- Female students in tertiary schools in Delta state said they have stopped wearing pants
- This was as a result of the prevalent reports of ritualists stealing pants to do money rituals
- The ugly practice has led to the state government’s crackdown order on all ritualists and Yahoo boys
The prevalent reports of ritualists, also known as ‘Yahoo boys’, stealing female underwear, sometimes at gunpoint, particularly around campuses of tertiary institutions in Delta state, are causing fear and panic among women, particularly female students, in the state.
It was gathered that the underwear of girls and women, particularly of ages between 14 and 35, are allegedly considered as ‘hot cakes’ for use by the ritualists.
A report by The Punch states that amidst the ensuing panic, many ladies in the affected areas in Delta have been devising ways to safeguard themselves against danger.
Used pants, according to some students at Asaba campus of the Delta State University, sells for as much as N350,000, with some adding that the price can be higher if it is confirmed to have body fluids.
According to the newspaper, one of the measures being used by female students at the campus to protect themselves is to go out without wearing pants.
For instance, a student of the school, who lives outside the school campus and who only identified herself as Esther, said three of her friends had started employing the strategy of going out without wearing pants.
“We hear that the pants those ritualists or ‘Yahoo boys’ steal are being used for money ritual. After they finish performing some rituals on the pants, the owners will start bleeding or vomiting blood. Since the news got to us, three of my friends have stopped wearing pants. I have stopped going out at night, even for something as important as going to the campus to study at night. Although I heard that these evil people also operate during the day, I believe it is more dangerous at night.
“We heard that last week, on Anwai Road, at around 8pm, two men forcibly collected a young lady’s pants. As I speak to you, we have not seen the lady since then to know the effect it will have on her. Though unlike my friends who have stopped wearing pants, I still do, but we have been advised to stop hanging our pants on washing lines outside.”
Also, a 22-year-old female student of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba, who simply identified herself as Sandra, described the alleged theft of female underpants as evil brought for Asaba by ‘Yahoo boys’.
She also confirmed that some ladies no longer wear pants in some parts of the state, especially in Abraka, Asaba, for fear of having them stolen by ritualists.
Sandra said she was told that some pants could be sold for as much as N500,000 each.
She said she had also stopped wearing pants outside.
“I am telling you the truth; in Delta state now, especially Asaba, there is fear because the way these ‘Yahoo boys’ or ‘Yahoo Plus boys’ are looking for female pants is crazy. Some even collect ladies’ pants at gunpoint.
“I have stopped wearing pants whenever I am going out, and that goes for some of my friends too to prevent ourselves from being victims of these evil people. When they collect someone’s pants, it is the end for that person. It happened to one lady in Umuagwu quarters of Asaba. Her family has taken her to church for healing because she has been behaving abnormally. I have also stopped going out with people I don’t know their background, especially those with flashy cars.”
Another student who spoke to the newspaper insisted that the problem was really serious. Speaking on condition of anonymity, she said she knew a lady who fell ill after losing her pants.
“I know one Jenifer who fell into the hands of these evil boys in Asaba. On Friday, December 14, 2018, she fell very ill. The management of a hotel in Umugwu, where she had gone to meet someone, quickly reported the case to the police and they were advised to take her to a traditional healing home.
“When contacted on the telephone, the man identified as the culprit, said the lady was still alive, but since then, his line had not been reachable,” she said.
The report also has it that in Abraka, Ughelli, Ozoro and Warri, some ladies have resulted to sprinkling their pants with oil that had allegedly been blessed by preachers.
According to Efe, a young lady in her late 20s, she no longer hangs her underwear on the washing line outside her flat or leaves the diapers used by her baby lying around.
“Some women sprinkle their pants with ‘anointed oil’. Some of us have stopped hanging our pants on washing lines outside. If you come to my compound, you won’t see any underwear hanging outside like it used to be and it is because we are afraid of ritualists.
“Since we heard the news, we have been hanging our pants in our bathrooms; whether they get dry or not is not a big issue. We sometimes iron our underwear to get them dry. We are also mindful of what our visitors could do so we take precautions. We understand that these ‘boys’ have agents who sneak into houses to steal pants and brassieres.
“Although, I haven’t seen anyone who is a victim of this problem, I have heard about some cases. Even my female neighbours told me that they had stopped wearing pants since there were reports about some guys stealing underwear at gunpoint. It’s better not to wear pants than to die prematurely,” she said.
The ugly development is also prevalent in Ogwushi-Uku Polytechnic in Aniocha North local government area of the state. In the polytechnic, it was gathered that female students had adopted a strategy of going to their boyfriends’ places without their undies.
This was disclosed by a student in National Diploma Two, who identified herself as Cynthia.
“Most ladies have stopped leaving their pants in their boyfriend’s house or wearing pants there. In my own case, I trust my man and believe he will not do anything to hurt me. He is from a good background and not a greedy person who would want to make quick money through rituals. But I know that many ladies on this campus now visit their boyfriends without putting on underwear. For instance, my friend, Chida, has stopped wearing pants,” Cynthia said.
