This article is not to suggest that the Nigeria Police is without alarming and frightening blemish. It is another case for improved police funding in Nigeria as this column had done in the past. We believe that if the Nigeria Police is properly funded and taken care of by the nation, their performance profile will shock the world.
In March 2012, in an article titled “Nigeria Police officers are suffering”, this column drew the attention of the relevant authorities to the worsening plight of the nation’s police and called for a new phase that would usher in a more efficient police system in the 21st century Nigeria. This column believes in the Nigeria Police as an entity. It is against decentralization in whatever colouration, be it state or local policing.
We do not support state police in any ramification and we have since put our case across to the public and the plethora of support from informed and influential quarters, including Mr. President.
It gladdens us that governors, who are looking for official seal to fund private militias, should look elsewhere. We want a police for the people of Nigeria, not for selfish governors. For over two weeks running, the nation has been tormented by the gruesome and needless murder of Miss Cynthia Udoka Valerine Osokogu, a 24-year-old post-graduate student of Nassarawa State University, Keffi, and a boutique owner by two Nnewi-born chaps she met on facebook and trusted to her peril.
The only daughter of Delta State-born Army General Frank Osokogu (rtd) and his wife, Chief Mrs Joy Osokogu, her parents and three elder brothers are yet to come to terms with the reality of this sad event. Many Nigerians, I believe, are equally as traumatized and devastated as the Osokogus. Cynthia is late and cannot speak for herself today, so I will not raise any reservation about her conduct. She cannot defend herself.
If she were alive, I believe she would have had a lot to tell her family members, the police and other Nigerians regarding the fate that befell her, the violent journey of no-return. The friendship with her killers, the trust, the decoy, the tricks, the attacks, rape, chain and padlock, poisoned Ribena drinks, etc. would have made an interesting story, but only God and the police can speak for her today.
The pain and agony her death and unanswered questions have inflicted on the Osokogu family is better imagined. Our hearts bleed for them. We sympathise with them. May the Almighty God comfort them beyond measure! I have no doubts in my mind that this is one murder that would never go unpunished with the highest possible sanction – death. If need be, some of us will join the prosecuting team to ensure that these wolves in human form are brought to justice.
Beyond the natural sentiments of this death, heroes have emerged in this case since July 21/22, 2012, when Cynthia was murdered. The heroes are the proud men of the Nigeria Police, who investigated the matter and arrested the killers. There could not have been a more glorious moment for the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr. Umar Manko. The police team mates led by the Area Commander of Area ‘E’ Police Command, Festac, ACP Okoro, who investigated the case, were professional and deserve national acknowledgment and commendation for a job well done.
This is the kind of police any nation would be proud of. From the moment the police got into the matter the story radically changed. Darkness began to give way to light and despair to hope. Excellence was at play, culminating in the tracking down of all the murderers, who have been paraded by the police. This column is eminently proud of these great officers.
The report made to the police by Cassimila Hotel in Lake View Estate, Festac, Lagos, and that of the Osokogu family was the tonic that energized the police and today we share in this blaze of glory. Even though we cannot return Cynthia to life, those who killed her cannot live as well. Okwumo Echezona Nwabufo (33), and his cousin, Ezike Ilechukwu Olisaeloka (23), after murdering Cynthia and exiting the hotel, called the receptionist to take the body of the “bastard” to the mortuary.
Of course, they contacted the Festac police and a case file was opened. The police traced this call and the result is that all the culprits were caught by the police net. That was the beginning of investigations that gave rise to the harvest. The murderers, having searched the belongings of Cynthia and removed all valuables, did not realize that little leads in criminal investigation give rise to great finds.
The police used the international passport number, which they copied from the seeming innocent Vaccination (Yellow) Card of the deceased to contact the Immigration Office in Abuja to establish the identity and profile of the deceased. The next lead was who could have been more in touch with Cynthia about the time she was murdered? The police had a clue.
They traced the GSM line that called the hotel to remove the corpse and this led to arrest of the girl who turned out to be the lover of the second murderer, Ezike. Lagos State CP said this was a herculean task as they screened the call log of that number to identify which was more consistent therein. This is how the girlfriend was identified and sucked in by the police.
At this time, light was aglow and every further arrest led the police to the end of the journey. Getting the girlfriend too was no mean task. As Cynthia was lured to Lagos by her murderers, the police lured the innocent girl too, to Lagos. She fell for the police bait. She cooperated with the police and assisted in establishing contact with Ezike, who had fled to his village in Anambra State.
Police strategies and skills were fully deployed and they left with the girl to Anambra State. The determined police officers were again successful as they quietly picked up the second murderer, Ezike, and travelled with him to Lagos where he made earth-shaking confessions. According to reports, the police had lied to him that the chief murderer, Nwabufor, was in their custody and had confessed to knowing about the killing of Cynthia, insisting that Ezike was the one who actually did the killing and walked away with a lion’s share of the loot.
This disclosure triggered anger in Ezike and he vomited the true story to the police and indicted Nwabufor heavily. It was during this session that the police established it was Nwabufor who called Ezike to bring the chain and padlock used to restrain Cynthia from recovering or helping herself before, during and after the attack in the hotel room. At this point, the investigation was 90% done, but arresting the arrowhead remained the last hurdle to scale.
Ezike, now broken, led the police to arrest his cousin. Having led the police to the house of the prime murderer, the police deployed all arsenals at their disposal and cordoned off Nwabufor’s house in Festac and laid ambush for him from 3 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. on the day of his arrest. Unable to sleep, Nwabufor strolled to his balcony and saw police officers outside.
The murderer saw death at his door and decided to run for dear life, the same life he denied his friend and unarmed girl, Miss Cynthia Osokogu. He dashed into his room and hid in the ceiling. God also fights for the dead. Nwabufor’s leg broke one of the ceiling boards and dropped, popping out.
The police had no difficulty grabbing the leg and pulling the murderer down. And the curtain was drawn in the investigation of Cynthia’s murder. The confessions have been flowing and even prior victims of these wolves have also been helping in the post-arrest investigations. The Nigeria Police team, who cracked this case, has received applause from Nigerians all over the world.
It is for this reason that the Osokogus are managing to find solace, believing that those who killed their Cynthia would not have peace anymore. Even in agony, bereaved Gen. Osokogu had kind words for the police. He said, “I want to thank the Area Commander in Festac, because those who went there have told me that he did a wonderful job in making the arrests, so far. I also want to thank the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, because of the way they are handling the matter.
They want to continue until they see there is justice at the end of the day.” We join the Osokogus to thank the police and every other person or group, especially owners of Cassimilia Hotel, through their functional Close Circuit Television (CCTV), that assisted the police in the arrest of these murderers. We call on the Police Service Commission to promote these star officers for a job well done, while we await the judicial process. This is the police Nigerians want. We congratulate them.