It is a pathetic story that one wishes it were from the Nigerian movie. It has evoked passion, anger, anxiety and suspense. It is a story of a 26-year-old female graduate of the University of Uyo, Iniubong Umoren who responded to a job vacancy she found online and followed it up only for her to be kidnapped, raped and killed. Her body was later exhumed in a shallow grave in the suspected killer’s family compound, according to a statement by the state police command.
It all began about a few days ago, when Iniobong went in search of a job in the outskirts of Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital. Thanks to the internet, she was able to share details of her contacts and messages between her and the prospective job provider until she could no longer be reached through her phone that was when a foul play was suspected.
Throughout the period that she was suspected to have gone missing, when her contact could not be established as it were, many had dismissed any likelihood of anything untoward happening to her.
Her sister reportedly raised the alarm when she could not hear from Iniubong and her disappearance started trending on twitter with the hashtag, #justice for Iniumoren. All this helped to put the police on their toes who began the manhunt for the suspect who had advertised for the job vacancy in which Iniubong responded.
As worshippers were attending church services last Sunday morning, the news broke that Iniubong had died, she was allegedly killed being raped and was later buried in a shallow grave.
It was the Akwa Ibom State police command which had been under pressure from the public to unravel the whereabouts of the missing lady which confirmed in a statement that Iniubong had been killed and buried adding that her body had been exhumed and taken to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital for postmortem examination.
Though the press release signed by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, SP left many questions unanswered, it confirmed that one Uduak Frank Akpan, “a 20- year-old serial rapist who has owned up to raping of other victims had been arrested’’ adding that he would be charged to court at the end of investigations.
Frankly, the disappearance, kidnap and killing of the young job seeker has got many people incensed and the response has been swift.
First, it was the state government that promised that “everyone who had a hand in the death of late Iniubong Umoren who was allegedly abducted, raped and killed by one Uduak Frank Akpan will receive adequate punishment according to law.
Secretary to the state Government, Emmanuel Ekuwem, who paid a condolence visit to the family in Oruk Anam local government area of the state expressed “deep pain over the gruesome manner which the innocent girl who went out in search for a responsible means of livelihood, only to meet her untimely death.’’
Ekuwem who represented Governor Udom Emmanuel promised the support of the State Government to the remaining members of the family, the lady was said to be an orphan.
Similarly, Unyime Idem, who represents Iniubong’s local government in the house of representatives did not waste time to visit the bereaved family and described the late job seeker as ‘’young, aspiring and promising Nigerian with enormous potentials, regretting that her life and dreams were cut short by a bloodthirsty monster who lured and murdered her in cold blood.’’
According to him the “young lady dared to be different, chose to work with her own hands to earn a living rather than relying on others or cut corners adding that the only crime of the deceased was to live a decent and an exemplary life, serve as a role model to other young ladies, desired to get a paid job and fend for herself.’
Idem who is the Deputy Chairman Communications Committee in the House of Representatives condemned in strong terms the barbaric act and sympathised with the family and friends of the deceased.
He appealed to the Nigerian Police Force and other relevant security agencies to carry out a discreet investigation in a bid to unravel the circumstances that led to the murder of his constituent and to ensure speedy justice of the matter.
The youths of the local government area were not left out in showing their anger over the death of one of their own as they also demanded justice for their slain daughter.
In addition to the key suspect as mentioned by the police, the youths are also asking for the chairman of the local government area where the suspect comes from to be brought to book.
The said Chairman of Uruan local government who is a family member should be invited by the Nigerian Police Force for questioning to absolve himself from the allegation, the youths said in a statement.
The chairman of the local government has denied any knowledge of the incident even though the police have allegedly claimed that the suspect had confessed and “had told his local government chairman of his atrocity before escaping to Calabar, Cross River State.”
The police have also claimed that the suspect was never handed over to the police by anyone, not even by the chairman.
“We also, hereby demand for the urgent attention of the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Aniekan Bassey, to summon the members of the state assembly for an emergency sitting, at any venue of their convenience, despite the strike by the staff of the houses of assembly and invite the Executive Chairman of Uruan local government and also be made to answer questions on the killing of Iniubong Umoren.’’
Denying any involvement, the chairman of Uruan local government, Iniobong Ekpenyong said it was not true that the suspect made a confession to him of his committing the crime before escaping to Calabar.
According to him, when contacted the suspect who was still denying his role on the trending kidnap/abduction news was persuaded to turn himself in to clear his name, if his names were clear as claimed by him.
“The suspect had no personal physical contact with me prior to his arrest by the Divisional Police Officer of the local government area.”
Giving a background on how the suspect was arrested, the local government said when he got to know about the incident, “he immediately swung into action for the purpose of facilitating the arrest of the suspect and graciously the effort paid off as the suspect who had earlier hinted that he was at a location in Oron local government area was successfully arrested by the DPO of Uruan following trails facilitated by me and other machinery put in place by the police.’’
Other groups including members of the human rights community have not been left out in expressing their anger over the alleged killing of the job seeker.
While addressing a group of activists who took to the streets of Uyo over the incident, the wife of the governor, Martha Udom Emmanuel described the perpetrator of the act as a monster saying he and his accomplices would face justice
“We are saying enough is enough, Iniubong has paid the final price, I want to tell you that the monster and all her accomplices will not go unpunished, he has committed rape, murder and as such will be charged accordingly,” she said.