Family of the slain Benue Sales Manager of West Africa Milk Company, Mr Razak Lukman, is seeking justice to ensure that those connected in the death of their son be made to face the law.
Lukman was allegedly killed by some persons in his residence around Modern Market Area of Makurdi, Benue State capital on June 1, this year by some persons suspected to be hired killers.
According to information gathered by the Nigerian Tribune, Lukman had driven out of his residence that fateful Saturday telling one of his neighbours that he was driving briefly.
But his corpse was later found in his living room days after with his legs and hands bound which suggested that he might have been a victim of murder.
But the state police command have denied that the late sales manager was murdered by hired killers, claiming that it was a case of armed robbery as four persons have been arrested in connection with his death.
The late victim, according to sources, lived in Ibadan, Oyo State capital and had made plans to visit his family in Ibadan that fateful day, but had to postpone the journey till the following week due to an official assignment.
According to the state police Commissioner, Mr Adams Audu, two of the suspects were contacted by their accomplice in Abuja to get them a new brand of Toyota model as a buyer was waiting to buy the car.
Two of the suspects who live in Makurdi and claimed to be students of Benue State Polytechnic, Ogbokolo, were said to have carried out the operation on that day. According to the prime suspect, Philip David, an HND 1 student, he and his colleague also an OND student of the same institution, Osugo Ezekiel, while on motorcycle, sighted the car with registration number CE253 AKD driven past them.
According to him, “a friend of mine, Ochai Obeh had contacted me to help him get a car Toyota model for a friend who wanted it and I contacted my friend Ezekiel, we are both students of Benue State Polytechnic, Ogbokolo. So, that Saturday evening, we were riding a motorcycle when we suddenly saw that car that drove past us and we followed him.
“We traced him to his place and we saw him park outside while we quietly followed him to his house and asked him to give us the key to his car, he wanted to argue with us, but we overpowered him and tied him on the feet and hands so as to stop him from pursuing us, then we took the key and ran away.”
Corroborating the story, Osugo Ezekiel said, “it was my friend Philip that called me that there was a business a friend gave to him to do and that Saturday evening we were on a motorcycle moving around when we saw the car driven pass us and we decided to give him a chase until we saw him park at the front of a house around Modern Market, then, we traced him to his house where we ordered him to give us the key to the car which he did and we decided to tie him on both legs and hands before we bolted out.”
When asked of the substance found on the deceased, the duo denied any knowledge of that saying that they left as soon as they tied him, “so we did not pour acid on him and we did not intend to kill him, we tied him so as to prevent him from pursuing us,” Philip said.
They told the police that as soon as they succeeded in stealing the car, they removed the number plate and replaced it with another one and headed for Abuja where they met Obeh, who gave them the business deal.
Obeh, who claimed to be a driver of a transport company based in Abuja, in his own submission, said that it was his friend Owoicho Egwu, who contacted him to help him get a clean Toyota car. The deal, he said, was handed over to his friend, Philip, in Makurdi.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the duo from Markurdi had successfully reached Abuja to meet with their accomplices and had taken the car to a buyer in an undisclosed hotel before the car was tracked where the four of them were arrested. The car, according to David, was to be sold for N1 million before they were caught.
When asked whether they were car agents before, David and Ezekiel said that was their first time of involving in such deal but Owoicho told journalists that he knew his friend, Ochai, as a land agent and general contractor.
Police said that the 2010 model Toyota Corolla car was recovered alongside one GSM handset with two SIM cards, one clipper, printer, six different handsets, one vehicle with number plate CE253 AKD, two black belts and pieces of twine rope, adding that the suspects would soon be charged to court.
Family source said that Lukman, 49, hailed from Iwo town in Osun State but had his family based in Ibadan. He was said to be the firm’s regional manager in Osogbo, Osun State capital before he was transferred to Makurdi in 2011.
For several years, the deceased was said to have been unemployed after graduation and had fruitless efforts to enlist in the military before he got to Lagos and got a casual job in the WAMCO in 2000. His dedication to duty was said to have caught the attention of his supervisors and senior managers in the company.
After about two years as a casual labourer, the opportunity came for him to write the examination for the post of a Sales Representative in the company, which he was said to have passed.
A family source disclosed that “on May 30, two days before he was killed, he had told his family and friends that he would be coming to Ibadan to meet them as he did every month. But on Friday, he called to tell his family that he had cancelled his trip and would be coming home a week later because of urgent official assignment he had to attend to that weekend. This he never lived to fulfill.”
While police were making efforts at ensuring that justice was served, the widow, Mrs Hannah Lukman, his five children and the aged parents had continued to hope that their son’s death would not go unpunished.