The Federal Government says it plans to inaugurate a national sensitization campaign against ritual murders soon.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said this on Monday in Abuja when he paid official visit to the headquarters of Daily Trust Newspaper.
According to him, the government is concerned over the rising cases of ritual murders by unscrupulous people, most of them very young, who are seeking to get rich at all cost.
“For those who may still be in doubt, ritual killings have assumed a worrisome dimension in recent years.
According to an NGO, Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), 150 women and girls have been killed for ritual purposes between Jan. 2018 and Dec. 2021.
“Recently, in Ogun State, four young men, one of whom is 18 years old, murdered their 20-year-old female friend for money rituals.
“One of them said they learnt about using human parts for money rituals from social media.
“Of course, you are also aware of a case involving a female student of the University of Jos who was allegedly killed by her boyfriend for ritual purposes,’’ he said.
In raising national awareness on the scourge, Mohammed said the National Orientation Agency (NOA), was already partnering with religious and traditional organizations as well as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
He said the body would forge behavioural change, especially among the youth, some of whom were afflicted by the get-rich-quick syndrome.
The minister noted that some had blamed Nollywood for the scourge for featuring money rituals in some of its movies which negatively influenced the vulnerable youth.
To mitigate this, Mohammed said he had directed the National Film and Video Censors Board to take the issue into consideration while performing its role of censoring and classifying films and videos.
The minister said he also directed the board to engage with stakeholders in the film industry in order to express the concerns of the government and Nigerians on the need to eschew money ritual content in their movies.
He appealed to religious, traditional and political leaders to be part of efforts to re-orientate the youth in particular, to realize that success comes through hard work, not money rituals.
The minister noted that the fact that some of the ritualists said they learnt the money-making tricks from some social media platforms had given further impetus to government campaign to rid social media of unwholesome content.
“Call it social media regulation or whatever, no serious nation today will allow its social media space to be suffused with dangerous content.
“As we have said many times, we have no intention to stifle the media or constrict the social media space.
“But we will not relent in our efforts to ensure a responsible use of the social media,’’ he said.
Mohammed called on the media to lend their strong voices to efforts to stamp out the growing menace.
“I was delighted to read a newspaper editorial on the scourge of ritual killings yesterday (Sunday).
“I implore all media organizations to join the campaign against the scourge.
The Acting Managing Director of Daily Trust, Malam Nura Daura pledged the support of the medium in the fight against the ritual murder scourge.
According to him, he noted that vibrant media is an indispensable partner for the success of any democracy.