A 20-year-old Fulani herdsman from Nasarawa state, Isa Laulo on 28th December, 2019 raped a 54 year old Mrs. Mary Okereke to death in Ufueruaku Ugwulangwu Road, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State and blamed over drinking for his action when he was caught.
Isa who blamed alcohol for his action said he saw the woman, Mrs. Okereke on the road and approached her but she started cursing him, that was when he started struggling with her until he had carnal knowledge of her.
When our reporter visited the area, the Vice President of the community, Mr. Solomon Mbe told Citizens’ Advocate that on the fateful day, the victim was coming back from market when she encountered the herdsman who forced her into the bush threatened her with cutlass and raped her to death.
Mr. Mbe said while the herdsman was forcefully having his way with the woman, a passerby also a resident of the area, Mr. Sunday Mgbeke heard her groan, out of curiosity, he peeped into the bush to know what was happening.
He tried to rescue her from the assailant, but when the herdsman saw him, he attacked Mr. Mgbeke.
The herdsman is believed to be working for a man known as Alhaji Ibrahim Paki.
Mr. Mbe said after Mr. Mgbeke divinely escaped, he came out of the bush and raised alarm at the obscene view he just saw, residents rushed to the scene, but before they got there, the rapist had fled into thin air and Mrs. Okereke had given up the ghost probably from shock.
The herdsman having seen the gravity of his crime left his mobile phone, shirt and footwear at the spot where Mrs. Okereke was lying lifeless.
Police Commissioner of Ebonyi State, CP Awoshola Awotinde briefed the media on the development on Tuesday in his office.
He said the suspect, Laulo Isa forcefully had carnal knowledge of the deceased after struggling with her in the bush at late hours of 27th December 2019, but he will be arraigned in the court after investigation.
The command CP urged residents of the state to feel free to go about their daily activities as the command has already beefed up security in the area.
The CP said, “On December 28, 2019, at about 8:pm, one Paulo Isa, a-20-year-old Fulani herdsman waylaid and accosted Mrs. Okereke on Ufuezeraku Ugwulangwu road in Ohaozara Local Government Area.”
“There was a struggle between the two of them but he overpowered the woman and had carnal knowledge of her. Unfortunately, the woman lost her life during the incident.”
“Through the concerted efforts of my DPO in Ohaozara with the assistance of the youths in the community, they began a search for the suspect who fortunately left his cap and slippers in a bid to escape from that scene.”
“So, with the assistance from two other Fulani guys, we were able to identify him through that cap and slippers and he was subsequently arrested. He is now with us and he is going to face the full weight of the law. The suspect has been charged to court.”
“The deceased’s body has been deposited in the mortuary for autopsy. I want to use the opportunity to assure the people of Ebonyi state that they don’t have anything to fear because the police are ready to provide security to all law-abiding citizens.”
The Suspect who regretted the outcome of his actions said he was drunk and couldn’t explain how it happened. He said he never engaged in such act and pleaded for forgiveness.
The suspect said, “I am Laulo Isa, I am from Nassarawa. I came for work here in Ebonyi. I was drunk and saw a woman in the night walking along the road. I approached her for sex and she started abusing me. We started abusing ourselves and I immediately pushed her and she started struggling with me to free herself. I was seriously drunk at that time.”
“As I was on her, a man who was passing flashed his torchlight on me and I ran away. I left my slippers and cap. I don’t know whether I was having sex with her but she was on the ground with me. I did not hit her with any object but it is like I had sex with her for one round.”
“I am not happy with what I did and I want to die. I want to die! I want to die!! I have never done this type of thing since God created me on this earth. I am begging for forgiveness.”
Source close to the police disclosed that the command has invited leaders of herdsmen for possible ways of bringing lasting solution to the problem.
The Chairman of Ufuezeraku Village, Chief Joseph Chimereze corroborated the information and added that the presence of the herdsmen in their community had been a source of worry to all the residents.
He claimed that they regularly encounter destruction of crops and other farm activities when the herdsmen rear their cow and enter their farm.
He further claimed that before this latest incident, that many of their girls and women had fallen victim of rape in the hands of some herdsmen.
Another resident, Mr. Oti Nwani was once chased out of his compound by some herdsmen.
According to him it cost some stakeholders great efforts before his home was reclaimed.
“These Fulani herdsmen have dealt with us in many areas, they are fond of feeding their cattle with our crops, molest our men without any cause and rape our girls and women with impunity” he lamented.
The duo, therefore appealed that all the herdsmen should vacate their land to enable the indigenes to experience peace of mind while calling on the government to handle the suspect in accordance with the law.