By Peter Duru
A four-man gang has claimed responsibility for the gruesome murder of the retired President of the Benue State Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Margaret Igbeta, over alleged ownership and inheritance of an estate.
It will be recalled that the decomposing body of Justice Igbeta was found, late August, by the Police, in a pool of blood in her home, located at No. 1, Wantor Kwange Street, Opposite College of Medicine, Benue State University, BSU, Makurdi, with no trace of her murderers.
But the Police had vowed to unravel the mystery behind the murder of the retired jurist promising to bring the masterminds to justice.
Parading the suspects yesterday at the State Police Command Headquarters, the four suspects arrested for the crime individually confessed the roles they each played in the henoius crime and why they murdered the retired Justices.
23 years old nephew of the deceased, Joseph Aondohemba who confessed to leading other suspects to murder Justice Igbeta said, “it was due to the documents of my late father’s landed property which she held on to that made us to kill her.
“She refused to give me the papers and our village people used to call her over the papers which she held on to but she would always refuse to attend the meeting to discuss the matter.
“She also bought a land from my uncle who is also part of us that killed her. After buying the land she did not give him all his money so he needed his papers and I also needed the papers to my father’s land with her but she refused to release the papers.
“When we got into the house after her driver helped us gain entrance into the house on that day, my uncle, Ukor Dzungwe stabbed her on the chest and behind, while I used a stick to hit her.
“After that we dragged her on the floor to the kitchen. This was around 9pm.”
On his part, 40 years old Dzungwe who also confessed stabbing the retired jurist severally said the deceased refused to release the documents to his land so he had no choice but to partake in her murder.
Speaking on how the suspects were nabbed, the Benue State Police Commissioner, Mr. Batholomew Onyeka, recalled that after the murder incident was reported, “Aondohemba, the nephew of the deceased was immediately arrested.
“A more detailed and advance investigation started when the case was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, and handed over to the Operation Zenda investigative team to continue.
“The suspect who eventually confessed to have planned and recruited other people to help him in killing his Aunty led a team of detectives to Adikpo, Kwande Local Government Area, LGA, where 63 years old Igbazenda Gbidye and 40 years old Dzungwenen Ukor were arrested.
“These suspects admitted that, Aondohemba Joseph had reported to them that his father died and left so much property in the hands of his aunty (the deceased) and she had refused to hand the said property over to him. They agreed to join him in eliminating her so that he could have access to his property.
“One Barnabas Akuhwa, the 32 years old brother of the deceased, who was also arrested, corroborated their statements by admitting that he was the one who allowed the gang access to the house and manned the gate for them until they finished the assassination process.”