Delta State: 5 Cold Case Murders 2017 Couldn’t Solve
These were brutal and gruesome murders and they have never been solved; they are cold and no longer the subject of a current criminal investigation. Well, there was at point when these cases were pursued diligently by investigators, but eventually abandoned not because of a lack of evidence, but to prevent the culprits from prosecution. Although these murders may vary in their details, they all have one thing in common: barbaric, horrific, gruesome, politically motivated and unresolved. XCLUSIVE MAGAZINE takes a look at Five (5) of the most high-profile gruesome murders in Delta State that 2017 could not solve.
1. Alfred Rewane (Lagos):
Alfred Rewane was from Warri, but the 79-year-old was murdered at his residence in Ikeja, Lagos on 6 October 1995. Rewane was a major financier of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a broad coalition of Nigerian democrats that was vocal in its opposition to the military regime of Sani Abacha. Out of the seven suspects arrested by the police, five of them, Ola Obanuso, Sylvester Iyabele, Sunday Ogbeide, Akeem Alli and Sunday Obanobi, purportedly died in questionable circumstances in detention. The trial of the other two suspects, Elvis Irenuna and Lucky Igbinovia, continued until 2011 when they were acquitted and discharged by a Lagos High Court. Justice Olusola Williams decided that there was nothing to support the case of the prosecution. Pa Rewane’s murder remains one of the most high profile cold cases in Nigeria that include Bola Ige and Ray Ekpu.
2. Ogbe Onokpite (warri):
On 26 November 2011, Chief Ogbe Onokpite was extra-judicially murdered by the Nigerian Police at Beeland Hotel, Orhuwhorun in Udu Local Government Area on allegation of gun-running. Ibrahim Tsafe, the then Delta State Commissioner of Police, claimed that 38-year-old Onokpite was intercepted when he “was negotiating for arms in the hotel,” and he was killed during exchange of gun fire. Tsafe’s claim ran counter to A Driver’s Account. He said that the man who led and coordinated the attack against Chief Onokpite was heard saying several times on the phone saying, “Yes your Excellency.” Chief Onokpite was the candidate of the Citizens Peoples Party (CPP) in the Delta State 2007 and 2011 gubernatorial elections against sitting Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan.
3. Emeka Onianwa (Ibusa):
In a Petition to the Inspector General of Police, signed by his solicitor, Barrister Femi Okafor, Chief Azuya, mentor to the deceased, it is alleged that Delta State House of Assembly Chief Whip Mrs Pat Princess Ajudua, her husband Chief (Barr.) Fred Ajudua, Hon Innocent Esewezie and eleven other suspects conspired and murdered Emeka Onianwa in Ibusa Oshimili North Local Government of Delta State during the 2015 House of Assembly election. Fred Ajudua, in a public statement dated 9th May 2015, denied the allegation. On 6 July 2015, State Assembly Chief Whip sought “an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents, by themselves, their officers, privies, agents and servants from further arrest, detention of the applicants and/or from taking further steps in connection with the subject matter of this suit and staying all actions pending the determination of the main suit.” On 8 July 2015, the State Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) discharged the murder case against Innocent Esewezie, who was arrested by Police officers from the homicide department section in Abuja and arraigned at Ibusa magistrate court on a 5-count murder charge, due to lack of substantial evidence. The vacation of the murder case, which has now gone cold, generated intense outrage and anger in the community.
4. Horace Eguono Dafiaghor and Samuel Ekwuaghanju (Warri):
The two Warri-based lawyers were killed in 2014 on their way to court in Ozoro. They were defending a kidnap suspect, who was alleged to have kidnapped the son of Ovuzorie Macaulay, the Secretary to Delta State Government Delta State. Their assassination has generated a lot of angst, especially from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). In a rally in 2015 to commemorate the death of the lawyers in Warri, the NBA branch chairman, John Aikpokpo-Martins said: “On the 27th of April 2014, the NBA promptly made a petition directly to the Inspector General of Police (IG) in view of the suspected persons’ involved in this condemnable act wherein we made a passionate call for a comprehensive investigation into the murder of our colleagues. Nothing has been heard thus far, giving the ominous belief that this is one murder the police is reluctant in investigating and bring the culprits to book in the circumstance in spite of the pressure made to bear on the police.” The murder case is yet to be solved, and 2017 provided no answer nor break through.
5. Obi Edward Akaeze Ofulue 111 (Ubulu Uku):
On 5 January 2016, Akaeze Edward Ofulue III, the then Obi of Ubulu-Uku kingdom in the Aniocha South Local Government Area (LGA) of Delta State, was kidnapped along Igbodo-Obior road in Delta State, and the kidnappers demanded N100 million as ransom for his release. His decomposed body was discovered at Umunede, Ika North East LG 15 days later without the ransom being paid. In a press briefing, the Police revealed that six Fulani herdsmen had been arrested and were being interrogated. The suspects were never tried nor sentenced, making the murder investigation one of the cold cases that 2017 could not solve it. There is alternative theory that Obi Ofulue, a lawyer and an ardent Christian of the Deeper Life Bible ministry, was murdered by Nigerian agents camouflaged as cattle herdsmen for his championing the agitation for the state of Biafra.
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