As the family of Mr. Jerome Atushiaka, Ika and Igbo communities and other concerned members of the public are yet to recover from the shock that accompanied the kidnap and eventual murder of the Boji-Boji-based Igbo trader, some suspects have been apprehended and detained by the police. This is as the kidnap cum murder saga recently raised fresh dust, with the invitation of some notable individuals operating in Ika land by the police for questioning.
It was gathered from a reliable source that the family of the late business man, after getting some information concerning the death of their father and breadwinner took a decision to petition the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo.
In the two-page petition signed by Barr. S.O.A. Gbenoba and Mr. Chima Atushiaka, it was revealed that some powerful politicians in Ika Community were the masterminds of the Igbo business man’s kidnap and eventual murder. The family therefore, prayed the Inspector-General of Police to use his good offices to thoroughly investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators of the heinous act to justice. They reasoned that if the case is not properly investigated it would be one of those cases that will either be pending ad-infinitum in police custody, or systematically swept under the carpet.
However, the Delta State police public relations officer, Mr. Charles Muka has dispelled fears that the suspects will not be brought to justice. He assured the Atushiaka’s family that the police will critically investigate the immediate and remote causes of the murder of their father. He said that some of the suspects who are already in police net have started giving useful information regarding the killing of the business man, and that the suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.
Mr. Jerome Atushiaka, was inside his Toyota Panel Van with two of his children and a businessman in the evening of Saturday, November 24, 2009, when they had an encounter with a gang of kidnappers at Memeh/Convent Street junction. The kidnappers, numbering four, whose names were given as Augustine Nwanbunwanne, Goddy Sebastine, Tony Ejme and Augustine Chinedu, were said to have been contacted from their different bases in Onitsha, Abuja, Agbor and Lagos. Fully armed, they allegedly dragged Mr. Jerome Atushiaka out of his vehicle, pushed him into their waiting car, and sped off. For almost one month the family of the businessman who hailed from Nkologwu village, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State began to search for him. A ransom of fifty Million naira was placed for his release by the kidnappers. But the amount was later reduced to the sum of three million naira but the family was able to raise about three hundred thousand naira, all in a bid to secure the release of their father. Unfortunately, in the afternoon of Saturday, November 28, 2009 the body of late Mr. Jerome Atushiaka, was found in a shallow grave inside a bush behind Faith in God filling station and Delta Line Motor Park. From investigations carried out on the late Mr. Atushiaka, it was revealed that he was murdered the following day after his kidnap.
According to one of the suspects, Augustine Nwabunwanne they were seven in number and that they had trailed the victim for several months before he was finally abducted. He disclosed that the N300,000 paid by the family of Atushiaka had already been shared among them, before the victim died. He also disclosed that he got N69,000 while some members of the gang got N25,000 each.
Family members, friends and associates of the businessman, including members of the Igbo community in Ika land have been mourning the death of late Jerome Atushiaka, whom many of them described as a very simple, quiet and humorous fellow. Recently a day was set aside by shop owners close to the late businessman’s provision store to pay their last respect to their slain colleague.
Late Mr. Jerome Atushiaka’s body has been deposited at the Central Hospital mortuary, Agbor, while investigations are still being carried out by the police concerning his killing.