Some Nigerians, in their desperate quest to get money, engage in a lot of bizarre and sacrilegious activities, Daily Trust reports.
There is dignity in labour and many hardworking Nigerians daily engage in menial jobs and other small scale businesses to earn decent and legitimate incomes to put food on their tables. However, some Nigerians, rather than engage in legitimate activities to earn decent incomes, choose to do some unthinkable things to make money and live large.
Daily Trust Saturday, in this report, chronicles some of the absurd things people engage in in their quests to make money.
Man tricks Jigawa villagers to steal roofs, doors of 14 mosques
In Jigawa State, a 21-year-old man identified as Abba Haruna removed the roofs and doors of many mosques in three local government areas under the pretence of building new ones for them.
The incident happened in July. Haruna was later discovered to be a swindler, who, after removing the roofing sheets and doors of the mosques, sold them to scrap merchants.
The police spokesman in the state, DSP Lawal Shi’isu Adam, said the fraudster was arrested and charged to court.
In one of the instances, the spokesperson of the Magistrates’ Court in Kiyawa town, Abbas Rufai Wangara, said Haruna was accused of vandalising and stealing roofing sheets, doors and windows from mosques.
The BBC had reported that the suspect carted away materials belonging to 14 mosques in Taura, Kiyawa and Jahun local government areas of the state.
The village head of Kanoke, Ussaini Wanzam Ilyasu, said Haruna came to the village a couple of weeks ago, claiming that he was working with an Arab non-governmental organisation that would build a bigger mosque; hence they should demolish the old building.
“He even paid the labourers who demolished the mosque. He paid those who removed the rooftop N5,000, electricians N2,000, while those who demolished the courtyard were also paid N5,000,” he said.
The village head said Haruna was arrested while attempting to trick another community and officials raised alarm after being suspicious of his visit to the community.
Groom’s best friend caught stealing wedding gifts in Kano
On April 5, a groom’s best friend was caught in Kano after stealing wedding gifts worth N500, 000 belonging to his friend’s bride.
The incident occurred at the Gaida area of Kumbotso Local Government Area LGA of Kano State, one week after the wedding ceremony.
The vigilante commander of Gaida, Shekarau Ali, said the suspect was found to be in possession of the house keys of the couple after being apprehended following a complaint filed by the groom.
Upon interrogation, the suspect disclosed that he got the keys from the relatives of the bride after claiming that he was going to hand them over to the groom.
The vigilante commander further said they were investigating him and would subsequently hand him over to the police.
The suspect reportedly confessed to the crime, claiming that it was the devil that made him betray his friend. He also pleaded for forgiveness.
The best man also claimed to have contributed towards the wedding by spending more than N400,000 for the groom.
Husband sells wife, son for N2m in Ogun
On May 19, the Ogun State police command confirmed the arrest of a 36-year-old man, Kingsley Essien, for allegedly selling his wife and his two-year-old son at prices amounting to N2million.
The police said Essien had trafficked his wife to Mali for prostitution at the cost of N1.4m. He was said to have also sold their two-year-old son at N600,000.
The spokesman of the command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, disclosed that Essien’s arrest followed a report lodged at the Agbara division by his wife, Bright.
The woman was said to have reported to the police that her husband had sometime in October 2021 lied that he had secured a job for her in Bamako, Mali, and that he had in the past assisted many to secure a job in Mali.
Not suspecting any foul play, Bright said she agreed to go to Mali, but she got to the African country and discovered that she had been sold to a human trafficking cartel headed by a woman, at the rate of N1.4m.
Two men docked for stealing 20 bibles in Ekiti
When it comes to doing the unthinkable, criminals rarely give a thought to the religion or tribe of their partners in crime.
For instance, on August 2, two men were arraigned before a Chief Magistrates’ Court in Ado-Ekiti for stealing 20 bibles, seven hymns and ushers’ books.
The police charged Basiru Abubakar, 20, and Peter Friday, 18, with conspiracy and theft.
The prosecution counsel, Inspector Oriyomi Akinwale, told the court that the defendants committed the offence on July 27 about 11am at the Bank Road Area in Ado-Ekiti.
