The House of Representatives has called for the declaration of a national emergency on ritual killings across the country.
This formed part of the resolutions reached by the lawmakers on a motion of urgent public importance entitled ‘Need to Curb the Rising Trend of Ritual Killings in Nigeria’.
Mr Toby Okechukwu, the Minority Leader of the House, moved the motion during Wednesday’s plenary at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.
The motion comes amid the incessant killing of innocent Nigerians for ritual purposes, with one of the latest being the murder of Sofiat Okeowo in Ogun State.
Worried about the trend, the lawmakers called on the National Orientation Agency (NOA), as well as parents, heads of schools, religious leaders, and the media to undertake a campaign to change the negative narrative bedevilling the society.
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They resolved to call on the Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board to rise to the mandate of the agency, as the clearinghouse for all movies produced in the country.
While moving the motion, Okechukwu called the attention of the House to the recent incidents of ritual killings which he said have assumed an alarming rate.
He condemned the upsurge of reported ritual killings with increasing cases of abductions and missing persons in different parts of the country, saying the culprits in most cases rape, maim, kill and obtain sensitive body parts of unsuspecting victims for rituals.
The Red Cross Society, according to him, reported that it received 10,480 reports of missing persons in Nigeria in 2017, and three teenage suspects and a 20-year-old were accused of killing Sofiat.
The lawmaker told his colleagues that the Ogun State Police Command later reported on Monday that one of the suspects confessed that he learned the act of ritual killing from a video he watched on Facebook.
He also condemned the killing of Iniobong Umoren, a woman in her 20s, after being lured to a location in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State for a job interview.
Okechukwu stressed the need to be mindful of the role of the Nigerian movie industry in moulding the behavioural patterns in the society, as well as the mandate of NFVCB and others.
The lawmakers mandated the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics, and Values to report back to the House within four weeks.
According to them, the Inspector General of Police should take urgent steps to increase surveillance and intelligence gathering, with a view to apprehend and prosecute all perpetrators of ritual killings in Nigeria.
Similarly, the House Committee on Police Affairs was mandated to report back to the lawmakers within four weeks.