By Edidiong Udobia
At the moment, the only verified truth is that an innocent orphan girl is dead and buried. That is the only truth beyond every reasonable doubt. The only fact not subject to any debate of any kind – be it in the court of public opinion or the court of law. Late Miss Iniubong Umoren is dead and buried twice – first, in a shallow grave by her alleged killer, and then, in her final resting place by her family, friends and sympathisers. A murder case is established because a body was found. Ordinarily, the next action would be a straightforward demand for profound justice. But this is not just an ordinary murder case. There are lots of conspiracies surrounding this case already – so much that some of the conspiracies are at war. Yet, I’m bringing one more conspiracy.On the one hand, the Police are painting the picture of a solo rape and murder case. On the other, the public is alleging a more heinous and syndicate-like crime especially following David Hundeyin’s revealing investigative report. Clearly, inbetween these two opposing sides are tones of truths, half-truths and outright falsehood – all of these are to either add credence to the case or further discredit it. Having closely followed the case as much as I have done, and weaving a few pieces together, I have framed my own argument and it goes thus; before Iniubong Umoren arrived at the house where she was eventually killed on the said Thursday, April 29, 2021, the alleged killer, Uduak Akpan was actively and deliberately juggling two possible victims, Iniubong Umoren and Blessing Godwin. Uduak was luring both of them with the same bait, at the same time and to the same place. For avoidance of doubt, below is a part of Blessing Godwin’s testimony.”Slowly, I began remembering that someone invited me for an interview at Airport Road but i wasn’t sure of the date, so I told him it might be him or not. He told me the Uduak guy called me after he spoke to Ini Umoren. He also mentioned the time and the minutes we talked for. Mehnnnnnn I was scared. I told him i would confirm from my call list. We ended the call on a nice note.”At this time, I didn’t remember the name he(the interview guy) gave me, so I randomly scrolled down to my call list till I got to 29th April and I saw Ezekiel job then I remembered he asked me to save his name as Ezekiel. “I was still in shock trying to process all the information when I received a call from another friend of mine that told me to check my messenger that he has dropped a link to a job opening for me, I told him ok and went ahead to check it on messenger. I clicked on the link which led me to Kufre Carter’s timeline.”As I scrolled down, I saw the post which my name was mentioned right under the job opening post. I abandoned the job opening post and read the one that carried my name. It was there I realized that the Uduak guy is the same Ezekiel that called me for the job interview. “The number on the post was the same number that called me that afternoon. The date he called was the same as in the post. The time he called was the same as in the post. The minutes we spoke for was the same as in the post.”Men and brethren I couldn’t help but shed hot tears. My thoughts traveled far and wide. All I did was to imagine what would have become of me if I had gone for the interview. Maybe it would have been Justice for Ini and Justice for Blessing”.The question here is, if Uduak’s original and only intention was rape, was he luring the two girls at the same time, on the same day and to the same place to forcefully rape both of them alone? This would have been a novel rape case. Based on the fact that no matter how sexually aroused Uduak was on the said day, he would not have been so stupid to think of sexually assaulting two adult girls at the same time, I have made two conclusions. It was either Uduak was luring one of the girls for himself and the other girl for someone else or his original motive was not rape alone. There are no two ways about it. If Uduak was intentionally trying to lure two girls to his den simultaneously, he was clearly not working alone. The suspect that was paraded yesterday at the Ikot Akpanabia Police Headquarters was too composed and coordinated for someone who would plan to prey on multiple victims without a smooth tactical plan.Fortunately, the suspect had confessed to previously raping six (6) victims. Let’s keep that confession on one side. For the Police to convince the public that the ongoing case was a solo rape and an ‘accidental’ murder case, they will have to establish a perfect precedence – how Uduak had previously lured two girls to the house at the same time, successfully raped them all by himself and eventually left them to go alive. In my opinion, this case can and would be easily compromised if it continues as a ‘single victim’ case. For instance, the suspect is already claiming that he killed Iniubong allegedly in self-defence. Sadly, he can build a strong case from that barefaced lie. It is my strong opinion that beneath his original motive for luring the two girls simultaneously, lies an unraveled mystery of this case. If his encounter with only one victim resulted in murder, what was his original plan if the two girls had gotten to his house? How was he planning to subdue two victims at the same time if he was truly alone in the crime?Unlike other very frequent rape cases like a stepfather abusing his teenage daughter, a clergyman sexually abusing a naive church member, a neighbour sexually abusing one of the neighbourhood’s child, armed robbers forcefully raping their victim, etc. Uduak Akpan’s style is not an everyday situation because it requires a lot of resources, energy and strategic planning to successfully get a potential victim to swallow the bait hook, line and sinker. It is not a kind of crime you wake up by morning to initiate and achieve by night. As revealed in Blessing Godwin’s conversation with Uduak, to pull off this kind of crime takes days. Usually, it is at the planning stage that the original motive of the crime is formed. A lot may change between the initiating and the executing stages. For instance, if Uduak is a solo serial rapist only, rape would be his sole motive from the first day he started manipulating Iniubong and Blessing. But if this was or intended to be a syndicate crime involving more heinous activities like the alleged human parts harvesting, that would be his original motive. Now to the question, how can Uduak’s original motive be uncovered? I believe David Hundeyin had pointed us to where reliable evidence that will help this case can be found. In his investigative report, David shared data revealing Uduak’s phone communications on the day of the incident which covered from the time he was initiating the crime to when he executed it and after. In my opinion, if Uduak’s phone communications for the last three days before the day of the crime is made available, it will provide sufficient information on his planning of the crime. Like David’s data revealed the people Uduak communicated with after commiting the crime, the data on his communications days before the crime might give insights to who and who were in the know of the planned crime, why he initiated the crime with Iniubong and Blessing simultaneously, etc. This will be a major step towards uncovering the original motive of the crime and possibly finding some key missing links in the case. The recent three-sided lie by key elements in the case – the Police, the executive chairman of Uruan Local Government, and a certain Kufre Effiong, and how the case quickly moved on despite all the uncertainties already pointed to a possible unhappy ending for the millions of Nigerians who are demanding nothing but justice in the case. How Uduak suddenly metamorphosed from a very fearful little boy in Kufre Effiong’ press release to the very composed, confident and unbothered suspect paraded by the Police yesterday, reveals the much discrepancies between what is being said and what is actually going on. So far, facts are not in sync with the stories. For the Police, Iniubong Umoren may be just another number in their index, but to the public, it is a constant reminder of the existence of a real danger. So, the Police, governments and all the relevant agencies involved in the case must understand that the ongoing public outrage is an expression of both anger and fear. The least that can be done is to ensure that this case is not left unsolved or solved haphazardly. If Uduak Akpan is just a tiny piece of a larger ruthless crime syndicate, the law enforcement and justice system must endeavour to give this case the thoroughness it deserves not just for Iniubong Umoren’s family, but for the millions of innocent citizens who earnestly want to live without daily feeling like they are walking in the shadow of death. Lastly, by every means possible, the identities of the six victims which Uduak Akpan confessed to have raped previously, must be known by relevant agencies and their wellbeing ascertained.