Nigerian Police said yesterday that they had apprehended six men who stripped a 24-year-old lady and rubbed pepper into her private parts for allegedly stealing a phone.
This was even as reports emerged that the incident leading to the violent assault on the lady had to do with sexual nature. The reports, however, have different versions.
A police source said: “There were two ladies involved in the matter. One is a matured lady and the other is the victim. It was actually the matured lady that took the victim to the hotel to meet the men. Apparently, the matured lady knows one of them. The hotel manager, where the whole drama started, was among those arrested.
“Anyway, the men wanted to have sex with them, but the matured lady, who has a relationship with one of the guys they went to meet, sensed that their drinks were drugged with tramadol. She confronted them and they admitted that there was tramadol in the drinks. The lady said they wouldn’t drink it. She walked out, which made the victim to say she too was leaving since the ‘auntie’ that brought her had left.
“She was already walking away when the men called her back, with one of them saying his phone was missing. They dragged her to the house of a supposed native doctor to confirm that she stole the phone. That was how the whole ugly incident started.”
According to another source, a middle-aged man was the mastermind of the whole horrific incident. The man allegedly mobilised thugs to sexually molest the girl.
The middle-aged man is also alleged to be the person that the matured woman went to see, while taking the victim along. He was arrested on Wednesday night. He was later used as bait to catch other five suspects, while police are hunting for two others.
The source added: “The middle-aged man is amorously linked with the victim and later complained of a missing phone. He collared the victim to a native ‘doctor,’ around Ugbiyokho area of Ekehuan Road, Benin City, to determine the culpability of the victim. As is customary with fake herbalists, the victim was instantaneously pronounced guilty and asked to produce the missing phone. The victim’s denial and protest fell on deaf ears.
The man, the herbalist and the herbalist’s apprentice pounced on the victim. She was beaten, stripped and pepper inserted into her private parts. All was video recorded.”
The video showed how the men stripped the victim and inserted pepper into her private part, claiming that she stole the phone. The video, which must have been uploaded by one of the perpetrators, went viral by Monday.
Further investigation by our correspondent revealed that the victim was taken to Lafun Hotel located in the state. The hotel is alleged to be owned by a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (names withheld).
Findings further revealed that the victim had lodged at the hotel on Sunday night with a man when the controversial phone at the centre of the entire problem got missing.
Angered by the fruitless search, the man who took the girl into the hotel threatened fire and brimstone, but all to no avail. The development prompted him and others to approach a native doctor who performed some rituals and recited incantations in the process.
The victim was said to have been compelled to undergo strange mystic oath taking, at the end of which no result came of the entire drama. But not convinced about the whole issue, the owner of the phone and others dragged the girl to a corner where they carried out the despicable act of inserting pepper into her private parts with a view to forcing her to confess to stealing the phone.
The six suspects arrested so far in connection with the case are Otoghile Joel, owner of the phone alleged to have been stolen by the young woman; Lucky Igbinovia alias ‘One Man Squad’ in whose house the young woman was tortured; Edobor Osemwengie, manager of Lafun Hotel; Kingsley Iyamu,; Gregg Eweka and Friday Omorogbe.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Frank Mba, said the police had established contact with the female victim, aged 24 years.
Mba added that her health status and recovery rate were being monitored.
He said: “Following the dehumanising incident, the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, had ordered a comprehensive investigation into the report. Consequently, the Edo State Police Command, led by its Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, swung into action, leading to the investigative breakthrough.”