The deceased was abducted at the popular axis, Banana Junction, Amaifeke, Orlu, in Imo State, last Friday, by the suspects and taken away. His body was found the next day, Saturday, inside a bush in Omuma, Oru East Local Council of the state.
The cleric was on his way to Osina, Ideato South, Imo State, to plan for the burial of his father, who died last week Monday. Until his demise, he was a priest at Orlu Catholic Diocese.
Briefing reporters at the command headquarters, Owerri, yesterday, the Commissioner of Police, Chris Okey Ezike, said an ex-police Corporal, Jude Madu, allegedly committed the crime. He was found out through forensic technology, as he was also in possession of the deceased’s Infinix mobile phone.
Others suspects arrested, who were paraded are Izuchukwu Okafor, also known as Small, 28; Onyema Cyril, 29; Emmanuel Ozuigbo, 29; Victor Ikechukwu Irokansi, 33; and Ifechukwu Nwosu, 28.
The late priest may have died of suffocation as the suspects confessed to have tied his mouth and cello-taped it.
In a graphic account, Ezike, said, operatives of the command, had on September 1, around 8:35p.m., received a security report that four gunmen drove with speed, in a Toyota Avalon car, double-crossing a priest, and later stopped him, dispossessing him of his car, whisking him to an unknown destination.
“They drove the late priest’s car, Toyota Corolla Car with Registration No: IMO:KED 290 AA. The police subsequently declared a search on September 2. The DPO of Omuma reported that an unidentified corpse of a man was seen in his area of jurisdiction and took it to the mortuary. The body was later identified as that of the kidnapped priest.
“The investigation took my team to Imo, Rivers and Anambra states for five days. From the evidence available, Rev. Fr. Onunkwo was abducted, tied up, his mouth cello-taped and dumped in the booth of the Avalon car by the daredevil hoodlums. The deceased apparently gasped for air but could not make it. This interim finding is yet to be supported with scientific examination and opinion, which further investigations intend to explore.”
Okafor said he was apprehended in September 6 at Presidential Hotels, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, while Cyril was caught same day, at Control Post Owerri. Onyema, who holds a National Diploma in Public Administration from Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Imo State, disclosed he drove the Avalon saloon car numbered ETU 368 AA with which the crime was committed.