out any stain, no matter how long it will take, from the white apparel of society. This is why you find in those sane countries that crime cases may take decades to be busted but they surely do. It is responsible for the jurisprudence behind the legal lingo that crime cases cannot be impeached by an effusion of time.
In Nigeria and many developed countries however, this philosophy of impurity as an enemy of purity does not have any place in our criminal system. We run a system that has criminals and the law-abiding intermix in one huge whirlpool. This is why, in spite of the presence of powerful wordings against crime committals and deterrence for offenders in our constitutions and Acts, those who administer Nigeria are a bunch of rogues and criminals, with a big attraction for and to shield their fellow criminals in same high places. We as the ruled ourselves do not help matters. We scarcely see any wrong committed when allegations of criminality are leveled against members of the ruling class. Oppression has so denuded our sense of right, wrong and societal order that we don’t seem to bother about this narration of purity and impurity.
In Ogun State, Nigeria, right now as I put pen to paper, a dismembered body of a boy is by its own Thames River. Or put rightly, by the Ogun River bank. In this case, however, unlike the relentless and selfless investment of energy by the Metropolitan Police to stave off this pollutant from the British system, neither Nigerians as a whole nor even the people of Ogun State are bothered a jot about this lifeless torso. To them, it may have got to the river bank as a result of politics or any other God-knows-what reason. The dismembered Boy Adam in Ogun comes in the form of an allegation that is currently ravaging the political landscape of the state. It is the news that billionaire oil and gas magnate who hails from Ijebu Remo and governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Dapo Abiodun, lied about his possession of a university degree and or that he did not observe the mandatory one-year youth service scheme. Abiodun is also the chairman of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) a company which superintends over corporate integrity and registration of business names in Nigeria Abiodun, you will recall, was the father of Olugbenga Abiodun, aka DJ Olu, hip-hop singer, David Adeleke, aka Davido’s friend, who reportedly died a couple of years ago, in company with one Chime Amaechi, said to be a crew member of the artiste, who also died. Their remains were said to have been found inside a BMW car in a garage located on Block B, Banana Island, Lagos. The State Police Command claimed it recovered substances suspected to be hard drugs right inside the car.
The converse of the allegation against Abiodun, the billionaire business tycoon, is that, if he possessed the university degree in dispute, he did not observe the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. Abiodun was said to have claimed that he graduated from the university in the 1980s but however tendered a West African School Certificate in the form he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2019 polls. When he ran for same office in 2015, he was alleged to have tendered a university degree certificate obtained from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, which he purportedly obtained in 1986 and another from Kennesaw State University, Atlanta Georgia, United States of America, obtained in 1998. He was also
The questions for resolution in this Ogun Boy Adam matter are so straightforward that they should bother anyone that they still linger. They are part of the same question that President Muhammadu Buhari has spent years waffling on. Did Dapo Abiodun have a university degree or degrees? Did he lie on oath that he possessed any as allegedly claimed on his 2015 INEC form? Did he submit his WAEC certificate while filling the INEC form in the election that is slated for 2019? What certificate did he submit upon nomination as CAC Chairman and was it taken through scrutiny to ascertain its genuineness? Did the mandatory discharge certificate from the NYSC, which is said to be a pre-requisite for any public job in Nigeria, submitted by him as well? Isn’t it suspicious, thus raising what legal practitioners call rebuttable presumption of guilt, that if Abiodun just submitted a WAEC certificate preparatory to the 2019 elections, when he should have done that alongside his university degree certificate, it could be inferred that he does not have a university degree or is lying not to have a university degree? Or is there some obvious lacuna in the university degrees he claimed? If he actually didn’t attend these universities as he has made the world to infer from his WAEC certificate submission, the onus would be on the people of Ogun State – where the Missionary, Rev. Henry Townsend, established the second printing press in Nigeria in 1854 and a state that first had an educational head-start in Nigeria – to decide whether they want to hand over the high office of the governor of their state into the hands of a man who ostensibly possesses only a school certificate. Or could it be that Abiodun actually possesses those degrees but did not submit himself for the mandatory NYSC exercise? If this is so, what are the penalties for non-observance of the one-year scheme? Shouldn’t they be meted on him? Or could it be that Abiodun graduated from the university after he clocked 30 years of age when it was no longer necessary for him to engage in the exercise? Then he will need to provide his exemption certificate. These are the questions that should be answered via a full public disclosure.
It is now becoming a noticeable pattern for Nigerian public office seekers to put a shroud on their past, especially their academic records, while seeking political offices. While it is not a crime to possess only a WAEC certificate, bearing in mind that the drafters of the Nigerian constitution request only this certificate, in most instances where presentation of the WAEC certificate is the only certificate which a person hitherto thought to have a high flying academic record does, a criminal offence is lying by its fuselage. It is either to evade an ancillary claim that will go with production of a degree certificate, which is the NYSC discharge certificate, or a criminal and unedifying past while in the university can be taken for granted. We all know that it is a crime for any Nigerian graduate to evade the compulsory one-year NYSC scheme, except those exempted. Dodging NYSC, in the opinion of the drafters of the constitution, is akin to draft-dodging in the Vietnam war which America criminalized.
Certificate forgers, NYSC dodgers and suchlike have ruled and are still ruling Nigeria. Unfortunately, the Buhari government is leading the pack with cases of two of its ministers which have landed in the book of public opprobrium. The President himself still has a number of unpleasant tangs hovering round his possession or not of a common school certificate. Unbeknown to us all, the purport for society of these widespread cases of elite forgery of certificates and a retinue of NYSC dodgers is huge.
Though a school certificate-holder can perform wonders as a political office holder, the impurity of forgery and national assignment dodging is symptomatic of the fact that such an office seeker can never be a responsible leader if he gets there. Do we think that it is for fun that America almost literally scans the genes of its future presidents for traces of drug usage while they were youth or any trace of delinquencies whatsoever? It is for the simple reason of maintaining the purity of governmental blood. Thus, no matter how extraneous the colour that makes up the reasons being advanced for the surge of angsts against the Dapo Abiodun certificate matter is, the oil magnate has to address the issues personally, one by one, not through hirelings. Through this allegation of certificate forgery or national assignment-dodging, Ogun currently has no nominee at the Federal Executive Council. It can’t afford to travel this route again. We as a people also have to demand that Dapo Abiodun addresses these grave issues. INEC, which already had copies of his claims in 2015, should also do the needful to rescue Nigeria from yet another pollutant. Or else, we all will be suffocated by the smell of the decay called Boy Adam who is currently lying by the Ogun riverside.