Following the arraignment of a Lagos woman, Mrs. Fortune Nwankwo on April 20th, 2020 at the Lagos magistrate court, Yaba for murder by physically beating to death her house maid, 19 year old late Joy Adole, the Igede community in Lagos made up of Benue indigenes from Oju and Obi local government areas of the state has demanded immediate arrest and prosecution of all other culprits connected with the gruesome murder of the innocent girl.
In a statement jointly signed by two sons of the community, Chief Ode Emmanuel Ochi who doubles as chairman of Middle Belt Traditional Council (MBTC) in the South-West and Tony Iji, the community described the murder of the innocent girl as callous, wicked and inhuman.
It could be recalled that after beating the girl to death in their house at Ogundola street, Sun Gas bus stop, Bariga Lagos, Mr. and Mrs. Nwankwo in an effort to establish alibi to cover up their offence, tied rope round the girl’s neck and hung her to the ceiling fan and went to Bariga police station to report that their house maid had committed suicide in their house. But the police were able to detect foul-play after visiting the scene of the crime where they saw the girl’s corpse standing on its leg with fresh wounds all over her body.
According to the community, “with the arraignment of Mrs. Nwankwo for murder charged under section 223 of criminal law of Lagos state of Nigeria 2015 which punishment carries a death sentence, Mr. and Mrs. Nwankwo have failed woefully in their cruel effort to cover the murder by faking a purported suicide by the murdered young girl”.
According to the community, “now that the police have been able to unravel the truth that the late Miss Joy Adole was mercilessly beaten to death with severe wounds visible all over her body, it has therefore become pertinent to demand for the arrest of the other conspirators who assisted Mrs. Nwankwo to tie rope round the girl’s neck and hung her to the ceiling fan to create impression that the murdered young lady committed suicide. To this end, the community said that the number one conspirator in this case is no other person but Mr. Stephen Kwankwo, the murderer’s husband, who was not only in the apartment at Ogundola street Bariga with her wife where the murder took place, but also went to Bariga police station with his wife to give false statement that the late Joy Adole committed suicide in their house.
To this end, the community has express reservation over the curious non-inclusion of Mr. Nwankwo from prosecution so far. In a rhetorical question, the community asked, “or can it be reasonably assumed that the wife, after beating the young lady to death mustered the strength to single-handedly stood the corpse on its feet and tied a feeble belt around its neck and hang it to a ceiling fan?
Consequent on this, can Mr. Stephen Nwankwo not be said to be an accessory after the act and therefore liable to trial for conspiring to conceal such a heinous crime committed in his presence and in his house”?
The statement read further, “while we cannot say categorically that Mr. Stephen Nwankwo participated in the beating of the girl to death with his wife, he cannot claim to be ignorant of how a rope was tied to the girl’s neck and hung to the ceiling fan in his house. We therefore demand for Mr. Stephen Nwankwo’s immediate arrest and prosecution for trying to pervert the cause of justice by conspiring with his wife to conceal the crime of murder. We equally call on the police authorities and the Lagos ministry of justice to expand their scope of investigation to bring to justice all other people who may have assisted the couple in their attempt to pervert the cause of justice.”
Meanwhile, the community has expressed its profound gratitude and appreciation to the good people of Nigeria across all walks of life who rose in one voice in solidarity with Igede nation to condemn the gruesome murder of their innocent daughter.
It stated that “while we are highly concerned and embarrassed by the continuous activities of few unscrupulous elements in our midst who form the habit of luring our teenagers away from school for menial jobs in the town, we will not fold our hands and watch such teenagers unjustly maltreated to the point of being killed by their so-called employers”.