The traditional ruler of the Isoko Community, Abijo in Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos State, Chief Johnson Avah, and two other suspects are in the custody of the Homicide Department of the Lagos State Police Command in Panti, Yaba for allegedly torturing one Samuel Benapumo, a boat operator, to death.
Homicide detectives said the deceased took a loan of N100,000 from Avah but was unable to repay the loan as and when due, a development that led Avah to send his thugs to torture the deceased.
Benapumo’s corpse was found hanging from a ceiling fan in Avah’s house where he allegedly held and detained Benapumo for days.
It was gathered that Avah had earlier reported the indebtedness at the Elemoro Police Station where the officers intervened.
A police source said: “The Baale reported the debt at the Elemoro Police Station and policemen immediately arrested Benapumo.
“After few days in detention, we called both parties to reach an agreement to pay instalmentally because none was willing to go to court.
“Both of them made a verbal agreement and the deceased said he would pay back in instalment.
“We released him and that was the last time we saw him.”
The residents had told the police that Avah is strict with loans.
A resident said: “He gives people loan at high interest rates.
“He had loaned the deceased N100,000 and he (Benapumo) was supposed to pay back N120,000.
“However, after the time had lapsed, the deceased could not pay back, so Avah continued to put pressure on him.
“Avah sent his thugs to arrest Benapumo and detained him in a room in his palace.
“On April 16, 2013, after five days in detention, Benapumo was discovered hanging from a ceiling fan in the room.
Avah ran and reported the death at the Elemoro Police Division and said Benapumo committed suicide because of the debt but he did not leave any suicide note.”
The homicide detectives said they were shocked at Avah’s inhumanity to his fellow human being.
One of them said: “After the policemen at the Elemoro Police Station intervened and asked the deceased to pay instalmentally, the chief (Avah) still sent his thugs to abduct him and they detained the deceased in a room where they tortured him.
“The deceased used his phone to call friends to help him raise money.
“He was able to raise N50,000, which was paid into the bank account of the chief’s daughter.
“He had complained to friends that he was being maltreated and that he could die in detention if he did not pay back.
“Who gave the chief the right to detain someone illegally?
“We are waiting for the autopsy result.”
Avah however denied killing the victim.