Police operatives attached to the Festac Division have discovered the bruised remains of a 26-year-old trader, Chijioke Nzube, on 5th Avenue, Festac town in Lagos State.
The deceased who was a trader in provision also had a store in the Idumota area on Lagos Island.
Mr Chidi Nweze, the spokesperson for Ebute-Ero Market Union, told NAN that Nzube’s cellphone lines had been unreachable since Sunday, Jan. 30 when his friends tried calling it.
Narrating how the body was found, Nweze said the search for Nzube intensified when he didn’t show up in his store on Monday, Jan. 31 and his boss, one Mr Chika Umofia, had to be called.
“We kept searching for him and calling his number which did not go through. So, we tried contacting his boss, Mr Chika Umofia, but his lines were not going through also.
” We later reached his son who later came and we asked him about Chijioke’s whereabouts.
“He said that they were also searching for him and we asked if they had reported the case to the police, he said no. We then advised them to report the development to the police and that three of the market union officials would also accompany him to the police station.
“The boy said no adding that the family would go first then brief the market officials on the outcome.”
“Later, the boy started making enquiries about where Chijioke was living.” He said that Chijioke was no longer serving his father as an apprentice.
“He is now on his own, he just got his own apartment and set to vacate their place. He was supposed to vacate his boss’s place on Sunday when the whole thing happened.
“They all lived together on 4th Avenue, Festac. After we interviewed the boy, we asked him to go and make an entry with the police, he promised to go but he later brought out the key to the deceased’s shop.
“He tried to open the shop but he was challenged by the market people. We asked him how he got the key and he said that he had an interest in the shop.
“He said that how he got the keys into the shop was not the concerns of the market union members but we stopped him from opening the shop.
“We asked him to go and report at the police station that this shop or money is not important now. What is important is the life of this boy, let’s know the situation of the boy so he left,” he said.
Nweze said that the leadership of the market later decided to visit Festac to know what exactly happened but later decided to visit the police station first since the case had not been reported there.
“We got to the Festac Police Station and met the DPO. We told him everything that happened and he asked if we came with the picture of the missing boy. We said yes, we brought out the picture of the boy and showed him, the man shook his head.
“After shaking his head, he showed us a picture of a corpse that was sent to him that had been dumped on 5th Avenue on Sunday night till Monday morning when it was recovered. Lo and behold, it was Chijioke’s corpse.”
The spokesperson added that all the market union wanted is justice for the deceased whom he described as an only child of his parents with no one to fight for him.
He also hinted that Chijioke had on Wednesday before the incident appeared at the store with a wound on one of his eyes.
He said some of his colleagues asked him how he sustained the wound but he said they had a quarrel.
Nweze said the deceased on Saturday kept receiving calls from either his boss or the sons of his boss asking him to come home saying that there was an issue they needed to resolve.
A police source at the Festac Police Division who pleaded anonymity, however, said that the case had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti and that three suspects had been arrested.
The police source explained that there was no initial report of any missing body but a good Samaritan just called the police on Monday, Jan. 31 at10 .00a.m. to inform them that a corpse was discovered on 5th Avenue, Festac.
The source said some policemen were deployed to take pictures, make enquiries and also arranged for the body to be deposited at Yaba Mortuary.
Corroborating what the Market Union’s Spokesperson said, the police source said that some people from the market came to report a case of a missing person after which they presented a picture that matched that of the recovered corpse.
“Subsequently, they gave some useful information. We also did our investigations as regards the bunch of keys found on one of his brothers.
“You know we don’t handle murder cases, so the SCID will continue with the investigation in which we have done our part by making sure evidence is not tampered with.
“We searched their residence for traces of blood but what we discovered was that the body was dumped at 5th Avenue not that he was killed there.
“I guess he was beaten, tortured and he eventually died. They had kept him but later came to drop his corpse at the middle of the night.” the source said.
Confirming the incident, the Lagos State Police Command’s Spokesperson, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, said that the Commissioner of Police, CP Abiodun Alabi, had directed that no stone should be left unturned to unravel the circumstances surrounding the death of the victim.
“Three suspects have so far been arrested in connection with the case. The case has since been transferred to the Homicide Section of the State CID, Panti, for diligent investigation,” he said. (NAN)