A revenue collector in the Umuleri area of Anambra State, Ifeanyi Ezinwa, is being held by the police for the murder of his relative, Chukwuebuka Iloegbunam.
Ezinwa reportedly strangled 19-year-old Iloegbunam for persistently demanding repayment of N100,000 he borrowed from him.
City Round learnt that Ezinwa, 29, asked the victim to meet him at a bush path near a secondary school in the town around 8.30pm on the pretence of paying the debt.
It was said that Ezinwa hid a knife in a loaf of bread and aimed the weapon upon Iloegbunam’s arrival.
In the ensuing altercation, Iloegbunam reportedly managed to collect the knife from Ezinwa and stabbed him. The debtor later overpowered him and strangled him. Ezinwa was said to have gone to the town, claiming that he and the deceased were attacked by robbers.
He was consequently arrested and transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Awka.
The case was later taken over by the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team led by DCP Abba Kyari, following a petition by the deceased’s family.
“It was at the IRT office that he finally confessed to the crime. He said he committed the act alone on January 15, 2021 around 8.30pm. He lured the deceased to a lonely path near Umuleri Technical School, stabbed and strangled him,” a police source told City Round.
Ezinwa, who collects levies at markets in the town on behalf of elders, explained that he took N100,000 from the revenue. He said he borrowed N100,000 from the victim so he could turn in the revenue on the designated date.
He said, “I am married with three children. I dropped out of secondary school at SS2, months after my father died. I learnt how to drive and started driving commercial buses. It was not easy for me. About two years ago, some of our kinsmen invited me to work for the community. I am a revenue collector for the elderly men in the community.”
“We have markets and every trader is expected to pay a certain amount of money. I spent part of the money I collected. I knew I would lose my job if they noticed a shortage. It was out of desperation that I approached Chukwuebuka (Iroegbunam) who ran a provision store in our village. He is my relative. We are from the same kindred in Umuleri. I borrowed N100,000 from him in December 2020 and promised to pay back on January 10. I could not meet up with the deadline and he kept disturbing me and threatened to report me to the Igwe (king).”
“I made up my mind to silence him. I bought a loaf of bread and hid a sharp knife in it. I called him to meet me at Aguleri junction around 8pm. He came with an okada man and I asked the rider to go.”
Ezinwa said they both took a walk under the guise that they were heading for where to get the money, adding that along the way he lied to Iroegbunam that he wanted to urinate.
He stated, “There are bushes around the school and people hardly pass through the route. I immediately brought out the knife. He saw me on time and started fighting. He took the knife and stabbed me before I grabbed his neck and strangled it. I ran to the palace and the Igwe of Umuleri was not around. I told the security men I met that I was attacked by armed robbers and they asked me to go to the hospital for treatment.”
“The next day, the chairman of security in our community came with the police and arrested me. They found Iroegbunam’s body but I insisted that we were attacked. I eventually told the police the truth. I cannot explain the devil that entered me.”
@ Punch Newspaper