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FENRAD Demands Justice in Disappearance of Two Ladies in Aba and Killing of Suspect

Aba, Nigeria — June 18, 2024

The Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), a prominent human and environmental rights advocacy group based in Abia State, has issued a powerful call for justice regarding the alleged disappearance of two ladies, Ms. Celine Ndudim and Ms. Afiba Tandoh, a Ghanaian national. The incident, which occurred in April 2024, has drawn significant international attention and criticism, placing both diplomatic and moral pressure on Nigeria and its police force.

A Mysterious Disappearance

Ms. Celine Ndudim and her friend, Ms. Afiba Tandoh, visited Aba, a commercial hub in Abia State, to see their host, Mr. Andrew Ochekwo, also known as Andrew Ochekpo. The two women were last seen at a popular hotel in Aba, where they were lodged by Andrew. The case took a darker turn when Celine’s sister, Tessy Ndudim, reported that Celine had reached out to her, claiming that their host had kidnapped them.

The lack of timely police intervention has been a significant point of contention. Tessy Ndudim and Afiba’s husband both reported that the police showed little interest initially. Tessy Ndudim also alleged that the police demanded over ₦100,000 to track the women’s whereabouts using a Google app, which yielded no results.

A Delayed Response and a Grim Discovery

The police’s delay in acting on the disappearance report has been widely criticized. Instead of promptly investigating Andrew’s home, where the women’s last known location was traced, the police allegedly stalled. Eventually, an order from Umuahia (Zone 9) led to Andrew’s arrest. However, this delay allowed Andrew, described as a reclusive figure living in secret opulence, to continue his activities unchecked.

A search of Andrew’s residence in Ogbor Hill, Aba, uncovered decapitated, decomposing remains of a woman, though it was not confirmed if these were the remains of Celine or Afiba. This discovery suggested possible involvement in human trafficking or organ harvesting.

The pictures of the two Girls

Unprofessional Conduct by the Police

FENRAD has condemned the Nigeria Police Force for its unprofessional conduct throughout the investigation. Despite knowing Andrew’s whereabouts, the police did not initially arrest or invite him for questioning. Moreover, while transporting Andrew from Abia State to Abuja, there were allegations that he was treated leniently, including being allowed to stay in hotels and carouse in the company of police officers. This conduct has raised serious questions about the integrity of the investigation.

A Suspicious Death

The situation took an even more shocking turn when the police announced that Andrew had been killed while attempting to escape custody at the Benue-Kogi axis. This claim has been met with skepticism, especially since unauthorized cash withdrawals amounting to millions of naira were allegedly made from Andrew’s bank account while he was in custody. FENRAD and other observers have questioned whether Andrew’s death was an attempt to cover up the truth.

FENRAD’s Call for Comprehensive Investigation

FENRAD has urged the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun, to conduct a thorough investigation into the entire incident. This includes uncovering all individuals involved in the disappearance of Celine and Afiba and determining the circumstances of Andrew’s death. The organization insists that justice will only be served when all those responsible are held accountable.

Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor, FENRAD’s Executive Director, emphasized that the killing of Andrew does not eliminate evidence but rather raises more questions. “Did the police kill Andrew to silence him and bury the evidence? This looks like a cover-up,” Nwafor stated. He called for an autopsy and forensic analysis to determine the true cause of Andrew’s death and the trajectory of the gunshots.

International Dimensions and Potential Syndicate Involvement

FENRAD has also called for an investigation into Andrew’s international connections, including his alleged partnership with Mr. David Okorochahe, a suspect once wanted in the UK for sexual assault. Given Andrew’s international movements, FENRAD suggests involving Interpol to uncover any links to an international criminal syndicate.

Demand for Justice and Transparency

FENRAD’s call extends to ensuring that all those found guilty, both within Nigeria and internationally, are publicly named, tried, and brought to justice. The organization stresses that the police must conduct a transparent investigation to restore public trust and ensure that such incidents do not recur.

As the investigation progresses, FENRAD remains vigilant, committed to ensuring that justice is served for Celine and Afiba, and that such grave lapses in the law enforcement system are addressed comprehensively.

The Full Press Statement

Immediate Release
18th June 2024

Aba/ Nigeria

Only a closure can settle this matter: FENRAD insists on justice on the alleged disappearance of two ladies in Aba, killing of suspect.

Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, a human and environmental rights advocacy group based in Abia State, had been following keenly the alleged disappearance (or murder or both) or two ladies – Ms. Celine Ndudim and her friend, Ms. Afiba Tandoh, a Ghanaian – when they visited their host, Mr. Andrew Ochekwo (Ochekpo) sometime in April of this year, 2024.

The incident which took place in Aba, the Abia State commercial emporium, has continued to draw harsh global criticisms from rights groups while also attracting the attention of justice campaigners, thereby placing both diplomatic and moral burden on Nigeria as a country and her police as an institution of law enforcement.

Also, the incident also exposes what many consider to be unprofessional conduct on the part of the Nigeria Police Force, especially given the tactless manner in which the matter was handled from the get-go.

