Nigeria sentences five to prison for exhuming skull in wealth ritual

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In a shocking development, Nigeria has sentenced five men to 12 years in prison each for the crime of exhuming a human skull. The suspects, aged between 18 to 28 years, intended to deliver the skull to a traditional healer who claimed it was vital for rituals promising to make them wealthy.

The convicted men were found guilty of unearthing a human skull from a Muslim cemetery, a crime they committed between two to three years ago in the north and central regions of the country.

Evidence of the human skull was also discovered in their possession. The defendants confessed to sourcing the human skull for a wealth-enhancing ritual as instructed by the traditional healer. They were apprehended in early September while transferring the exhumed body part to a third party as directed by the healer.

In the city of Minna, the capital of Niger state, the court ruled that the suspects were guilty of conspiracy, trespassing on a burial ground, and illegal possession of a human skull. The traditional healer implicated in the case has not yet been arrested or charged, reported BBC.

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Regarding the case, the prosecutor informed the court that the suspects said the herbalist informed and promised all of them that they would share the wealth and directed them to look for the human skull.

The Pew Research Center points out that belief in Juju or Voodoo is still widespread in Nigeria where such superstitions are often integrated with Christianity and Islam. Such beliefs, especially those involving the use of human body parts and talismans for wealth-creation rituals, have led to horrifying crimes in Nigeria recently, with most victims being children, single women, or disabled individuals.

Local officials also report the sale of organs for use in rituals believed to generate wealth. These wealth-creation rituals are widespread in Nigeria amidst a financial crisis that sees one in four citizens living in poverty, according to the World Bank.

The convicting court in Minna handed down 12-year prison sentences to the five men. They were arrested by security officers in early September. The charges on which they were found guilty include criminal conspiracy, trespassing on burial grounds and unlawfully possessing a human skull.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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