The Okoh family of Ubulu-Uku community in Aniocha Local Government Area of Delta State is currently in sorrow over the way one of them, Lawrence Okoh (51), was murdered by his business partner, one Agbaire Kingsley, who lured him to Warri under the pretext that he should supply vehicle spare parts.
Crime Reports learnt that Okoh, a vehicle spare parts trader, was allegedly murdered by Kingsley at about 1:00a.m on August 4, two days after his arrival in Warri. Okoh reportedly left his base in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for Warri on August 2, after Kingsley called and asked him to supply some motor spare parts such as injector nozzles and caterpillar rings. He reportedly gathered the spare parts from fellow traders because he didn’t have so many. A friend of his in Port Harcourt where he lived and had his business before his death, Callus, was said to have helped him to get the spare parts.
On getting to Warri, Lawrence was said to have called Kingsley that he had arrived, asking for direction to the place he was, but Kingsley told him to wait, saying he would come and pick him. He eventually did at about 8.00 p.m, from where he took the deceased to his family house at Ovwian area of Warri where he slept and eventually met his death.
A member of the Okoh family who brought the deceased up, Mr James Okoh, told Crime Reports that the family believed that Kingsley killed Lawrence and removed his body parts for ritual.
Narrating how his brother was murdered to Crime Reports, the elder Okoh, who is an Ibadan, Oyo State-based businessman, said: “In the morning on Wednesday, August 3, Lawrence was surprised when he woke up and discovered that four of the items he brought were missing. He also noticed that Kingsley and his friend were no longer in the house. He put a call through to Callus and told him what he discovered.
“On hearing this, Callus reminded him of his warning that people from that particular area were very dangerous. He asked him to return with the remaining goods. But Kingsley and his friend returned and asked him to be patient, saying that they were going out to look for money.
“Lawrence waited for them until they returned at night. That Wednesday night at about 8pm was the last time he spoke with his wife. His wife said he had stayed too long in Warri, asking Kingsley to send the number of the man he went to, which he did. He also sent the number to Callus through text message. He later sent a message to his wife that Lawrence and his friend had collected his ATM card, shoes and clothes. That was the last time his wife and friend heard from him as he became unreachable after that.
“At about 12.30 p.m. on Thursday, August 4, I was called and informed that they had not been able to communicate with Lawrence. Callus and Lawrence’s wife, Nneka, said when they called the number he gave them, the voice at the other end kept saying ‘wrong number’. Callus also continued calling but Kingsley kept terminating his calls.
“This raised Callus’s suspicion and he called me that he suspected something had gone wrong.
“After raising some cash, my younger brother and I left Ibadan, Oyo State for Warri on Monday, August 8. We went to Warri Area Commander and narrated what happened. He gave us a team which started work immediately. The detectives were able to locate Lawrence’s residence and they arrested him.
“During police investigation, Kingsley confessed that he broke his SIM card when he was being pestered with frequent calls from Lawrence’s family. When they asked him of my brother’s whereabouts, he said Lawrence left his house in annoyance when he told him that the goods he brought were not genuine parts.
“That was how we started trying to unravel what happened to Lawrence. Callus came from Port Harcourt and we went to the spare parts market in Warri. Fortunately, Callus has a brother within the market who said some of the goods described by Callus were brought to him, though he did not buy.
“The brother was the one who went round the market to ask those who purchased the spare parts to get the person who sold to them because the owner was missing. The buyers went to the police station and when Kingsley was brought out, he only stared, as he could not utter a word.
“The people identified him as the one who sold the spare parts to them. When asked whether the people’s claim was true, Kingsley admitted, folding his arms on his head forlornly. The police asked for Lawrence’s whereabouts again but all he could say was ‘please, have mercy on me.’ This happened on Friday, August 19, 15 days after Lawrence had been killed.
“We were taken to the Area Commander and he asked him again: ‘where is Lawrence?’ Kingsley replied that he should be given two days to produce him. Lawrence’s wife knelt and begged him to disclose her husband’s whereabouts and he promised a week again.
“That was when we told him he was lying. The Area Commander asked all of us to leave his office except police detectives; that was when Kingsley confessed that my brother was dead. When asked how he died, he confessed that he and one other man, Kennedy (surname withheld) killed him.
“He said they killed him by smashing a bottle on his head. He spoke further that his victim could not cry for help because he was weak by then. He did not disclose what he did to render him weak. He said after the killing, they buried Lawrence at the backyard of the building beside his house, and that his partner in crime fled to Ghana afterwards.
“That was how Kingsley killed my younger brother for nothing. We are suspecting that they removed his body parts which were taken to Ghana by his partner in crime.”
Crime Reports learnt that the goods the deceased took to Warri were worth N1.6 million. Okoh was said to have known Kingsley about eight years before his brutal killing and had supplied him spare parts while the latter was in Lagos State and the former resided in Ibadan.
It was gathered that the exhumation of Lawrence’s remains was carried out last Wednesday and the deceased’s body was discovered to have decomposed. The remains which were mainly bones with bits of rotten flesh were covered with faeces as the suspects were reported to have buried him in a shallow grave on a dump site face down.
At the burial site, Kingsley was reported to have begged the police to loosen his handcuff so that he could help in the exhumation. He was quoted to have said that he wanted to use the opportunity to seek forgiveness from his victim. He reportedly said that he could see the spirit of the deceased in the midst of the people. At a point, Kingsley cried: “Lawrence, forgive me o.”
When asked what Lawrence did to be killed, Kingsley replied that he did nothing, saying that it was the devil that pushed him to do evil. He said his initial denial was as a result of fear.
The deceased, who had been married for years without children until his wife delivered twins, a boy and a girl, in 2015, was said to have graduated from the University of Ibadan and had Master’s degree.
The deceased’s brother also told Crime Reports that Lawrence had resided in Ibadan and had a spare parts shop at Agodi Gate area, but also had another in Port Harcourt.
“He settled in Port Harcourt finally when his wife delivered in 2015, but his shop was being run by someone in Ibadan till his death,” he added.
He told Crime Reports that the deceased’s remains were immediately gathered in a cellophane bag and put in a casket, after which they were taken to the deceased’s family quarters at Ubulu-Uku in Aniocha West Local Government Area of Delta State for burial immediately after exhumation.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Delta State Police Command, SP Celestina Kalu, confirmed Kingsley’s arrest, saying that efforts were on to arrest the second suspect at large. She added that the suspect had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department in Asaba for further investigations.