Detectives from the State Criminal Investigation Department in Delta State are currently unraveling the grisly crimes perpetrated in 2016 by a ‘criminal couple’ and their killer friend.
The suspects––Chuks Ehiwogwu, 31, his married-and-mother- of-four girlfriend, 25-year-old Blessing Ekwueme, and his ‘murder specialist’ friend, Saturday–– allegedly strangled a woman in March 2016 and threw her corpse inside a soak-away in Ehi- wogwu’s father’s compound at No 13 Dickson Okwuosa Street Asaba, Delta State capital. The deceased’s one-year-old baby was allegedly sold for N350, 000 in Benin City, Edo State.
Arrested on June 24, 2018, two years after the crime, the suspects are now facing a murder rap in addition to child trafficking amongst other charges.
Betrayed by a Freudian slip
Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr Muhammed Mustafa told Saturday Sun the suspect, Chuks Ehiwogwu, came to the notice of the police because of the petition from his father in September 2017.
Pa Ndebu Ehiwogwu had reported his son for violent threat and suspicion of criminal activity. Chuks Ehiwogwu had immediately left Asaba for Enugu State but came back nine months later on June 17, 2018, and was arrested by detectives on June 24. The sequence of events that followed––interrogation, confession, investigation and discovery of evidence––led to a dénouement. But for a slip of tongue during a spat with his father, Ehiwogwu’s crime would have remained undiscovered.
Pa Ndebu Ehiwogwu gives a blow-by-blow account: “It is true that I wrote a petition against my son to the Commissioner of Police in September 2017 because he had threatened to kill me and throw me inside the soak-away. The problem started when he wanted to travel to Italy and Libya. He requested for N350, 000. I gave him N200, 000 that he squandered. He came back and requested more money but I refused to give him any. He was so furious he told me he would throw me inside the soak-away just the way he did to others. After then he left Asaba and I didn’t see him again until June 17, 2018. Because I had earlier alerted the police, he was arrested. He was brought back by policemen and they evacuated the soak-away and to my surprise, they discovered human skull, a woman’s bra, and a rotten corpse.
The old man continued, dwelling on the soak-away pit: “In 2016, I saw the soak-away was sealed with new cement and I asked Chuks, why did you put new cement on this pit? He told me it was because cockroaches, ants and rats were coming out from there. I was so happy with what he did. I never knew the truth. That was why I was shocked that my own soak-away had become a place where my son dumped dead human bodies.”
A chilling story
A builder by profession, the 31 year old suspect, who attended Uzoigwe Primary School, Asaba and finished from Asaba Mixed Secondary School in 2007, made a clean breast of his crime when he spoke with Saturday Sun, starting with a chilling statement that “People who crossed my way or offended me, I would throw them inside the soak-away, buy cement and seal it up.”
Continuing, he gave a brief preface to his kind of crime, the modus operandi and his accomplice: “Me and my girlfriend Blessing Ekwueme are involved in the disposing of victims’ bodies inside the soak-away in my father’s compound. We specialized in human trafficking. We sell our victims in Benin and Asaba.”
Ehiwogwu, who hails from Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, lost his mother in 2001. The second of the family’s seven children averred that the discord between him and his father emanated from the misunderstanding that brewed out of his effort to travel to Libya and Italy.
He also gave Saturday Sun the lowdown on the bones recovered from the sewage pit. His story: “In March 2016, my girlfriend Blessing Ekwueme, had a contact with a doctor that needed a child and was willing to buy one. She told me of her friend who had a child, and she brought her and her one-year-old baby boy to my house. I called my friend, whose name is Saturday, to come to the house and in the night he strangled the woman to death. It was Blessing who suggested we should dump the corpse inside the soak-away. We did that. We bought N500 cement and re-sealed the pit. When my father came back home, he noticed the fresh cement on the soak-away and asked for an explanation. I told him it was to stop cockroaches, ants and rats from coming out. Blessing took the one-year-old baby boy to Benin and sold him for N350, 000. We shared the money equally at N115, 000 per person, including my friend Saturday.
“In 2017, I demanded N350, 000 from my father. I wanted to travel to Libya and Italy. He gave me N200, 000. The money was not enough for my expenses so I asked him for more but he quarreled with me and told me he didn’t have any money again. In anger, I threatened my father. I told him I have thrown some people inside the soak-away and I will not hesitate to also throw him there too. I left home and travelled to Enugu State to learn some business. I got married and had two children, one of who died at the age of eight months old. The second child is presently six months old.
“I returned to my father’s house on June 17, 2018. I came home to apologize to him and ask for his forgiveness. Surprisingly, on June 24, policemen suddenly arrived and arrested me and the detectives began to interrogate me for murder. I simply took them to the soak-away in my father’s compound. They evacuated it and found human skulls, a decomposed body and a woman’s bra inside it. So, I confessed everything to them.”
According to Mr Wale Abass, Deputy Commissioner of Police at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Asaba, detectives had been on Ehiwogwu’s trail since his father’s petition against him. “We had information then that the suspect had disposed of some innocent people inside the soak-away in his father’s compound, but he absconded. When we heard that he has resurfaced, de- tectives went after him and arrested him. He confessed upon interrogation. We recovered a human skull, a woman’s clothes and underclothing and a carcass from the pit. We then went after the other accomplice who is now in our custody.
A female devil incarnate
The other accomplice, Blessing Ekwueme, who was arrested on June 27 in Enugu State, told Saturday Sun, “Chuks is my boyfriend.”
She gave a succinct overview of their heinous deed. “It was him and his friend, Saturday, that threw the woman I brought to them into the soak-away. I was the one who took her one- year-old boy to Benin and sold him for N350, 000 and we all shared the money equally.”
Continuing, she said: “But Chuks and I quarrelled after the incident because he insisted he wanted to marry me, whereas I am married with four children. We both went our separate ways. I was surprised when policemen came to my house and arrested me on June 27, 2018, for a crime we committed in 2016. I have confessed and expressed my cooperation to take the policemen to Benin to the person to whom I sold the baby boy.”
According to Commissioner of Police Mustafa, no one connected with the crime will be spared. The suspects will soon be charged to court once the investigation is concluded, he said.