Reacting to the controversy trailing the discovery of 20 Mummified bodies in an uncompleted bungalow in Asoro in the Ekehuan Road axis of Benin City, Edo State capital, the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, has given the police a marching order to unravel the true situation in order to douse tension in the state.
Recall that some youths and members of the state security network in the area had on Monday stumbled on the premises and promptly alerted the police who immediately stormed the scene and took away the three suspects apprehended by the local vigilantes.
However, hours after the shock find, a report surfaced on social media alleging that the house was not a ritualists’ den but a registered morgue which was relocated from it’s original place at Asuen Hospital along First East Circular Road. The report claimed the shrines found in the house were for the personal protection of the owner.
Not a few residents however poohpooped this claim, raising posers about the fresh blood on the altars, absence of fresh bodies to indicate it was actually a government approved morgue, and whether corpses in morgues are normally dried in the condition these bodies were found.
Concerned about this development, at a joint press conference on Friday by the state government and the state police Command, held at the Police headquarters, Edo residents were enjoined to remain calm while the matter was being thoroughly investigated, especially as it concerns the purposes and ownership of the building.
Represented by his Special Adviser on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie, Governor Obaseki gave his word that the public would continuously be briefed on the progress of investigations.
According to the governor, “We want to call for calm from the public. We don’t want to preempt the outcome of police investigation, but the police is actively doing their investigations. There are a lot of speculations going around. Some people suspect that the place is a quack morgue; could it be for ritual purposes? We are giving that to the police.
“People have been apprehended, and they are undergoing questioning. Some people are still being looked for.
“The governor has given seven days for them to come back to us with the details of what they have found out. Was it just a morgue, or is there any ritual involved? No conclusions have been reached yet, so police will be allowed to do their work. We are going to continuously brief the public, and we are also taking measures through the Ministry of Health to ensure that there is no public health crisis in that area. Edo is safe, and there is no evidence yet that anything ritual is involved until the police are through with their investigation.”
Also speaking, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, state criminal investigation department, SCID, Olawore Oluwole, who is in charge of the case, assured that the police would do a thorough job.
Oluwole said “Based on credible intelligence, a bungalow was located at Asoro area, and in that bungalow, we found some dried bodies and some items like generator, gas cylinder, oxygen cylinder. While investigation was in progress, five suspects were arrested, and they are: Chimaobi Okoewu and Samuel Okoh, both from Ebonyi State; Gideon Sunday from Akwa-Ibom; Victor Obeche from Anambra, and Yusuf Lawal from Katsina State”.
According to the DCP, there is manhunt for one Otu Chukwu, the alleged owner of the property, adding that efforts were being made to get him, “and soonest, he will be apprehended”.
He appealed to members of the public to remain calm as the Command was assuring that “everything will be done to ensure that all hidden facts are unraveled.”