The Edo State Police Command on Friday said it has uncovered the lifeless body of a lecturer of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Professor Paul Erie, who was abducted by kidnappers, three months ago.
It also said it had arrested five persons suspected to be members of a criminal gang, one of whom “confessed to the kidnapping and murder” of of the lecturer.
Those arrested, according to a statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Stephen Onwochei, and made available to The PUNCH, were “Awulu Samson aka SASEKI, Lucky Owuadegbe, Jeremiah Amayo, Chucks Edobor and Stephen Usiagwu.”
The late Professor of Agricultural Economics was kidnapped by suspected hoodlums on June 16 at about 7:45pm along Agbor-Uromi road, by Igbanke village in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of the state, and taken to an unknown destination.
His prolonged absence had sparked protests from the AAU chapter of Academic Staff Union and his family members who had earlier said his abductors had demanded huge sums of money as a ransom to release the victim.
It was learnt from unconfirmed sources that the gang had killed the associate professor, buried his remains in a bush, and later collected an undisclosed amount as ransom.
But the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Stephen Onwochei, explained that late Erie’s corpse was uncovered, after one of the suspects led a special intervention team, initiated by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, to the shallow grave where the remains of the professor was exhumed.
Onwochei said, “He (one of the suspects) volunteered and led police pathologist, forensic experts, detectives, family members and the press to a bush at Igbanke village on October 1, 2015, at about 11pm, where a shallow grave was identified and successful exhumation of the suspected remains of Prof. Paul A. Erie was carried out.
“Items recovered from the grave and scene are consistent and suggestive that the remains are indeed that of Prof. Paul A. Erie as identified by family members.”
While expressing the condolence of the command to the aggrieved family, the police spokesperson, however, noted that the command had begun a manhunt for three other members of the gang who were still at large.
“It is worthy of note that three out of the eight suspected kidnappers are yet to be arrested but the command assures the family that it will leave no stone unturned until the suspects at large are arrested and brought to book,” he added.