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Remembering Otokoto, The Greatest Money Ritualist of All Time in Igboland

Remembering Otokoto, The Greatest Money Ritualist of All Time in Igboland

Utomobong6
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If you are Igbo and were born before the millennium, you will know about Chief Vincent Duru’s untold story, alias, Otokoto, who was notorious for ritual killings. His son Obidiozor Duru was then the kingpin of the infamous Black Secret Cult which was responsible for intermittent robbery and child abduction within Owerri, Imo State. In fact, after rumors of the Otokoto family’s nefarious activities, residents of Owerri subjected the Otokotos to radar and surveillance. There is no smoke without fire, it is said. When the wind blows, the fowl’s ruff is revealed, too. Otokoto was arrested on September 19, 1996. His dirty linens have been washed outside, his exotic hotels, ‘Otokoto hotels,’ have been razed. He was imprisoned and later executed 20 years after being indicted.


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Who Implicated Him?

This all occurred on the 19th of September 1996 in the capital city of Owerri, Imo State, when an innocent 11-year-old boy named Anthony Ikechukwu Okoronkwo was murdered for ritual. The young boy was a groundnut hawker who used to frequent Owerri ‘s streets to sell his wares. During that fateful day, he walked past Otokoto hotels when a man in Otokoto hotels, aged 32, named him as Innocent Ekeanyanwu, beckoned to come in. The young lad, unsuspectingly, went into the hotel excitedly to sell his wares and was treated like a guest.He was given a bottle of Coca-Cola chilled that he relished chugging down. The drink was unfortunately poisoned and soon, poor Ikechukwu fell into everlasting unconsciousness.

Ekeanyanwu then took Ikechukwu’s unconscious body into one of the hotel rooms and what follows is prohibited by both gods and humans. He beheaded the boy’s head, ripped his abdomen open, harvested his liver, and cut off the tip of his penis. He picked other organs that he wanted and packed them in a polythene bag together, burying his remains in a shallow grave near the hotel.

HOW PEOPLE GOT TO KNOW

He immediately left the hotel after burying the ill-fated lad to deliver the head to a big cat, named Chief Leonard Unaogu at Eziama near Owerri, Ikeduru. Blood was still oozing out of the bag when he alighted, stirring the suspicion identified by the Okada man as Mr. Hilary Ngzi Opara. Ekeanyanwu was unable to deposit the head, as Chief Unaogu had already left Lagos town. Remember the year was 1996 and mobile phones did not exist. He had to head back to Owerri. The bikeman immediately tipped the officers, and they arrested Ekeanyanwu in a Peugeot 505 on his way back to Owerri. When the news spread Hell was set loose.The media even fuelled it as they beamed Ekeanyanwu live carrying little Ikechukwu ‘s fresh head. Owerri’s people went berserk as they watched the gory sight. They all went out to protest at the Otokoto hotel in their numbers. The hotel buildings have been completely demolished. They were marching equally to nearby Otokoto’s palatial mansion and destroying his expensive cars and chosen properties. Likewise, the unstoppable rioters went around destroying other properties connected with Otokoto, including those of his friends.


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Ekeanyanwu Carrying the Severed Head of Poor Ikechukwu

FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS

Ekeanyanwu, later named as a gardener at the hotel in Otokoto, was remanded to jail. Surprisingly, he died of food poisoning, four days later. Luckily he ‘d been able to confess before he croaked. He implicated the Chief Unaogu as the mastermind behind Ikechukwu ‘s vicious murder. In reality, they run a killing syndicate specializing in the abduction and harvesting for rituals of human organs. Chief Unaogu had told him, he says, to get the human head. He further admitted that the Otokoto and his gang had been in the business up to the 1970s. His hotel guests weren’t spared too. In the middle of their sleep, they were drugged or assaulted in which they were dismembered and their organs plucked out. The police immediately swung into action, finding tens of shallow graves. More than 24 human bodies that had been decomposed and dismembered were exhumed. Chief Unaogu was arrested immediately but he openly denied knowledge of who Ekeanyanwu was. He was Laz Unaogu’s younger brother, a minister who was then serving under General Sani Abacha.


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Otokoto Hotels, Amakohia, Owerri

TRIALS AND JUDGEMENT

On 9 December 1996, the trial properly started with the Okada man, Ngjenzi Hilary Opara as the first witness to the prosecution. Other witnesses came up including Ambrose Onah, a police sergeant who had reported Ekeanyanwu’s confessional statement before he was mysteriously killed, Margaret Acholonu, a hotel receptionist who admitted that the day poor Ikechukwu was beheaded, Chief Vincent Duru was in fact in the hotel. Sunday Onwuchekwa another police sergeant told the court that Ekeanyanwu had lied about the crime scene. Ekeanyanwu had told them, according to Onwuchekwa, that he executed poor Ikechukwu and dumped his dead body inside Mba River near Owerri just to conceal the actual scene of the crime. At first, the police were misled by the false trail until they received details about the Otokoto hotel commotion. It was also claimed that during the investigation Chief Vincent Duru had shouted at Ekeanyanwu before being assassinated. Otokoto in Igbo yelled at him, “I mebo la m? ‘That means’ Did you include me?

The confused mother of the poor boy, Laeticia Okoronkwo, Sulaiman Idris Ibe, the police officer on the seat when the Okada man came to testify to Hilary Opara, another police photographer, and Ralph Nwaiwu, the doctor who testified in court on poor Ikechukwu. The case snailed on for three years without progress as there were series of adjournments, absence of presiding judges, and lawyers even to the transfer and removal of judges. Reports were given on the preferential treatment given to Chief Unaogu because he was the brother of the Minister. The case was postponed until 28 April 1999 the case was taken over by Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, a strong and courageous judge.

She sentenced to death the seven defendants associated with the murder. Its names were:

Chief Vincent Duru (Otokoto), Alban Ajaegbu, Samson Nnamito, Ebenezer Egwueke, Lawrence Ebu, Chief Leonard Unaogu and Rufus Anyanwu.


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The Suspects

In reality, while delivering its judgment, Justice Nwosu-Iheme referred respectively to Otokoto and Unaogu as a hardened and unrepentant killer and a highly skilled criminal. She said poor Ikechukwu ‘s blood must be a very strong and powerful one crying revenge to God in high heavens. Following her epic judgment in February 2003, all the convicts were ferried to Port Harcourt Prisons pending their execution. Their attorneys continued to appeal the pointless decision, as the death warrant was already upheld.


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Twenty years after the inglorious saga, Otokoto had finally been hanged. His execution was on Sunday 13 November 2016. Chief Unaogu on his part died in very mysterious circumstances in prisons in Port Harcourt.

LESSONS

Evil is evil and no evil would go unpunished, as it happens. Just work hard and believe the legitimate hustle and hustle in you. Forget about the Mentality of getting-rich-quick. Be cautious. Say no to social vices like ritual killings of humans, blood money, abduction, and riches shortcuts. Hard labor pays. Every cloud comes with a silver lining. Can Almighty God guard us, and deliver us from evil.

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