Barely weeks after he returned safely from surgery, three-year-old Chiagozie Okereke, was yesterday murdered by a Muslim cleric, one Kazeem Alimson, popularly known as Alfa, for ritual purposes.
The heartbreaking incident, which occurred at White Sand area of Isheri-Oshun, Lagos, also saw the police arrest a teenager, 15-year-old Simon Kanu, who confessed he was been paid N500 by the Alfa, to bring the child. Explaining how her son got missing and later died, his distraught mother, Mrs. Chinasa Okereke, said, the bizarre incident has stolen her joy.
She said: “At about 7pm yesterday (Tuesday), I brought my children out to bathe. When I finished bathing the younger one, I went inside to get a wrapper to strap him, to enable me bathe the other child.
“But on getting outside, I didn’t see my baby again. The sister said he went into my neighbour’s house but I didn’t see him there and when I asked, they said he went out with Simon.
“I called my son’s name but there was no response. Later, we saw Simon that night, I asked him about the whereabouts of my son and he said he did not see him.
“It was yesterday that I learnt that Simon took my son to where he was strangled with his shirt and stoned to death. He was my third child. I feel so hurt. My heart is broken. I need justice.”
The case was reported to the police yesterday morning, consequent upon which Simon, his guardian and other occupants of the building were arrested.
During interrogation, Simon owned up that he was given N500 to lure the missing child to where the Alfa was waiting for him.
He disclosed that he took him and the child to an uncompleted building where he was murdered under his watch.
In an interview with THISDAY, the primary six pupil said: “I went to site with them and I saw how Alfa killed Chigozie. He tied him up and was making incantation before hitting him with a stone three times.
“He said he will kill me if I tell anybody. He also showed me his knife tied with red cloth and he said he will kill me with it if I told anybody.”
However, on his part, the Muslim cleric denied the allegation, claiming that he was not a ritualist but a cultist.
He said: “I was in my house sleeping when I heard people shouting. When I came out, I saw some policemen and when I asked, I was told that they saw a dead child.
“I went back inside, and 30 minutes later, the police came back and arrested me. I don’t know the boy (Simon) and I have never spoken to him, so I don’t understand why he will accuse me of such.”
At this point, the teenager interjected and said, “You are lying. When you asked me this question, he gave me sign with his eyes not to talk. I saw him when he used the stone to hit Chiagozie until he died.”
From the Isheri Oshun Police Division where the case was lodged, THISDAY was directed to the scene of the accident at White Sand.
On getting to the scene, residents had already besieged Akogun Street, the residence of the deceased and the teenage suspect.
At the scene were the Divisional Police Officer of Isheri Oshun, Emeodi Camillus and his men, who were on ground to douse the agitation of the crowd.
But for the intervention of the police, the angry residents would have executed jungle justice on the Alfa.
In an interview afterwards, the DPO said, “Simon lured the little boy from the house and handed him over to the ritualist. He escorted the boy till they entered into the man’s car.
“He later came back home that night and all attempts to get him to talk proved abortive, as he claimed he left him where they were playing.
“When the police became involved, I directed that all the persons involved be arrested, including the boy. It was after he was picked up he then confessed.
“He led us to the Alfa and we arrested him. We took him to search his house and the environs. We found the boy dead in the uncompleted building.”
“He said they tied his hand and leg with red clothes and while muttering incantations, stoned the deceased three times before he left.
“We are digging some areas in the Alfa’s house to see if we can unearth any more bodies because Simon had told us of the stories of how the Alfa shows him dead bodies and cut parts.
“Also, when we searched his house, we saw some exhibits that has to do with rituals like red clothes and others. Investigation will reveal all.”