By Goodluck B. Ikiebe
Three years after a gruesome murder after being kidnapped, family and friends of Nigerian American, Prince Dennis Eloniyo Abuda, have called for the release of investigation carried out by the Nigeria Police, Edo State Command.
In a strongly worded statement by the Junior brother, Chief Julius Abuda, entitled,
“Why I cannot find a reason to forgive Nigeria State and The Nigeria Police Force, recounts the experience and frustration faced in trying to get justice and apprehend the killers.
“On the 30th January 2024, it will be exactly 3 years that my precious, dependable, and innocent elder brother was murdered after a 7 week visit from the United States of America.
In fact, there is no single hour of my life that I don’t think about the gruesome death of an innocent patriotic Nigerian – American”, he lamented.
“I still can not forgive the Nigeria Police for not doing her job that she is paid to do.
I find it impossible to forgive the Nigeria Police for their failure to conduct a proper investigation into his death. As he was heading to Lagos to catch his night flight back to the United States, his vehicle encountered kidnappers along the Benin-Lagos bypass in Edo State.
According to him, “Despite onlookers witnessing the incident, the response from the police was inadequate, focusing more on the vehicle than on addressing the crime”.
“He was kidnapped with 3 others in my cousins Sienna vehicle and the scene was watched by passers-by, and which, of course, would have made the police adopt a necessary contingency approach to the crime with a view of remedying it”.
“The Nigeria Police came to the scene, towed the vehicle to her station, and his luggage was vandalized, perhaps with pleasure.”
Instead of the police to reach out to the Anti- Kidnapping Unit right there in Benin, the Ahor Police officers didn’t write any report nor report the incidence to the appropriate quarters or even go in search of them.
The police had only one interest: Prince Eloniyo”s luggage!”
“I got to know about my Prince Dennis Abuda’s kidnap after my younger brother, who was meant to meet him at the airport, waited for so long without reaching him. When my brother called to inform me that he could not reach our elder brother, I knew immediately that something strange must have happened, especially when none of them was reachable”.
“I immediately reached out to my friend in one of the mobile telephone companies to help trace, but all the information later proved to be unreliable”.
The statement reads, “The next morning, I headed to Benin from the Lekki axis while my younger brother was coming from the main land.
Immediately, after Okada Junction along Lagos – Benin express, my younger brother called to inform me that a particular number had reached out to him confirming that our Bros was with them, and that we need to make arrangements for him to be released .
He shared the number with me, and we started talking .
“When I reached out to them, I established my willingness to cooperate with them, while also requesting for “a situation of no maltreatment”of their victim. How was I supposed to know that what was to befall me would be a volcanic eruption”.
It states that, “After some minutes, my cousin, who was also kidnapped with my elder brother, called to inform me that we should endeavor to ensure that they were released .
I didn’t push further so that I would not provoke the kidnappers to do otherwise.
“I drove straight to the Anti- Kidnapping section of the Police HQ in Benin.
All efforts to know the exact location where they were kidnapped proved abortive.
While our focus was around Okada Village based on the information from the telecom company, the police station who towed the vehicle to their station still refused to report the case to either police Hq nor anti- Kidnapping Unit.
The anti- Kidnapping unit kept searching for my brother’s whereabouts while I was negotiating with the kidnappers for my brother’s freedom.
*Release of My Cousin Without My Brother After Ransome Payment.*
Chief Julius Abuda noted that the amount of money spent on this cannot be reconciled because, apart from the police logistics, etc, this took the family so much than expected.
“We peacefully agreed on how they want the ransom and where and when I should bring the ransom.
They warned me that I should make sure I come alone and if I love my life and my brother, I should cooperate”.
On that Tuesday, they called me to be prepared and come to Auchi- Benin road, I headed as directed, while on that road, they said I should turn back to face Benin- Warri bypass, after about 5 minutes, they said I should turn back to face Benin – Lagos bypass.
On Lagos bypass, they asked for the type of vehicle and the color, which I told them.
They asked me to put on the Hazzard lights, i.e., double traffigators immediately after the Army checkpoint at the trailer park along Benin – Lagos bypass.
On getting to the forest along that Benin – Lagos bypass opposite the gas station, I heard a whistle, here they were right opposite the gas station and there was a police post beside the gas station and a Police Hilux van parked in front of the police post on the side of the express road.
I stopped, and one guy directed me on how to park, and I handed over the ransom to him.
Watching around, I discovered I was being watched by six gunmen well positioned, two behind, two at the middle, and two ahead of me watching the receiver and I”, Abuda narrated.
After handing over the Ghana -must go- bag of money , the receiver directed me to park at the entrance of the gas station beside the police post.
While all these were going on, the police hilux was still parked with some policemen.
While I was waiting for the next line of action, I was afraid that the police may ask why I was there parked at that time of the night and may in turn affect the release of my brother.
I was also scared as I did not want the kidnappers to misconstrue that I invited the police around the ransome payment point. As human,
too many things crept on my mind.
