by Isi Esene
Helen Ilonge, the primary healthcare coordinator in Bekwara Local Government Area of Cross River State, who was kidnapped last week has been found with head severed. The widow with five children was suspected to have been a victim of ritual killers.
Ilonge was reported to have been kidnapped while on her way back from a church programme at the Assemblies of God, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. The healthcare coordinator was on her way to Ukpe village, along Ikom-Ogoja Highway.
Cross River State commissioner, Osita Ezechukwu, spoke on the case saying four suspects have been arrested by the anti-homicide unit in connection with the crime and promised that they will be prosecuted as soon as investigations are concluded.
He said, “We have taken confessional statement from them. Those who are not involved have been allowed to go while those who are involved are still in detention.”
A commercial motorcycle rider identified as Ifeanyi is one of the suspects arrested by the police. He was said to have been paid N10, 000 by a suspected ritualist whose name was given as Elvis Okumo. He allegedly beheaded the nurse and severed other vital reproductive parts including her breast.
The motorcyclist was reported to have taken Ilonge from Okpogrinya Junction but stopped midway and handed her over to the ritualists at Ukpe.
The victim was said to have called one of her daughters that she was on her way back home from church before the unfortunate incident happened.
Ilonge’s neighbour, Theresa Idagwu, said the victim “called her daughter, Victoria Agah, at about 9 pm that she was at Okpogrinya junction that she was taking a cyclist to Igoli and that when she gets to Igoli, she would call again so that she (Victoria) can boil water for her because she was cold following the rain which has been falling all day and she was drenched-that was the last call.”
Reports say the kidnappers demanded for N50, 000 worth of recharge cards as ransom for the release of Ilonge but the money could not be raised by her daughter.
She quickly approached the Bekwara council headquarters where the head of administration, Bisong Bogbo and the chairman of council Linus Edeh provided the money sent to the kidnapers.
According to Bogbo, “After the cards were sent to the kidnapper by the daughter, the kidnapper called to say he was going to confirm if the cards were genuine but after that his phone was switched off.
“After hours of panic and anxiety, we later heard that the woman was cut in pieces and it was the tracking device that located the place of the voice to be in Abuochiche and some people confirmed that Ifeanyi was selling MTN and GLO recharge cards.”
The two suspects arrested; Ifeanyi and the mastermind of the kidnap, Elvis, according to Bogbo, confessed that the woman had already been killed after Ifeanyi collected the recharge cards and her remains buried in a swamp.
Bogbo said “The thing is that, the woman was wasted because the oracle they took her head and private parts to rejected them and were thrown away.”