A 55-year-old mother in Ejilewe Ukwuagba Ngbo community, Ebonyi State, Mrs. Alice Nwakpu is now beset by deep regret for handing over her son to a vigilance group in their community on the suspicion that he stole her two cellphones.
Rather than recover the phones, she got a dead son back: the young man was virtually tortured to death by the ‘do-good’ vigilante members.
According to Sun news online, Mrs. Nwakpu had only wanted the leaders of the Ejilewe Ukwuagba Neighbourhood Security Committee to punish her son, Ome Nwakpu, 38, she alleged had stolen her phones, but the group of vigilantes went beyond their brief.
Narrating the unfortunate incident, which he described as “terrible and ugly,” the Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State Police Command, Mr. Maigari Dikko explained that the vigilante tied Ome with a rope and tortured him for about 12 hours, apparently to extract a confession from him.
The ugly cycle of events that led to Ome’s untimely death began when his mother noticed that her phones had ‘developed wings’ and she accused him of stealing them. Probably not convinced with his denials, she reported the matter to one Dennis Eze, leader of the vigilance group.
Eze called some members of the group on phone and Ome was promptly arrested at about 6.00am and taken to their operational base for interrogation. They tied his hands with a rope and at some point in the course of the interrogation began to torture him.
Later that day, at 6.00pm, Ome was released to his mother. By then he was in great pain and could not walk well. Two days later he died.
CP Dikko disclosed that it was one Omeh Elijah, a lawyer, who reported the death of the victim to the police at Ohaukwu Police Station, stating that the young man died as a result of the torture meted out to him by the Ejilewe vigilance group.
Upon receiving the report, the police moved and quickly rounded up the alleged culprits, namely, Dennis Eze, 38; Emeka Eze, 25; Amo Eke, 55 and Onwe Edwin, 37.
Lamenting over her monumental error, Ome’s mother who was full of regret, explained how it all started: “I have regretted what I have done. It was me that said my son, Ome Nwakpu stole my two phones and I reported him to the head of the vigilance group, Dennis Eze. They tied him with ropes and they tortured him.”
She explained further: “I bought a carton of beer and a bottle of hot drink for the vigilantes for a job well done. But later I saw that my son was weak and couldn’t walk properly. Two days later he died. I want my son to forgive me. I thought they would help me to warn him but I didn’t send them to beat him to death. I have explained to the entire family. This is beyond what I can explain, only God can deliver me from this predicament.”
Ome’s mother’s regret is now cold comfort to him as his body lies in the mortuary of Comprehensive Hospital, Ngbo, where it was deposited.
CP Dikko revealed that an autopsy conducted on the victim’s body to determine the cause of death found that Ome died of internal hemorrhage as a result of severe head and soft tissue injuries. He said that the suspects would soon be charged to court.