Detectives attached to the Imo State Police Command obviously have a big task ahead of them as they set to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance and eventual death of five –year – old Master Osinachi Michael Stephen. Osinachi lived with his grand-mother at Ishiuzor, Off Road Safety Junction, Egbu in Owerri North LGA.
With a misty eye and an emotional laden voice, the deceased’s grand –mother, Mrs. Stella Aguguo, narrated how the ugly incident took place. She ended her pathetic narration with a clarion call: ”The Nigeria Police must fish out those who killed my grand-son, Osinachi”.
According to her; ‘It is very sad that my grand-son, Osinachi who was brought to me when he was just one year ended –up tragically like this. I am still in shock. My son, Stephen was serving in Maidugiri, Borno State then. He is an army officer. Because of the deadly activities of the dreaded Boko Haram in the area, I cried and shouted that Stephen and his wife should bring my grand-son to me here if they cannot get a transfer to Imo State. Luckily, they listened to me and brought her here. He was about one year. In fact, I nursed him. The only thing I did not do was breastfeeding. Otherwise, I can tell you that I handled and tended him as a mother would pamper her child. I am a Catholic by faith and so I got him baptized. I enrolled him at Noble Nursery And Primary School at Amawire here. He was in nursery three”.
Graphically giving an account of how her grand-son disappeared and later found dead, Aguguo enthused: ”It was on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 when I sent Osinachi to the next compound to buy N20 sachet water for me. You can see the distance. There is no other building demarcating us. After about 15 minutes, I therefore went to know why he was wasting so much time. I got there and met Mrs. Azunna Orisakwe who actually is the water seller. She was in the company of her kids. I asked her, what of my grand-son, Osinachi I sent to buy pure water from you. Without mincing words, she replied that Osinachi came to buy pure water but she informed him that hers had finished and he went away after which she locked her gate.
Not satisfied, I left her but stood aghast outside the gate, wondering what would have happened. At that juncture, her husband, Mr. Azunna Orisakwe, emerged. He asked me what really went amiss as I was standing motionlessly. I still presented the same report: my grand-son, Osinachi who I sent here to buy me a sachet of pure water is nowhere to be found. Looking or feigning perplexed, Orisakwe retorted something that my boy was not in his compound.
At that moment, it appeared I was in earthly grave! What really happened? After here, where else would he have gone to? Normally, he would have come back home and say, Mama, I did not get water that place, will I go to other places? Why did he not act as he used to do? So many things were going on in my head at the same time. However, I did not know what to do next. Yet, I managed to blow the alarm. I informed all who I came into contact with what had happened.
I went into the neighbourhood and also reported. Meanwhile, I came back home completely shattered and having a feeling of incompleteness. I did not sleep that Tuesday night. Certainly, it was the longest night in my life. It was pathetic. In view of how I shouted about the disappearance of my boy, the town crier of the area went round and proclaimed it to the rooftops that anybody who knew anything about the missing must come out to say it”.
Managing to hold back tears, Mama Aguguo continued: ”the following day, about 8am, Orisakwe came to my house and asked me if there was a lead. In fact, he joined the search party even heaping curses on the perpetrators of such a dastardly act. After he left, he came again about noon, still asking how are we going to go about it. He advised me to go looking for him in the village, particularly in the field. As the day ran into darkness, I felt mad. I was utterly devastated. On Thursday the seventh day of January, 2021, Orisakwe still came calling about 7am. His message was still the same: what actually went wrong? How are we going to do it? He was here again at 2pm. You could then imagine my consternation when in the night of the same Thursday, I saw Orisakwe here in the company of two police officers – a male and a female.
It was about 8pm. One of the police officers requested that I should follow them to Orisakwe’s house to confirm if the lifeless body of a boy there was my grand-son. Noticing how dangerously I was panicking, the security operatives asked me to stay back while my two sons followed them. On reaching there, they were led to an abandoned Mitsubishi car. At a cursory look, my children, perhaps, Osinachi’s body had decomposed could not immediately identify him. But after a closer inspection, it was dawned on them that it was really their cousin. Both of them shouted, cried and lamented. When I heard their voices, I collapsed. They came back and reported what happened”.
Charging the police to uncover the mystery behind the death of her grand-son, Aguguo stated that ”I am begging the Nigeria Police to do a thorough investigation and bring to book anyone involved in the cruel death of my grand-son, Osinachi. It unacceptable to me that a boy I sent to buy a sachet of water for me never returned. He is now dead and lying cold in the morgue”.
She added, ”Osinachi was very intelligent. He was an easy going boy. He was hard working and loved to play with me. As I said in the beginning, we are Catholics and on several occasions he informed me of his intention of becoming a priest. He was always worrying me to register him in the altar servers’ organization but I told him that he was not yet the age of serving mass. At mass, when I stepped out to receive the communion, he would follow me to the altar. After which he would ask me to tell the priest to give him his own share of the ice cream – he called the Holy Communion ice cream. I will miss him badly but police must not allow his killers to go unpunished”.
It was Mr. Chibueze Aguguo, a cousin to Osinachi who narrated how the police came to know about the matter. He revealed that Orisakwe reported himself to the police, claiming that he eventually found the lifeless body of Osinachi in an abandoned vehicle in his compound. The police thereafter followed him to the compound. Confirming Orisakwe’s claims, the police then led him to the Aguguos for the purposes of identification. It was when the Aguguos identified their dead cousin that the police whisked Orisakwe away. Before that, Chibueze noted that the doors and booth of the abandoned vehicle was properly locked. They had to break the windscreen in order to bring out Osinachi’s decomposed body.
Osinachi’s father, Mr. Aguguo Stephen who is an army officer said the death of his son caught him speechless. He expressed confidence that the police would do a diligent job in getting to the roots of the matter as they have gone into investigations.
Confirming the incident, the Imo State Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) said the matter was reported to the police and that detectives at the CID are already investigating it.