More revelations have emerged from the recent bizarre discovery of corpses at outskirts of Benin City, Edo State Edo State capital.
A suspect, who gave his name as Osaro Nappiar, on Thursday, August 18, 2022, denied being a ritualist but explained why he kept the body of his mother at the uncompleted building located on Asoro Hill, in Ekenwan road Benin City, Edo State where 20 mummified corpses were discovered by community members on August 17, 2022.
Edo State spokesman, Mr Chidi Nwabuzor told journalists that Nappiar appeared at the scene, just when police arrived to condone off the building housing the mummified bodies.
According to Nwabuzor, Nappiar explained that he actually deposited his mother’s corpse in the mortuary run by one Chukwuma Otu but left in search of money to give her befitting burial rites.
The spokesman added that, the man explained that he earlier took the corpse to an unidentified house on First East Circular Road, Benin City where Otu operated from, before he relocated to his present location.
Nwanbuzor added that Nappiar also told the police that his mother died at an undisclosed hospital somewhere at Uselu, Benin City.
He said that his mother passed away in 2021, and decided to take his corpse to Otu, who he understood to be a mortician, for preservation, before he could raise money for her burial.
The Edo Police spokesman said that when he (Nappiar) was able to raise money, he came down to where the remains were kept but discovered that Otu had moved out to Ekenwan Road. He refused to release his mother’s corpse and demanded for a card as evidence before the corpse could be handed over.
Nwanbuzor told reporters that: “He (Nappiar) said that he was unable to produce the card as he was not with it. They asked him to come on another day which was today. That was why he came down here to collect the corpse for burial.
“He produced the card which is now with the police.”
He said that some suspects have been arrested and that they are helping the police in their investigations.
One of the suspects arrested by the police at the scene, Gideon Friday, however, denied any involvement in the ritualistic act, saying he only came to check if his application for the position of a driver had been granted.
“I came to check if my application was granted because I applied for a driving job here. I was told that my contract has expired.
“When I got to the place to ask for the director, some community people came and beat me up.
“I told the assailants that I only just came to check if my request was granted.
“They (community people) didn’t listen. They continue beating me up. They later took me to the police station,” he sobbed.
Another suspect, Mr Chimaobi Okewan disclosed that Otu runs a mortuary and when he was given quit notice where he was before, he relocated to his permanent site.
“I was supervising a POP work. The corpses they found there were the ones they transferred from the place they were kept before to this place.
“The owner of the place is a mortician. He was told by his landlord to pack out.
“So he decided to relocate the corpses to his permanent site which is his own personal building,” he said.
Nwabuzor expressed concern about the activities of Otu, and insisted that such a building could not have been a mortuary but a shrine as there were blood stains of different animals, coupled with the fact that the building no visible signs to indicate it as mortuary.
It will be recalled that 20 preserved corpses made up of 15 males, three females and two children were discovered by community members who alerted security operatives.
Three suspects identified as Chimaobi Okoewu, Oko Samuel both from Afikpo in Ebonyi State and Gideon Sunday of Akwa-Ibom State were arrested by police during a raid, last Wednesday.
Police said the owner of the building one Chukwu Otu is on the run.
The building is located few metres from a popular morgue along Asoro slope, Ekehuan road, Uzebu quarters, Benin City.