By Jimitota Onoyume, Port Harcourt
Not many imagined it could happen but it did. A young man, whose name was given as Jimmy Zaccheaus, reportedly murdered a girl, simply identified as Peace Mathias, in his one room apartment at Elechi in Diobu part of Port Harcourt. He went ahead to bury her in the same room.
The police commissioner in Rivers State, Mr Mohammad Indabawa, confirmed the ugly development.
The police boss, who said his command was yet to establish contact with the family of the deceased said his men exhumed the corpse in the apartment in the early hours of Wednesday, adding that they also arrested the alleged killer.
He was silent on how the police got to know of the incident seventy two hours it occurred penultimate Saturday.
However, neighbours of the alleged killer, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard anonymously, said they saw the alleged killer went into his apartment with a shovel but they did not give it any meaning until his alleged act blew open on Wednesday when the police swooped on the area.
According to them, the girl did not appear as a regular guest to the alleged killer’s apartment; so they would not say if he was his girl friend.
How killing blew open
The neighbours said the alleged killer reportedly stole some money where he worked with the deceased girl. And it was only the girl that saw him. He allegedly quickly gave the girl some money but the girl insisted it was not enough, so he had to invite her to his apartment.
According to them, when the girl turned up that Saturday at the scheduled time, Zacchaes allegedly offered her a drink; unknown to the girl the drink was poisoned. “This was what she took and died”. And pronto, the assailant dug a grave in the room with the shovel the neighbours said they saw him carrying and quickly buried her. The neighbours said because he used poison to kill the girl, nobody heard any sound of a girl crying or dying that could attract attention.
It was not clear if the alleged killer applied cement after the interment but neighbourhood sources said they saw him came in with a new family size foam that Saturday which apparently he laid on top of the grave to cover his tracks.
Nobody could say if Zacchaeus remained in the apartment after the interment. But Sunday Vanguard gathered that some of his friends visited him on Sunday and they sat on the new foam in the room. One of them reportedly complained that the foam was not well laid, that it was not flat on the floor so they offered to help him arrange it. As they lifted it, what they saw looked like a newly dug grave; this fired their curiosity to ask probing questions. The alleged killer started shivering.
He knew the game was up; he had to confide in the friends to assist him to move the corpse at night to dump at the waterside in his Elechi neighbourhood. The friends pretended to play along with him, they agreed on when to come for the mission. And as soon as they left, they rushed to alert the police. On their part, the police stormed the area in the early hours of Wednesday to make arrest and exhume the corpse.
The state police commissioner, Indabawa, said they had no photograph of the girl. When Sunday Vanguard searched Face book with the deceased names Peace Mathias there were so many Peace Mathias; so it was not easy to pick out who she could be.
The police could also not confirm if the deceased and the alleged killer were working in the same organisation. The police commissioner said investigation was still on to unravel details on the issue.
It even took special appeal from our correspondent for the police boss to release the name of the deceased. He said he was initially reluctant because it would not be palatable for the family to hear of the death in the pages of the newspapers. Our correspondent had to plead that since the police was yet to establish contact with the family, it was likely the family did not know where she was, the media could be of great help to the family given the situation of things.
Another angle to the incident making the rounds in Diobu was that the late Peace was a girl friend of Zacchaeus the alleged killer. She got pregnant and Zacchaeus wanted to do away with her since he did not want the pregnancy. They said he reportedly beat her to death in his one room apartment before burying her.
The incident at press time was the most topical issue in Diobu area of Port Harcourt as people were seen discussing it in groups.