You must all have seen or read of the story of how Cynthia Udoka Osokogu was killed by her Facebook friends. First, the news went viral that she had been missing since late July 2012. Her body was later found in a morgue in Lagos. Here’s the full story of how she died, how her killers were caught and their account of what they did to her.
What Happened to Cynthia?
24 Year Old Cynthia Osokogu left Abuja in late July 2012 (according to reports published on the 22nd of July 2012). Like many enterprising young people, the post-graduate student of Nasarawa State University was a clothing retailer and had travelled to Lagos to purchase new stock. Cynthia had been chatting with some new “friends” on Facebook for a few months. In the course of their conversations, they developed a friendship and a level of trust. These young men were also university students, they seemed normal and promised to host Cynthia when she came to Lagos.
According to reports, these young men picked Cynthia up from the airport in Lagos and drove her to a hotel in Festac. At the hotel, they tied her up, robbed her of all the money she brought to shop for her business and strangled her to death.There is speculation that they paid for her plane ticket and promised to pay for her hotel as well. Only Cynthia knows if this is true. Whatever the truth is, Cynthia trusted her new friends and had no idea that they had sinister plans.
They then left the hotel and quickly deleted her from their Facebook friend list to remove any trace of their connection. The hotel found her body and since her ID cards and mobile phone had been stolen, they could not identify her or call friends and family. Her body was then deposited in a morgue in Lagos. All this time, her family and friends were praying for her safe return.
How the Killers Were Caught
At some point, one of the culprits accidentally answered Cynthia’s phone and the call was traced to Festac. Therefore, her missing person’s police report was submitted to the Area E Command in Festac. This enabled her family to find her body in the morgue and also led them to the hotel. With the help of CCTV footage from the hotel, the killers were identified.
According to reports, these two young men are university students who have now confessed that they killed Cynthia and that she is their sixth victim. The gang reportedly specializes in luring unsuspecting young women, robbing them of their possessions before killing them. Though there are speculations that their motive was ritualistic, it appears that it was greed and their main goal was to rob and kill. The pharmacist who supplied the drugs used on Cynthia and hotel staff have also been arrested. According to Police spokesperson Ngozi Braide, “Six people were arrested on Sunday over the incident and investigations are ongoing”.
The Killers Account of how Cynthia was killed
According to PM News, two murder suspects were paraded today by the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja. Echezona Nwabufor (aged 33) and Ezekiel Nnechuwu Olisa Eloka (aged 23) narrated how they drugged the daughter of a retired General, Miss Cynthia Akuzogwu Udoka, 25, and strangled her in order to steal her money. One of the suspects, Eloka said they killed Cynthia because they thought she had a lot of money in her possession. But after the dastardly act, they did not find a reasonable amount of money on her. The suspects claimed they met her on the Facebook and on Blackberry. They then invited her to come to Lagos to buy goods at cheaper prices.
When she got to Lagos, we took her to a hotel in Festac. We thought she had a lot of money, but she said she didn’t have any money. We gave her Reflon tablet in her Ribena drink. After this, we slept with her for 12 hours in that hotel. We discovered that the tablet did not work quickly on her. We then attacked her, tied her up and used cellotape to cover her mouth. After that, we beat her to tell us where she kept the money. When we didn’t get any money from her, we tied her mouth and strangled her and then we abandoned her in the hotel and fled.
The suspects and the retired General’s daughter became friends on Facebook and were exchanging messages and phone calls. She told them she was coming to Lagos. They met her at Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja from where they ushered her into a hotel in Festac town, Lagos. Briefing journalists on how policemen were able to arrest the suspects, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umar Abubakar Manko, said detectives made use of the close circuit television, CCTV, at the hotel where the crime was committed to identify them. The Area Commander, Area ‘E’ Police Command, ACP Okoro added that the suspects who are undergraduates of Nigerian universities were nabbed through the call logs of the telephone conversations they had with the late Cynthia who was a post graduate student of Nasarawa State University.
When the suspected killers strangled Cynthia, they deposited her corpse at the mortuary of Isolo General Hospital in Lagos. ACP Okoro stated that many ATM cards, about 23 SIM cards, different identity cards were recovered from the suspects. Police sources said the two suspects will soon be arraigned in court to answer a charge of murder.
Lessons to be learnt
So many comments have been posted online blaming Cynthia however, this could have happened to anyone. With social media, this false sense of comfort and trust can be very misleading. We know couples who met on Facebook or BBM groups that are still together. If you ask them if they took security measures to protect themselves when they first met, many will confess that they did not. We hear of friendships built on Twitter and BBM, where the first meeting was in the home of one of the friends. The truth is anything can happen. You have to be savvy and wise.