THE people of Awara community in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area, Imo State are in still in shock, after learning from the police that two nephews of Mrs Ogo Omereji, a 63-year-old grandmother, masterminded her abduction and tortured her to death, after collecting ransom from the relations.
The whole community trooped out and wailed when a team from the Imo State Police Command visited the quiet rural community to exhume the body of the woman, who was buried in a shallow grave after she died in the custody of her abductors in the forest, where they kept her.
Omereji’s untimely journey to the great beyond began on September 26, 2015, when she was kidnapped in her farm, as the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Taiwo Lakanu, told Sunday Sun reporter in his office at the headquarters of the command in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The abduction was executed by two nephews of the victim, whose names were given as Emeka Chinedu, 27, and Peter Obido, 28, with the active participation of two accomplices, namely, 26-year-old Gift Emeka and Sunday Uchenna, who is 28 years old.
The evil four kept the woman in the forest for three months in the most tortuous and inhumane condition and demanded N2million ransom from the family. After much effort, the family could only raise N510,000, which they paid to the kidnappers. While the abductors were waiting for the balance of ransom, the woman died.
Recounting what transpired at that stage of the abduction saga, leader of the gang, Gift Emeka told Sunday Sun reporter: “We kidnapped the woman in her farm at Awara in Ohaji/Egbema, tortured her and took her to a forest and demanded N2 million from her relatives. The family paid ransom of N510,000.00. We held the woman for three months. After the relatives paid part of the money, we started waiting for the balance of the ransom. But after two weeks, the woman died in the forest,” he said.
Continuing the chilling tale, Sunday Uchenna, nephew of the woman, said: “She is our relative and we are all from the same Awara Community. Immediately after the victim died, we quickly looked for a shovel and dug a grave in the forest where we buried her corpse. We didn’t inform the family that the victim who was in our custody had died.
“When we waited for the balance of the ransom and we didn’t hear from them again, we shared the N510, 000 among ourselves and left the forest,” he said.
Meanwhile youths in the community had made spirited efforts to search for the woman in the forest without success.
Expressing the pain of the youths over the incident, the youth leader, Chukwudi Obi told Sunday Sun
reporter: “We tried to comb (search) everywhere to assist the family of Mrs. Omereji.”
If members of the gang thought that burying the woman was the end of the matter, they obviously did not factor in the fact that providence was watching. As the blood of the dead woman continued to cry for justice, operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Imo State Police Command which had been activated by the Commissioner of Police, following a report lodged by the family, launched a diligent investigation and soon got a breakthrough, which led to arrest of the suspects.
With the pain of losing a dear mother very evident, one of her children (name withheld) said: “We were shocked when we heard that two of the four suspects arrested by the police happened to be our relations, Emeka Chinedu and Peter Obido.
It is still a mystery to us that our relations were part of the gang that kidnapped, tortured and murdered our mother. She was in their custody for good three months. After they kidnapped her, they demanded N2million ransom. We paid N510,000 to them but we didn’t hear from them again.
We thought she was missing for good. When the police arrested them, the gang took us, the police and the community to where they buried our mother,” he said.
After the decomposing body was exhumed, Lakanu said that it was released to the family for proper burial.
While the arrested suspects await trial in court, the youths in the community have risen in stout rejection of the evil four. Their leader, Obi declared: “We want justice to be done and we don’t want them to return back to Awara community again.”
The police boss assured that the suspects would be arraigned in court soon to face trial.