By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor
The gruesome murder of a middle-aged assistant general manager at the Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), Enugu branch, Kinsley Osualla, on Sunday May2, 2010 at Akanu, Umobom in Ideato LGA of Imo State,Â has not only cast gloom on the entire neighborhood, but has seemingly spelt doom for the immediate family including his friends.
Osualla had reportedly come home on that fateful day for a thanksgiving ceremony organized for the mother of one of his cousins, Chief Superintendent of Police , Chukwuma Evans Ebbe.Â At the end of the ceremony, he retired to bed with the hope of leaving very early for his workplace in Enugu.Â But that was not to be as he ended up inside the morgue.
Family sources said, in the dead of the night, a gang of young men stormed the house where he was asleep, dragged him out and killed him.Â The nature of his death not only aroused suspicion amongst his relatives but sent shock waves across the length and breath of Imo state.Â Peoples suspicion arose from not just the circumstance of his brutal murder, but an earlier incident he was involved in.
The banker who was well respected by his colleagues and peers had, in April9, 2009 being kidnaped while driving i his Prado jeep on Abakiliki road in Enugu.Â Â Family members said efforts were made to contact the Chief Superintendent of Police, Ebbie who is his cousin and whom they felt could use his position to help track down the kidnappers.
They could not reach him initially, until they contacted one of his aids who then gave them the phone number they eventually used to reach him.
The family members claimed that the Police officer instructed them not to negotiate with any other person except the two persons he was going to send to them.Â They were Igwe Mbarabu and one Prophet whom he said were his boys.Â He also instructed that the two men should be taken care of so that they could ensure the early release of his cousin, the banker.
The two men started negotiations after allegedly collecting various sums of money from the family.Â They also claimed that the kidnappers agreed to take N1.6 million but when they were asked to pick the money, they disappeared and switched off their phones.
Sensing complicity and fould play, the Osualla family opened direct communication with the kidnappers who after some days, agreed to accept N1 million.Â The family were directed to drop the money at a spot on Abakiliki road which they did.
As soon as the money was dropped, the two aids of the Police Officer who were incommunicado for four days reportedly came out.Â They allegedly demanded for the payment of the earlier agreed N1.6 million and it was followed by a call from the Police Officer that the family should comply to save the life of Osualla.
In spite of the fact that the money was eventually paid, the drama took another dimension when the ransom was raised N10 million.Â It later took a combined efforts of both the army and police to rescue the banker from the clutches of the deadly kidnappers.
Few months later, he traveled to honor that his Police Officer cousin when he met his untimely death in the hands of hired killers.
Piqued by the ugly development and the circumstances surrounding his death, members of his family took up the case with both the Police in Owerri and Zone 9 Command in Umuahia.
This was after they noticed that the Police were unnecessarily foot-dragging over the case in spite of, allegedÂ glaring evidence pointing towards not just his Police officer cousin but his aids over the murder..Â Chief Isaac Uchenna Nwosu, one of the members of the family who fired a strongly-worded petition to the
Inspection-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo alleged that that fateful day the banker was killed, both his cousin and one of his aids who had never come home to sleep since the kidnaping incident, were in the village.Â â€œIt is therefore no coincidence that the same period that Hypolitus who had been away from the village for a very long time, ended with the gruesome murder of Kingsley Osualla.
It is also instructive to note that Hypolitus who has been some-what unemployed has suddenly come into big money and has been spending money as if it was going out of fashion, since after the kidnap sagaâ€.Â He further alleged that the duo did not even come out after the murder of the banker while the whole village was on fire.
Calling on the Police boss to quickly intervene by ordering the immediate arrest of all those suspected to have had a hand in both the earlier kidnap of the banker and his subsequent death, Chief Nwosu stated that â€œThis act of brigandage by this well known murderous gang which has engendered great insecurity in the South-East and itâ€™s environs should be brought to an end.
While we do not have confidence that the Police at both Owerri and Zone 9, Umuahia will do the right thing, we have confidence that you will not shirk away from your responsibility by allowing this act to go unpunished.Â Presently, all of us are living in fear as the gang have continued to threaten that if we continue writing petitions, we will all go the same way like our innocent brother, the banker.
The Nigeria Police will greatly boost the confidence of the aged mother of the banker, his inconsolable wife and his prematuredly- orphaned children; Chidumuaga, Chigozie, Kingsley (Junior), and Chinaecherem.Â The grief of the entire Umuobom Community knows no bounds.Â Their confidence in the Nigeria Police is greatly shaken.Â Sir, restore their confidence by ensuring that this great act of injustice does not go unpunishedâ€, he stated.