UPDATED: How Police Nabbed Kidnappers Who Raped a 19-Year Old In Benin
PHOTO: POLICE IG OGBONNAYA ONOVO.
San Francisco (THEWILL) – In what has been described as one of the most despicable acts in modern Nigeria, the Edo State Police Command said it arrested an alleged top kidnapper operating in Benin City, Edo State, Mr. Henry Okonofua and his mistress, Iriagbonse Osunde aka Iri with two other men for kidnapping, gang raping and sexually assaulting a 19-year old girl in the ancient city.
Edo police spokesman, Mr. Peter Ogboi told THEWILL in a conference call that sometime in October 2009, a 19-year-old female, who was a friend of Iriagbonse was lured to an isolated location by her after she had arranged with four other persons to abduct her. After the abduction, the victim was driven to a house belonging to Henry Okonofua in the Ugbor area, GRA in Benin City.
At the house which Okonofua was said to have rented from a staff of Zenith Bank Plc who works in one of the braches in Benin, she was blind folded with plasters, confined to a room, chained to a burglary bar by the window, gang raped and sexually assaulted by her captives including one Mr. White who the police say they are still trying to apprehend. The victim whose name we will not mention was held captive for 50 days.
The Kidnappers were reported to have agreed to a N3.2 million naira ransom and N75, 000 worth of mobile phone recharge cards from her parents to secure her release, but failed to let her go even after the ransom was paid. A source told THEWILL they were uncomfortable releasing her because they feared she might have recognized their voices especially that of Iriagbonse.
Henry Okonofua was said to have suggested the unthinkable, execute her and dispose off her body but Iriagbonse thought that would be too cruel. They agreed that the best way for her to die would be to deprive her of food and water. For three weeks they cut off food and water supply to their traumatized victim, who was also not allowed to bath or have a change of clothing through out the period of her captivity.
The victim got a break on a weekend about three weeks ago when Okonofua and his group went clubbing and didn’t return until the wee hours of the morning. She was said to have pulled the metal burglary from the wall and crawled to the apartment of another resident in the compound. The resident was said to have been in shock and called the police to the scene.
Okonofua and his gang were also said to have walked right into the arms of the cops when they returned apparently drunk from their night out. Police detectives immediately took them into custody with other residents of the compound. We learnt that the police have since released other tenants after it determined that they had no hand in the crime.
THEWILL investigations revealed that Okonofua, popularly called “Chairman” by his friends because of his bizarre spending habit does not fit the profile of a kidnapper. He is described by people who know him as a fun loving 1993 dropout of Diploma in Social Works degree programme at the University of Benin. He is reported to have married Amuel Aideyan sometime between 2000/2001 in a traditional wedding ceremony at the Ekenwan area residence of Amuel’s family home.
Amuel was said to have moved out of their matrimonial home with their four kids (three daughters and a son) after series of domestic abuse and harassment by both Okonofua and Iriagbonse. Okonofua was reported to have told Amuel to accept Iri as his concubine or move out of their home. She chose the later.
THEWILL investigations also showed that Okonofua and Iri started their affair in their secondary school days when Okonofua was a student of Word of Faith Secondary School owned by the Late Bishop Benson Idahosa’s family, and Iri was a student at Greater Tomorrow School also in Benin. They some how succeeded in keeping it alive all these years.
Investigations also revealed that Okonofua is a cultist and an influential member of the Black Axe Confraternity. He is the first of four children of his parents who also live in Benin. When often asked his source of income, he would say he runs an automobile dealership.
People who are familiar with his exploits say he spends about three hundred to four hundred thousand naira (N300, 000-N400, 000) a night when he parties with his mistress in Benin.
THEWILL checks also revealed that Iri who used to live in London relocated to Nigeria after the UK police tried to question her over certain criminal offences.
Mr. Ogboi said the alleged kidnappers are still in police custody and will be charged for various felonies including unlawful detention, abduction, assault and rape.
Since the arrests the number of kidnap cases in Benin is said to have reduced drastically.
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