The Zone 2 Police Command apprehended a 50-year-old man named Mr. Pome Banda, along with three others, on charges of luring a nine-year-old boy from Benin Republic with the intention of using him for a money ritual.
The Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Mr. Ari Mohammed Ali, made this announcement during a press conference in Lagos.
According to Mohammed, the Zone 2 Criminal Investigation Department received information about the suspects’ plan.
To catch them in the act, the police assumed the role of a herbalist willing to assist in the money ritual. They engaged in discussions with the boy’s father, his brother living in Nigeria named Benjamin Balobi, and two Nigerians, Segun Shile and Ige Koshelu.
Banda, the boy’s father, brought his son from Benin Republic to Nigeria on May 30, 2023, under the pretense of securing a housemaid job for him.
Instead, he handed the boy over to a man known as Baba Shina, who later absconded, while the child worked as a house help. After a month, the boy was taken back to Cotonou, and his father was given N35,000 as a salary in the boy’s presence to deceive him.
Between June 17 and 23, Banda, along with the other suspects, brought the boy back to Nigeria for the purpose of performing the money-making ritual. The police arrested the four suspects, including the presumed native doctor, at Sango Ota in Ogun.
During interrogation at the Zone 2 Police Command Headquarters, Onikan Lagos, the boy’s father explained that he resorted to using his fifth child for the ritual due to poverty. He contacted his brother, Benjamin Balobi, in Nigeria to find a house help job and assist in the money ritual.
Balobi, in turn, found Baba Shina as the house help master and connected with Ige Koshelu, a Nigerian, to discuss the plan.
Koshelu then involved another Nigerian named Segun Shile, who arranged for a herbalist in the Owode Yewa area of Ogun, without knowing that the herbalist was an undercover policeman.
In response to Banda’s inquiries, Balobi informed him that the job he found paid a monthly salary of N5,000.
“It was later he opened up to me that he wanted to use his son for money ritual, that is when I connected him with one Baba Shina who is on the run now. The boy was taken to Baba Shina house.
“He said he wanted to be rich, that was why he wanted to use his son for the ritual, but I don’t know anything about it. I only assisted him to secure a house help job for his son,” he said.
According to Ige Koshelu, when Banda brought his son from Benin Republic, Baba Shina (the boy’s master) contacted him to reveal his intention of using the son for a money ritual.
Koshelu explained that he informed Banda that he had no knowledge of rituals but assured them that he would try to assist by reaching out to another friend who might know a herbalist capable of helping them.
“It was a friend of mine whom I contacted that promised to get someone for them at the Oja Odan area of Ogun, who finally helped them.
“It was that my friend who later took us to the herbalist house at Owode Yewa, and from Owode Yewa, we moved again to Sango to meet the herbalist. Unfortunately, we were arrested at the scene where the policemen were already waiting,” he said.
Segun Shile recounted his time at Oja-Odan, where he worked as a welder, and when Koshelu approached him with a disturbing proposition involving his son and a potential money ritual.
According to Shile, the herbalist made a phone call from Owode Yewa to address the matter and assured them that there was no such thing as money ritual.
Surprisingly, five days later, the herbalist contacted Shile once more, insisting on a meeting with him and the individual who intended to use his son for the money ritual. Following the request, they paid the herbalist a visit.
“The herbalist called me two days after again that he had contacted another herbalist, who promised to help them but will collect N100,000.
“Balobi then told me he would donate N50,000, while I and Koshelu should contribute the remaining N50,000, as the father of the boy will not bring a dine, because he presented his son for the ritual.
“After the contribution, we took the money to the herbalist, after collecting it, he kept it under his mat and picked his phone to call someone.
“Few hours later, we were arrested on the spot by the police while we were waiting for the second herbalist,” he said.