Africans on the Move: Transnational, Intranational, and Metaphorical Migrations
to publicize the case. He reportedly obliged and proclaimed that “if any family ‘even in the remotest village of our continent’ is missing a boy of this age, they should contact the London police.”
This case was investigated in Britain, Germany, Ireland, and Nigeria. Ms. Joyce Osaghiede, a Nigerian woman from Benin City who was deported from Britain “as a bogus asylum seeker” was believed to “hold the key to the murder of the boy.” Ms. Osaghiede at her asylum interview, claimed to be fleeing from her estranged husband, Sam Onojhighovie, who was convicted of people-trafficking and fraud, and sentenced in absentia to seven years in prison in Germany. He was found in Dublin where he was reported to be “currently in prison . . . . awaiting extradition to Germany.” The news
stories reported a tragedy. The headless and limbless torso of a boy of between four and seven is a tragedy of immense proportions. However, in finding the perpetrators of the crime, the language used to describe the possible suspects and the nature of the crime remind one of earlier times when Europeans boldly declared that Africa is the “dark continent.” I like the Guardian. Its report of this event however, was classic “dark continent” Africa. The title of one of this paper’s report is: “Thames Torso Boy was Sacrificed.” The blurb that followed was: “Police suspect the victim was a West African child slave, after forensic evidence points to a ritual killing.” The story goes on to say that
Detectives are now working on the horrifying theory that he was bought as a child slave in West Africa and smuggled to Britain solely to be killed. Experts on African religion consulted by Scotland Yard believe Adam may have been sacrificed to one of the 400 ‘Orisha’ or ancestor gods of the Yoruba people, Nigeria’s largest ethnic group. Oshun, a Yoruba river goddess is associated with orange, the colour of the shorts, which were placed on Adam’s body 24 hours after he was killed as a bizarre addition to the ritual. The body was then stored for a further 24 hours before being offered to the Thames. The cultural clues fit neatly with the forensics as the Yoruba are found in Benin, Togo and Ghana as well as in Nigeria. Thousands of Yoruba slaves were also taken to the Caribbean, where elements of their religion formed the basis of voodoo rituals.
The report then gives a blow-by-blow account of how the sacrifice was done, and informed readers of the alert by law enforcement agencies “that African ritual killings have been imported to Europe.” Readers are informed that there was even an international conference at The Hague “to discuss the phenomenon.” One cannot help but wonder though, why this theoretical reconstruction was presented as the “real deal,” instead of the reports veering on the side of accuracy and presenting just the bare facts,
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