News Articles

Some observers liken the ensuing battle between the two news outfits to biblical and monumental fight between giant Goliath and small David.

The crux of the matter

According to the report, his background checks on the “particular madam” had revealed that the woman, was no other than Oyindamola, the Owo Ondo State born wife of Mr. Pemu Sam Amuka, Publisher of Nigeria’s Vanguard Newspaper.

Mr. Steve Ogwu-Chinuwa was reported to have kept regular vigil and surveillance at subsequent visits of Mrs. Amuka and was shocked, allegedly to witness the woman taking part on the gory beheading of the unknown fourteen year old boy.

The boy, whose identity is still not known, was reportedly bound and eventually beheaded by ritualists at a shrine in Igbalu village at Ijede via Ikorodu Lagos.

The journalist, a resident in Ikorodu area, who was freelancing with Westerner Newspaper Lagos, covering Crime, Mr. Steve Ogwu-Chinuwa, reportedly surreptitiously captured everything with his lens.

He also reportedly put a call across to police detectives who arrived at the scene, unfortunately at a time the boy had been beheaded. Four police detectives soon arrived from the Crime Investigation Department (CID) Panti, Lagos. Babatunde Odine Jonathan, a Superintendent of Police and Officer in Charge of Monitoring, led the detectives.

When the armed cops in mufti arrived, they reportedly effected arrests including Oyindamola who was handcuffed and other suspected ritual killers such as Alfa Fatai and Alfa Taju, who by their prefixes are Islamic clerics.

Also reportedly arrested was the owner of the hollow shrine, one Alhaji Rasheed Alayande, a.k.a, Achebe. He is reputed as a 419 scammer and ritualist. Oyindamola and co were thus taken to the state CID in Panti where she was detained for three days.

Besides, she reportedly took along names of some Vanguard directors and editors whom she believed were obstacles to her gaining financial control over the newspapers.

The bribe leaked and Police hierarchy fired some senior officers, arrested junior officers and the news reporter

Ogwu-Chinuwa said he suspected that Pemu-Amuka later machinated his arrest by the police. “This is because, for three days, he didn’t know that his wife was being detained until I brought it to his notice,” he said.

But Vanguard newspaper has a different side of the story.

Nigerian Vanguard newspaper account: Ikeja Magistrate Court, Lagos

Steve Chinua-Ogwu, freelance reporter in handcuffs arrive at Ikeja Magistrate Court on February 23, 2009

Nigerian Vanguard newspaper articles is reporting that Mr. Steve Ogwu-Chinuwa and some policemen were arrested by the police, confessed to hatching and arranging extortion scheme and perpetuating a hoax aimed at swindling Mr. and Mrs. Amuka, and that they had been charged to court in Lagos.

Vanguard newspaper reports that Steve Chinua-Ogwu was a fake journalist, an ex-policeman who was dismissed for theft by the police force.

Vanguard also reports that the story started on July 20th, 2007 when Steve Chinua-Ogwu who claimed to be a crime reporter with Westerner Newspapers, Lagos went to the office of the Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Sam Amuka at Kirikiri Canal, Apapa, Lagos and showed him terrifying photographs of his wife, Mrs. Oyindamola Amuka in which she was carrying ritualistic materials in a shrine.

Mr. Steve Chinua-Ogwu reportedly told Mr. Amuka that he also had video copies of the wife‘s meeting with some native doctors in Ikorodu area of Lagos State and threatened to publish the materials if Mr. Amuka failed to provide money for the story to be suppressed and finally killed.

After hearing his story, Mr. Amuka reportedly discreetly stepped aside and invited the police. In a statement he made to the Police at Kirikiri, Mr. Amuka stated the circumstance of his meeting with the so-called crime reporter including the fact that his wife had traveled to London and had refused to return to Nigeria as she expressed fear of a possible elimination by some unknown men.

Vanguard newspaper also reports that one Superintendent of Police, Jonathan Babatunde, officer-in-charge of D13, Monitoring Unit at the Lagos State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba was also involved in the scheme because he sent his men to arrest Mrs. Amuka and staged the scene. He also reportedly collected the sum of N4 Million which Mrs. Amuka handed to him as part payment to kill the case and thereafter fled to London.

Furthermore, Vanguard newspaper reports that Mr. Jonathan (a senior police officer, Superintendent of Police) confessed that Mr. Alayande and group were equitably given N2 million while the remaining N2 million was shared by himself and members of his team.  

According to Vanguard report, all the parties were in one accord in the planning, execution and sharing of their loot, but when Mr. Steve Chinua-Ogwu was given the sum of N100,000.00 (One Hundred thousand Naira), he felt cheated and reported the matter to Mr. Sam Amuka (Publisher of Vanguard newspaper) requesting for monetary compensation, failure which he would face scandalous publication of his wife as a ritualist with the accompanying photographs which he claimed exclusive ownership of.

Ikeja Magistrate Court proceedings

Steve Chinua-Ogwu, freelance reporter in handcuffs arrive at Ikeja Magistrate Court on February 23, 2009

However, Nigerian Vanguard news report on Ikeja Magistrate Court, Lagos proceedings states that Steve Chinua-Ogwu and one Alhaji Rasheed Alayande (a native doctor) were  docked on four count charges of conspiracy, stealing, extortion and obtaining money under false pretence for defrauding Mrs. Oyindamola Amuka, wife of the Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Sam Amuka, of N4 million.

