At Obosi, a community in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, uncertainty currently rules the air, following the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of an 11 year old girl, Chioma, in Lagos early in the year. Chioma Menkiti, the daughter of Chief Michael Menkiti, an octogenarian, was living with somebody in Lagos where she was reported dead.
It was gathered that the deceased’s mother, Mrs. Chinwe Menkiti, is the second wife of Pa Menkiti. He had remarried after the death of his first wife.
Trouble started in January when Ifeyinwa, the eldest daughter in the family and a half-sister to the deceased, pleaded with her father to allow Chioma to live with her friend in Lagos. She had argued that the girl would get better education and good upbringing with her friend in Lagos. The old man obliged and the little girl travelled.
The deceased was reportedly taken to the Iyana Ejigbo home of Ifeyinwa’s friend, Ngozi (other names withheld by us). Chioma was to serve as a maid to Ngozi, a mother of six. But Ifeyinwa said her friend never allowed her to see how the little girl was faring.
“At a time, I called Ngozi to tell her that I would be coming to her place so that I would use the opportunity to know how my little sister was doing, because somebody that just came from the village would definitely have some problem acclimatizing to life in the city, but Ngozi told me that her family would be going somewhere with Chioma on holidays and that I should wait until they returned,” Ifeyinwa said.
She said she tried visiting her friend again, but received a similar message. This time, she was told that Ngozi’s children, including the deceased, went to stay with her brother in another part of Lagos. “Ngozi also told me that she would call me whenever her children returned. She assured me that Chioma was doing well, that she was coping well with her children. I relaxed since we don’t live in the same area in Lagos,” she said.
Ifeyinwa said she never received any call from her friend until one day when Ngozi called to break the sad news to her that Chioma was dead.
“When she called to inform me about Chioma’s death, I initially thought she was joking. On a second thought, I knew that death is not something one jokes with. I rushed to their house but she had already gone to the police to tell them that Chioma died and that the girl was dead inside her house for three days before she noticed her corpse. I saw my sister and noticed that she had already started decomposing and I couldn’t believe it. I called my father to inform him of what I was seeing. He was so devastated and everybody was very confused,” Ifeyinwa said.
It was learnt that when she was asked how Chioma died, Ngozi told the police that it was her children that discovered the corpse when they realized that the deceased’s room was stinking as a result of the decomposing body.
“When I was asking her questions concerning the death of my sister, Ngozi told me Chioma was possessed with an evil spirit. She said Chioma was behaving strangely and that she must have been killed by the evil spirit.”
When the case was reported at the village, the old father of the deceased wept and said the body of his daughter should be brought home for a proper burial, adding that he was not ready to make a case with anybody.
On the day the decomposing corpse of Chioma was brought down to her hometown from Lagos, tension heightened as the elders of Obosi community sat to look into the circumstances surrounding the death of their daughter. And they started asking questions.
According to Ngozi, the deceased started behaving like a person possessed by evil spirits which she said might have been responsible for her death. She allegedly told the elders that she neither killed the deceased nor maltreated her.
Many people were angry, however, when she said Chioma died for three days and neither she nor her husband was aware, adding that her children alerted her and her husband that Chioma’s room was stinking. She said when they opened Chioma’s room, they found her body already decomposing because she was already dead for three days.
The deceased’s family eventually decided to bury their daughter, but they told Ngozi and her husband to take charge of the burial arrangement, saying they couldn’t afford the responsibility owing to financial difficulties.
They told Ngozi and her husband to bring N200, 000 for the burial arrangement but the family pleaded to pay N150, 000 which was accepted. The corpse was brought down from Lagos to a mortuary in Obosi waiting for the final journey to the great beyond.
At the lying in state at her father’s compound, women and children that knew the deceased couldn’t control their tears while the 82-year-old father broke down in uncontrollable tears when he saw his daughter’s corpse.
However, the burial took another dimension when the pastor invited to officiate at the interment, Pastor Izuchukwu stopped the programme halfway and told the family that the girl’s death was not ordinary.
According to Pastor Izuchukwu, there were so many things that were not normal in the death of the girl, adding that she was used for some funny ritual. The family then started having a re-think. They also discovered that some vital organs, including her ears had allegedly been removed from the body. Pastor Izuchukwu left the compound and invited policemen from Obosi Police Station who came and took the corpse away and deposited her back in the mortuary to investigate the circumstances surrounding her death.
Meanwhile, the case has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Awka but the family is still crying out for justice over the death of their daughter even as they accused the police of trying to cover up the crime.
Speaking to DG, a family member said: “How can a woman who committed this type of great crime be walking free in the streets? If you go to Obosi, you will see her still bubbling and walking freely. The police should intensify investigation to look into the cause of Chioma’s death” The Campaign for Democracy (CD), South East zone and the Women Arise for Change Initiative in Anambra State have condemned the act, urging the police to arrest all those involved in the death of the little girl.
They also insisted that they would go to any length to make sure that justice was done in the case, pointing out that the cause of the little girl’s death should be unraveled. The police have also assured that investigation was ongoing, promising to unravel the true cause of Chioma’s death and punish the perpetrators, if any.
But the question is how can a girl that lives with you die and for 3 days nobody knows or does it mean that she was kept as a prisoner? The blood of an innocent girl cries for Justice.