The famous Ejigbo pepper sodomy case is taking a new twist as the family of the victims are beginning to withdraw claims that one of the victims, Juliana Agonman died, saying she may not be dead.
Ejigbo pepper sodomy: Woman being tortured
This shocking revelation came after the Interpol from Nigeria, got clearance some days ago, to proceed with the examination of the buried corpse in Porto Novo so as to establish the charge of murder in the case against the suspects. After the family got wind of this development, they revealed that that Juliana was not buried in the tomb shown to the public.
Juliana was said to have died after being tortured in the most gruesome way in February 2013 for stealing pepper. The video of the torture went viral in December, spurring activists into action, trying to bring the culprits to book.
The family, represented by the palm wine tapper, Mr. Freeman Agonman, in a new testimony to police investigators, said, he wasn’t sure the victim is actually dead as she had suddenly gone missing from the place she was taken to for treatment in their hometown, at Ajase, in Porto Novo, the Benin Republic.
He explained that after she went missing and the family couldn’t find her for months, they had to invoke her spirit, which they buried, adding that it was a family rite to do so, whenever a missing person was not found within the period of eight months to one year.
This new claim came as a surprise to all parties involved, including the counsels from the Lagos State Office of Public Defenders (OPD) and the civil society organizations that had been sympathetic to their plight since the attacks.
Joe Okei-Odumakin, a civil society leader who had advocated for the family since commencement of the case, after the video circulated on the Internet said she is suspecting foul play.
“We were all very shocked, and it seemed to us like a dream. We were taken to the burial ground because we insisted we must be sure she had truly died after they told us that, and now they said she was not buried there anymore” she said.
The new twist, our source said, may cause the charges against the suspects to now exclude the offense of murder.
It was however gathered from some people in Porto Novo that they had seen Juliana few weeks ago in a hospital, having a new baby, though the family said they have not seen her but they also heard the news.
Police at the Federal SARS have reportedly invited the members of the family, who are also witnesses in the case against the suspects, to begin making new statements in view of their new disclosures.
“The question is, if Juliana is still alive, and they said they did not bury her, where then, is Juliana?” That is the view of the family’s new confession queried today, but no one had the answer.