When they were initially arraigned before Magistrate Miss Badejo Okusanya on February 23, 2009; they pleaded not guilty on each of the count, and thereafter their counsel applied for bail and that was granted. Case was adjourned to March 23, 2009.

During scheduled hearing on March 23, 2009, all parties in the case namely; the accused persons – Mr. Steve Chinua-Ogwu, freelance reporter and one Mr. Rasheed Alayande, their counsels - Mr. Giwa Amu and Mrs. Raji, Mr. Sam Amuka and his wife, Oyindamola, the police suspects and prosecution witnesses- were present in court.

However, the police prosecution team requested for adjournment to give him time to prepare his witnesses for trial. The request which was not opposed by defense counsels was granted.

Nigerian Vanguard and Publisher: Mr. Samuel Amuka-Pemu

Vanguard Media Limited, publishers of Vanguard Newspaper was established in 1983 and commenced operation by 1984.

Nigerian Vanguard has been described as one of four biggest newspaper establishments in Nigeria. It is one of the few news outfits that have national circulation in the country that has about 170 million people in population.

Nigerian Vanguard newspaper has also been described as a mainstream national newspaper that stays out of controversies and discussions that may offend governments, established government agencies and big institutions.

The publisher and founder, Mr. Sam Amuka-Pemu, mid-70s, has been described as a renowned, seasoned, veteran journalist and columnist of the "Sad Sam fame" who started as a reporter and rose to the top.

Mr. Amuka-Pemu was first editor, Spear magazine (a Daily Times publication); editor, Sunday Times, editor, Sunday Punch, in 1973 before he later became the Managing Director of Punch Nigeria Limited.

Most online news services have grassroots foot soldiers (citizen reporters) on ground as part of sources of grassroots information.

Most influential Nigerians appear quite terrified of online news outfits, while most mainstream media are uncomfortable with the growing popularity (of online news outfits).

The publisher, Mr. Jackson Ude, a much younger fellow, is reportedly a Nigerian-trained journalist and was news reporter before he migrated to New York, United States in the early 2000s.

Mr. Steve Chinua-Ogwu, Lagos-based freelance reporter

  1. Was a human being slaughtered in this case, by whom; or, was it a hoax?
  2. Who was slaughtered, and how was the human being procured?
  3. Was effort made to save the human being from being slaughtered, and why not?
  4. Was bribe given to the police, by whom, and why?
  5. Did the police collect any bribe, and why?
  6. Did the policemen cheat the reporter out of his share of the bribe, or, not?
  7. Did the reporter contact because he felt cheated, or, out of moral pursuit of exposing evil in the society; is the reporter a hero, or, on revenge mission?
  8. Where are the policemen involved in this case now; why are they not being prosecuted?
  9. Was there attempt to extort money from Vanguard publisher, by whom, and why?
  10. Were all the parties truthful about what they know and their roles in this case?

Implications and significance of this news development

Though Africans In American News Watch observed a lot of unanswered questions in this developing news story; however; human sacrifice and ritual killings for power, wealth and other mystical purposes are growing practice in some African countries particularly, Nigeria.

Horrendous ritual slaughter of human beings at satanic shrines by individuals seeking political and economic power is common in some African countries, particularly Nigeria.

Countries like Liberia was able to admit the problem exists and the leadership under Gyude Bryant expressed political will to severely deal with perpetrators.

Other African countries like Nigeria under corrupt leadership allowed "mishandling" and "ineffective" investigation of such cases even after the perpetrators including state governors, federal and state lawmakers, party leaders and shrines’ custodians were caught red-handed, and confessed.

An example was police discovery of over 70 dead bodies and hundred and possibly thousands of human parts at various level of decomposition at fetish shrines in Okija town, Eastern Nigeria. In-fighting among political leaders in the state led to revelations, confessions and finger-pointing by the patrons and participants in the ritual sacrifice at the shrine. However, despite wide publicity and uproar the case generated, the Nigerian police investigation came to naught. No one was charged or prosecuted because the investigation was mishandled and the charged were improperly drafted, according to government.

Like other cases involving influential members of the society, the Nigeria police is very famous for "ineffectiveness" and was unable to avoid too often and too common ‘mishandling’ of investigations, most especially, when prominent members of the society are involved.

Like human trafficking, some cases of ritual killings among African immigrants in western countries have begun to surface.

Example, in England, there was the headless body of African boy (Boy Adam) floating on a river.

In United States, there is the is the unsolved death of female aide to outlawed governor of Anambra State, Nigeria; the same governor who publicly confessed and admitted his involvement in Okija satanic shrine.

Way forward

It is very important that the truth prevail and justice eventually be served in this case. The society will benefit from getting to the truth of the matter; and the truth may not be that complex, if there is moral will to pursue it.

Hopefully, Nigerian Vanguard newspaper, United States-based and the Nigeria Police Force will join forces with others including governments, religious institutions, civil societies, political parties, community and social bodies, and international organizations to heighten awareness and address the growing problems of corruption, human sacrifice and ritual killings in Nigeria.