The two ladies, Celine Ndudim and her friend Afiba Tandoh, were guests of Mr. Andrew Ochekpo, who lodged them at a popular hotel in Aba, where they were last seen as of yet. Sadly, Celine Ndudim’s sister, Tessy Ndudim, in an interview claimed her missing sister reached out to her alleging that their host had kidnapped them. What is more worrisome is the lack of interest allegedly exhibited by the police when the report came to them about the missing ladies. According to Afiba’s husband and Tessy Ndudim’s account, the police did not act timely. Also, according to a family source, the police collected over ₦100,000 from Tessy to track Celine and Afiba’s whereabouts since their location was made known through a google app and ended up with no fruitful result.

Rather than decisively swing into action and bust the home of Andrew, who is alleged to be working for a criminal syndicate, the police delayed, until an order came from Umuahia (Zone 9) to arrest Andrew, an alleged serial killer then on the loose. Before then, Andrew, sources claimed, worked in cahoots with one Mr. David Okorochahe, a one-time suspect who together with Andrew was once declared wanted in the United Kingdom for alleged sexual assault.

Andrew returned to Aba and began a seemingly reclusive life, yet in a somewhat secret opulence. A search conducted within the coordinates of his Ogbor Hill residence in Aba provided a lead that Andrew might have been involved in human trafficking and/or organ harvesting, as decapitated decomposing remains of a lady (not identified as Celine or Afiba) was allegedly found there.

It is quite sad that instead of swiftly working with intelligence given to them, the police conducted themselves in a rather unprofessional manner by allegedly failing to either arrest or invite Andrew initially, even when his whereabouts were known after the car in which he drove the two ladies was sighted in the same compound he was much later arrested in. Questions should be asked on why Andrew would waste days, including allegedly lodging in hotels, while being moved to Abuja for further investigation in police custody. Sources have it that while en route from Abia State to Abuja, Andrew was living large, including carousing in the company of men of the Force, and allegedly stopped over at Akwa Ibom and later Benue State. A suspect, one would wonder.

When pressure – including from the Ghanaian Consulate, Nigerian crime blogs, news outlets, and various social media platforms – began mounting and growing, the Police came up with a startling revelation that Andrew had been killed at the Benue-Kogi axis while trying to escape from police custody. Allegations of unauthorised cash withdrawal – in tunes of millions of naira – from Andrew’s bank account had been levelled too, further leaving the police, in whose custody Andrew was last seen, with huge questions. How did the dog eat the bone hung round its neck?

In light of this development, FENRAD calls on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun, who has ordered an official investigation and findings in two weeks, to leave no stone unturned in apprehending all those who might have played one role or the other in the disappearance of Celine and Afiba, including uncovering how Andrew was killed, and by whom. The question is: where are Afiba and Celine or their remains? It is on this note that FENRAD condemns strongly the unprofessional conduct of the contingent that went to arrest Andrew. Killing Andrew does not kill evidence, neither will it bury facts. Instead, more facts and clues are beginning to gather like an ominous cloud. This is portentous, and the police should follow the lead.

Did the police kill Andrew, who by the way was not a combatant, for trying to escape from custody or did they ‘kill’ evidence? There’s a cover-up here, the Foundation insists. Those who killed Andrew must be brought to book. One, Andrew was only a suspect at the time of his killing, as nothing had been established that indicated he was a criminal by any court of the land or an empanelled independent body (though there may be prima facie evidence that he was working for a criminal syndicate). Two, Andrew would have helped the police with investigation into what would have possibly uncovered the criminal syndicate, who knows?

FENRAD calls on the IG to also extend the ongoing investigation to all networks, affiliations and connections the late Andrew had, including overseas. If need be, the Interpol should be involved as Andrew who had lived in the UK and visited other countries could be an agent of an international criminal syndicate. Questions must be asked too about the person of David Okorochahe, Andrew’s alleged partner in crime in the UK. Do they still have any connection, including monetary transactions, and if any, for what purpose?

Andrew’s body must pass through autopsy to enable the IG team to come up with facts about how he was shot. A forensic examination or analysis of gunshot wound trajectories with regard to the body position of Andrew when the shooting occurred is necessary in order to establish whether the killing was premeditated or not; this process, though demanding, will require the services of a forensic pathologist to carry out all needed assessments like, studying gunshot entry and exit wounds. A coroner’s inquest is also essential if the truth is to be found.

Lastly, all those found guilty, by whatever means, in Nigeria and beyond, in the disappearance of the two ladies must be publicly named and tried, and where they are not Nigerians necessary lawful measures should be taken. The killing of Andrew is unprofessional and stands condemnable in its entirety. To investigate this, the police must.

FENRAD calls on the IG to ensure that justice and closure are attained on this matter, as the killing of Andrew, on the surface, looks like an attempt to kill and bury evidence and justice.

Signed
Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor
Executive Director

Contact Information:

  • Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor, Executive Director, FENRAD
  • Tel/WhatsApp: 08033383708, 07062949232
  • Email: fenradnigeria@yahoo.com, info.fenradnigeria@gmail.com
  • Website: www.fenrad.org.ng
  • Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn @FENRADNIGERIA

Office Addresses:

  • Aba Office: Plot 44 St. Michael Road, By Mosque Street, 4th Floor, Front, Aba, Abia State
  • Southeast Regional Office: Plot 11/13 Ezillo Avenue, Independence Layout, Enugu, Enugu State
  • National Advocacy Office: Plot 9 Lumsar Street, Abacha Estate Behind Sheraton Hotel Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.
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