He said the defendants also stole a tambourine, stickers, church banners, tithe cards and offering envelopes, all valued at N150, 000, belonging to Ms Adedokun Esther.
The prosecution said the items were displayed outside the church for sale during a programme.
He said the offence contravened the provisions of section 302(1) (a) of the criminal law of Ekiti State, 2021.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Another steals generator, sound amplifier from Adamawa mosque, spends proceeds on drugs
On July 20, a man in Adamawa State, Umar Sani, owned up to stealing N48,000 cash, as well as a generator, a sound amplifier and other gadgets belonging to a mosque in the state capital, Yola.
Umar said he sold the items and spent the money on drugs, which he took with his friends.
Umar was remanded by the Jimeta Area Court II, presided over by Muhammad Lamurde, who adjourned the matter to August 2 for corroboration and summary trial.
Court orders man to sweep mosque for stealing Qur’an
On August 18, 2021, a Sharia Court in Fagge, Kano metropolis, ordered one Halifa Abdullahi to sweep a Juma’at mosque after he was found guilty of stealing the Holy Qur’an.
Abdullahi, a resident of Yola quarters in Kano metropolis, was apprehended while burgling a mosque at Tudun Maliki area and carted away eight copies of the Holy Qur’an.
The presiding judge, Bello Musa-Khalid, ordered Mr Abdullahi to sweep the mosque for 30 days as punishment.
The police prosecutor, Abdul Wada, read the charges against the accused, who pleaded guilty to the offence.
The judge, therefore, sentenced the accused to sweep the Fagge Juma’at mosque for 30 days. The mosque is considered to be the biggest in Kano metropolis in terms of land mass.
Man caught stealing human skull from cemetery
On May 31, 2022, a 38-year-old man, Ebuka Enuma, was docked in a Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos for an alleged possession of a human skull.
Enuma, who resides in the Bariga area, was charged with unlawful possession of human parts. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The prosecution counsel, ASP Rita Momah, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on May 13 at Amukoko cemetery, Lagos.
Momah alleged that Enuma broke into the cemetery and excavated an old grave and stole the skull.
She said the defendant was arrested while trying to leave the cemetery.
Solar lights stolen from cemetery in Jos
In April, gravediggers working at the Zaria road cemetery in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State, raised the alarm over the theft of some pieces of solar energy from the cemetery.
The pieces of the solar energy, according to the gravediggers, were installed to beef up security in the graveyard area.
Bashir Muhammad, the leader of the gravediggers, while speaking on the matter said, “We just woke up one day and realised that two pieces of the solar energy were removed. A week after, six were removed again. Some days after that, 12 were also removed.”
“We reported the case to sector 1 of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) and they quickly swung into action. Afterward, the soldiers stormed the house and found four pieces of solar energy in a room. They arrested the occupants of the room, who confessed that they had sold the remaining ones,” he said.
Muhammad, however, called on people to fear Allah as the cemetery was a home for everyone, irrespective of their affiliations, saying, it was not good for one to steal a property meant for the cemetery.
Two Ogun residents detained for stealing Sallah ram
On July 7, two suspected thieves were arrested by men of the Ogun State police command after allegedly stealing a ram in Ogijo, Sagamu Local Government Area.
The owner of the stolen ram, Sodiq Abolore, reportedly raised the alarm after he saw the suspects taking away his ram meant for the Eid-el adha (Muslim festival).
The police public relations officer in the state, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, who disclosed this in a statement noted, “Adetunji Alagbe and Opeyemi Ogunlokun were arrested for stealing a Sallah ram belonging to one Sodiq Abolore.
“The ram was recovered and the two suspects were taken into custody,” he said.
Another caught after ‘stealing’ offering in Dunamis Church
On July 1, 2019, a suspected armed robber identified as Terkaa Tsamber was caught after allegedly stealing offerings and other valuable items worth several thousands of naira at Dunamis Church, Modern Market Road, Makurdi, Benue State.
The robber reportedly came into the church premises and made his way into the pastor’s office shortly after the second service ended around 10 am, but a little girl sighted him with a gun and screamed for help.
