A man, Iko Danasabe, who allegedly teamed up with his co-cultists and murdered co-worker friend, Francis Atache has confessed to the crime, saying his late friend duped him of N70,000, 00.
Crime Tracker gathered that it took several months of denials after he was arrested before he opened up when the operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) stepped in and took over the case.
The suspect, a staff of National Open University Nigeria (NOUN) Markudi study center, according to the police, claimed that he gave the sum of N70, 000 to Atache with an appeal to help pass to one Alhaji, a thrift collector, who usually collect money from him (Danasabe) for safekeeping.
The suspect told the police that the victim squandered the money and refused to make a refund to him.
Danasabe, who also confessed to the police that he was a cultist, added that he engaged the services of a few of his cult members and ambushed Atache in a nearby bush, hacked him to death and dumped his remain.
However, it was revealed that policemen, after the report that Atache was missing, found the body through passersby, who drew their attention to a foul smell, oozing out from the nearby bush close to a major road.
Following the discovery of the decomposing body, police swung into investigation and arrested Danasabe, who denied having hand in the death of Atache.
However, his denials were not enough to convince the police to let him off the hook, rather, he was charged to court for alleged murder, leading to his being remanded in Markudi prison.
Not satisfied, the victim’s relatives who were equally scared that their brother’s killers may come after them petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Adamu, to help unravel the circumstances surrounding the deceased’s death.
The IGP subsequently ordered another investigation into the matter, transferring the case to his special crime bursting operatives, the (IRT).
The team expanded evidence and investigation linking the accused to the crime, and thereafter, recalled him from the prison.
It was gathered that when he was confronted with various facts linking him to the crime, he confessed to the act.
He further confessed to the police that he sent his friends to monitor the victim till they trailed him to a spot and hacked him to death.
Further investigation revealed that both the suspect and victim were alleged cult members but belonged to different cult groups.
The suspect, during interrogation was said to have claimed that the victim threatened that he would not pay the money boasting that he was not scared about the matter turning to a rival cult war.
Confessing to the crime, the suspect, who identified himself as Iko Danasabe, from Jukum in Taraba State said:
“Francis Atache is a Junior Clerical Officer, and worked under me. If I generate data for students to go and pay their school fees at the bank, I usually give him the money to go and help me pay it.
“On that day, I was preparing to go to Nasarawa and I gave Francis money to help me pay for my monthly contribution organised by one Alhaji. Normally, after some months or years, we will collect the money back with interest. I told him that if he pays the money, they will give him a paper which will serve as a receipt and reflect my balance. When I came back, I asked for the paper, he promised to bring it to work the next day. The next day, I asked for the paper and he gave me one excuse or the other. I reported him to his elder sister who is also working in the same office. After two days that I did not hear from her, I called her again and she asked me why I gave money to Francis who is not trustworthy.
“He started threatening me with a gun; I even reported the matter to the director. I told him that if he wanted a confraternity war, let’s do it outside the office after work. Later, I reported the case to the vigilante in our area, he begged for two days of grace. The two days elapsed and got up to a week. I called the vigilante people to report him again.
“Francis came and met me the next day and told me that I should bring proof that I gave him the money. He made it clear to me that he was not going to pay me my money. I was bitter because I knew at that point he was not going to give me the money. I contacted my cult members and asked them to monitor his movement. There is a place that we normally smoke in a bush near a Bishop’s farm. We normally go there to smoke and relax.
“On August 5, 2020, my cult guys who spied on him got information that he was going there to buy weed and smoke. I chose that point because if anything should happen they will assume that it was a cult fight and will not take it seriously. When he went there with his friends, about 15 of us went there to meet him. I confronted him with the issue, my boys asked him to surrender the money he had with him. He had more than N70, 000 at that point which he wanted to use to buy weed.
“He retails weed to boys in the town. He refused. Meanwhile, while we were coming, I brought an axe and the others came with their gun.
“When he refused to bring the money, we started fighting. He stood up and came after me; my boys hit him with a stick from the back and he fell down. He started bleeding and stopped moving. Everyone was terrified and ran away from him. I ran home and took some of my clothes and left my house. I got information that the police found the body. We did not hide it. Unfortunately, I was found and arrested. I did not expect him to die like that.
“After some days in police detention, I was remanded in prison. Meanwhile, I told them that I am innocent. I was shocked when on August 29, police came and picked me. They had arrested some of the boys who witnessed the incident.
“I had no choice but to tell them the truth. I denied it initially because they don’t have proof. I did not use the axe but a stick,” Danasabe confessed.