The real story behind the brutal kidnap and murder of the 35-year-old Christie Agbulu, a lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State has been revealed. It was gathered that the heartless kidnappers killed her after collecting ransom.
The family of the deceased had for one month waited endlessly with hope that she would be released safely after she was kidnapped in the evening of November 26, 2016.
After the suspect was arrested, he gave police insight into the nightmarish manner how the woman was traced, kidnapped before she was murdered. He also gave the location of where the deceased’s body was found.
It was gathered that the day of her kidnap, Agbulu had just alighted from a bus around 7pm, when an okada rider accosted her, asking where she was going.
She then told him the address that a friend, Levi Shemba, whom she was visiting had given her, indicating that she did not know the place.
The okada rider, who turned out to be one of the members of the syndicate who targeted people who are new to the city, told her to jump on.
“Unknown to her, the okada rider took her to a different location. It was through our investigation that we learnt that the syndicate had been operating as okada riders for a while,” the Public Relations Officer, Kogi State Police Command, Mr. Ovye Williams, said.
The okada rider was said to have taken Agbulu to a forest and demanded a ransom of N150,000, directing the family to pay it in the victim’s bank account. The family then paid N100,000 which her captors later withdrew with her ATM card.
“When we got a report of the kidnap, we entered the bush. The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abdullahi Chafe, mobilised different units to comb the area. While we were doing that, we were tracking the phone number they were using to communicate with the family.”
For about a month after Agbulu’s kidnap, the police investigation got no breakthrough as the kidnappers changed location frequently in the forest to avoid being pinpointed.
The kidnappers kept changing location in the forest making it difficult for the police to capture them.
“We tracked the line and eventually located the suspect using it. When he was arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and identified as the gang leader, he then took our men to two other members of the gang.”
The suspects identified as Nuhu Musa (29), Caleb Moses (28) and Sanusi Jibrin (33) executed the dastardly act.
“The suspects confirmed that they belonged to the syndicate that kidnapped people in Lokoja. Anytime a stranger came to the town and did not know the location, they pretended to be okada riders looking for passengers.
“They then led the SARS operatives to where the body of the lecturer was found in a shallow grave along the Lokoja-Abuja Expressway. When the police got there, they realised it had decomposed.”
According to a report by Punch, during investigations, the suspects reportedly confessed to have kidnapped a second victim, Grace Ene Onaivi, an Edo State indigene and 300 Level student of the Benue State University.
Onaivi was declared missing on December 23, 2016 by her family members after they could not reach her.
The suspects told the police that they had kidnapped Onaivi exactly the same way Agbulu was abducted with a commercial motorcycle. They also dumped Onaivi’s body in the area where Agbulu’s body was found few days prior.
It is still unclear in what way the victims were killed.
Williams told our correspondent that an autopsy would be conducted on the bodies to determine the cause of death.
The incidents have prompted the police in Kogi State to start a frantic effort to screen okada riders in the state. The police spokesperson said the command was liaising with the state government to make a customised hat for all the okada riders in the state.
Williams said, “We are also working on a centralised data through which we can trace any of the commercial motorcyclists in the state at any point in time.
“We are also embarking on an awareness campaign that anyone expecting a first-time visitor from outside the state, should ensure the visitor remains in the motor park and pick them there instead.
“We are also informing the people that they should not ever board an okada that has no plate number while okada riders who have not registered should do so immediately. In case of any incident, we would know how to trace them.”
He said investigation was still ongoing on the case as the suspects were cooperating.