Tsamber jumped the fence. The worshipers, who came for the third service, sighted him and chased him.
He was traced to a nearby building which belongs to a top politician, where he was eventually arrested.
Man kills girlfriend, sleeps with corpse for six days
On April 12, a 28-year-old man identified as Ifeanyi Njoku, was arrested by the Lagos State police command for allegedly killing his 24-year-old girlfriend, Precious Okeke and sleeping with her corpse for six days for money ritual purposes.
The police public relations officer in the state, Benjamin Hundeyin, who confirmed the incident in a statement, noted that it happened in an estate at Badore in the Ajah area of the state.
“The deceased and the suspect were live-in lovers and stayed on Oke Street in the estate where Ifeanyi Njoku allegedly killed her for ritual purposes.
“Preliminary investigations reveal that a native doctor who was assisting the suspect in the money ritual instructed him to have sex with Okeke’s corpse,
“After killing the girlfriend, Njoku was said to have engaged in the illicit act with the corpse for six days. The stench emanating from his apartment prompted his neighbours to inform the management of the estate,” Hundeyin said.
Substance abuse, hardship, mental disorders major factors – Psychologist
Speaking on the developments, a psychologist, Dr Abubakar Sadiq Haruna, who lectures at the Maryam Abacha American University Kano, identified hardship, substance abuse and poverty as part of the factors pushing people into doing such absurd things.
“Three major factors push people into doing all these things you mentioned. These include: environmental triggers like hardship, poverty, bad parenting, bad friends and copying from westernisation through the media. In a situation where people have nothing to eat and are battling with high cost of living, they are likely to find other alternatives, even if it means doing things that are harmful.
“There is also modelling. If parents are doing bad things for survival, their children are likely to copy and even go beyond what the parents did. Parts of environmental triggers are also friends. If people associate with bad friends they will push them into doing what is bad. The media also triggers this as people can copy bad behaviours from a movie or particular medium.
“The second factor is substance abuse, which remains the most dangerous as it always gives negative information to the brain. If youths are into substance abuse, they are likely to engage in all absurd things.
“This has contributed a lot to what we are seeing today in the society. The third factor is mental disorders. Where there is a system dysfunction in the brain it makes the person act irrationally,” he said.
According to him, the only solution is for the relevant stakeholders to play their parts in improving the living condition, encouraging good parenting, banning drug trafficking and engaging in proper guidance and counselling to people with mental disorder.
Also speaking, an Islamic cleric, Shiekh Lawal Abubakar, who is the chief imam of Triumph Juma’at Mosque in Fagge Local Government Area of Kano State, said there was nowhere in Islam that people are allowed or have reasons to do anything prohibited, under the guise of survival.
He said no matter the hardship in life, Muslims were given legitimate alternatives to follow.
“Anybody you see engaging in those negative acts already has a bad mind and his reasons for doing that, but not in Islam.
“There are many examples to learn from the life and time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). During his time, while he and his companions were working to propagate Islam, they were into difficulties that we have never faced in today’s world. There was a time when they had to place stones on their stomach because they had no food to eat. There were times when they spent many days without food and water. But despite all these, there was never a time the prophet allowed or asked them to do what was bad. In fact, he always cautions us against such acts,” he said.
Sheikh Abubakar said odd and absurd things happened in our society as a result of failures of governments, parents and the society to discharge their responsibilities.
Also speaking, a Christian cleric and former chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kogi State, Bishop John Ibenu, said those odd things happened in the society because people no longer think about eternity and the life after here.
He also said the decline in moral and societal values, coupled with the failure of the government in providing a conducive environment for the citizens contributed to the absurd things people engage in today.
On the way forward, Bishop Ibenu said, “There are three ways: people need to think of eternity and know that they will be judged for whatever they do, we need to redirect our moral, ethical and societal values, and the government needs to step up in providing legitimate means of livelihood for the youth, adults and everybody. Government should provide an atmosphere for small businesses to thrive so that everyone can have something to do and make some money; that way, people will not resort to the kinds of nefarious activities that go on today.”
Itodo Daniel Sule, Haruna Ibrahim, Abuja & Zahraddeen Yakubu Shuaibu, Kano