The intervention of the Atiba unit of the Amotekun Corps in Oyo Town, Oyo State, on Thursday saved two men, Ganiyu Maruf and Bashiru Basit, from lynching after being in possession of two human skulls.
The suspects were caught trying to retrieve the skulls, hidden in a bag, from a bush in the Agunpopo community where they had kept them.
One of the suspects, Maruf, claimed to have bought the skulls, intended to be used by him and Basit for a money ritual, at a cost of N30,000.
Tribune Online found out that Amotekun had previously noticed through the security team that some men would go into the bush and emerge with a cellophane bag and leave. This would have led to the planting of some people there to keep watch.
Early Thursday, around 6:30 a.m., the suspects are said to have arrived in the area and upon inquiry by residents, they were unable to provide a convincing statement about their presence there. It is believed that the bushy part was used as a storehouse for human skulls where the merchants went when a buyer needed one.
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The mob, said to be about 1,000 strong, had come at the suspects with a sword, stones and sticks despite pleas from the Amotekun officers.
It took a combination of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) Agro Rangers and Amotekun agents to calm the crowd before the suspects were taken to safety and held in custody.
It was learned that one of the suspects had previously been arrested by the police for the same crime and brought to trial.
He is currently out on bail as the case is still ongoing. In a confession, one of the suspects, Maruf, named the supplier of the skulls one Dauda, who he says is now overdue. He told the Saturday Tribune that he bought the two skulls for N30,000 and that they were intended to be used for money rituals.
He revealed that he had previously been arrested by the police for purchasing skulls, but denied the charge and did not reveal that he was keeping them with Basit.
He said he and Basit had visited the site where the skulls were kept after he was released on bail by the court when they were rounded up by residents.
Maruf, who wore blood-soaked clothes, a bandaged head and swollen eyes, further stated that they had been saved from death by the Amotekun agents after a machete was used to cut his head.
The state commander of the Amotekun Corps, Colonel Olayinka Olayanju (retd), confirmed the arrest and said the suspects will be prosecuted after the investigation into the crime is concluded.