People who knew Clifford Nwa Orji as a lunatic and blade seller at the ever-busy Oshodi market would never have imagined he would turn out to be a deadly man-eater.
Lagos residents, who were familiar with the highway bridge near Toyota bus stop, Oshodi-Isolo expressway, knew that it was impossible to miss hustling Orji who was striving for a living.
It was not until the unfortunate morning of February 3, 1999, when a faint cry for help from a hollow cave, under the highway bridge caught the attention of passersby.
The Disturbing Discovery
Inside the cave, the passersby were shocked to their bones as they were met with a decaying smell, with freshly cooked human limbs, wrists, thighs, and a dying woman lying helplessly by metal cooking pots and firewood.
The said victim whose cries gave Clifford away was identified as Awawu, from Agege, and she was immediately rushed to a hospital in Ikeja.
Orji was unclear in his statement when police arrived at the scene and was taken to the Makinde Police Station in Oshodi, where media personnel drilled him for answers all Lagos residents were asking.
A couple of days after his arrest, Clifford Orji was paraded before the media with roasted parts of human beings, including skulls, legs, hands, and abdomen. One butchered head of a lady identified as Eno, a trader from Akwa Ibom, was also on show. It was truly, a horrid sight.
An untidy Orji told interviewers he hailed from Enugu State, and that he had been eating human flesh for years.
The now-defunct Concord newspaper quotes him saying, “We have been eating human meat for the past seven years before coming to Lagos. It is our culture to eat human meat. We have killed over three people, especially young girls who hawk wares.
We always lured them to our enclave under the pretext that we wanted to purchase their wares. Once they are in our net, we pounce on them and kill them for eatable meat. My colleague is the human hunter while I am the butcher.”
Clifford’s answer to the question of whether he would continue to eat human flesh if he became a free man led many to believe he was suffering from mental illness. “Yes, to me there is no difference between human and goat meat,” he said.
The unsolved Puzzle
Although the police had reasons to believe that Clifford and his accomplice, Tahiru were not just human eaters but also human spare-parts sellers, as a huge sum of money, phone cheques were also found in the cave, the case led to dead ends.
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