The police in Rivers State have declared a manhunt for Ifeanyi Dike, 23, who escaped from the police custody on Saturday night, few hours after he was arrested for the alleged ritual killing of an eight-year-old girl in Port Harcourt.
The fleeing suspect, Mr. Dike, was arrested on Saturday by the local vigilante with a bag containing the body of the little girl, Chikamso Victory, while he was attempting to dispose of it after he allegedly cut off the vagina, fingers, breasts, and tongue.
The suspect was also said to have raped the girl before killing her.
The police spokesperson in the state, Omoni Nnamdi, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the commissioner of police has declared a manhunt for the suspect.
“The police are searching for him,” Mr. Nnamdi, a deputy superintendent of police, told this newspaper, Tuesday, on the telephone.
“We have reached out to his family and the community, and they are helping in the investigation to ensure that he is arrested to face justice.
“The IPO (the Investigating Police Officer) has an option to produce the man alive or he will be dismissed and if there’s evidence of criminality involved in what he did, he will be charged to court,” the police spokesperson said.
The police are also investigating the circumstances surrounding the escape of the suspect.
The Punch newspaper identified the father of the murdered little girl as Ernest Nmezuwuba.
The paper reports that Mr. Nmezuwuba was at the police station when his daughter’s killer escaped from the police custody under the cover of darkness.
The premises of the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, was said to be in darkness the night Mr. Dike escaped, due to the usual electricity blackout in Nigeria.
“We were there with the suspect in handcuffs. When we got to the state CID, there was no light in the entire State CID. I wrote my statement with candle; imagine a whole state CID (without light). Then Johnbosco removed the handcuffs from the suspect’s hands for him (suspect) to write his statement,” The Punch newspaper quoted the father of the murdered girl, Mr. Nmezuwuba, as having said.
The police spokesperson, Mr. Nnamdi, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that Johnbosco was the IPO in the case.
Mr. Nmezuwuba, according to The Punch, said, “At a point, the boy (Dike) said he was thirsty and Johnbosco said I should buy pure water for him and I asked him (‘John; are you crazy? Is something wrong with you? Why would you ask me to buy water for a person that killed my daughter? Why would I buy water for a ritualist?’ And I told Johnbosco that it was none of my business.
“Some policemen were at the gate with guns while we were at the charge room writing statement. After we finished writing our statements, Johnbosco called the IPO to go and put the suspect in the cell. The suspect was not handcuffed at that time.
“They did not walk up to a pole when I heard hold am, hold am; he has escaped. Whether he jumped the fence or not, I cannot say because the entire place was dark; it was between 7.30 and 8 p.m. (Saturdaynight). I now told Johnbosco that you know what you are doing.
“They (policemen) came out with torchlight and checked under the cars parked there. Then, I saw the DCP, I mean the Deputy Commissioner of Police and he said; what nonsense is this? He then asked after Johnbosco and he was told he (Johnbosco) was inside. The DCP then said that they should handcuff both his hands and legs,”