Chuks (not real name) was a second-year student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. He lived in a hostel in the same neighborhood as this reporter. He was a level headed dude, whose age then can be put at between 23 and 25. He is not blessed with rich parents, and to make ends meet, he sometimes helped his fellow students to wash their clothes.
During the long vacation of 2017, Chuks disappeared. He probably travelled to meet his parents like most students did, but on the commencement of the next academic year, he failed to return to continue his studies. He, however, visited the neighborhood in a clean Toyota Venza SUV around November of the same year. “Chuks, you brought your parents’ vehicle to school to come and show off, is it not?” This reporter queried Chuks jokingly. He simply smiled wryly in an unruffled manner and stated that the car was his.
He bought drinks for his former hostel mates, and later left. Much later, one of the hostel mates, who saw our shock on the speedy transformation Chuks experienced, had this to say: “Oga, no go kill yourself ooo. Chuks is into yahoo plus. He just bought a plot of land for N50 million at Okpuno (near Awka), and has said that once he returns again, he was going to erect a plaza there.” This reporter has, however, not set eyes on Chuks in the five years that have passed.
Chuks is just one out of very many youths who have abandoned education and are pursuing wealth with vigour, and doing so by every means possible, including killings and other fetish practices that involve human lives.
Recently, there have been cases of such fetish practices by youths in various parts of Nigeria. In Imo State, news broke about a young man who was visited by his mother in a hostel. The poor woman who probably was coming to visit his son who (maybe) is in school bought fruits to be presented to him, but he ended up attempting to kill her, for money ritual.
Also, in Ogun State, the news of the killing of a certain girl, identified as Rofiat by her boyfriend and his friends is still fresh too. The case of Rofiat was pathetic because she did not survive. Her head was cut off by the teenagers, and was being roasted in a clay pot, when they were apprehended by the police.
In Imo, another incident, which has been dismissed as a comedy skit has still not convincingly been expunged from the memories of the people, as some youths sat in a popular roundabout in Owerri, excreting and using bread to dip in it as sauce before eating.
Practices like these have been named as ‘Yahoo plus’ in the Nigerian parlance. S4M MEDIA made inquiries about the name yahoo plus, and how it evolved. Yahoo Yahoo is a popular name for internet scammers, most of whom operated with laptops. It was easy to see someone with a laptop being referred to as a Yahoo Boy. Several ways by which Yahoo Boys operate were identified. A student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, who preferred to be anonymous, said he had friends who were into internet scams.
“It is either you are into love scams, or you pose as a business magnate, with the aim of defrauding some greedy white people, through bogus proposals. The one I have seen a lot of guys do is love scams, where young boys go into dating sites, search for white women, some of them widows, some rich and unmarried. Some just have a craving for black guys, and as the relationship blossoms, the boys look for a way to rip off the women, before closing their accounts on the site and moving on.”
S4M MEDIA gathered that as more people became alert about internet scams, young boys started engaging native doctors to make charms for them to hypnotize and defraud their victims. The involvement of the native doctor it was gathered is what makes their activities ‘Yahoo Plus’. “Some of these boys are told by their native doctors to call the names of their victims a specified number of times, and perform incantations before going to them for business, or making phone calls to them. Some are asked to perform sacrifices by assembling children and buying them gifts before engaging in the activity. Sometimes, they have to buy things, put them in a plate and drop them in a crossroad at midnight, just to ensure that their victim parts with money,” the source revealed.
However, those who engage in these practices may have found that it is becoming increasingly tough to get victims to part with money, so, they have resorted to other means, and sticking to the name – yahoo plus.
Meanwhile, investigations around the internet have revealed some of the practices young people are into, to ensure they make wealth. ‘Oke ite and nne ite’ are said to be kinds of charms prepared by young people who are on the fast lane, on the instruction of native doctors to generate wealth. It was gathered that the charms are prepared with different animals, including dog and human blood, etc. Different types of roots and herbs are combined with different drinks, all to produce Okeite or Nneite, which they believe draws unlimited wealth to them.
