Child Protection advocates in Rivers State have hailed the sentencing to death of a 30 year old university student who murdered a little girl of eight years for ritual purposes. A high court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, presided over by Justice Adolphus Enebeli, has sentenced a second year student of Physics department at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Ifeanyi Dike, and one Ugochukwu Nwamiro, to death by hanging for the murder of an eight-year-old girl, Victory Chikamso Nmezuwuba.
The two were sentenced to death without an option of fine. The judgement indicates that one is to be hung by his neck until he dies while the other is to be hung on the leg till he dies.
Justice Enebele, ruled that the evidences before the court showed that the duo conspired and murdered Chimkamso and sentenced them to death. The offence which drew public condemnation and demand for justice, three years ago.
The judge also sentenced Sergeant Johnbosco Okoronze of the State CID to one year imprisonment for aiding the escape of Dike from police custody.
Dike, who was aged 23 years when the incident happened in 2017, was apprehended by a local vigilance group in Eliozu axis of Port Harcourt with a sack containing Chikamso’s body following a tip-off.
The local security outfit later handed Dike over to the police for further investigations and prosecution. He (Dike) reportedly removed the victim’s eyes, vagina, finger and tongue, after defiling and murdering her with the assistance of his cousin, Ugochukwu.
Few days after he was handed over to the police, Dike escaped from the premises of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), with the aid of a police personnel on duty, Sgt. Johnbosco Okoronze, who failed to handcuff the suspect after he had finished writing his statement.
Dike’s escape raised severe criticisms and condemnation over the police laxity forcing then then Rivers State commissioner of Police, Zaki Ahmed, to describe the situation as unfortunate and an embarrassment to the police force. Some weeks later, nemesis caught up with Dike as he rearrested in Jos, Plateau State capital by security operatives and was brought back to Port Harcourt for trial.
During trial, the police prosecutor, Sgt. Blessing Oheyen, tendered the body parts of the victim as evidence to the court.
Family of Chikamso, the victim, expressed relief following the judgment while Dike’s relatives were seen in court weeping after the judgment was passed. It was gathered that Dike and the late Chikamso both lived on Messiah Street, Eliozu in Port Harcourt.
Father of the slain girl, Ernest Nmezuwuba, had in 2017 told the police he was filled with grief after seeing the mutilated body of his daughter.
He expressed shock that Dike could contemplate killing his daughter. “The man who killed my daughter is like my brother, someone very close to me, I can call him my cousin.” Narrating how his daughter got missing and eventually killed, Nmezuwuba recalled that Chikamso had requested bread for breakfast, which her father bought before he left for work.
Nmezuwuba said when he returned home around 3:00p.m. and learnt that his daughter was missing, he immediately began a search. When the search became fruitless, he reported the matter to the police.
“So, around 1:30 a.m. security men said that they had seen my daughter and that I should come and see the man that kidnapped her. I was in my shorts and I rushed to the place with the security agents. I was told that the person that killed my daughter was caught while carrying a load in a sack. The policemen said when they confronted him, he said he wanted to take it to the dustbin.
“When I got there, I asked: where is my daughter? They showed me a sack. As I opened it, I saw my daughter; I peeped and watched very well, the two eyes were off, the tongue was gone, one of the breasts was off, one of the fingers, the smaller one, was off. I watched at the centre, he had carved it (vagina) out. As I turned back and saw him, he (Dike) was looking at the ground.”
Members of the Rivers State Child Protection Network have hailed the judgment and expressed that hope the ruling would serve as a deterrent .to other perpetrators. They are happy, “to see the end of this matter”.
Obioma Ogakwu, a child protection activist said in his reaction on the network’s WhatsApp platform, “Justice is served in human eyes. I just hope that this will stop other intending perpetrators. May the soul of Chikamso rest in peace. Amen.”
Source-Africa Update with National Point input