You often hear people say they didn’t come to count bridges in Lagos. Perhaps it sounds like a joke but that is the truth of the matter. Bridges are not just fancy sights you stand and observe from a distance. All manner of businesses are transacted under the bridges in Lagos.
Nigerians are familiar with the purported mad man, Clifford Orji, who used to live under the bridge around Toyota near Oshodi, Lagos. But like Clifford Orji, not all madmen are really mad. Some just put up a show to perpetrate crime and go unnoticed.
To refresh memories, the celebrated mad man who used to live under the bridge near Oshodi turned out to be a human parts merchant and cannibal. When the truth of his situation come into the open, he was arrested and charged before an Ebute-Meta Magistrate Court in Lagos on February 19, 1999. Back then, the GSM was not in existence, but Clifford had not only a 090 NITEL mobile phone of that era, a cheque of N80,000 was also reportedly found on him.
At the time he was arrested, police had reasons to believe he was insane, mentally unstable and psychologically handicapped but that was never proven. With Clifford Orji, there were more questions than answers. Ever since the Orji saga, there have been characters similar to the celebrated mad man around bridges and under fly-overs in Nigeria with all sorts of strange and unrelated items found in the custody of such characters.
In November 2012, Joshua Akindele,56, who hailed from Etokia Local Government in Ogun State, was spotted when he crawled into a hole under the Gbaji bridge, which he used as a business outlet for selling human parts.
He later confessed that he had been into cannibalism and ritual killing business for 15 years, after being introduced to the business by a friend who convinced him to stop riding “Okada” which, he claimed, profited him a little, but could not sustain him.
He also confessed that he was the brain behind killings within the village using plywoods to subdue his human preys, and dragging them into the hole before cutting them into pieces for food and business with ritualists.
In his statement to the police, Joshua had stated, “I have been in this business for the past 15 years after my friend advised me to stop riding okada and to join him in ritual killing and cannibalism. Whenever I see somebody walking alone without being conscious of who is watching, I walk slowly up to him and hit him with big plywood on his heads after which he falls down unconscious. I then drag him into the hole and use a knife to cut him into parts which I sell to some churches and some ready buyers who indulge in rituals for easy money, and some times when I feel hungry late in the night, I eat some parts for food”.
He confessed further that he sold the parts as follows: Heads N7,500, breast N1,500, penis N1,000, hands and legs for N3,500.
Amos, a member of a vigilante group in the area, had alerted the group and palace guards of the Baale of Ajara Topa community to monitor Joshua.
He said he was on his routine watch when he noticed him (Joshua) crawling into the hole with a rice bag, and quickly alerted other members who confronted him with a gun and ordered him to drop and open what he was carrying. “When he did, they discovered rotten human part: Skulls, legs, hands, breasts e.t.c.”
At Egbe bridge, between Ikotun and Ejigbo, early this year, two persons, one of them, said to be a prophet with a white garment church, were arrested following the discovery of fresh human parts in their custody. Policemen attached to Ikotun Division on patrol accosted two men with a ‘Ghana-must-go bag’. When they requested to know the content of the bag, one of the men bolted.
After opening the bag, fresh human parts were found inside two containers. The recovered parts included five fingers, a human heart, liver, kidney and intestines, all concealed in some plastics filled with water.
The plastics were tied inside separate polythene bags and kept in the bag. The suspects had also added soup ingredients such as salt, tomatoes and two pairs of bathroom slippers in a separate nylon bag which they placed on top of the human parts. During interrogation, the suspect, identified as Kunle Olaide, claimed the bag was given to him by his friend who bolted when they were stopped.
On further interrogation, it was discovered that Kunle and his fleeing partner slept in the church the previous night. Kunle confessed to be coming from the church located in Egbe area Lagos when they were accosted by the policemen. His confessional statement led to the arrest of the prophet of the church.
Under the same Egbe bridge are all manner of spiritual churches where women are targetted for spiritual businesses. A female broadcaster working on the menace of spiritual homes had undertaken a visit to the under bridge at Egbe where she said she was rushed at by muscled men who wanted to render their services.
Katie told newsmen that she was surrounded that, for a moment, she thought she was going to be robbed or raped. “ All manner of youngmen surrounded me asking how they could help me.
They asked if I wanted spiritual bath to attract a rich suitor or a millionaire boyfriend; if I wanted a spiritual bath for success in business or promotion in my workplace or if there was somebody I wanted them to deal with.
Out of curiousity, I started asking them the price for each service and they started reeling out all manner of prices that their leader stopped them and, authotitatively, demanded what I wanted.
I now explained that my boyfriend abandoned me for my best friend and they asked again what treatment I wanted, whether I wanted him back or for them to deal with him.
They now started telling me the price for each required service. They said I should pay N7,500 to have a spiritual bath that would attract him back to me.
From a distant, I sighted two naked women being bathed with leaves by some funny looking men in a shallow stream under the bridge. I told them that I had only N4,000 which they collected and asked me to return with the balance to see the baba that would administer the spiritual bath.
I had this feeling that if not for the money I gave them, they would have done something sinister to me. That was how I left the place and never went back.”