Tony Osauzo, Benin
Fresh facts have emerged on how a 60-year-old woman was murdered and set ablaze at her home in Benin last Sunday. Though earlier reports suggest that the victim was a retired military officer identified as Major Afisatu Ajuya, the Edo State Police Command has however given the true identity of the woman as Vivian Rafatu Titilayo Ajibua, saying she was not a retired military officer.
According to police findings, “On 28th January, 2018, at about 6 am, one Princess Ajibade received a call that the house of her sister at N0 73, 1st Ugbor Road, G.R.A, Benin City, was on fire.
“Upon the information, she rushed to the place and found her lying dead with fire burns. She informed the Command operatives who moved in there with her and found the story to be true.
“Immediately, they arrested one Felix Simon, a security guard to the deceased. Also arrested, was Zakari Peter. On interrogation, they confessed that they murdered the deceased, looted her properties- jewelries, one bag of clothes, one plasma TV and other items and thereafter set the deceased and the building ablaze in order to cover up their crime.” Spokesman of the State Police Command, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor confirmed the narrative.
When Saturday Sun visited the residence of the deceased located in a Close, the gate was locked from outside, with three cars parked inside the compound.
The gates of the few buildings in the Close were also locked, devoid of life.
Meanwhile, the result of the autopsy carried out on the deceased, according to a police source, indicated that her assailants hit the woman on the head with an object before they set her house ablaze.
It was learnt that the original intention was to rob her of money but she was said to have recognised one of the assailants. When asked if they were aware of any misunderstanding between the deceased and her guard, one of her sisters, Princess Ajibade told Saturday Sun that their relationship was cordial.
“Last two Sundays, I joined my late sister and her guard to refill their cooking gas cylinder. That day, she paid the guard his salary and even gave him additional one thousand naira”, she explained.
It was also gathered that late Vivian Ajibua has two children who are Medical Doctors but based abroad. She was said to have been married to one Salami, who is now late.
Since the incident, some residents of the neighbourhood have known no peace as they alleged harassment from the police.
According to Lucas Abraham from Katsina State, a trainee pastor at the All Nations for Christ Bible Institute in Benin, who lives with his family at the entrance to the Close, his brothers were beaten up last Tuesday by relatives of the deceased, allegedly escorted by two policemen.
“I and my wife are students. We were not around when the incident happened. We returned from our journey that Sunday evening”. Lucas explained that he and his wife returned from church on Tuesday to be told by his family members their experience in the hands of those who attacked them, alleging that they knew something about the death of the woman.
Israel Duku, 17, one of Lucas’ younger brothers, who came to Edo State last week Wednesday, told Saturday Sun that when the people came, they asked of Isah and incidentally, one of his brothers called James Isah, was having his bath at the time.
He said unknown to him the Isah they were looking for, he innocently called his brother from the bathroom and soon after the ‘unknown visitors’ descended on them. “Some people came with policemen. They started beating me. They asked what happened and we said we didn’t know anything about the incident.
“They asked of Isah, I said Isah was bathing. I then called out James from the bathroom and they started beating him. They asked some of the people who came with them if they know Isah, they said no.
“The sister of the late woman was among the men who were beating us. My brother, James Isah was injured on his back. They used bottles to hit us. They also forced our door open, ransacked and tore our bags”, Israel narrated.
For Lucas, much as the death of the woman was painful, the manner her relation attacked his family members showed that they are ignorant of the words of God, because according to him, the way they threw their Bibles around while searching for possible evidence to implicate them, confirmed his assertion.
“The people are ignorant. If they know God, they would not do what they did. It is true that such death is painful, but the word of God comforts us”, he said.
Another neighbour who did not want his name in print, simply said “we are not violent people, we don’t kill people. We want the Hausa people to leave this area”.