Search Site: OnlineNigeria



Posted by By PETRUS OBI, Enugu on 2007/10/18 | Views: 1527 |


Barely one year after a 15-year-old girl, Ifenyinwa Ugwueje, was murdered in cold blood, her family members, the Catholic Church in Nsukka and the Catholic Institute, Development, Justice and Peace (CIDJAP), have cried foul, accusing the police of being biased in the handling of the matter.

* Like Abel, the blood of murdered girl cries for justice as Catholic Church, family shout

Barely one year after a 15-year-old girl, Ifenyinwa Ugwueje, was murdered in cold blood, her family members, the Catholic Church in Nsukka and the Catholic Institute, Development, Justice and Peace (CIDJAP), have cried foul, accusing the police of being biased in the handling of the matter.

They are alleging that the police and some powerful people believed to be backing the key suspect wanted to pervert justice in the matter.
Ifenyinwa, a student of Comprehensive Secondary School, Umunda, in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, was allegedly killed in controversial circumstance while on errand for her mother, Mrs. Philomena Ugwueje, a widow.

Mrs Ugwueje had single-handed, in the last 11 years, shouldered the responsibility of bringing her children up. Thus, she could not hold back tears as she recalled the events that led to the death of her last daughter on October 15, 2006.

The mother, who is a cashew nut seller, had lost her husband in 1996. She now buys the product in bags, but because of her poor financial position, she finds it difficult to settle for purchases made instantly in the course of the trade. As a result, she devised a means that could enable her buy on credit and settle for the transaction when she must have sold her product.

One of those she was said to have entered into arrangement with is a young man called Mr Okwudili Odo, who also operates a motorcycle.
The arrangement progressed until October 14, last year, when Mrs Ugwueje said she got a message from her supplier, Okwudili, to settle the backlog of the transactions earlier made.
“So the next day, October 15, very early in the morning, I sent Ifenyinwa with some money for the settlement of the debts owed to Okwudili and a request that more cashew nuts be supplied to us.

So, Ifenyinwa took along her sister, Amuche to Okwudili’s house. I was here waiting until several hours, when Amuche returned to report that Okwudili took Ifenyinwa on her bike to a place where he (Okwudili) said he would show her where we can be getting supplies of the cashew nuts. That she waited severally for their return to no avail and decided to leave.”

Amuche confirmed her mother’s story that Okwudili had actually asked her to wait behind, while they (himself and Ifenyinwa) went to meet with someone at the nearby Obollo Afor town, who had agreed to be supplying them cashew nuts on credit. It was this journey that Ifenyinwa took to the great beyond.
It was alleged that Okwudili had tricked the deceased into believing that the person who would supply the cashew nuts to them had actually entered town and was staying at the Oba Hotel in Obollo Afor and would want them to come to the place and meet him.

The principal suspect was also said to have told Ifenyinwa that he had discussed the new business deal with her mother and wondered why the mother never mentioned it to her before their visit.
It was alleged that the duo had actually entered one of the rooms of the hotel said to have been paid for by Okwudili, where it was believed Ifenyinwa was murdered with certain parts of her body taken away, apparently for ritual purposes.

According to Ugwueje, Ifenyinwa was seen naked on the floor of the room in the pool of her own blood, while some parts of her intestine lay on top of her stomach.
“She was stabbed several times on the stomach and other parts of her body, while some parts of her body were removed. Even the clothes she wore that morning were not recovered as her assailants took them away”, she said.

A different version of the story had it that two hefty men, believed to be working for Okwudili had already taken strategic positions in the room waiting before the duo entered the hotel room.
The receptionist at the hotel, who confirmed that Okwudili brought the girl to the hotel and paid for the room, said that they had actually noticed someone shouting earlier from the direction of the room.
“When we tried to inquire the cause of the shouting, Okwudili had shouted that we should not mind that girl. That she was always behaving that way,” she said, adding that they had also observed that Okwudili left the room without the girl.
“He clutched a small polythene bag and as he was leaving, we asked about the girl and he said she was sleeping and left,” she added.

