In this article we are going to be looking at the true crime story of Clifford Orji, a deadly human-eater and Nigeria’s number one cannibal, and how he died mysteriously in a Nigerian prison in 2012 after spending 13 years behind bars. He was the worst cannibal in the late 90s and rated as Nigeria’s number one cannibal and human-eater. He fed on humans and used them for his breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Of all the mysteries surrounding the capture of the Lagos man-eater and the fate of the missing heads is the most disturbing. Clifford Orji was caught frying up human feet and ribs for breakfast under a city flyover in Lagos. Severed hands lay about the place. There was even a policeman’s helmet resting on some bones. But days later the skulls of his uncounted victims are still nowhere to be found.
Joseph Bello stumbled on the cannibal as he walked home after a night vigil at a local church. Joseph Bello heard a strange voice from a bush next to the flyover and noticed a shack built of car tyres. As he moved closer, the odd smell of cooking flesh hit his nostrils. He peeped into the shack and to his wilder astonishment, he saw human limbs and other parts roasting on the fire, he was transfixed and terrified.
Joseph Bello alerted other people around the underpass. A crowd gathered and burst into the shack. They were confronted by severed feet and rib cages, and chunks of flesh. Immediately he saw the crowd Clifford Orji ran and the crowd ran after him and caught up with him.
No one noticed a small, emaciated woman imprisoned inside the tyres of Clifford Orji’s shack. It was only after he was caught and dragged back to watch and see the crowd demolish his home that he built under the bridge and in the process of demolishing his home, they discovered Awawu Lawal, a woman he imprison inside the tyres awaiting her turn on the menu. The sight of the filthy, starving woman drove the crowd wild. They beat her captor Clifford Orji until the police arrived and arrested him. Awawu Lawal died several days later after falling into a coma.
The crowd then turned their attention to a man they knew to be Clifford Orji friend by the name Tahiru Aliyu. He lived nearby. The mob tore his shack down too, and found a 4 meter pit underneath where some of the victims were kept before they were killed and cooked.
Clifford Orji, who is in his 30s then, was sometimes seen wandering naked or chasing complete strangers, ranting at them and waving a stick. Despite his thick matted hair and filthy clothes he managed to convince some people that he was a traditional healer, which may be how he lured his victims.
The cannibal told the police he would entrance women by blowing on their foreheads and they would then follow him back to the underpass. “I will have a sexual affair with her to a state of coma before we slaughter her and roast,” he said. “I am not alone. I have between four and 10 people working with me. They take their own parts and go while I wait for another `meat’.”
Clifford Orji’s statement to the police has fueled speculation that he was butchering his victims for more than his own consumption. People in the area said they regularly saw upmarket cars stopping beneath the flyover. To some it explains why none of the victims’ heads have been found.
In Nigeria there is a discreet trade in body parts for religious or medicinal ceremonies. The case has disturbing echoes of earlier killings when a man called Innocent Ikeanyanwu was discovered with the head of a 10-year-old boy.
In police detention he said he had been regularly shipping severed heads to some highly placed Nigerians for ancient rituals. But before he could start naming people involved in the deal, Innocent Ikeanyanwu had already died due to cardiac arrest.
A fortnight after the arrest of Clifford Orji and his partner, the flyover has become a tourist site. Lagosians are selling pictures of the human remains on the grills and calendars of the cannibal and his friend. Clifford Orji is confined to the Yaba Psychiatric hospital. The police are suspicious of the claim he is insane in part because he told them he was “mad”.
Clifford Orji later died in Kirikiri Maximum Prison after being kept behind bars for 13 years. Clifford Orji who was imprisoned on 19th February 1999 at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, died on Friday 17th August 2012. The cause of his death is yet to be known as autopsy is being performed but the result was not published on any national newspaper.
Clifford Orji who died August 17, 2012 was an alleged Nigerian cannibal. He was also indicted in serial killings, kidnappings, and sale of human body parts and was arrested in 1999. Clifford Orji died in Lagos Kirikiri Maximum Prison, where he spent 13 years, having never been tried for his crimes.
Clifford Orji was originally from Enugu state in the south-eastern part of Nigeria but lived in Lagos state in the south-western part of Nigeria, where he originally disguised himself as a razor-blade merchant but later abandon the trade and proclaim himself to be a shaman and on multiple occasions would fake temporary insanity to dissuade people from coming close to his place of abode. Clifford Orji did not possess a house or lived in descent house, but rather he lived under a bridge in Oshodi-Isolo in what could be well described as a lair and would later be commonly referred to as Clifford’s kitchen.
Clifford Orji was arrested on 3rd February 1999, after a missing woman was discovered in a near death health crisis in his place of abode. Coupled with that, was the discovery of fresh and cooked human body parts and multiple human skulls. He was arraigned at a Magistrate court in Ebute-Meta in Lagos state and was remanded in Kirikiri Prison, which is Nigeria’s only super-maximum prison.
After his arrest, a thorough search of his hideout was made, which revealed multiple decaying corpses and fresh human body parts. A cheque for ₦80,000 and a mobile phone were also discovered. This was suspicious because in 1999 the G.S.M had not been fully introduced to the Nigerian market, making possession and ownership of a mobile phone reserved for the opulent Nigerian elite upper-class.
Clifford Orji confessed to kidnapping and cannibalism. He stated that he and his accomplice named Tahiru Aliyu had been kidnapping unsuspecting individuals and eating them since 1992. Clifford Orji, who had shown no remorse throughout the course of his arrest, stated that even if he were to be released he would continue kidnapping and indulging in cannibalism.
Clifford Orji also made a very controversial claim that he ate his victims and sold their body parts to high-ranking Nigerian politicians, who rewarded him financially and that was how he was able to own a mobile phone. However, his statements were not backup with any cogent evidence.
Clifford Orji had begun to suffer from full-blown psychosis while still in Nigeria’s Kirikiri maximum prison, where he was remanded for 13 years. He later died on 17th August 2012.
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