Clifford Orji: What about the other Cannibals? By Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni
When news filtered around that alleged cannibal and 12 years inmate of Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Clifford Orji, had died of unknown causes on Friday 17th August, 2012, by Prison officials, many things raced across my mind, and I try to recollect some of the scenes that played out at the time of Clifford’s arrest under the bridge at Toyota Bus-stop on Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Lagos, in February 1999, with human parts, which he reportedly claimed he sold to notable Nigerians. Though, the Prison authorities have established that an autopsy would be carried out, one needs to ask sincere questions about the number of years the “supposedly mad cannibal” had to await trial and indeed justice. If arguments of the Director of Office of the Public Defender, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, is to go by, at what point did Orji went completely mad and what was the state of his trial before then? That psychiatric hospitals refused to take Orji in, is not a tenable excuse to me. Can’t they get court injunction to that effect or put him in a state owned hospital since it was a state case.
Orji who was 46-years-old had been awaiting trial since his first appearance in February 1999 at the Ebute-Meta Magistrate Court. The Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said Orji’s case was stalled due to his medical state of mind. I beg to differ. His case was stalled due to the porous nature of our Judicial system and probably the need to curtail confessions he might make from the public. If Orji was insane in the later days of his stay in Kirikiri, what do we know about the previous 11 years? Moreover, there are millions of innocent souls still awaiting trials in different prisons across the nation. While am not here to make case for a cannibal, am more concerned about Clifford Orji’s case. From the investigation or what we were made to believe, Orji, was just an agent to some highly placed Nigerians who engage him for selfish ritual ends. So what happens to the case now? I can remember there were 3 or 2 handsets found in his tent during the raid and scores of heads (and in 1999, handsets were still gold). Nigerians needs to know what happened to the contacts. What the Police had been able to gather so far or is it case closed as usual?
While Clifford Orji might be dead, the real cannibals in government and business circle might still be walking at large due to the characteristic inconclusive nature our police attached to import case files. Once the media hype is down, so is the case and those that needs to be prosecuted. Sometimes I wonder what happens to the National Identity Card Scheme, awarded to French company SAGEM that proved disastrous with nobody brought to book. The National Identity Card scam estimated to have spent $214 million. The former Minister of Internal Affairs, Chief Sunday Afolabi (now late), and five others were to face a 16-count charge in connection with the fraud but that was the last we heard. Again, we have the infamous Halliburton’s shameful scandal involving both the living and the dead, amongst who are four former Heads of State and two of their wives, as well as former Governors and Ministers – indeed the top echelons of the country’s political and military establishments, including technocrats. For this yet to be concluded case(may never be) our “basket mouth” national purse parted with N27 billion only. More recently, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told the public, it had enough evidence to prosecute a former Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Atiku Abubakar Kigo, and five other civil servants who diverted N32.8 billion from the Nigeria Police Pension Funds. We are still waiting.
Do we still need to add the massive defrauding of the country to the tone N304 billion in the oil subsidy scam by technocrats and oil marketers, the Farouk/Otedola $620,000bribe impasse, our (dis)honourable representatives and their unending looting scandals, the Executives and their corruption ridden minds that disregards our sensibility, to know there are more cannibals on the streets than in prisons? Our leaders need to show forthrightness in the prosecution of those cannibals in government who eat life out of ordinary Nigerians by their brute conducts. Clifford may be dead; I bet we need so many others in jail.
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