By Chidi Nkwopara
Residents of Owerri were Wednesday morning treated to a morbid spectacle as the police command paraded four suspects and the decomposing head of an 18-year old Chinwe Doris Perpetua Obieri, who was murdered for ritual purposes.
The bizarre scene, which was a replica of the infamous Otokoto saga of September 1996, had the prime suspect, 24-year old Emeka Uwakwe, from Ndiakunwata, Arondizuogu, Ideato North local government area of the state, clutching the decapitated head of his girl friend, Chinwe.
Speaking to newsmen, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Aloy Okorie, gave the names of the other suspects as Chigamezu Anyaoha from Orodo, Mbaitoli local council area, Anthony Obioha from Lude, Ahiazu Mbaise local government area, and the medicine man, Damian Joseph from Obot Akara, Akwa Ibom State.
Mr. Okorie gave a graphic account of how the sordid crime was committed and the efforts made by the state police command to apprehend the suspects in far away Lagos State. Excerpts:
â€œYou can see we have a case of murder for ritual murder. What happened was that on Sunday, July 26, 2009, the young lady whose head you are seeing (pointing at the decapitated head of Chinwe) left her Akokwa home, Ideato North local government area of Imo State. You can see the head without the body.
â€œThe young man, Emeka Uwakwe, is the boy friend of this girl and he came all the way from Lagos and lured her to his house in the village. He murdered the girl, cut off her head for ritual purpose and dumped the headless body in a bush. Apparently, the girl had told her parents that she was going to visit her maternal uncle in another village.
â€œAs at 7.04pm on that same Sunday, she called her parents and informed them she was already in her maternal uncleâ€™s compound and they believed her. Later, her parents made a call to her and the call was not pulling through up till the next morning and by Monday when it was obvious that she was not coming back, they made a report to the police that their daughter was missing.
â€œThe names of the parents are Mr. Nicholas and Mrs. Theresa Obieri from Umuezeala, Umueziama Kindred in Akokwa. It was after they made the report to the police that some vigilante people on the same date, came around and said they saw a headless body in the bush. The police invited the girlâ€™s parents and they identified the headless body to be that of their daughter.
â€œIt was at that point that the police swung into action and started making investigations. From information, we got to know that she had a boy friend who is resident in Lagos and who was seen around home within that period. So, we went to Lagos and we were able to arrest Emeka Uwakwe. You can see him now with the head of the slain girl (pointing at Emeka).
â€œWhen we now got him, he made a confession that Mr. Damian Joseph of Obot Akara in Akwa Ibom State, though he is based in Lagos also, was the one who made the charm with which, if he got the head of this girl, mix it with the charm and bury it, money will start flowing, he will start plucking money as if he was plucking fruits from the tree. That was exactly what the man did. He (Emeka) got the concoction, mixed it with the head and buried it in his room.
â€œWe also went for the Native Doctor and got him. Meanwhile, Emeka made a confession too that it was his friends, Chigaemezu Anyaoha and Anthony Obioha, that introduced him to the Native Doctor and that he was capable of making medicine for money. They also confirmed that they had done such a medicine before with human scrotum. We do not know whether it their own scrotum or other peopleâ€™s scrotum. We will surely find out in due.
â€œYou can see the pretty 18-year old girl (displaying her photograph). I am sure if you had seen this girl when she was alive, you will weep. You will certainly weep because I have never seen a thing like that in my life. I just imagine my own daughter of that age being slaughtered for ritual purposes.
â€œWell, in an era where we talking about people going to live in the moon, that is the age we are in, 21st century, and people are still being fooled that they can use human head to make money. It is very unfortunate.
â€œEmeka Uwakwe was arrested on Wednesday last week (August 12, 2009) and when he gave us the information on how he got about the whole show, our men left for Lagos on Sunday and we were able to arrest both the Native Doctor and the other two boys. The next line of action is that they will pay the price prescribed by the laws of the land. We all know the price for somebody who has committed murder. He will pay with his own life. There is no duplicate for life. If he had the courage to kill somebody, he should also be prepared to face the consequence. He should be in a position to say if he killed her with a knife or first strangulated her before he cut off the neck.
â€œIt is very clear that the girl deceived her parents. My advice is simple. I have a daughter of that age. I know how we monitor her. Most times, especially in this era, if she has to go out, we must let go with somebody because you never can tell. That age is a critical period in the training of children. Parents should monitor their daughters closely. It is easy to make contacts in this GSM era. I am sure that if the parents had raised alarm that very night they did not see her, may be things would have come out differently.