He was a hardened criminal, a terror and killer, one whom men of the security agencies will never forget in a haste. A man mountain, towering about 6 feet 5 inch, well built, dark skinned and sweltering eyes, he carried out his operations, like a movie, in the broad daylight, with sophisticated weapons, and bullet belts and explosives strapped roundabout him. He and his men were specialised in car snatching, highway robberies and bank invasions.
He specialised in robbing exotic cars on highways and banks. Nothing could stop him, not even security operatives, he was totally invincible. He was Shina Rambo! He was born in the year 1958 to a military man who was a bad egg in the service. His father was from Abeokuta in Ogun state, but his mother was a native of Sabongida–Ora in Edo state. His father had over 18 wives, as was the norm for soldiers to impregnate virtually every woman they met where they were posted to.
Shina Rambo (born c. 1963) is a former armed robber who terrorised South-West Nigeria in the 1990s. After serving jail time for his crimes, he was converted by an evangelist and became a Christian evangelical pastor. Shina Rambo now Mathew Oluwanifemi was a name that sent shivers down the spine of people who lived in the South West of Nigeria and even outside Nigeria, like Benin Republic and neighbourhood, in the 1990s.
How It All Started
“I will say that the moment a child lacks parental care, love and attention, such a child is being nursed towards crime. In my own case, it was a combination of many things that led me to the world of crime. Poor and not caring family, later my business was almost ground when some of my goods were confiscated. Along the line, my younger brother was also killed; in the mission of avenging l was gradually involved in crime and before l knew it l wanted to excel in it. What we called the real Shina Rambo lives inside.
His father used his military influence to rob innocent citizens, and always brought a huge amount of money home. This used to entice little Shina. He recalls, “I remembered when I was about 7 years old, my father came home with a lot of money, foreign currencies, with blood on it, and they were using something like a woman’s scarf to wipe it, then I asked him, is this an animal’s blood, or human blood? But he wouldn’t answer me, they were just drinking, smoking, and merry making.
Shina was already indoctrinated into the underworld by his father at a tender age of 7 without him knowing it, as he would sit in front of his son, to dismantle and assemble all sorts of weapons and then polishing them in preparation for an operation. This went on for so long until one day, little Shina, entered into his father’s room while he had stepped into the toilet, and saw a dismembered gun on the floor. He sat down in front of it, and bit by bit, he had assembled it effortlessly in no time at all. His father came out of the toilet, and saw his son, with a loaded gun in his hands.
Shina flashed back and said, “That day my father was so disappointed, that he wanted to kill me, he grabbed the gun from my hand and shot straight at me, but I miraculously escaped out of the room. Then he waited for me to be less alert at night he came to my room with a machete and tried to behead me, but once again, I escaped, but the machete caught my left leg. (rolled up his trouser to show us the large scar, that made everyone sighed in pity). It cut me so deep I thought I was never going to walk again. That day I knew I had graduated, all that was left was to pull the trigger, and I was so eager.”
Deeply Involved With Powers of Darkness
Shina Rambo became so notorious in no time and was hell-bent on succeeding in his career as an armed robber that he went through any length to secure spiritual powers for fortification. To the extent of pounding over 27 live newborn babies in the mortar with a pestle, cutting off about 100 human tongues and cooking them to eat, visiting the spiritual river called river of life in Ogoja, Cross Rivers State, living in a special Iroko (Milicia excelsa) tree for days, and sleeping in the cemetery. He became as dangerous as the mamba!
He was given a spiritual wife who always followed him for any operation, she dressed like an Alhaja, people thought she was human, but she was a spirit, that was why they never saw her face. He said she was his personal driver, that she could drive from Nigeria to Cotonou, in the speed of light.
“I had too many powers; my spiritual wife could drive any car in this world or out of it, no police vehicle, or anyone for that matter, could ever chase and catch me during an operation. She was out of this world, and when she had completed her operation, they took her away from me.
Hear him. “I was involved in so many rituals, that I can’t start naming them now, I was so powerful, I went underground, inside trees that looked like a city, a lot of beautiful houses inside the tree, I had my own too, I went into a river called River of life in Ogoja, where a lot of politicians and wealthy men used to come, I had several personalities, I could change my form whenever I wanted to, that’s why the police were busy killing innocent people and thought they were killing Shina Rambo”.
He delved further, “If a child knows how to wash his hand well, definitely he will eat with the elders. I know how to appease the elders, therefore anything l needed from them l usually get it. Now that l am in Christ, l know better. The fact is if you decide to eat with the devil, make sure you do it to a logical conclusion and if you want to follow Christ, let him be your sole companion in anything that you are doing.
“I received a lot of power in the world of the devil, and l followed it to a logical conclusion. In the world of the devil, police or any security has nothing to do with us, as a daredevil robber then. There are certain things which an armed robber should have. The first is what you call afoola. We used many human beings to do this native medicine, including a foetus in his mother’s womb. The second is ikiya (boldness).
“This will give you the audacity and effrontery to do anything at any time no matter how dangerous the venture is. The third one is that anybody who wants to venture into high-level robbery must be ready to squeeze all the water inside his eye and use it for a powerful medicine, so that there is nothing that would happen that such a person will cry again, no matter how devastating or big such a calamity is. I searched for power from the demons of various types, inside the most powerful water called water of the world at a town called Ogoja”.
Political & Financial World Leaders?
