An employee of the Public Works Volunteers in Benin, Edo State has been accused of causing the death of a middle-aged woman, whom he raped.
The incident on Friday sparked a protest at the Ramat Park axis, along the Benin-Agbor Road, in the Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of the state, on Thursday.
The deceased, identified as Magdalene, was said to be a trader in the area and a mother of seven children.
The angry youths barricaded the expressway with bonfires, grounding traffic and commercial activities for several hours.
Many motorists were forced to make U-turns, while those who insisted on driving through the barricade had their vehicles pelted with stones.
Efforts by operatives of the Edo State Police Command and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to disperse the aggrieved youths proved abortive as the protesters insisted that the PUWOV official should be handed over to them.
While some of them claimed that she was raped to death, others alleged that she was used for money rituals.
The deceased was allegedly accosted by the suspect, identified as one Fred and also known as Biggie, at about 8:30 pm and taken to a room where he allegedly had sexual intercourse with her.
Magdalene was said to have rushed out of the room naked and called for help before she slumped.
A source said that attempts by some motorists to take her to a hospital for medical attention were allegedly rejected by Fred, who claimed to be a brother to the deceased.
The suspect was said to have later fled the scene for fear of being identified as more people gathered to see what was had gone wrong.
The source said,
“The name of the man (suspect) is Fred. The man went inside a room with the woman at about 8:30pm. About one hour later, the woman suddenly ran out naked and shouted for help, complaining that she did not understand what was happening to her.
“The neighbours came and covered her nakedness before she fainted. When some drivers wanted to take her to a hospital, the man refused, claiming that the woman was his elder sister.
“When more people who knew him started gathering, we did not know how he disappeared. We do not know the man as her friend; we know him as ‘Obaseki police’ (PUWOV worker).
“He usually comes to the market to chase the women away. As they extort money from them, they also sexually assault them. It was the sexual intercourse he had with the deceased that killed her.”
A man, who claimed to be a relative of the deceased and identified as Ehis Isimekhere, alleged that the woman might have been poisoned.
“I was at home last night (Thursday) when I got a phone call that my sister was dead. When I got to the market, I was told that a PUWOV official took her into a room and poisoned her.
“When some people came to rescue her, he refused, claiming that she was his sister. It was a Good Samaritan that took her to a hospital.
“But the hospital rejected her. When we looked at our sister, we saw that she was already swollen and foaming at the mouth. The police said that the person (suspect) had been arrested. We want Obaseki to come and tell us what to do.”
Another relative, Charity Aifuwa, stated,
“I was told that my sister was dead and that one of the PUWOV boys, called Biggie, carried my sister and used her for rituals. She is in a mortuary now.
“My sister’s body was covered with sperm when she ran out of the room. Before we took her to a hospital, she vomited. We were told that he (suspect) was arrested. Let the police show us the Biggie; we want to see him.”
But the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Chidi Nwabuzor, while confirming the incident, said that the suspect had been arrested and would be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for further information.
Nwabuzor, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, also noted that normalcy had been restored in the area.
“That is confirmed; very soon, the matter will be transferred to the State CID if it has not been transferred by now. The situation is that both the command’s operatives and men of the Oregbeni Police Station have handled the situation, while investigation is ongoing.
“The report would be made public. Judging from the fact that the suspect was working with the state government, the people of Edo State will hear the end of the matter.”