By Esther Onyegbula
Activities of fraudsters, popularly known as Yahoo Plus, have assumed a worrisome dimension.Before now, their targets were gullible foreigners.
But today, fraudsters, who would stop at nothing in their quest to get rich, have settled for female pants to achieve it.
In the last couple of months, stealing of panties for ritual purposes has gradually replaced killing of humans and harvesting of human parts which used to be the norm.
Investigations reveal that the discharge from a lady’s private part on any stolen pant is believed to be vital for money ritual.
Consequently, from Imo to Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Edo, Anambra, among other states in the country, stealing of pants has been on the increase. Pant thieves caught by residents, were, in many instances, lynched before the arrival of security agents.
Meanwhile, some of the perpetrators were said to have devised means such as disguising as women to steal pants spread on lines to dry. Female hostels and dormitories are worst hit, as several students have had their pants stolen.
One of such pant thieves was caught in a female hostel at Ogun State College of Health Technology, Ilese-Ijebu on Monday. The suspect, as gathered, disguised as a woman selling ice cream to gain access into the hostel.
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But as he was leaving, some students, out of curiosity, demanded to know what was in the bulky bag he was carrying only to discover that it was filled with pants.
On January 11, 2019, at about 6:48am, policemen attached to Central Police Station (CPS), Onitsha, Anambra State arrested one Chinonye Okorie, aged 19, for allegedly stealing pants. Okorie, who allegedly stole the pants that had been washed and spread on a line at No. 21 Umuna Street Odoakpu, Onitsha, said he intended to sell them for N80, 000.
Also on January 9, 2019, a middle aged man, simply identified as Ifeanyi, was almost lynched after he was caught stealing ladies’ pants at a students’ hostel located at Mgbakwu in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Ifeanyi, who hails from Umuneke in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, confessed that he had already stolen over 58 women pants before he ran out of luck as he was caught red-handed by a woman in the early hours of that day.
During interrogation, Ifeanyi said he broke into the house at about 2am and headed straight to the line where some pants were hanged. He was putting them into his bag when he was apprehended. The suspect further revealed that he had been in the business of stealing pants for quite some time, saying he sold them to a man he identified as Emeka Ofor at the rate of N500 each.
He said: “I stole pants from girls’ hostels. I used to sell them to Emeka Ofor, who also hails from Umuneke in Udi LGA at the rate of N500 per piece”.
In Edo State, the story is the same, if not more alarming. But determined to put a stop to it, Oba Ewuare II of Benin-City warned youths, especially Yahoo Boys, against stealing pants for money rituals to desist from the act or face the consequences.
Few days after, a man was caught stealing female pants at Ring Road area of Benin-City. When asked how much he sold the pants, he declined to speak. Female leggings, boxers, underwear and other clothing items were also found in his possession.
In Auchi Sabo South Ibie, Edo State, a man who claimed to be a pastor was caught, on January 15, 2019, picking pants, braziers and pads.
Still in Edo State, precisely on December 5, 2018, a man was beaten to coma for allegedly stealing pants and other clothing items in Okpella.
The suspect revealed that one Alhaji introduced him to a man nicknamed ‘Correct’ who told him to go and hustle for pants in order to make quick cash.
He claimed that the said man was the person who dropped him off at the street to steal the items before he was caught.
In Imo State, a young man was almost lynched when he was caught stealing female pants and other clothing items in Umuokoro Umuihi village in Ihitte/Uboma Local Government Area on November 11, 2018.
When he could not give reasonable explanation on his mission, angry villagers beat him mercilessly before handing him over to members of a vigilante group in the community.
In Ondo State, a man, whose appearance looked like a mentally deranged person, was apprehended with ladies’ pants and used sanitary pads on January 2, 2019.
But for the swift intervention of officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the suspect would have been burnt alive by a mob that insisted he had a sinister motive, despite entreaties by his relatives that he was mentally ill.
The Public Relations Officer of the NSCDC in the state, Mr Oladapo Samuel, who confirmed the incident, said investigation had commenced into the matter, adding that the suspect would be subjected to a psychiatric test in order to determine his mental health.
Still in Ondo, two security guards, Samuel Linus and Adekunle Ogundana, were arrested for allegedly stealing underwear belonging to the daughter of a clergyman within the premises of a church.
Although the suspects, who were paraded on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, by the Ondo State Police Command, denied the allegations, police spokesperson, Femi Joseph, said the daughter of the clergyman washed two of her pants and spread them on the line at about 8p.m. in the presence of the guards but that by 6a.m. next day, the pants had disappeared.
Investigation reveals that the increasing rate of pant thieves may have been because of its lucrative nature, as each stolen pant is said to be sold for between N250, 000 and N300, 000 to ritualists who use them for money.
Following the development, ladies across the country, especially those who live in hostels, are careful about what happens to their pants.
As part of measures to protect their pants, some women burn old ones so that they don’t fall into wrong hands.
One Onome Benson, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard on the issue, said, “In the light of pant stealing, ladies need to be alert. Since some people are desperate to take what does not belong to them, using desperate measures, we need to protect ourselves so that our pants won’t be used for evil purposes”.
Goodbye to wearing pants
Recently, a famous actress, Lizzy Gold Onuwaje (Lizzy Gold), publicly disclosed her decision to stop wearing pants because of pant thieves.
“I’m saying goodbye to wearing pants. No more wearing of underwear. Recently I heard some ladies were returning from church and they were stopped by some gunmen who asked them to remove their pants. I heard this from a reliable source, so please let’s be on guard”, she said.
“To my colleagues, you know we spend most of our time in hotels during filming, we can’t trust these hotel workers. They might come in when you are not around and steal your pants. I beg you, if you can’t avoid wearing pants, then travel with just two pants so you will be able to monitor them. I repeat, you can’t trust anyone, even ladies now steal pants. Protect your sanity, always be on guard and also protect your peace. All ladies should stay awake and be more prayerful”
The Public Relations Officer, Zone 2 of the Nigeria Police, Onikan , Lagos, Dolapo Badmus, said pant thieves caught would be charged with attempted murder.
She took to her Instagram page on January 5, 2019 to address the growing rate at which female pants are stolen.
Badmos added that suspects had been confessing to using stolen female pants for money ritual.
She wrote, “What is the in thing about (the) increase in (the) stealing of underpants? Learnt the ones caught in the act always confess to be using it for rituals, where the owner dies prematurely….. Henceforth anyone caught stealing pants might not be charged for stealing but attempted murder. This has to stop”.