She added: “Also, we avoid lonely routes, during the day and at night because of the sad reports that get to us. We heard that some people now go about in flashy cars, looking for ladies on lonely roads whom they would point their gun at and ask them to bring their pants or be shot dead.
“Many ladies have stopped going out after 6.30pm; we would rather stay in our hostels.”
Meanwhile, a man was reportedly apprehended recently while allegedly attempting to steal some female underwear. The suspect was reportedly caught by local vigilantes in Agbarha-Ughelli area of the state after he allegedly stole a bra and was looking for pants to steal.
When he was quizzed by security operatives, the suspect allegedly confessed that a man whom he had asked to show him how to make money told him to go and get female pants and bras before he would assist him.
He allegedly said he was to meet with the unknown man at a popular hotel in Ughelli area after getting the underwear.
Also, on Sunday, December 2, 2018, five ladies were said to have encountered some ritualists at Oha Junction, close to Osubi along Abraka Road, who ordered them at gunpoint to bring their pants.
Some churches have reportedly started advocacy to advise their female members to be mindful of where they keep their pants.
A female Sunday school teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “We have seen it as our responsibility to teach our ladies, especially teenagers, ways to avoid being victims of this ugly practice that we experience in Delta state.
“As a teacher in my church, I have told female members of my church to be suspicious of their friends and even brothers. They should not leave their pants lying around anywhere. If possible, they should hide them in their bags and they should not collect pants as gifts from friends. We used to hear ‘your money or your life’ but today, it has become a case of ‘your pants or your life.”
She further advised young ladies to be wary of hanging their pants on washing lines outside and to be smart enough to resist being deceived by men in flashy cars, saying “all that glitters is not gold.”
Government orders crackdown on all ‘Yahoo boys’, ritualists
Meanwhile, the disturbing practice has led to a decisive reaction from the Delta state government. Charles Aniagwu, the chief press secretary to Okowa, said the governor had ordered a crackdown on all ‘Yahoo boys’, ritualists and all those involved in the unexplainable and sudden wealth acquired by some people in the state.
He expressed concern over the increasing and disturbing activities of suspected ritual killers and criminally minded individuals, whom he said were becoming more conspicuous because of their flamboyant lifestyles.
“The governor has ordered the police commissioner to go after these ‘Yahoo boys’ that are causing fear, unrest and panic in the state,” he said.
The police confirmed the ugly practice
The police public relations Officer, Delta state command, DSP Andrew Aniamaka, confirmed the development.
He said the case of a young woman – Ezino – who had a ‘strange’ ailment had brought the attention of the police command to the activities of ritualists in the state.
The police spokesperson said that the young woman reported to the Police A Division station and complained that maggots were coming out of her body after and that she was referred to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, to ascertain the cause.
“From the FMC, the lady was taken to a traditional healing home by her family, but we have not heard from her since then,” he said.
Offense “not known to the law”
On whether the suspect was arrested, Aniamaka said: “What offence shall we arrest him for? The boyfriend said he only slept with her and that he did not rape her. For maggots to be coming out of her private parts is not known to the law.”
Aniamaka said no arrest connected to the alleged stealing of female underwear had been made so far, but he urged members of the public to always give timely information to the police to help prevent.
He urged ladies to be security conscious at all times, assuring that the command was ready to decisively deal with crime in the state.
How to fight the ugly practice
Ms Benedicta Osakunih-Izuegbu, senior special assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Girl Child Development, had said that the current wave of criminalities, frauds and ritual-related crimes, should be fought through advocacy.
“We have to fight this crime in three ways; one is through advocacy to enable the perpetrators, particularly the youth to change their mindset. Again, parents and guardians must ask questions and query all wealth got illegally by their children and wards. The traditional institution and government should also come up with policies and programmes to tackle the crime,” she had said.
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Legit.ng had reported that the House of Representatives resolved to investigate the cause of the incessant killings of young female students of Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, with a view to arresting the situation.
This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep Lovette Idisi (PDP-Delta), at the plenary on Thursday, December 6.
The House mandated the Committee on Police Affairs to interface with the inspector general of police and the commissioner of police in Delta with a view to taking necessary and effective measures to arrest the deplorable situation.
Drawing the attention of the house to the killings, Idisi said that a female student of the university was recently killed by men suspected to be ritual killers styled, “Yahoo boys”.
He said one Elozino Ogege, a 300 level student of the department of Mass Communication of the university, was recently murdered by the killers.
The lawmaker said that in spite of the re-occurrence of the killings, security in the area had remained casual.
He alleged that no effort to beef security up in order to check the killings and protect the vulnerable citizens was being made.
The lawmaker said that the killings were specifically targeted at the female folks whose used sanitary pads and underwears were said to be needed for ritual purposes.
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