“How could a boy we took as our own blood do this to our daughter (Faith)?
He may have run away but he will definitely not escape the long arm of the law. May the blood of our daughter continue to pursue him until he is tracked down and brought to justice.” These were the words of one of the bereaved family members in Biogbolo when Sunday Vanguard visited the community on Thursday.
The tensed atmosphere in the usually serene community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State could be felt days after the Friday night knife attack on 18-year-old Faith Pius by one Torchikwu, a 26-year-old plumber, from the eastern part of the country which led to her death last Sunday. The death sparked an orgy of violence in the area on Monday and Tuesday, leaving many traders, especially furniture makers, inconsolable.
While the family and friends of the deceased were mourning, traders, mainly of Igbo extraction, had their wares, estimated at several millions of naira razed in the moment of madness that gripped the area.
Although normalcy has returned to Biogbolo, now under heavy security watch, the charred remains of settees, which once donned the furniture market along Melford Okilo Expressway, as well as shattered window panes of buildings and shops, best captured the fury of the community youths over the vicious knife cut inflicted on the deceased.
Ironically, while the alleged killer is on the run, the traders, doing their legitimate business in the area, were made to suffer for a crime they knew nothing about because the suspect is their kinsman. Trouble started on Sunday when news filtered into the community that Faith had been killed for ritual purpose by the fleeing suspect. Friends of the deceased protested, brandishing green leaves and condemning what they described as grave violence unleashed on Faith.
The youths also took to the streets on Monday and Tuesday to register their anger over the death of the teenager.
The rampaging youths attacked shops and vandalised vehicles allegedly owned by the kinsmen of the suspect in the area. It, however, took the intervention of riot policemen deployed to Biogbolo to disperse the aggrieved youths. The deceased, an indigene of the community, was allegedly stabbed in the stomach by Torchikwu, described as her lover, while they were together in a room at a guest house in Yenagoa. It was alleged that the suspect wanted to use parts of the victim’s body for ritual purposes.
The manager of the guest house where the deceased was attacked and one other person have been arrested and helping the police in their investigation. When Sunday Vanguard visited Biogbolo, though residents were seen going about their normal businesses, three police patrol vans were stationed along the road, to prevent further breakdown of law and order in the community where the youths are baying for the blood of the suspect.
Elder brother of the deceased, Mr. Stephen Pius, narrated how his sister met her unfortunate death. In an emotional laden voice, the bereaved brother said: “The boy who inflicted this mortal blow on our family is somebody I took as my own brother. He stayed in my house for one and a half years as tenant before moving to Agudama.” Stephen told Sunday Vanguard that, on the fateful Friday night, he was having a discussion with Faith when she told him she was going to see a friend at Customs Road and left the house.
He noted with sadness that the suspect cut his sister in the stomach and heart region. The bereaved brother, while recalling what his sister told him transpired at the guest house, said, “When she got there (guest house), the manager excused her that somebody wanted to speak with her and led her to the person who turned out to be Torchikwu. After they discussed, they went into the room. “The boy Torchi (Torchikwu) told her he wanted to use her breast and heart for money ritual. My sister resisted him and a struggle ensued. The boy brought out a knife and stabbed her in the stomach. He wanted to cut her breast. She shouted and this attracted the attention of those upstairs in the guest house who ran down. But the boy escaped before they got to the room as there was no light. “They rushed her to a clinic at Amarata where she was treated and the wounds stitched. She told me all that transpired at the guest house. Sadly, her condition deteriorated on Saturday evening and she died Sunday morning.
” Continuing, he said, “I was wearing pants when I received a call that she had died. I ran out of the house virtually naked before my wife called me back, saying I should dress well. I went to the clinic accompanied by my friend. My plan was to go buy a coffin and bury my sister but we were told there was nothing we could do until the police conclude their investigations. As I speak with you, her remains are in the morgue.” Describing the deceased as an easy going person, always ready to run errands without complaining, Stephen lamented the circumstances surrounding Faith’s death and called on the police to fish out her killer.
Meanwhile, some of the traders, who suffered heavy losses during the mayhem that enveloped the area following the teenager’s death, pleaded with Bayelsa State government to come to their aid. One of the traders, Ifeanyi said, “All I have laboured for in the last two years were destroyed. We were sitting across the road when we saw scores of youths armed with dangerous weapons storming the area and descending on our shops. I lost eight settees on display for sale. My brother was also attacked with machete.”5
Separately, the state government has called on the aggrieved youths to be calm and avoid any further act that could disrupt peace in the state just as security agents have intensified their hunt for the suspected killer. The government, in a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon Jonathan Obuebite, warned residents against taking the law into their hands in a fit of rage and assuring that security agencies were working tirelessly to bring the killer to book. The commissioner used the opportunity to dismiss the rumour making the rounds that the body of the deceased was mutilated, saying “it is untrue as the police commissioner has confirmed that the remains of the teenage girl were found intact.”