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IGP orders probe into death of suspected kidnapper of two women


The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, has ordered an investigation into the death of a suspect accused of kidnapping two women in Aba, Abia State, Nigeria’s South-east.

The Force spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, disclosed this in a statement on Monday night.

Alleged kidnap

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported that the suspect, Andrew Ochekwo, who was based in the Ogbor Hill Area of Aba, was seen in a video clip inviting the two women to his residence for hook-up, a Nigerian slang a meeting arranged for sex.

Andrew Ochekwo (PHOTO – Facebook)

The women, Celine Ndudim, a Nigerian, and Afiba Tandoh, a Ghanaian, reportedly visited Mr Ochekwo on 27 April in Aba, the commercial hub of the state.

The two travelled from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, South-south Nigeria, after meeting the suspect on Facebook.

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But they later went missing.

A human rights activist, Harrison Gwamnishu, who raised the alarm over their sudden disappearance in a series of posts on Facebook, claimed Mr Ochekwo initially held the victims hostage in his residence.



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Mr Gwamnishu said, after the women went missing, Mr Ochekwo was arrested by police operatives from Aba Police Divisional Headquarters “for being in possession” of the women’s belongings.

Celine Ndudim and Afiba Tandoh (PHOTO - Facebook)
Celine Ndudim and Afiba Tandoh (PHOTO – Facebook)

The human rights activist said the matter was subsequently transferred to the Anti-kidnapping Unit of the police headquarters in Abia State Command, Umuahia, and later moved to Force Headquarters in Abuja.

Ochekwo‘s sudden death

Mr Gwamnishu would, on 4 June, announce in a Facebook post that Mr Ochekwo had been killed by police operatives while being moved from the police headquarters in Abia to the force headquarters, Abuja.

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A day later, the human rights activist said he and the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the police from the Force Intelligence Bureau discovered a dead body in a bush near the suspect’s residence.

He pointed out that some parts, such as the head, two hands and two legs, were missing from the discovered corpse.

He added that a curtain used to wrap the discovered body was the same curtain seen at Mr Ochekwo’s residence where the missing women visited him, but that a test would be conducted on the body to ascertain if it belonged to one of the women.

Meanwhile, shortly after Mr Ochekwo’s death went public, many Nigerians accused the police of intentionally killing the suspect to cover up the case and destroy evidence.

Investigation

Mr Adejobi, an assistant commissioner of police, said in the statement on Monday that the IGP has ordered the Monitoring Unit of the Force to conduct “a thorough and high-powered investigation” into the suspect’s alleged murder.

The Force spokesperson explained that the order was in response to “the numerous allegations, arguments, and counterarguments” over the incident.

“In light of the public interest and the gravity of the allegations, the IGP has deemed it necessary to institute a meticulous investigation into the roles played by the team which carried out the initial investigation in Abia State, and the Force Intelligence Department Intelligence Response Team (IGP-IRT), to unravel the veritable facts of the matter,” he said.

He added that the force’s monitoring unit had been given a two-week timeframe to complete its investigation and present a comprehensive report to the IGP for action.

“The IGP assures that this case will be handled with the utmost professionalism and integrity, urging all well-meaning members of the public and all stakeholders to remain calm and allow the investigation process to proceed without interference,” Mr Adejobi said.

He appealed to those who might have “relevant information” about the case to assist the police with the same, and assured that “such information provided will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality.”



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