By Ikeugonna Eleke
A suspect, Mr Samuel Obumneme, Nwobodo, has explained how his group killed a member of staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Awka, Mr Osita Duruoha, in September this year.
The 26 years old, alongside two of his gang members, allegedly strangled Duruoha with the aim of dispossessing him of his shuttle bus.
Duruoha had been declared missing in September, but his body was later found by the roadside around Isuaniocha Community in Awka North Local Government Area.
Nwobodo was among several suspects who were paraded for various crimes at the police headquarters in Awka, November 18. He was paraded alongside two of his gang members, Malachi Chinedu Uzochukwu, 28 years old; and Ifesinachi Ogechukwu, also aged 28 years.
The suspect said, ‘We hired him to use his shuttle bus to take us to Urum from Ifite and our intention was to steal his bus, but later we had to strangle him and take the bus.’
The state Police Commissioner, CP Echeng Echeng, who briefed journalists, said that on the 28th of September, 2022, a 2-man gang of armed robbers who specialized in snatching shuttle buses around Ifite-Awka, pretended to be passengers and boarded a shuttle bus belonging to and driven by an INEC staff member, Mr. Osita Duruoha, 43yrs.
‘The duo boarded the shuttle bus at Ifite on the pretence that they were going to Isuanaocha on an agreed fare of N3, 000. On getting to Urum/Isu-anaocha Road which is an Isolated area, the duo ordered the driver to stop and one of the suspects, Chinedu Malachi, who was seated behind the driver, used a rope to strangulate the driver from behind.
‘Thereafter, they dumped the corpse of the deceased in a nearby bush and drove the shuttle bus to Enugu where they wanted to sell it. Detectives from the State CID were able to arrest the suspects in Enugu and the deceased’s shuttle bus recovered.
‘The suspects, namely; Nwobodo Samuel Obumneme, aged 26yrs; Malachi Chinedu Uzochukwu, 28yrs and Ifecchinachi Ogechukwu, aged 28 years, have since confessed to the crime and will soon be charged to court,’ the CP said.
The commissioner also paraded a 20 year old man who allegedly connived with his gang to kill his step mother, a member of staff of the National Population Commission, in the hope of transferring N1million from her account after he found out her password.
He said, ‘On 28th September, 2022, at about 0200 hours, one Mrs Theresa Okeke, aged 54, an Accountant with the National Population Commission, Awka, was gruesomely murdered in her residence at No. 4 Umuzocha, Awka.
‘Immediately the case was reported, her stepson, Ekenedilichukwu Okeke, aged 20, who slept in the same house with the deceased, was arrested for interrogation.
‘He claimed that armed robbers stormed their residence and killed his stepmother. However, after an intelligence-based interrogation, he eventually confessed to the crime and named his accomplices.’