CULTISM: YOUTH STAGED PROTEST OVER KILLING, ARSON AND KIDNAPPING IN SAPELE …Accuses DPP of N5m bribe to shield arrested cultist from prosecution

Youths numbering over 50 yesterday defiled the heavy rainfall to stage a peaceful protest over alleged killing, arson and kidnapping by White Ladders cult group in Sapele to the Ministry of Justices, at Asaba, Delta State, where they presented a petition to the Department of Public Prosecution.Protesting Youths from Okurighwre community in Sapele, to DPP office at Asaba, Delta State.

The protesting youth, carrying placard with different inscriptions’ such as: “Stop this bribe DPP Boss,” DPP prosecute the killers of our brothers from Okirighwre community in Sapele”, “A cry to the IGP to come to our aid and rescue us from the hands of Mr. Sunday Okoro, and his cult group ‘White Ladders”.

Others reads; “We reject cultism, killing, kidnapping and criminality in Sapele”, A cry to the Nigeria Police Force to swing into action because Sunday Okoro is dragging their name into the mud”, “A call on Sapele politicians to stop shielding criminal”.

They alleged that one Mr. Sunday Okoro, alleged leader of the ‘White Ladder’ cult group have made lives unbearable to many of them whom he has chased out of Sapele since 2009 and had placed them on blacklist should they be seen in Sapele.

The spokesman of the protesting youth, Mr Gabriel Omofeye, stated that they have to embark on the protest because their lives are in great danger following the alleged plan by the DPP to release three arrested suspected cultist currently in detention in Sapele prison.

He noted that all the killings, arson and kidnapping that have being going on since 2009 in Okirighwre community in Sapele were allegedly masterminded by Sunday Okoro who have also chased them out of the community for refusing to join his cult group.

He added that, some of the people allegedly killed by Mr Okoro whom they say is shielded by some powerful politicians in the area in 2009 are; Mr. Tikawayie Miller Akpojevughe, on August 26, 2009, Oghenebrorhine Lucky Tetebe, October 17, 2009 and Tony Kajagbor in May 2009.

According to Omofeye following a petition to the Assistant Inspector General, AIG zone 5 Benin, the Commissioner of Police, Delta state Police command, and the Area Commander Ughelli, three of Mr Okoro’s boys were arrested.

He added that when the Police invited Okoro he turned down the invitation, noting that he also resisted arrest when policemen from zone 5 came looking for him, yet he goes to the Sapele police divisional headquarters’ to release his boys on bail, because he allegedly has working understanding with DPO.

According to Omofeye, “the Sapele DPO is on Sunday Okoro monthly payroll and that is why police from Sapele look other way, while Okoro and his cult have field day, we heard that some of us are in his blacklist, and by the time he frees his boys he will come after us.”

One of the youth Mr. Newworld Akpojevughe, alleged that Sunday Okoro and his group allegedly killed his elder brother late Mr. Tikawayie Miller Akpojevughe, on August 26, 2009 and took his corpse, alleging that the said Okoro has a private cemetery where he buries his victims.

A widow who lost her husband 13 years ago, Mrs Regina Ovie is begging the government to come to her aid, alleging that Okoro banished his son, Mr Gideon Ovie, a graduate of Ogwashi-Uku Polytechnic from entering Sapele for failing to join the cult group.Mrs. Regina Ovie, a widow who son was allegdlly banished from Sapele, for refusing to join withe ladder cult group

Narrating her ordeal, he said that she approached Okoro who has running contract with an Oil company in the area to help her give the son job, but Okoro insisted that the son must be initiated into cult group first and that when the boy refused, he was asked to leave the town or be kill, adding that in the last two years she has not seen her son.

Addressing the protesters, an official of the department, Barr. Champion Umukoro, who stood in for Director of Public Petition, DPP, stated that the allegation that DPP was given 5million to shield arrested suspected cultist was untrue and should be disregarded.

Barr. Umukoro thanked the youth for conducting themselves in peaceful manner; assured them that their petition and all allegations will be critically looked at and justice will be done.

According to him, “the DPP is presently in NBA conference, I will brief him when he comes, this office has a reputation and the DPP is a man of integrity, he was brought here on integrity, his appointment was on merit.

“So, he has his integrity to protect and he has never been involved in any scandal before, so we will investigate your allegations and justice will be done, because this office is not known for shielding criminals.DPP official Barr Champion Umukoro recieving a copy of the petition from the protesting youth from Okurighwer community in Sapele, at the DPP office at Asaba Delta State.

He added that, “The allegation that DPP was given 5million is untrue, so you people should dispel that rumour, there is no way the DPP will collect such money, we don’t collect money from anybody, we are public servant, and we do our job professionally.

“As we speak now, we have not seen the case file and in this department, we work on case file before rendering legal advice, so, you people should go back to the police station and work on your file.

“Ensure that you monitor your file to this department and it would be handled professionally, we don’t collect bribe, we are legal officers and we are meant to protect and promote the rule of law; so, you dispel that rumour among yourselves.”

All attempt to get police reaction to the allegations that it men in Sapele may have been compromised proved abortive, the PPRO in Delta State, Celestina Kalu said she was buys and attempt to reach her again failed, text message sent to her was not replied as of the time of filing this report.

 

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