Ritual killing: Seven sentenced to death in Owerri

One of the convicts, Ejike Okoro squatting beside the decomposing body.
One of the convicts, Ejike Okoro squatting beside the decomposing body.

Justice was done on Tuesday, when an Owerri High Court sentenced seven men, accused of the gruesome murder of a young motor cyclist, (inaga) Okechukwu Osuji to death by hanging.

Three others accused of the same offence were acquitted for lack of evidence.

Justice C. I. Ohakwe who presided over the case, sentenced Ejike Okoro, Cajethan Okoro, Raphael Ike, Paul Njoku, Eric Igbo, Chidiebere Njoku and Anayochukwu Unamba, all between 18 and 25 years, as at the time of the crime from Owalla, Uratta in Owerri North Local Government Area, to death for the brutal murder of Okechukwu Osuji, also from the same village, on May 11, 2001.

Regaining freedom were Uchenna Udeh, Ikechukwu Ukonu and Boniface Okoro also from Owalla Uratta.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Ohakwe said that the prosecution established “beyond reasonable doubt” that the accused persons belonged to a secret cult called Aburu puru ime ihe nile (a generation that can do and undo). The judge said they killed Okechukwu Osuji, an “inaga” rider (motor cyclist) in the thick forest, on the road leading from Toronto Junction to Egbu, on the May 11, 2001.

According to the judge, the seven cultists killed Okechukwu Osuji and collected his brain for ritual purposes. He said the killers were arrested by the police in the thick forest, along the said road, in an uncompleted building.

The court relied on the evidence of the Investigating Police Officer, (IPO), Inspector Abidu Abioye on how he arrested the 1st accused person, Mr. Ejike Okoro who took him to where they kept the body of their victim.

Another deciding factor was the statement of Mr. Ejike Okoro, where he confessed and narrated how they (the convicted persons) killed the deceased, Mr. Okechukwu Osuji, extracted his brain for ritual and how they drank his blood as an oath/bond for their cult group “Aburu Puru Ime Ihe Nile”.

The accused persons were first charged at the magistrate court Owerri, on June 25, 2001 before the case was later transferred to the High Court because of a lack of jurisdiction to try it. The freed men who had been in detention since the arrest returned home to Owalla the same day while their convicted counterparts are said to have been transferred to Port Harcourt from where the death penalty will be executed.



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