A material sourced from the internet stated that: “Okeite is something that you will be repairing through blood sacrifice from time to time and is something that will one day start demanding for children or young women’s blood. Okeite can make a man impotent, and even eventually one day it will start demanding for your loved ones. Most yahoo guys are into Okeite or Nneite.”
“The truth is any charm you do in this life requires steady sacrifice to keep working. Our youths are desperate and in a hurry to make it in life that they forget that one day they will cry. In a few years to come, so many of our youths are going to die mysteriously, some will run mad, some are going to be impotent, because of Okeite. I wish I could explain more!
“Just note that Okeite is bad and Evil! Okeite is just commanding your whole life’s wealth (money) to come at once. Sometimes it will involve your children, if it didn’t take your life or children’s life, it will make your children useless, because some will command your fourth generation’s wealth and give it to you and later your children won’t achieve anything, more than what you left for them. Okeite is very bad! While doing this charm, they will call on a very wicked spirit. They will only invite very wicked evil spirits that won’t forgive you if you fail your agreement,” a concerned source explained.
Many things have been mentioned as the reason for the craving for wealth by young people. They include the showy lifestyle of rich individuals, ostentatious display of wealth by music stars and even that of religious leaders. More factors include: lyrics contained in music by some music idols, prosperity preaching by some religious leaders and the belief that God is an impossibility specialist who can do anything, including making one a millionaire overnight, Nollywood films where such messages are constantly pushed, and the failure of parental control by most homes.
There have, however, been some arguments about the in-existence of money rituals. Those who push these arguments believe that innocent and unsuspecting youths are only pushed into killings, while those who are into the business sell off the body parts and earn a living from its sales while flying the kite of making money through rituals.
Owner of Silverbird Group, and former Senator, Mr Ben Bruce is among those who believe that ritual cannot make anyone rich. In a tweet last week, Bruce said: “Leaders of tomorrow now engage in unimaginable crimes just to become millionaires overnight. What has suddenly gone wrong with young people who now believe that rituals involving human blood will make them rich? So many Nigerians go missing daily, and while many are never found. Some are found dead with body parts missing. We must work to stop this trend. The narrative that poverty and unemployment get young people into ritual killings must not be accepted.”
He said: “I want young people to know that there is no shortcut to being wealthy without hard work. Killing a human being for ritual purposes will not make you rich overnight. It will only take you to hell.”
Meanwhile, some Nigerians have started condemning the act. A Pentecostal church in Onitsha, Grace of God Mission International, led by Bishop Paul Nwachukwu last Sunday held a prayer rally involving all the members of his church through the streets of Onitsha to protest money ritual-related killings in the State and the country at large.
“Today is a very big and great day. Grace of God youths held a rally all over the streets of Onitsha, declaring and making it loud and clear that ‘yahoo plus’, ‘mkpulummili’ (hard drugs) and every kind of cultism shall end in Onitsha. We prayed against the spirit of wickedness and lawlessness, praying that the youths will start to live a life that will bring glory to Christ. Honour their parents and be a blessing to the society,” he said.
Some people have advocated that identified yahoo boys be put through serious flogging just as was done with consumers of methamphetamine, popularly known as mkpurummiri, as that may be the solution. Taking to his social media handle, a user identified as Uba Nwauba said: “We flogged Mkpurummiri consumers, and today, they have all repented. Why can’t we start flogging yahoo boys too? Is it because they have money and drive big cars?”
Already, as a way to curtail the excesses of young people into yahoo plus, lots of higher institutions in the South East have started joining in the fight, and taking measures to stop the trend. In 2021, Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo State stopped students from driving on the campus. In January 2022, authorities of Abia State University, Uturu, Abia State also stopped students from taking their cars into the school compound. Also, Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo State has taken the same step. S4M MEDIA gathered that this step became necessary in institutions of higher learning as students, using exotic cars, and suspected to be yahoo boys now intimidate lecturers, and also distract other students from their studies, and have become role models to lots of students, who now flock after them, becoming distracted from their studies.
The fear of the university authorities taking this step may be to forestall students toeing the line of Chuks, who abandoned studies in pursuit of illegitimate wealth. The fear too is that once these kinds of people become role models, the university environment may soon be devoid of people seeking knowledge, as all may join in the quest for quick wealth.