A suspected ritualist, who disguised as a mad man, was on Thursday burnt alive by an angry mob in Ughelli, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.
Sources said people became suspicious when they saw him with an Android phone in a crowd in front of Otovwodo Primary School.
The suspicious individuals were said to have gone to patronize a merchant that deals in all kinds of second-hand items.
A source said on seeing the people approaching him, the suspect quickly pulled out the SIM card in the phone, swallowed it and began to flee.
“Everybody was surprised, how can a mad man be using such an expensive Android phone?
“At first people thought he might have stolen the phone from somebody among the crowd, but when he started running and swallowed the SIM card, it became clear that he was not a mad man.
“He was caught and they began to beat him to get information from him. However, in the process of beating him, some persons came and said that this same mad man was arrested about two weeks ago by the police and was taken to the Ughelli Police station after he performed the same act of swallowing a SIM card when he was caught discussing on the phone with someone about selling body parts.
“On hearing that he was arrested and released, the mob got angry and set him ablaze immediately to avoid the police or any security agency from rescuing him.”
A tricycle operator, who craved anonymity, also said, “I was arrested with this same boy two weeks ago. We were taken to Ughelli A division.
“When we got to the station, they discovered, from bank messages on the phone, that he was having over N12 million in his bank account.
“I was released a few hours because mine was a licence issue, so I did not know what happened next. I was surprised to see this same ‘mad man’ a few days later still pretending to be mad.”
Another witness alleged that the suspected ritualist, after being arrested by the police, was returned to the palace of the Ovie of Ughelli (traditional ruler) where he was allegedly released.
“That day he was arrested and taken to the police station but was later brought to the palace, although I don’t know why, when they brought him to the palace, some persons said they should burn him.
“Instead of burning him, they let him go after paying N500,000,” the witness alleged.
When contacted by the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bright Edafe said he was not yet aware of the incident.
“I am not aware; give me some time to find out and I will get back to you,” he said.