The widespread outcry against the recent gruesome serial and suspected ritual related killings of young girl in hotels in Rivers State, took a more serious turn, as some women groups in the state, led by the Rotary International, Port Harcourt South, took to the streets to stage a peaceful march to the Rivers State Government House in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, September 18, 2019.
The women numbering several hundreds wore the black T-shirts and blue Jeans, and carried a banner of protest, demanding strong security action to end the gory trend, which has now achieved a frightening and disturbing dimension.
The protest march, which started from the Ernest Ikoli NUJ Press Centre, on Moscow Road, passed through the Department of State Services office, all the way to the Rivers State Government house.
Secretary to the Rivers state government, Barr. Tammy Danagogo, received the protesting women, on behalf of the state government, at the government house, who then presented their petition to him.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Rita-Marley Idono, President of the Rotary Club, Port Harcourt South district, lamented that women in the state were worried over the killings and called on the state government and security agencies to step up operations to arrest those behind the serial killings, with the intent of bringing them to justice.
She said; ‘We are calling for a thorough, unbiased and speedy investigation into the killings, as well as a public apology from the police regarding his statement that all the women killed were prostitutes. The Police should render a public apology to women,” she demanded strongly.
“We are also saying asking as a mandatory demand, that all hotels in the state should have CCTV cameras,” she charged, adding that everybody, including those regarded as prostitutes, deserve the right to life and should not be killed in such a gruesome manner.
Addressing the protesters, the Rivers SSG, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, assured them that the state government was on top of the matter and would ensure the speedy arrest of the perpetrators, even as he admonished young girls in the state to be security conscious and careful and mindful of the kind of company they keep and persons they relate with, especially strangers.
He further charged that they should always be on security alert and avoid any meeting that may put them in harm’s way.
“It’s good to have and meet friends, but you don’t so without informing people around you. Know who you are going out with, it’s very very important and inform people around you so that if anything happens, there will be a reference point”, the SSG advised.
“We want to urge all of us, please let’s begin to educate ourselves, let’s begin to re-orientate our daughters on the need for vigilance now, more than it has been necessary”
At least, eight young women have been murdered in different hotels in the state within the last two months.
Meanwhile and in a related development, a photograph and a video have emerged online, purporting to be linked to the murdered women.
The photograph is of a man, dark in complexion, dressed in a blazer suit and matching trousers (see photo above). Although there has been no official confirmation from the Police, as at press time, some of those who have commented on the photo, have identified him with a Facebook account and claim that it was taken in front of a very popular church in Port Harcourt and the attire of the man is suggestive of someone who is in church mode.
A social Media account, with the name Ibim Seminatari (above), which is also the same name as the former Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Ag. Managing Director, NDDC, but not verified as belonging to her, posted the photo and name of the alleged serial killer, captured from the CCTV of a hotel in Port Harcourt and he has been identified as Gracious David West.
The Rivers State Police Command, say they have arrested three persons in connection with the murders but are yet to confirm the authenticity of the video or declare anyone wanted since the video was released on social media
The video itself, is of a hotel premises, which was posted on the online photo-sharing application and social media platform, Instagram, by a very popular online portal, Intablog 9ja, is a recording taken from a CCTV cameras, placed in the hotel reception and staircase area that leads to the rooms.
In it, a young man dressed in a zebra crossing black and white collared T-shirt on blue Jeans, walks up the stairs to a room to meet a man dressed in a black suit, not unlike the one in the photo here, who had apparently summoned him. A young lady, dressed in what looks like a light coloured T-shirt and black tights, with a full head of weave-on hair almost flowing to her back shoulders and held with a black hairband, next walks up the stairs, like someone familiar with the place and into the open room. She’s holding what looks like a GSM handset.
A male hotel house comes out from the room carrying a bunch of towels and the man in suit also comes out ostensibly to settle the room bill with the receptionist. He then turns back to the first young man in the T-shirt and they exchange a few quick words as the guy in suit apparently tells the young man to stand guard for him in front of the room door and not allow anybody come to that area, and then they shake hands. The suited guy enters the room again to meet the lady and closes the door, while the young man readily takes position at the entrance in front of the room, which has a small metal bars gate. A lady receptionist then appears and there’s some exchange with the young man as one, two people walk through the stream. His phone rings and as he checks the caller’s identity on the phone screen, the streaming ends and is quickly followed up with another earlier stream, which shows the young man, bowlegged and sprouting a rotund pot belly leisurely stroll in and makes for the hotel gate, exchanging some pleasantries with someone off camera, before going inside.
Then another footage appears from inside the room and shows a girl lying on the floor. She is apparently naked, her face is deliberately smudged by the operators of the video for security reasons, but her legs are tied together at the knees, with a white piece of cloth, suggestive of a ritual act. A female voice over the video says the words: “That’s the girl” as the video ends with that shot of the naked girl in the room, whose legs are tied with the piece of white cloth.
There has been no authoritative confirmation yet, of the scenes and individuals in the video and hotel, which is believed to link to one of the most recent murder of a young lady, which either happened in Port Harcourt or even the one reported in Omoku, the headquarters of Ogba Egbema Ndoni LGA; a town that gained some notoriety in the recent past, with the activities and as the stronghold of the infamous, now late dreaded cult leader known as Don’t Wanny, who was gunned down by officers of the Nigerian Army, after a manhunt involving the combined team of Army and Police special squads, that spanned across three States, before he was finally tracked down and summarily despatched.
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