20 Mummified Bodies: Police Nab 3 Suspects In Edo

  • Man confesses depositing mum’s corpse in search of burial funds
  • Runaway operator is a mortician – suspect

BY SEGUN ADEBAYO – The Edo State Police Command said three male suspects are now in their custody in connection with 20 mummified bodies discovered on Wednesday in a building located on Asoro slope, off Ekenhua Road, Uzebu quarters in Benin City, the State Capital.

This is as a middle-aged man, who gave his name as Osaro Nappiar, on Thursday, claimed that his mother’s remains were kept at the uncompleted building because he went in search of money to give her a befitting burial.

The Public Relations Officer for Edo Police Command, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor informed journalists that Nappiar suddenly appeared as operatives of the Command arrived at the scene to cordon off the building housing the mummified bodies.

He said when accosted by the Police, Nappiar claimed his mother’s corpse was deposited in the mortuary managed by one Mr Chukwuma Otu and he thereafter left in search of money to give her befitting burial rites.

According to Nwabuzor, the Nappiar also explained that the corpse was originally taken to somewhere on First East Circular Road in Benin City where Otu, now at large, was operating before relocating to the Asoro area of the Edo State capital, adding that his mother died at an undisclosed hospital somewhere at Uselu, Benin.

The Police Spokesman said Nappiar further claimed that when his mother died at the hospital in 2021, he was forced to deposit the corpse with Otu, who claimed to be a mortician for safe-keeping in order to raise money for her burial ceremony.

Nwabuzor stated that after successfully raising the required funds, he (Nappiar) was told to produce a card as evidence before the corpse could be handed over to him when he returned to where the remains were initially kept, adding that it was only then he discovered that Otu, the mortician had moved to Ekenwan Road in the Asoro area, Uzebu quarters.

“He (Nappiar) said that he was unable to produce the card as he was not with it. They asked him to come on another day which was today. That was why he came down here to collect the corpse for burial. He produced the card which is now with the police”, the Police image maker explained.

DSP Nwabuzor, who also disclosed that some suspects have been arrested and are currently helping the police in their investigations, said one of them named, Gideon Friday, denied involvement in any alleged ritualistic act.

He said Gideon, arrested by the police at the scene, claimed he was there to find out if his earlier application for the post of a driver has been successful, saying; “When I got to the place to ask for the director, some community people came and beat me up.

“I told the assailants that I only just came to check if my request was granted. They (community people) didn’t listen. They continue beating me up and later took me to the police station”.

In his statement, another suspect, Mr Chimaobi Okewan stated that the fugitive Otu runs a mortuary but was given a quit notice where he was and had to relocate the business to his permanent site.

Okewan told the Police; “I was supervising a POP work. The corpses they found there were the ones they transferred from the place they were kept before to this place. The owner of the place is a mortician. He was told by his landlord to pack out. So he decided to relocate the corpses to his permanent site which is his own personal building”.

However, Nwabuzor maintained that the Police are investigating allegations the building is not a mortuary but only used deceptively as a shrine stained with the blood of different animals.

Noting that with no signboard to properly identify the building, the Police are now trailing the runaway Otu in order to unravel the circumstances surrounding the discovered corpses

Recalled the Deputy Spokesperson of Edo State Police Command, ASP Jennifer Iwegbu, had disclosed that the Police; “In pursuance of its operational mandate of nipping crimes in the bud, Operatives of the Edo State Police Command on 17/08/2022 discovered a suspected ritual shrine.”

In a press statement detailing how the dried bodies were recovered by the Command, Iwegbu stated that; “Following credible information that some corpses were discovered in a building along Asoro slope off Ekenhua Road, Uzebu quarters, Benin city, Operatives of the command immediately mobilised to the scene.

“At the scene, three suspects, Chimaobi Okoewu ‘M’ and Oko Samuel ‘M’ both of Afikpo in Ebonyi and Gideon Sunday ‘M’ of Akwa-Ibom State were arrested while others fled. An intensive effort is ongoing to arrest the other fleeing suspects.

“15 mummified male corpses, 3 mummified female corpses, and 2 mummified children corpses were discovered at the scene.”

She disclosed that the State Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro has already stepped into the case and issued appropriate directives on the way forward.

According to her, “To this end, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, CP Abutu Yaro, has directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of State CID to carry out a discreet investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the discovered corpses.”

She further said this is as the Police Boss enjoined “the general public to be calm as the Command will continue to ensure the safety of all law-abiding citizens and those residing in Edo State”.

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