…Family, group seek justice
Suspected members of a dreaded cult group have kidnapped and gang-raped to death a mother of two identified as Mrs. Chigbewejim Steward, in her community Abarikpo in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The suspected cult members allegedly belonging to the Iceland cult were said to have abducted the woman and wife of a pastor in the wee hours of Sunday and a few hours later reportedly gang-raped her to death.
It was gathered that her lifeless body was found at about 10am in the community with multiple injuries and blood stains in her private parts.
Speaking to newsmen, the deceased’s husband, Pastor Lawyer Steward, confirmed the incident, saying he was informed that a known cultist accused his wife of always gossiping with his name.
Steward stated, “I am the husband of Chigbejim, who was murdered yesterday by a group of boys. After raping her, they murdered her.”
Asked if he had problems with anyone prior to the incident, the cleric said he was neither a cultist nor had issues with anyone.
“I am not a cultist; I am an Assistant Pastor in charge of Evangelism in the Seventh Day Adventist Church Abarikpo. Everybody in my community knows I am not a cultist.
“She gave birth to three children, one is late. My daughter is seven, while the little one, a boy, is three years’ old.
“One boy, Sunday, a cultist, claimed he slaughtered my wife because she gossiped and spoke against him. That people told him my wife always spoke against him.
“That is the reason he murdered her. He is a cultist,” said the distraught man. He revealed that the Ahoada Divisional Police Officer visited the scene on Sunday evening.
Steward called on the law enforcement agencies and the government to apprehend the perpetrators and make them to face justice.
“I am calling on the government to help me find those boys that kidnapped my wife, raped and murdered her.
“Let the government and the police help to arrest them and make them pay for what they did to my wife,” the cleric stated.
Speaking, the Public Relations Officer of Igbu Akoh Clan Youth Congress, Ahoada East LGA, Ekeakita Chinem, also confirmed the incident, saying the community had been experiencing a series of killings in recent times.
“So, like we have been having a series of killings in Akoh. When they kill, nobody goes after the bad boys. No security person goes after the bad boys.
“Mrs Steward was kidnapped around 1am. Only for us to find out around 10am this morning that she was lifeless after being raped.
“She had bruises in her private parts, especially on her thighs. There was blood all over her body too.
“So, people are living in fear, nervous that no political leader or government agency goes after them. You report or don’t report, what will happen,” he said.
Asked if the matter was cult-related, Chinem answered in the negative, saying she was a married woman.
He recalled, ” Late last year, we witnessed 11 killings in that same community. A member of one of the cult groups went to their camp and collected the AK-47 of their master and ran away to their community at Abarikpo.
“Only for the cult leader to send his boys after him and innocent lives, about 11 persons were killed.
“And till today, there is no investigation, no action was taken by the police to fish out the perpetrators from where they are hiding. Nothing at all.”
Meanwhile, a group, the Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign, has condemned the abduction and rape of Mrs Steward, leading to her death.
The National Coordinator, Prince Wiro, called on the police to carry out proper investigation with a view to apprehending the culprits and making them face justice.
Wiro stated,” It is important that the police get to work. They must carry out a thorough investigation to ensure that the culprits are arrested so that the woman gets justice.”
Efforts to reach the spokesperson for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, proved abortive, as she did not respond to calls put across to her.
Iringe-Koko, a Superintendent of Police, had yet to reply to a text message sent to her mobile telephone as of the time of filing this report.