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Why I killed my colleague – Open University Staff

Valentine Chinyem

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A 31-year-old man, Iko Danasabe, has been arrested for allegedly killing his colleague, Francis Atache, over a debt of N70,000 in the Markudi area of Benue State.

The suspect, a staff of National Open University Nigeria, Markudi Study Center, disclosed this in his confessional statement to the police.

Danasabe claimed that he gave Atache N70,000 to give to a thrift collector, but he spent the money and then boasted that he wouldn’t pay it back.

Infuriated, Danasabe, a cultist, contracted the services of his members, ambushed Atache and bludgeoned him to death.

He and his cult members abandoned Atache’s corpse in the bush.

It was later discovered by a passersby who alerted the police.

Recalling how Atache was killed, Danasabe explained that he and his members monitored the deceased’s movement and then confronted Atache when he went to buy Indian hemp, which he used to sell on retail.

Danasabe stated that the money with Atache on that fateful day was more than N70,000 and they had asked him to give them N70,000 out of the bunch with him, but he refused, and instead charged at him.

The suspect narrated: “I confronted him with the issue.

“My boys asked him to surrender the money he had with him.

“He had more than N70,000 at that point, which he wanted to use to buy weed, which he sells on retail to boys in town.

“He refused.

“Meanwhile, while we were heading out, I had grabbed an axe and my other members came with their guns.

“When Francis refused to surrender the money, we started fighting.

“He stood up and came after me, my boys hit him with a stick from the back and he fell down.

“He started bleeding and suddenly stopped moving.

“Everyone was terrified and ran away from him.

“I ran home and took some of my clothes and left home.

“I later got information that the police had found the body.

“We did not hide it.

“I was found and arrested.

“I didn’t expect him to die like that.

“After some days in police detention, I was remanded in prison.

“But I refused to admit to being part of those that killed him.”

After Danasabe was arrested, he was charged to a Magistrate Court and remanded in Markudi Prison.

The deceased’s relatives, worried Danasabe might escape justice, petitioned the Inspector-General-Police, Mohammed Adamu, who ordered another investigation into the matter.

The IGP, determined to get to the root of the case, assigned the investigation to Operatives of Intelligence Response Team, headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.

The operatives were said to have gathered more evidence, brought out Danasabe from prison and confronted him with the facts.

Faced with the facts, the suspect confessed to the crime.

According to IRT Operatives, Danasabe and Atache were both cultists.

The suspect claimed that when the deceased was threatened over the money and asked when he would refund it, he allegedly boasted that he wouldn’t pay back, shouting that he was not scared of a cult war.

The suspect, who has a BSC in Public Administration, said he started working as a senior clerical officer at his present place of work.

He further said: “Francis Atache was a junior clerical officer, and worked under me.

“If I generate data for students to go and pay their school fees at the bank, I usually give him the money to go and help me pay it.

“On that fateful day in question, I was preparing to go to Nassarawa State, so I gave Francis money to help me pay for my monthly contribution, which was being organised by one Alhaji.

“Normally, after some months or years, we would collect the money, which would have gained interest.

“I told him that after paying the money, he would be given a piece of paper, which would serve as a receipt of payment.”

Danasabe said that when he returned from Nasarawa State, he asked for the receipt of payment, but Atache promised to bring it to the office the following day.

When Atache saw Danasabe the following day at the office, he gave another excuse for not also producing the receipt.

Danasabe said: “I reported him to his elder sister, who also works in the same place with us.

“But when I didn’t hear anything from her for two days after reporting the matter, I called her again.

“She then asked me why I gave money to Francis, whom she said was not trustworthy.

“Francis started threatening me with a gun; I even reported the matter to our director.

“I told Francis that if he wanted to do a confraternity war, we should do it outside the office, after work.

“Later, I reported the case to the vigilante group in our area and they intervened.

“Francis apologised and promised to refund the money in two days.

“A week elapsed, but he didn’t pay the money.

“I called the vigilante people and reported to them again.

“Francis came to meet me the next day, saying that I should bring a proof that I gave him N70,000.

“He made it clear to me that he wouldn’t pay me.

“I was bitter because I knew at that point, he was not going to give me the money.

“I contacted my cult members and asked them to monitor his movement.

“There is a place where we normally go to smoke and relax in a bush.

“On August 5, I got information that he was going there to buy weed and smoke.

“I chose that point because if anything should happen, people would assume it was a cult fight and wouldn’t pursue it further.

“When he went there with his friends, about 15 of us went and confronted him.”

Danasabe said that he was shocked when policemen came for him, just when he was beginning to think they had bought his lies.

His words: “I was shocked when on August 29, police came and picked me.

“I later heard that they had arrested some of the boys who witnessed the incident.

“I had no choice but to tell them the truth.

“I initially denied it because police didn’t have evidence that I was part of those that committed the crime.”

Danasabe said that he was initiated into the Aye Confraternity by one Ernest in 2009.

He added: “It’s normal for every youth to join one cult group or the other if he or she wants to be respected in the community.

“We still relate with other cult groups, which was why I trusted Francis so much to the extent of giving money to him to make payment for me.

“I only wanted to scare him as we normally do as cult members, but he died in the process.

“I’m not the one who hit him with the stick, but I pinned him down on the floor while my guys beat him up.”