by crossriverwatch admin
The Police in Cross River State have denied allegations that prime suspects in the alleged murder of Mrs. Helen Ilonge, the Primary Health Care Coordinator in Bekwara Local Government Area of Cross River State have been freed after paying two hundred thousand Naira each.
Mrs. Ilonge, a widow and mother of five was allegedly murdered by suspected ritualists, who cut some of her private parts off for alleged ritual purposes.
She was kidnapped last month while returning from a church programme at Assemblies of God, Abakaliki, in Ebonyi State, to her Ukpe village, along Ikom-Ogoja Highway and was subsequently beheaded.
Speaking on the matter, Cross River State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Osita Ezechukwu, had told crossriverwatch that about four persons had been arrested by the anti-homicide unit. He promised that when investigations were completed, the suspects would be prosecuted.
But family members of the deceased who contacted crossriverwatch last week expressed deep fears about the manner the investigation is going.
An elderly relation of the deceased who did not want to be named for fear of victimization by the police said: “we don’t have any big man in our family to help us call for justice. Our sister was a major pillar in this family who so many people look up to. Since her death, the police have been promising to prosecute the culprits but what we gathered the last time from Calabar is that three of the prime suspects have been released after paying two hundred thousand Naira each. Don’t forget that these boys confessed by themselves how they killed our sister. Is the police saying that her life was worth just the six hundred thousand they allegedly collected”?
“We are calling on the Cross River State Governor, Mr. Liyel Imoke, the Cross River State Attorney General and Civil Rights organisations as well as our representative in the state and federal house of representatives to please intervene and see that justice is done on our sister’s matter. The police must not be allowed to cover this up for the sake of the future” he said.
But when crossriverwatch contacted the police public relations officer in Cross River State CSP John Umoh, he told crossriverwatch that: “it’s very easy to make these allegations. You don’t base on that. It is not everybody that is arrested in a case that has much to do with it. When a crime is committed, the police is allowed to arrest any person they feel has information that may help them in unraveling the crime. The person may not be the one directly involved in the crime. So whoever the police may have released might not be the principal culprit and I don’t think that is out of place. That does not mean that the police has lost focus. In fact, the police know what they are looking for and we shall continue the investigation, at the end of the day, like they say, the end will justify the means”.
When asked to comment on how far the investigation has gone and when suspects will be charged to court, the police spokesman said he will have to contact the IPO in the matter before he can comment on that. He asked crossriverwatch to contact him next week after which he would have spoken with the IPO to get those details.
An okada rider in Bekwara identified as Ifeanyi alias koboko was said to have been paid N10, 000 by a suspected ritualist whose name was given as Elvis Okumo to bring him female parts of a woman. He allegedly beheaded the nurse and severed her vital reproductive parts including breasts.
Ifeanyi was said to have taken the 51 year old nurse from Okpogrinya Junction on the pretence that he was taking her to Igoli, Ogoja, her destination, some ten minutes’ drive from the point but along the way stopped and handed her over to the kidnappers.
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