Last Wednesday, a young lady, the daughter of a cleric, in a particular church in Ondo State spread her underwear on a line at the back of her room and went to sleep. In the morning when she went to check for the underwear, she was confronted with an empty space where her underwear had been. The two security men within the vicarage had left by then but they were summoned and confronted with queries over the missing panties. Though investigations are ongoing, it has not been proved that the two security men were culpable.
But that incident was a clear indication of the new round of oddities the nation is witnessing. Cases of missing underwear are now very rife, forcing young women and ladies to be wary of spreading their underwear in the open.
Other cases abound in which the culprits had been caught red-handed with several underwear. Stories have also circulated about how young men attacked ladies and dispossessed them of their underwear. One of such stories went viral last weekend. It was said that some boys invaded an eatery in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, and forced the ladies present to remove their underwear. Those who did not wear underwear, according to the story, were given new panties by the attackers to wear for about five minutes. The boys, the report, went further, later disappeared from the scene.
Though Sunday Tribune could not confirm the veracity of the story, some people swore it actually happened. Similar stories had since been circulated by words of mouth or on the social media, but none, according to Sunday Tribune investigations, except those caught in the act, had been verified, creating a possible scenario that mischievous people might simply be escalating fake news to cause unease in the society.
So serious are the cases of missing ladies’ underwear that it has become prayer points in some churches. Video clips where some churches turning the incident into an important point for prayers have also become hits on social media more for their hilarity than the seriousness of the issue.
Sunday Tribune gathered that the fear of becoming victims have forced some women to forgo panties altogether. A news report did the rounds recently that ladies in a tertiary institution in Delta State no longer wore undies for fear of being attacked. The report of women who no longer wear undies might sound unbelievable, but it underscores the seriousness which people now attach to such happenings since the general belief is that the stolen underwear are being used for juju to make money.
For quite a while, it was as if the attackers were invincible. However, that now seems a thing of the past. Recently in Ibadan, a man in his late 40s or early 50s was caught with almost a dozen underwear. He was said to have been picking them off clotheslines until someone spotted him and raised the alarm. Unfortunately, before the suspect could bolt away, he was apprehended by an angry mob.
The suspect was stripped of his green T-Shirt while a lady among the mob kept asking him where he stole the pants from, where he was taking them and what he wanted to do with them. Despite being severely beaten, the suspect did not utter a word.
Another lady, as she flipped several pants from inside a nylon bag that the man had on him, stuffed a pair of white pants in his mouth and instructed him to chew it. When he refused to do so, a young man hit him at the back of his head with a stick. Taking a cue from the action, others began to pelt the suspect with stones and other objects until he started bleeding, and was left with swollen lips and eyes.
If the man referred to above faced jungle justice at the hands of a mob, one Chinenya Okorie is currently facing charges at a Magistrates’ court in Onitsha, for stealing an underwear (valued at about N250) of a 19-year-old lady, Ofodili Mary. It was the first of such cases in which an accused person is facing charges according to the laws of the land.
Similarly, police in Awka, arrested a 19-year-old who stole an underwear at about 6.48 am on January 11. Police said the suspect had planned to sell it for N80,000 while still on the trail of his accomplices.
What they do with female underwear…
Sunday Tribune spoke with some spiritual leaders to find out if there were indeed any spiritual reasons for the current upsurge in the stealing of ladies’ underwear, each of which investigations revealed could be worth between N200,000 and N250,000.
Evangelist J Dewumi of Jehovah Mission Church of God (Itedo Alasepe), Molete, Ibadan and a traditionalist, Chief Yemi Elebuibon, both agreed that anyone doing anything to hurt another “is spiritually wicked.”
Evangelist Dewumi said: “It is the end times as warned by the Bible; so, strange acts shouldn’t surprise us. It doesn’t surprise me. Worse things will still happen. Anyhow, the problem with most people, especially our youths, is that they are in a hurry to make money. They don’t want to wait for God’s time. Anything outside of God never pays off at the end.
“The private parts of a woman are sacred and expected to be hidden. A woman’s beauty ends in what’s between her thighs. That is what her pants protect. Same for their pants; it’s supposed to be hidden.
“Those who steal ladies’ pants intend to use it for sinister things. Truly some people use their pants for money rituals; so do wicked people use it for longevity and also to spiritually steal people’s wellbeing. The victim’s may suddenly cease, which means she won’t be able to get pregnant again.
“The outcome is not immediately noticeable, but women may not be able to be able to get pregnant. When you see women beginning to lose weight and tests can’t reveal any physical ailment, then it must be a spiritual attack. However, people doing this don’t know they don’t have the final say. If God intervenes, their folly will be exposed. It is not found in the Bible, Quran and even among traditionalists that human beings should engage in anything to fast track success before God’s time.”
Chief Elebuibon in his own reaction advised women to always keep their pants safe even in their own homes, no matter the situation.
“It shouldn’t be on clothesline outside the house because a woman’s private is her itele idi (closest part to her) and should be kept private. From time, it is the wicked ones who steal women’s pants, clothes, sputum, etc., to spiritually harm others. I don’t know how they use pants to make money, but wicked people can do anything.
“In those days when we didn’t have menstrual pads, our women cut from old clothes and use when they were observing their monthly period and nobody saw it. It was a private thing. Our women, even if they gave their clothes to drycleaners, they never gave their pants and bras to launderers. We can only warn our women to be careful,” he also said.
Sunday Tribune, also during the week, got a piece of information that a female student of Delta State University, Abraka who claimed to be a victim but did not want her identity revealed said she was held at gun point by some people who asked her to remove her pants. It was not clear whether the attackers succeeded in taking away her undies or not.
“Yes, guys are now using guns to rob female (sic) of their pants. It’s now your pant or your life,’the information forwarded to Sunday Tribune stated.
Another lady, Akinpelu Boluwatife, said she is now more careful about where she puts her underwear as news of disappearing undies is now common. She also told Sunday Tribune that she has already joined the bandwagon of ladies who no longer wear pants as a result of the situation.
“The fear of these ritualists has made us to stop wearing pants, to be on a safer side. After performing rituals on the pants, as we hear, the ladies may start bleeding or vomiting blood. Since the news got to my friends and I, we have stopped putting on pants and we have also stopped staying out late at night,”she said.
A lady, Jumoke Timilehin, while speaking with Sunday Tribune on the issues said: “Stealing people’s pants does not really mean that the juju will work for those who stole them. There have been cases where the stolen used pants and the ritual back-fired on the person. Aside that it is against the will of God.
“These days all I do is pray that my underwear is not stolen. Also, I make sure I don’t go just anywhere. One just has to be very careful. Some girls say they will stop wearing pants. I will advise them to do because it only God that can protect someone.”
As it were, even the police have weighed in on the missing pants syndrome. At a Police/Community Relations Committee meeting in Omi Adio area of Ibadan recently, the police warned that community resident, especially women, to be careful with their personal clothing especially under wears based on reports they have heard, one of which was that a particular lady whose underwear, it was claimed, got stolen, died afterwards.
Though using different items including human body parts to make juju for money is not new in these part of the world, yet forcing ladies to give up their pants for the sake of ‘juju money’ is actually a new dimension which for a time to come is a riddle which might be difficult to unravel.
—Additional reports by Temitope Yakubu and Shalom Orido.