The driver that brought me there never knew where we were going.
He was actually taking another man whose sister was also with the kidnappers but a different set of people that were also with the kidnappers.
The kidnappers linked two of us to meet at the Benin – Auchi park.
I asked the other man, what do we tell the police men incase they come to interrogate us here and we later agreed to open the car bonnet to create an alibi of some sort so that when they ask, we will tell them that our car was overheating.
All these were to make sure they don’t spoil the arrangement because we have already given them the ransom”.
While we were there waiting for the release of my brother, another police hilux van drove on the one way and joined the hilux parked in front of the police post.
“It was getting darker , after waiting for about one and half hour, I saw a group of persons coming out of the forest and after watching through, I couldn’t see my brother.
I asked my cousin, “Where is Bros ?.
He said Bros has been killed (tears), I said , but I have been here for close to two hours and I didn’t hear any gun shot, he said, he has been killed since Saturday, I shouted and started running toward the Police, the two hilux vans zoomed off”, Julius Abuda recounted.
“We started trekking because the vehicle I came with drove off and left us in darkness.
We found our way to Ahor Police Station that night, and on getting there, we found the Sienna parked .
I asked the Police why they didn’t report to the anti- Kidnapping unit since on Saturday, do you know their response? You can’t come here to teach us our job.
I asked my cousin how he knew my brother was killed, and he said the kidnappers boasted with it while they were in captivity (hostage).
I was also told that a lady who was with a little child was released immediately when they were kidnapped .
I asked the Police to share her contact information with me so I could ask if she saw my brother or his body or for any information that I could work with.
The Police told me they did not take her statement, I couldn’t do or say anything because I was downcast and still in shock.
We left for my hotel room thinking of how to get my brother because I still didn’t believe he was dead.
My thought was, maybe, he was wounded and consequently assisted to a hospital ICU. How wrong was I in all of these?, he queried!!!
“The next morning, I went to anti-kidnapping unit to assist me in looking for my brother, dead or alive, since we were informed of where they were kidnapped.
Both the vigilante, hunters, and Police with some of my friends, who were with me went into the forest, and my brother body was discovered decomposing. THE WORST SCENE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE”.
“I took my brother, prepared for his burial, and about two weeks, he was buried where he told me to bury him when he dies.
I couldn’t imagine that my brother would be buried and nothing was done or said about the murder of such an innocent, peace-loving brother, who came to his country for the burial of his Uncle and Stepmother.
*The Police Spurious Report*
Before the autopsy report, rumours had it that my brother couldn’t walk while being taken into the forest, that he fainted, he was not shot etc but after the autopsy report that was prepared by the Nigeria Army after a serious quarrel on who to do the report because of money, it was discovered that my brother was shot in the pelvic region.
None of them came to the press to tell them the findings Till this time of this sad story, nothing has been done about the murder of Prince Dennis Eloniyo Abuda.
Another account by one of the victims, Chief David Oghieake, who confirmed his death, described the ugly incident thus:
“Bros loosing you was the worst thing that has happened to me, but l have realised how wicked the world is, you gave anybody that comes across you love, care, food, drink, money, & attention, but that day on our way to Lagos @ about 1:30pm , we ran into a road blocked with a Trailer, a Toyota Camry, an 18 passenger bus, another smaller trailer, while my Sienna was the 4th kidnapped vehicle, and that was how we were kidnapped with others in the other vehicles. And the passengers in the bus tried to escape, most of them were shot at close range on the road, while the Police were watching us, Bros Dennis tried to escape by entering under the parked trailer, but the kidnapper on the right side saw him & fetched him out that he would shoot him. l pleaded with him that he is my brother, after about an hour shooting, they ordered us to enter the bush, they were (8) kidnappers on the road, as we were about leaving, Bros Dennis started shivering, his eyes gone, he can’t talk, gasping for air, not up to a minute walk, he fell, the last kidnapper said l should move ahead and l said please help me, he is my brother, & l stopped & started pulling him, but l couldn’t pull or carry him because of his size, and the kidnapper came back & brought out a jack knife worn on his gun belt & jumpef over Bros to stab me and l quickly shifted & he landed with the knife almost fully inside the ground, he stood up with annoyance & cocked the gun & shot me three times because the gun was on rapid (9) bullets of Am 47 on me. I realized, l was facing death, and when we got to the forest they started beating me to bring the medicine I am using, l got the worst beating of my life, we were tied like goats, and treated like animals. l didn’t know we were going to survive it, the trauma has since been there”, Chief David Oghieakhe concluded his ordeal with prayer, May his beautiful soul continue to rest in peace, Amen!!!
Our Correspondent reports that the Fugar Community is still in awe and wondering what may have caused the dastardly act and prayed that God shall expose those behind the gruesome act.
As the relatives and friends mourn and remember the third anniversary, it is hoped that the Nigeria Police will do the needful and make public their report of investigation into the gruesome murder.