The hotel management reportedly called in the police at Obollo Afor when it was discovered later in the day that Ifenyinwa was lying prostrate in the pool of her own blood, dead in the room.
Following the discovery, a manhunt was launched by the police team and hotel management for Okwudili, and few days later; he was arrested and detained at the Police Station at Obollo Afor.
Sources at the police said that Okwudili had vehemently denied committing the crime, leading to an identification parade a few months ago in which the female receptionist was invited to identify the culprit.

Among the nine suspected criminals paraded by the Obollo Afor Police Station on the said day, the female receptionist was said to have identified Okwudili as the culprit.
The Catholic Church at Nsukka and the family of the deceased alleged that since the principal suspect was apprehended several months ago he had been treated like a ‘king’ in the cell, without any effort made to prosecute him.

They further alleged that the case file had been ‘doctored’, stressing that what is being paraded at the moment does not represent the true situation about the case.
Mrs. Ugwueje, who has found it difficult to forget the tragedy told Daily Sun that she wants justice, stressing that it was the only thing that could make the spirit of her daughter to rest in peace.
She added that she had suffered terrible shock since the incident and blamed herself for sending the girl to the place.

“If I had known that they had planned to kill her for rituals, why would I send her to die? These are children I have suffered to train since I lost my husband. Nobody has asked how we have been sustaining ourselves. It is sad and all those who did this will not know peace”, she cursed in apparent anger.

She stated that it had taken about 10 months since the heinous crime was committed, adding that justice delayed was justice denied.
“I know that I have nobody except God. No matter how hard they try to cover and protect that boy, I know that a greater judge is in heaven and will not allow this injustice to continue”, she said.
A leader in the community, Ozo Tony Ogbonna, said that he “suspects serious effort to cover up the matter and perhaps free the suspects.”

According to him, since the last 10 months in which the incident took place, it was only last month that the police charged the principal suspect to court, adding that, “even that was done without the knowledge of the victim’s family.”
He added that the murder of the girl had since unsettled the community, as those fingered on the incident are yet to be arrested, stressing, “they are walking free in the community.”
“Why we are saying this is that, nobody knows the next victim. Killing for ritual has almost become a household name in this area and nothing is being done about it,” he said.

Worried by the development and suspicion that investigations were not properly done on the matter, the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, which ordered that the remains of the girl be deposited at the mortuary till the determination of the case, has petitioned the state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, over the alleged injustice.
In the petition signed by the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Rev. Francis Okobo, entitled Brutal and Cold Blooded Murder of Ifenyinwa Ugwueje, they said they were not satisfied with the manner the matter is being handled, insisting that no proper investigation had been done.

The Diocese, therefore, asked the Attorney General to order a fresh investigation into the matter, cutting across the police with proper arraignment of the suspect and ensuring that the suspect and his cohorts were brought to book, adding , “the treatment of this case with levity has fueled other murders within Obollo Afor and environs.”

The Diocese added that more than six murders have been committed in the area since Ifenyinwa was killed.
As part of the effort to stem the tide of murder and ritual killing, the Diocese has, through its Justice and Development branch, embarked on sensitization programme, stressing that with an increased awareness the people would turn away from the act.
Also, the counsel to the Diocese, Mr. Vincent Chieyine, had petitioned the Inspector General of Police, complaining about the shabby investigation conducted in the matter.
He alleged that the matter was transferred to the Intelligence and Investigation Bureau, Umuahia, without the case file containing the statements made in the case.

At the Obollo Police Station, the Divisional Police Officer was said to be out of office. But a senior police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the case file had been transferred to the Zone 9 Command, Umuahia, Abia State.
He added that they had done all that was necessary, stressing that the principal suspect had since been transferred to Umuahia, from where he had been attending to the case.
“I think we will get somewhere if they should cooperate with us. Police did this and that are mere allegations. What we are talking about is murder, which must be properly investigated.” he said.

Read Full Story Here.... :
Leave Comment Here :

Add Comment

* Required information
Captcha Image

Comments (1)

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.