It was a gory sight at an uncompleted bungalow in Benin-Cty, Edo State capital, where men of the state Police Command discovered 20 mummified corpses and ritual shrines.
The police said three persons, all males, have been arrested in connection with the crime, while other accomplices have fled. Two of the suspects hail from Ebonyi State, while the third is from Akwa Ibom.
The scene of the shock find which is located after a popular mortuary along Ekehuan Road, had been attracting hundreds of curious and bewildered residents who trooped in to catch a glimpse of the bizarre spectacle.
A video of the scene had gone viral earlier in the day before the police came out with a formal statement confirming its authenticity. The viral video showed some of the dried corpses in standing position with their backs against the unpainted wall, while some others were in sleeping positions arranged on top of each other on a make-shift bed. Some of the corpses were still identifiable.
The picture of one of the suspects who appeared to be the ringleader, hung on the wall. In one of the pictures, he posed with a military man, and the picture had the caption “MD with Major’.
Clothes, shoes, and and personal items of the unfortunate victims, who were apparently kidnapped, littered the rooms, while what looked like graves dotted the landscape in the vast premises.
An e-statement Wednesday night by the state deputy police public relations officer, Jennifer Iwegbu, an assistant superintendent of police, ASP, reads:
“In pursuance of its operational mandate of nipping crimes in the bud, Operatives of the Edo State Police Command today 17/08/2022 unravelled a suspected ritual shrine.
“Following credible information at the Command’s disposal that some corpses were discovered in a building along Asoro slope, off Ekenhua Road, Uzebu quarters, Benin City, operatives of the command immediately swung into action and mobilised to the scene.
“At the scene, 3 suspects, Chimaobi Okoewu ‘M’ and Oko Samuel ‘M’ both of Afikpo in Ebonyi, and Gideon Sunday ‘M’ of Akwa-Ibom State, were arrested while others fled. An intensive effort is ongoing to arrest the other fleeing suspects.
“15 mummified male corpses, 3 mummified female corpses, and 2 mummified children corpses, were discovered at the scene.
“To this end, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, CP Abutu Yaro, fdc, has directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of state CID to carry out a discreet investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the discovered corpses, and therefore enjoins the general public to be calm as the command will continue to ensure the safety of all law-abiding citizens and those residing in Edo state”.
Speaking on how the scene was discovered, the Okaeghele of Uzebu community, Fidelis Owen, said youths and the Edo Security Network in the area, mobilized to the scene and were able to arrest three out of the seven men involved while four escaped.
They were said to have informed the police who moved in, led by the divisional police officer, DPO in charge of the area.
According to a police officer who also spoke on the incident, on getting to the scene, they saw exactly what was given as information. He said, “The corpses are here. The vigilante also joined them. We discovered the dried corpses, both males and females”.
An impressed state commissioner of police, Abutu Yaro, commended his men for the discovery and assured that a wider investigation would be opened into the case.