Many Nigerians may have forgotten him, but not many Lagosians will!
His name is Clifford Orji, Nigeria’s first known cannibal.
The news of his relief-bringing death filtered in on the 17th of August, 2012.
He died of unknown causes at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Lagos.
Clifford was arrested in February 3, 1999, and charged before an Ebute-Meta Magistrate’s Court in Lagos on February 19 of the same year.
As early as 6 a.m. in the morning, crowds still gathered at Toyota Bus Stop, Oshodi-Isolo Expressway, Clifford’s former kitchen.
The cries of Awawu, an emaciated and shackled woman from Agege gave him away.
According to his confession to the police, Clifford and his accomplice, Tahiru have been killing fellow human beings for dinner.
People in the neighbourhood always suspected that Clifford Orji was strangely different.
He used to sell razor blades at the bustling Oshodi market, before he shifted his abode to a self-created grotto under the highway bridge in Isolo, where he advertised himself as a native doctor.
Occasionally, he violently pursued stray-walkers to his “sanctuary” during day time. In the dead of the night, he usually blanketed the air around with the meat-like odour from his special barbecue.
People merely suspected that this barbecue-loving recluse was not normal; that he was possibly mad—but no one was prepared for the horrendous discovery of that haunting Wednesday morning.
Clifford Orji was a cannibal—a man eater!
The discovery sent shock waves throughout the sprawling metropolis of about seven million people, drawing hundreds of people to the under-the-bridge abode of Orji, where he also kept a well-kitted kitchen to prepare cooked and roasted human flesh!
How long the afro-haired man from Enugu State has been feeding on human flesh in Lagos before his eventual arrest is still unknown till this day!
And also is the actual number of people he has slaughtered for dinner—Orji did not reveal much during police interrogations.
A shrill cry of a famished and emaciated lady, waiting to be slaughtered, was what gave Orji away that Wednesday.
The noise attracted passers-by who not only discovered the woman but also stumbled on a collection of human parts in Orji’s make-shift home. Human bones, skulls, legs, hands, freshly cooked soup with human meat, were discovered.
The uproar triggered by this shock discovery was said to have attracted men of the Operation Sweep.
Surrounded, Orji attempted to escape.
But the police quickly arrested him and took him to the Makinde Police Station in Oshodi, nearby. The lady being dressed for slaughtering, and who Orji had turned into a sex-slave for several days, was freed and taken to the hospital in Ikeja.
The arrest of another person, said to be Orji’s accomplice in the human-flesh eating business introduced a new dimension to the tragedy.
Police found that Orji and his friend were not just human eaters, they were also human spare-parts sellers, as money, cheques were said to have been recovered at the make-shift home at the popular Toyota Bus Stop on the Oshodi-Isolo Expressway.
Were Orji and his accomplice mad?
Some people interviewed at the scene of the tragedy believed they were sane. Some did not.
On the following Thursday, Orji and his accomplice were paraded to newsmen by the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Sunday Aghedo.
The journalists who crowded the premises of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja, covered their noses with handkerchief while interviewing Orji who claimed to be a native of Enugu State.
The state commissioner of police described the two men as human eaters.
On display beside them were roasted parts of human beings – heads, leg, hand and the abdomen.
One severed head wore a permed hair of a lady identified as “Eno”, a trader from Akwa Ibom State.
Remember the story of the Brazilian killer cannibal who revealed he cooked women in stews and pies and said it’s the same as eating beef?