6 October 2012

Nigeria: Finally, Cynthia Osokogu Buried in Hometown

Photo: Vanguard
Late Cynthia-Osokogu and back view of the suspected killers when they were paraded .

It was an emotion-laden moment Friday at the country home of the Osokogus in Boji-Boji Owa (Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State) when late Miss Cynthia Osokogu was buried.

Cynthia, 25, who was a post-graduate student at the Nasarawa State University and daughter of a retired Major-General, was allegedly killed by her facebook friends after she was drugged and raped at a hotel in Festac Town in Lagos, last July.

Also Friday, Magistrate Olalekan Aka-Bashorun of Yaba Magistrate's Court expressed dissatisfaction with the slow-pace of the trial of alleged killers of Cynthia and urged the prosecutors to fast track the proceedings.

As early as 8:30am, a crowd comprising family members, friends, and community leaders started streaming into the compound of the Osokogus awaiting the arrival of Cynthia's body.

Her remains arrived at about 2.25pm and were received by her father, Major General Frank Osokogu. Cynthia's mother, Joy was not present during the burial.

Thereafter, Reverend Father Leonard Biachi conducted a brief funeral mass, after which she was laid to rest. Tears flowed freely when the gravediggers began to hurl sand into the grave.

Her father, while fielding questions from journalist shortly after the burial said the exit of Cynthia had created a vacuum in the family that will be difficult to fill, adding that the family is optimistic of getting justice "now that the cases is in court."

He expressed appreciation to local and international media for the wide coverage and prominence that followed the murder of Cynthia, adding that it had helped to reawaken his confidence in the role of the press in the society.

It has been a long, painful wait for the Osokogus to put a closure on the matter. Initial plan to bury their late daughter on September 7 was stalled by the non-release of the corpse by the police in Lagos.

At the hearing of the murder case in Lagos yesterday, the Magistrate said there had been very little or no progress since the suspected killers were arrested and arraigned.

"Let us make progress in this matter. By now I expected the office of the Director of Public Prosecution to be present in court," said Magistrate Aka-Bashorun.

The defence counsels had earlier also complained that the prosecution appeared to be delaying the proceedings.

While urging the court to compel the prosecutors to show cause why the defendants should not be released on bail having spent more than 30 days in custody, the defence counsels submitted that the Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State empowers the court to summon the DPP to tell the court why the suspects should still be in prison custody.

Responding, the prosecutors, led by Superintendent Chukwu Agwu told the court they were doing all they could to facilitate speedy hearing of the matter.

According to him, the case file had been transferred to the office of the DPP and that he was merely waiting for the DPP advice.

Meanwhile, the prosecutors have consolidated the three charges pending before the court.

The charges were read to the defendants but their pleas were not taken.

Magistrate Aka-Bashorun while adjourning the matter to November 5, for mention, also ordered that all the defendants be remanded in prison custody.

In the new charge, the suspects, Okwumo Nwabufo 33; Ezike Olisaeloka 23; Orji Osita 32, Maduakor Chukwunonso 25 and Gideon Okechukwu are now facing a nine-count charge of felony, conspiracy, robbery and murder of Cynthia Osokogu.

According to the charge sheet, the suspects killed the deceased by administering 'Rohypnol Flunitrapezam', on her and also binding, torturing and strangling her.

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