PH ritual killing: Police dismiss, arraign officer over suspect’s escape from custody

Johnbosco Okoroeze, the police officer under whose watch a suspected rapist and murderer escaped from the police custody in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has been dismissed and subsequently arraigned before a magistrate court in Port Harcourt.

Okoroeze, a sergeant, was in handcuffs when he was brought before the court presided over by Sokari Andrew-Jaja, on Thursday.

He was accused of obstruction of justice and conspiracy. He was noticed crying profusely in the courtroom.

The charges against him read, “That you, Johnbosco Okoroeze, on August 19, 2017, at about 8.30pm at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Port Harcourt, in the Port Harcourt Magisterial District, did assist one Ifeanyi Dike, who is to your knowledge guilty of the offence of murder of one Chikamso Nmezuwuba, aged eight years, for rituals, to escape when he was to be detained for prosecution, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 322 of the Criminal Code Cap 37, Vol. II, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.

“That you, Johnbosco Okoroeze, on the same date, time and place in the aforesaid magisterial district, did conspire with a suspect, Ifeanyi Dike, and allowed him to escape from prosecution to prevent and defeat the course of justice, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 126 (1) of the Criminal Code Cap 37, Vol. II, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.”

The chief magistrate ordered that he should be remanded in the prison custody, while the case was adjourned to September 14.

Mr. Okoroeze was the officer investigating Ifeanyi Dike for the alleged rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl, Chikamso Victory, in Port Harcourt. The suspect escaped from the police custody on Saturday night at the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, few hours after he was arrested.

The girl’s body had its vagina, fingers, breasts, and tongue cut off, apparently for ritual purposes.

Mr. Dike, said to be a 200-level student of the University of Port Harcourt, was said to be on his way to dispose of the body when he was caught and then handed over to the police.

Meanwhile, pressure has continued to mount on the police to find the suspect and bring him to justice.

“I can assure you that we are close to getting him,” the police spokesperson in the state, Omoni Nnamdi,