Daily Trust (Abuja)

29 August 2014

Nigeria: 'Being in Possession of Human Parts Is Not a Crime in Benin Republic'

Lagos — Two citizens of the Republic of Benin have been arrested in Lagos State over possession of human parts.

The arrest was made by detectives attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ikeja. In his confessional statement, one of the suspect alleged that dealing in human parts was not regarded as a crime in his country, Benin Republic.

Djassau Gerard, 32, was arrested by policemen at Seme-border while attempting to enter Nigeria with a human skull. He was later transferred to SARS, Ikeja.

It was his arrest and confessional statement that led SARS operatives led by Superintendent of Police, Abba Kyari, to the arrest of the second suspect, Sessou Djiman, 28, who claimed to be a native doctor at Owode area of Ogun State.

In his statement to the police, Djassau alleged that he was bringing in the skull for Djiman, whom he described as a senior "in the act".

He said his intention was to ask Djiman to invoke spiritual powers into the skull.

"There is nothing wrong in one going about with human parts in our country. In fact, when someone is believed to have been struck dead by thunder, the body will not be buried, because it is a taboo. The corpse will be taken to the home of a traditionalist. The traditionalist or native doctor keeps the corpse, allows it to decompose and then dries it. Thereafter, anybody who is interested in any of the parts will come for it without any payment," he said.

The suspect who said he is married with two children alleged that he was given the skull that was found on him by a friend, who is a native doctor. According to him, he met Djiman when he came to Nigeria to see another native doctor.

"It was through the native doctor that I met Djiman and discovered that he has more powers. I returned to Nigeria to meet him for more power," Djassau said.

But the second suspect, Djiman, said he did not know that his friend was coming to visit him with a human skull. The suspect, who claimed to have been born and brought up at Owode-Egba in Ogun State, said he is married to two wives and has seven children.

"My friend told me that he was coming to see me with a carved idol so that I could help him invoke spiritual powers into it, to make him more powerful. He did not tell me it was a human skull. While he was on his way, he called me on phone and I told him that I was ill and in the hospital. It was then that he told me that he was coming with an idol and a human skull. I did not know that police had arrested him. He later brought police to arrest me," Djiman said.

The out-going Lagos State police boss, Assistant Inspector General of Police Umar Manko, said the first suspect was arrested by anti robbery policemen from Badagry Division who were on a routine stop and search duty along the Seme-Border expressway. Manko said that the skull was concealed in a bag.

"Upon his arrest and transfer, I directed Kyari to carry out an investigation into the case, because armed robbers are known to always hang around native doctors," he added.

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