In Nigeria, five men were sentenced to 12 years in prison each after being convicted of exhuming a human skull.
They intended to take it to a traditional doctor, who told them it was required for rites that would make them wealthy.
After being apprehended with the skull in a bag, the guys pled guilty.
According to the prosecution, the individuals pulled out a body that had been buried three years previously in a Muslim cemetery in north-central Niger state.
“They said the herbalist informed and promised all of them that they would share the wealth from the said criminal activity and directed them to look for the human skull,” the prosecutor was quoted as saying by the privately owned Daily Punch newspaper.
Security agents apprehended the young men, aged 18 to 28, in early September when they were transporting the remains to a third party on the orders of a traditional doctor.
A court in Minna, Niger state’s capital, found the men guilty of criminal conspiracy, trespassing on burial grounds, and unlawfully possessing a human skull.
The traditional physician was not arrested or prosecuted.
According to a Pew Research Centre survey from 2010, belief in “juju” – sometimes known as voodoo or magic – is quite popular in Nigeria, with many mixing it with either Christianity or Islam.
Such beliefs, particularly that human body parts and charms may generate money from a clay pot, have resulted in a new surge of heinous killings in Nigeria, typically targeting the weak, such as children, single women, and persons with disabilities.
Local officials have also stated that body parts are sold and utilized in wealth-generating ceremonies.
Money-making rituals in Nigeria have also been fueled by rising economic desperation in a country where, according to World Bank figures, four out of every ten people live in poverty.