Things seem to be falling apart in Igbo Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State, following the discovery of the decomposing body of a lady, four days after she was declared missing.
The deceased, Ngozi Eze, 35, reportedly went to see off a friend on March 9, 2014 and was on her way back when her assailants accosted her in a bush path,gang-raped her and strangled her to death. And as if that was not enough, her breasts and private part were chopped off.
Efforts of the community neighborhood watch led by one Mr. Onyema Ossai, to unravel the circumstances surrounding Ngozi’s murder, reportedly led to the apprehension of four men suspected to be behind the dastardly act.
The suspects identified as Ndukwe Omeke, a motorcyclist,Chinedu Ugwuanyi, a palm wine tapper, Eugene Ukwueze and Ibekwe Eya, also a motorcyclist, alleged that they were offered N600,000 by one Kenneth Idoko, a cattle dealer, to get fresh female breasts and private part.
Surprisingly, one of them was discovered to be living adjacent to the deceased’s compound. They reportedly told policemen that they decided to strike that fateful day because the community was celebrating its annual ‘Omaba’ festival which usually attracted a good number of people both within and outside the community.
A competent Police source told Crime Guard that the suspects confessed that the cow dealer gave them a white handkerchief with which to wrap the fresh private part and breasts and bring to him before they would be paid.
However, when those of Ngozi were taken to him ( cow dealer), he reportedly gave the suspects just N500 to fuel their motorbikes ,claiming that he was yet to get the N 600,000 from the major source.
The suspects, according to Police sources ,further stated that immediately they delivered the late Ngozi’s body parts, sleep eluded them and they began to live in perpetual fear . Unsure of their fate, they reportedly confided in their anchor man whom they said gave them a white stone to put in a cup of water and drink,assuring that nothing would happen to them.
Crime Guard gathered that before Ngozi was murdered, the alleged ring leader, Ndukwe Omeke, attempted to kill his wife and take her parts to their anchor person ,apparently to have the largest share of the amount. He was reported to have successfully lured his unsuspecting pregnant wife to the bush to fetch some firewood he claimed to have gathered.
But his mission was rendered unaccomplished as his colleagues never showed up at the designated place, after six hours of waiting.
Police sources said the suspects confessed that their anchor person promised to pay them N600,000 on every lady’s fresh parts brought.
How they were arrested
Explaining how they were apprehended, chairman of Umuagama neighbourhood watch Mr. Onyema Ossai said: “Around 7.30pm, Mr. Jerome Eze, father of the deceased, came to inform us that his daughter Ngozi, who had gone to escort her friend was missing. Immediately,I assembled all the vigilante members in the community and went in search of the girl, unknown to us that she has been killed.
“After a fruitless search that night, next day, we went to Enugu Ezike Police division to report,where we were told to bring her picture. We sent messages to neighbouring communities and commercial motorcyclists informing them to assist in the search.
“Four days later, we were informed that some children who had gone to the bush to cut palm kernels came back to say that a foul smell was emitting at the bush part. We rushed to the place only to behold the decomposed body of the missing Ngozi.
“On hearing that the corpse has been recovered, one Ndukwe Omeke, who lives adjacent the deceased fled the community. This aroused suspicion and we recalled that he had earlier discussed a N600, 000 business deal with his colleagues.
“Then ,we started sniffing on how they got a business of N600, 000 because we all know what they do to eke out a living. One of the assailants, Eugene Ukwueze, has been on the run for three years over a robbery incident where one of his colleagues was killed at Aji, a neighbouring community. Since it was discovered that Eugene was the one discussing the N600, 000 business , we invited him for questioning because we already know his antecedents.
“One thing led to the other and we were able to arrest one of them who owned up and confessed that they laid siege at the bush path from morning till 4pm before they carried out the nocturnal operation.
“All the suspects are indigenes of Umuagama Community. We started apprehending them one after another and handed them over to the police for thorough interrogation.
“ We got information that one of them, Ndukwe Omeke, the gang leader, has been sneaking into his in-laws residence to eat at night. On the day he was apprehended ,we overheard his father in-law telling him to stay away from his compound that he cannot be sneaking into his compound after killing someone. In response, Ndukwe boasted that he can never be arrested by any person.
Chinedu Ugwuanyi was a member of the neighbourhood watch of the community. He was alleged to be the one who tied Ngozi’s hands and pulled off her clothes while Eugene Ukwueze was the first to rape her before others took their turns. The corpse has been buried due to its decomposed nature”, he stated.
The deceased’s younger brother John Eze, who said the family was yet to come to terms with the reality of the tragedy, revealed that at the station, one of the suspects ,Ndukwe Omeke told Police that his colleagues told him never to own up to the murder, assuring him that they would be bailed at the end of the day.
“But they later owned up. When we asked who sent them to kill N gozi, they said they had no special person in mind to kill ,that they were only waiting for any girl to emerge.”