The police in Lagos yesterday rolled out statistics of horror, saying 270 people were murdered in the past year. Of the lot, many went unreported. Others were sensational and made headlines. Here are some of them:
The late Cynthia Osokogu, 24, was on July 22 murdered at a Lagos hotel. The daughter of Major-Gen. Frank Osokogu was killed by friends she met through the social media . The 24- year-old was the last child and only daughter of the retired Major-General. Two men, who admitted killing her, are standing trial. The suspects are Echezona Nwabufor, 33, and Ezekiel Nnechuwu Olisa Eloka, 23. Eloka said they killed Cynthia because they thought she had a lot of money in her possession.
But in his confessional statement, Nwabufo said his intention was never to kill her. He admitted however, that Cynthia was not his first victim, disclosing that all he did was to propose to them through blackberry and later invite them to the hotel,where he drugged them and dispossessed them of cash and other valuables.
He said: “It was a mistake. I never meant to kill her. I invited her from Abuja as my friend on July 21. I was trying to dislodge her by tying her hands and I hit her in the process. I tied her because I did not want her to know I was escaping from the hotel. We had a mutual agreement for her to come over. I met her from BB (blackberry) group chat. She came to buy some things for her boutique in Abuja. We had a disagreement. I did not rape her. It was the devil’s handwork.
“I wanted to run because I knew I had committed a serious offence against her. I thought she had money on her that I can collect. So in the process, I tied her with cellotape to make her not to shout. I was not the only person, it was I and my cousin, Odera that did it. We tied her together and beat her together.
“Yes, I invited her and in the process we felt like robbing her of all she had. The condom the police saw on me is what I used personally. I used it on her based on the sex toy with her. She came with a vibrator sex toy, so I inserted the condom on the sex toy and later dropped it there. I did not make love to her. If they test the condom forensically, it will prove that I did not use it on her.
“I drugged her with RAFINOL through Ribena drink. I bought three packets of Ribena and when she took it, she became weak. It was my cousin that drugged the drink, he used a syringe and administered ten tablets of it inside the drink.
“This is the first time someone died in the process. I have done this say like, four times before now but none of the girls died. Whenever they take the drink, I will sleep with them and they will just lose memory of all that transpired. Usually, I use hotels in Festac. I have used Opera mini Hotel, Benny, Chelsea and Concilia. I feel bad because I did not bargain for this – to kill her in the first instance. It is just unfortunate and it was an accident.”
His alleged partner in the crime, Odera Ezekiel, said: “ I am also an Accounting student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. The morning it happened, my brother called me to come to the hotel to help him bind the girl so that he can dispossess her of her belongings.
“My mission at the hotel was to come and help him bind the girl. In the process of trying to bind the girl, she put up struggle and we assaulted her and in the process, she passed out. I did not hit her with any hard object and we didn’t have any weapon with us. My brother only told me he wanted to take her money. I have not done it before. He asked me to buy the drink for him.”
Lagos State Commissioner of Police Umar Abubakar Manko said detectives made use of the close circuit television, CCTV, at the hotel where the crime was committed to identify them.
The Area Commander, Area ‘E’ Police Command, ACP Okoro added that the suspects who are undergraduates of Nigerian universities were nabbed through the call logs of the telephone conversations they had with the late Cynthia who was a post graduate student of Nasarawa State University.
ACP Okoro stated that many ATM cards, about 23 SIM cards, different identity cards were recovered from the suspects.
On September 15, Ugochukwu Ozuah married Joan, his girlfriend of nearly two years at The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, Lagos.
The 36-year-old man and Joan retreated to the Whispering Palms, a beach resort in Badagry, for three days for their honeymoon. Their joy was cut short on September 20, when the groom was allegedly shot and killed by policemen attached to the Anthony Division.
Ozuah, an indigene of Anambra State and Mechanical Engineering Graduate of the University of Ado Ekiti, was allegedly killed close to the UPS Bus Stop along Oworonsoki-Oshodi Expressway while dropping his friend off.
The friend, Erikefe Omene, who came from the United Kingdom to attend the wedding, said: “I went to visit Ozuah at his house at Oke Olowo Estate on Thursday. When it was around 10pm, I wanted to leave but he said taxis were not allowed into the estate so he decided to drop me off outside the estate where I would get a taxi. We got into his car, a Honda CRV, and he drove out. As we approached the expressway, there was an ash/blue car that stopped around the same time to drop someone.
“An individual came out of the car which was now parked side by side with ours. Because of the manner with which it was parked, I didn’t know the type of car it was. Policemen approached the said car and I thought it was just a routine check; so we didn’t pay it much attention.
“Ozuah parked the car and we both alighted so we could stop a taxi but before he to shut the door, one of the policemen said, ‘Who’s there? Who goes there?’ And shot Ozuah who then fell flat on the floor. Individuals from the ash/blue car suddenly ran behind Ozuah’s car to where I was and I thought the policemen might come around to shoot. So, I ran back into the estate.
“By the time we arrived at the scene, there were many policemen there. The Divisional Police Officer said he just received a phone call that someone was shot. I then told the DPO that it was a policeman that shot my friend. The DPO then asked me to explain and I narrated the story to him. He said, ‘Are you sure it wasn’t someone in black that shot your friend?’
“At this point, Ozuah’s wife started shouting that we should rush him to a hospital. Although he wasn’t moving, his body was still warm. So, we laid him on the backseat and her brother-in-law drove him down to the hospital.”
The spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, said it was armed robbers that killed Ozuah and not the police.
