On the evening of Thursday, November 5, 2020, troops of the Special Forces Battalion in Makurdi, Benue State, North Central Nigeria, deployed to North Bank, a suburb of the city to track some suspects in the raging mystery over the disappearance of male genitals in the state. Allegations of the mysterious disappearance of genitals in parts of the state first sparked off protest on Saturday, October 31.
The Special Forces troops were allegedly brought into the controversy because one of its members is believed to have recently suffered a similar fate.
For two weeks, the controversy over the mysterious disappearance of male genitals had rocked the state and particularly immersed the Daudu community in Guma Local Government Area in tense spin.
The youth in Daudu on October 31 staged the first in the series of protests that soon engulfed the state over what was described as a mysterious and sudden disappearance of the genitals of some young men within the area.
The youth who were out in their numbers that morning were seen moving around the weekly Daudu market chanting “no penis, no market.” They shut down the market and effectively disrupted economic activities of the day.
Traders and customers were seen running for cover. Esther Yuwa, one of the traders whose business life is tied to the market spoke with HumAngle. She came all the way from Makurdi, the state capital to sell her wares every market day in Daudu but was forced to turn back. She said the market was no longer safe.
HumAngle was informed that there had been suspected cases of penis disappearance in Daudu that had created anxiety for weeks before the youth carried their grievance to the open.
About eight persons within the community are said to have fallen victims to the mysterious spell. The complaints, however, appear to hinge on speculation in respect of identifying any specific suspects. The general belief though is that it was the handiwork of ritualists suspected to have infiltrated the area.
The Police from Daudu Division within the state Area Command were later called upon to quell the protest and disperse the protesters a few hours after they had caused the mayhem.
Police sources assured HumAngle that the situation had been brought under control. The officer who did not want his name mentioned went ahead to blame the press for the increasing cases of protests across the country.
Terwase Yaga, the youth leader in Daudu spoke with HumAngle. Yaga said he believed that there was no way a thief would come into a community without being aided by an insider. He said the protest was targeting those he described as ritualists who were perpetrating the act.
He told HumAngle that from the previous market day, about five cases of genital disappearance were recorded in the community. He said all the victims had attended the market the previous week. He said the ritualists probably use fetish remote sensors for this.
“When they touch you, you will feel somehow,” Yaga alleged. He said the protest was to create awareness and to call on people concerned to desist from such acts because a man would be useless without his “manhood.”
He told HumAngle that the police were misinformed initially and had responded to their protest on the assumption that it was the #ENDSARS protest that had been re-ignited.
He further said the police on understanding the object of their protest advised them not to take the laws into their hands so as to allow the police to investigate the matter.
Yaga also revealed that a key suspect in the escalating cases of genital disappearance committed suicide on learning that his cover had been blown. HumAngle later gathered the suspect was popularly identified as “Boganger.”
This paper was told that “Boganger” had previously been accused of such an act years ago. The youth leader claimed the community had long suspected him but that on learning that the youths were mobilising to burn him alive he reportedly took his own life.
HumAngle further spoke with Nongu Francis who claimed to have lost his genitals in the bizarre and controversial incident confirming that he lost his “manhood” in October. He alleged that about six genitals disappeared in the past and that the person responsible for the disappearance of his own penis has committed suicide.
The leader of tricycle union in Daudu who also confirmed that the issue has been ongoing in Daudu said the youth had earlier refused to allow for the burial of “Boganger” in the community but that the presence of military men on the day of his burial at Tsuwe compound behind Daudu market saved the situation.
HumAngle also spoke with a politician from the area identified as Daudu Henry. He said the youth are calling on the elders of the area to intervene and that the traditional rulers and chiefs in the area had met.
Following the meeting of the traditional leaders, the direction of the finger-pointing changed.
A Pastor, popularly known as Prophet Jacob Uhembe and his partner, Noah Saka were thereby accused of being responsible for the mysterious disappearances of male genitals in the area.
The prophet was accused of charging the victims of the disappearing genitals some amount of money to restore their organs. Consequently, the youths on the early morning Tuesday, November 3 burnt down the Pastor’s church, the “Divine Shadow” and some buildings in the area belonging to him. Prophet Uhembe was also murdered in the process by the irate mob.
Catherine Anene, Benue State Police Public Relations Officer, confirmed the incident and told this paper that some suspects had been arrested on account of murder and arson.
She stated Police were already working with medical personnel in hospitals to confirm claims of missing genitals.
The investigating team has also exhumed the remains of Uheme believed to have been buried in a shallow grave in Yelewata for autopsy and further forensic investigation in Makurdi.
Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State had earlier visited the area and condemned the acts of violence by the youth.
Meanwhile, authorities of the Guma Local Government Area where the unrest has been taking place has imposed a curfew on the troubled Daudu community.
Caleb Abba, chairman of the local government, said that the curfew would run from 8 pm to 6 am on a daily basis until the security situation is improved in the community
Abba explained that the decision to impose curfew followed the youths restfulness over alleged genitals organ in Daudu community.
According to him, youth in the community on Monday invaded the Divisional Police Station in the community and wanted to burn it down over fresh false alarm of missing genitals.
“The reason we imposed curfew is that the youths in Daudu community have raised alarm and accused certain persons of removing their genitals, male and female organs,” he said.
“They went ahead to burn down the properties of those they suspected and even killed a pastor of the church whom they accused of being responsible.”