“All leaders of the world who are actually looking for power used to go inside this water. At that point when I was on operation l will put on the appearance of different types of people to the extent that it was difficult for anybody to identify my real being. There is no amount of picture that you took that you will get a clear view. That was why when they said that, ‘Oh! they have killed Shina Rambo,’ but it was another person that they would kill instead. From that place, l went to Oke Idanre and later Enugu and Abeokuta to look for power that can make me invisible at will.
“I was able to have a magical power that allowed me to look differently in eight places. At Abeokuta, the nine herbalists that did the medicine for me were killed so that one day they will not reveal the secret behind the medicine to any mortal. There is a place in Oyo State called Fiditi; lawyers also go there to look for power. Along the line, l entered into different cults that are very powerful. There they have to change my body because l was buried alive for seven days in the burial ground and my soul was kept in a small coffin. After the seventh day, l became powerful and more dangerous, too hot to be handled by anybody.
“Again l went inside the Iroko tree to seek for power. In fact, you will not believe the number of houses that you will find inside the Iroko tree, it’s a whole town inside the tree. When you get there, you are going to chant some incantations and the door will open, you will see various types of people engaging in activities like selling, eating, having meetings and doing all sorts of things done in the physical world. When l went there, we entered through the ninth door before we entered the town. I was able to do this because l was able to produce for the elders what they needed, so they were ready to give me what l wanted and ready to take me to wherever it would be possible for me to get what l wanted. There was a time l was taken to a burial place with 15 heads to go and to collect some charms from the spirit. From there, l was fortified to the extent that there is no bullet that could enter my body, it will just be like pure water”.
“I could give anything to get powers, and the elders knew, so they also gave me anything I wanted. I once beheaded a hundred men, and gave them the heads fresh, they were so happy with me that they made me invincible. No matter the kind of bullet you shot at me, it was just like pure water on my body. I could give anything to get power, but of all the things I did to get power, the one that still breaks my heart the most is sleeping with my mother. My father is dead now, but my mother is still alive, and she lives with me she is 85 years old, whenever I set my eyes on her, I just start crying. I can`t bear it.”
Shina Rambo was a raging terror, he was infallibly dangerous, the police dreaded him, both in Nigeria, and the Benin Republic, his place of interest for business. He would go to police stations, in broad daylight and kill every policeman there, drive to checkpoints and open fire on every policeman on duty, he didn’t like the police at all, and was never afraid of them, he operated in broad daylight armed to the teeth looking like Johnny Rambo, in the popular Sylvester Stalone movie, “First Blood”.
He once robbed 40 exotic cars in one day and drove all of them in a convoy, from Lagos to Cotonou, unstopped. He was powerful; he was wealthy, and impenetrable. He was a tin god, apparently belched from the very arroyo hell, we all dreaded him. He had a wife and three children, but he lost all of them in one day during a bloody police raid whilst he was away on an operation.
His wife was his stabilising factor his life changed afterwards. He says “my wife was everything to me, I was forbidden by the elders to sleep with any other woman apart from her, I could gather about 50 women around me in a hotel, and they will just be playing with me, we would smoke, drink, and sniff cocaine, I will give them money but I will never sleep with them. I will go back home to my wife and sleep with her. That was why the police never caught me. She knew my job, she knew what I was, I never left them alone at night, I operated in the daytime and go back home to my family at night.
“I had everything, I was very wealthy, I once spent 50 million Naira ($12.5 million in 1997) in a day. I did it a lot, there was one day that we were coming from an operation and it seemed as if my powers were going to fail me, the police and the army were almost closing in on us, so we had to drive into a crowd and threw millions of naira in the air, there was commotion, everybody was busy picking naira notes even the police, until we escaped.
“I was too rich, but anything the devil gives you never lasts, he will collect more from you, it’s only the devil that will give you Fila (traditional cap) and ask for Iro and Buba (wrapper and top). I lost everything, all the money, my family; I was so powerful the police couldn’t catch me but I lost it all.I had to surrender myself to the police, and I was arrested and jailed for 11 years.
Encounter With Christ
“It was such a miraculous way. I met Christ at a cross road. It was a miracle l did not expect. I met Christ through Prophet T. O. Obadare. I made myself available to the police and l have to bear all the detention and all the agonies l faced for about 11 years in Agodi prisons, Ibadan. A lot of Christian brothers rallied around me with the conviction that l should give my life to Christ. Then papa Obadare came to me in the prison that though l was expecting death, God has removed death from my head if I am ready to surrender everything to Jesus Christ. He prayed for me and converted me (got born again), and changed my name to Oluwanifemi (God loves me). In my own thinking l thought all was over, with all the atrocities l had committed, but God showed me mercy and gave me the second chance. So when l slept, l saw that the cloth of yoke and burden was removed from my neck, l was off from the bondage of Satan, a new cloth was given to me. By the time l woke up, l was talking in tongues.
“From that encounter, for the first time in my life that my soul would calm down, l learnt how to pray. I stopped taking cocaine and Indian hemp. Everything about me became new. It was during the time of President Olusegun Obasanjo, that we were granted freedom”.
At this point, I was glued to my seat, the revival where Shina Rambo gave this exclusive confession was on an open ground revival in the ancient city of Ibadan, right in front of me, on stage, was Evangelist Mathew Oluwanifemi, the once feared Shina Rambo, clad in a loose-fitting shirt, black pants and a pair of leather sandals with a black Holy Bible in his hands, gigantic dark skinned and bald headed, still had those fiery looks and stealth movement.
There is no life that has been tarnished by sin, which Christ cannot redeem and make anew with His Blood. If Shina Rambo can be redeemed from the kingdom of darkness, so could anyone – no matter how deep he may be. We must never give up in praying and sharing the Word of God with ANYONE. God still saves!