Kidnapped and murdered
Odidi Nweze, a businessman, was killed after being abducted in front of a pharmacy in Satellite Town, a Lagos suburb, two days after he returned from the United States.
He was said to have been abducted with his companion in front of Oxpharm and killed a few metres away, but the woman reportedly escaped.
It was at the Festac Town branch of the pharmacy that the drugs injected into the drink of the late Cynthia Osokogu were bought.
According to eyewitnesses, the late Nweze and his partner were bundled into the back of the abductors’ vehicle and taken away.
On their way, the abductors ran into a traffic gridlock and resorted to shooting their way out.
Motorists were said to have abandoned their vehicles to avoid being hit by stray bullets.
Sources said Nweze was dragged out of the vehicle and shot dead by his abductors.
A woman, it was learnt, is being held because she witnessed the killing.
“She is alive; she saw it all and the only witness to the murder. She saw how it happened and how he was killed. We want to uncover those who sponsored the murderers, those who are in conflict with the man or his family members so that we can pick all the people involved in the killing,” a source said.
A source at the Area Command said: “The deceased was already home and had even changed into his night wears when a call came through. It was the call that made him leave the house to where he was abducted. We are still trying to find out who called him. We have gone to the service providers to assist us with information that will aid our investigation”.
On why the late Nweze’s friend was arrested, the source said: “From all indications, there are cloudy issues surrounding the man and these are the things we want to uncover, and that is why we are holding him. He has a case to answer.”
Okoro accused some hoteliers of conniving with kidnappers, warning that anyone caught would be treated as an accomplice.
He said: “Our investigation so far has shown that some hoteliers are harbouring these criminals. Any hotelier that a kidnapper is arrested in his or her domain will be charged to court alongside the suspects for complicity. The hotel, which we are suspecting that those who killed Nweze operated from, is already being investigated.
“We suspect that the suspects were living at the hotel and taking off from there to carry out their criminal activities. All hoteliers must comply with the Inspector General’s and Commissioner of Police’s directives on the installation of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) in their premises and also ensure proper identification of guests before checking them in.”
Even foreigners fell
Gunmen killed a Chinese businessman at Ogudu , Lagos on November 28. Two other Chinese women sustained head and leg injuries during the incident, said Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide.
Police said four Chinese in a car were coming from a function at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos,when a red car followed and overtook them as they were about entering Chinatown at Ogudu.
“They shot the man at close range and collected his bag. He was rushed to Gbagada General Hospital where he died,” Braide said.
She said although investigation is ongoing, the police suspect murder. “We are suspecting murder,” she said.
Braide said the body of the Chinese was deposited at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Ikeja.
The woman who sustained head injury was the deceased’s wife. It was learnt that the incident happened at about 9.30 p.m. The deceased was a businessman and dealt in air travel business. The identities of the victims were not available.
It was the fifth Chinese death in the hands of gunmen in Nigeria in the last two months and the first in the Lagos area.
And retired senior cop too!
A retired Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Pullen Agbonifo, was shot dead by gunmen who invaded his residence in Idimu, Lagos on August 8.
Police said the gunmen trailed the deceased’s driver to the crime scene and shot him before heading to the main house.
The culprits were said to have gone straight to Agbonifo’s bedroom where he was shot repeatedly.
The culprits were said to have fled the scene without stealing anything.
Police spokesman Ngozi Braide said Agbonifo’s son reported the incident to the Divisional Police Officer, Idimu.
She said Agbonifo was rushed to the hospital by policemen along with his driver but died from the gunshot wounds.
Braide said: “Agbonifo was shot on Tuesday around 9pm by unidentified gunmen. His son ran to Idimu Police Station and informed the DPO who then raced down to the scene. He was found in a pool of blood in his bedroom and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died.
“Investigations revealed that the culprits trailed his driver and entered the compound as he was coming in. The driver was also shot but survived and is responding to treatment.
“The culprits did not steal anything from his home and investigations are ongoing.”
Braide said the incident was most likely an assassination and the police were working hard to apprehend the suspects.
Ex-IGP’s nephew down and out
The nephew of former Inspector General of Police, Niyi Ehindero, was shot dead in January in Mushin, a suburb of Lagos.
Eyewitnesses said he was killed by soldiers.
The incident took place at Bada Street, Idi-Oro, Mushin around 4.30 pm when Ehindero came to the area to spend the holiday with his friend.
The deceased was inside a Highlander SUV, with registration number FF 605 ARD when he was gunned down.
The OP-MESSA officers were alleged to have immediately accosted the deceased and shot him dead without a brawl.
Ehindero, 37, who lived at 5, Ogungbade Street, Mende, Maryland was said to be a businessman who distributed in diesel and had been married for five years without a child.
A police source from the Alakara Police Station confirmed that the soldiers shot dead Ehindero and that the culprits escaped before arrest, saying that the deceased was in his SUV with his friend when the OP-MESSA officers stormed the area.
An eye witness said the team leader of the OP-MESSA ordered Ehindero to get out of his SUV but opened fire on him almost immediately and he died on the spot.
It was not clear what led to the shooting. It was also gathered that the soldiers, after killing the deceased, shot three other residents in the area, who sustained serious injuries.
There was pandemonium at Bada Street as people scampered to safety to avoid being shot by the soldiers.
Johnson Akinsanjo (47) was murder on August 31, by three men armed with guns and cutlasses.
He was abducted by the armed men who demanded a ransom of N2million from his wife.
However, before she could get the money, the suspect allegedly killed and buried her husband in a bush in Ikorodu.
The suspects where later arrested and they took policemen to the bush were the man was killed and buried.
Murderer Of Cynthia Osokogu In The State Of Aquatic Splendour