- As relatives accuse landlord of murder
In the early hours of Friday, November 22, 2019, a man, his pregnant wife, and their five-year-old son were found dead in their home at the North Bank suburb of Makurdi.
Neighbours said the deceased were discovered lifeless in the sitting room while their two-year-old daughter was later found in the inner room, seated on the bed.
Soon after the news of the trio’s death filtered into town, there were different narrations of the incident as some people alleged that the deceased were strangulated while the two-year-old girl who survived was battling for her life at an undisclosed hospital.
However, Benue State PPRO, DSP Catherine Anene, who confirmed the incident, said the cause of the deaths was yet unknown.
She noted that the baby who survived is still too young to narrate what happened, adding that investigations would revealed the actual cause of the deaths.
Daily Trust Saturday visited the scene of the incident where neighbours dismissed claims that the deceased were murdered.
But, parents and siblings of the deceased, who spoke to our correspondent, alleged that their loved ones were murdered by their landlord – Friday Agbo, whom they alleged threatened their brother shortly before the incident.
Nura Umar, a neighbour and Commander of Anti-cult Activities in the area popularly known as ‘Operation Shara’, debunked insinuations that the deceased were killed, as well as allegations that they were murdered by their landlord, arguing that the family may have died through food poisoning which could be determined by an autopsy.
He disclosed that the landlord had a robust relationship with the deceased, who was his childhood friend which was why he offered his apartment free of charge to the family.
Another neighbour, Aliyu Umar, told our correspondent that the deceased has a relation occupying one of the rooms in the same compound, wondering how anyone would have committed a crime of such magnitude and gone away without being caught.
Meanwhile, at the home of the Indyors – parents of the deceased man – Gregory Indyor, sympathisers wept loudly and cursed supposed perpetrators of the heinous crime.
Father of the deceased, Elder Clement, and his mother Agatha Indyor, were too grieved to utter a word about the death of their first son, daughter-in-law Linda, who was said to be four months pregnant, and their grandson, Terkuma.
But, three siblings of the late Gregory, his two younger brothers – Victor and Richard Indyor, and their sister Rose Indyor, amidst sobs, narrated separately that their elder brother, alongside his family, did not die naturally. Our correspondent also sighted the surviving baby playing at the residence of her grandparents.
The siblings alleged the trio were killed and that the landlord should be held responsible based on some allegations their lawyer had levelled in a letter addressed to the state Commissioner of Police.
Rose had claimed that, “my late brother told me last month that his landlord was disturbing him and that he wants to pack out of the house. He hasn’t lived there up to six months. He had repeated his complaints to me severally before I travelled to the village to do my farm work. But before my return to Makurdi, he had died.”
Richard explained that they found a note written by their late brother, which content our correspondent was allowed to capture in part, “that if anything happens to my children, myself or my wife in this compound, he (landlord) must be held responsible.”
Similarly, Victor said that when they got to the house, the plastic chairs in the room were upturned with the standing fan bent and that there were evidences of struggle, possibly between the killers and the deceased.
Victor further noted that his cousin who also lives in the compound had told them that his late brother was no longer in talking terms with his landlord, stressing that the landlord had also issued him a three-month ultimatum to vacate his house.
According to him, his late brother and the landlord have been friends for a long time and got closer after the deceased Gregory facilitated the payment of the landlord sister’s death benefit which was withheld for a long time.
“That became the basis for the kind gesture the landlord later showed my late brother by offering his house for free. My brother lived in a flat with his wife, who recently completed her NYSC, but due to health challenges, he could no longer afford to pay for the flat.
“So, his friend offered him two rooms to stay for free so long as he could fix the rooms which were in bad shape then.
“Barely four months after, the landlord began to demand for rent, which wasn’t their earlier agreement. When the landlord became consistent with his demand, my brother reminded him that he’d already spent N38,000 on repairs which was equivalent to his one year rent put at N40,000, which the landlord was aware of,” he added.
Victor said the landlord who continued to threaten the family, also issued them a quit notice.
However, at the time of filing this report, our correspondent was unable to speak with the landlord who is still in police custody while report of the autopsy is being awaited.