Ejigbo pepper sodomy: New twist as victims’ family say they aren’t sure if Juliana is dead

Family of the victims in the famous case of the Ejigbo pepper torture, rape, and alleged murder case, have begun withdrawing their claim that one of the victims, Juliana Agonman, had died. Saharareporters learned of this development from sources familiar with investigations in the matter today.

The sources also told Saharareporters that the ‘new claim’ had shocked all parties, including the civil society organizations that had been sympathetic to their plight since the attacks.
The family, led by the palm wine tapper, Mr. Freeman Agonman, in a new testimony to police investigators, said, he “wasn’t sure the victim that was mostly tortured in the well circulated clip is actually dead.” He said, rather, that she had “suddenly been missing” from where she was taken for treatment in their hometown, at Ajase, in Porto Novo, the Benin Republic.
The new claim was made by the family after the Interpol from Nigeria, got clearance some days ago, to proceed with the examination of the buried corpse in Porto Novo. That clearance was granted in order to establish the charge of murder in the case against the suspects. The family upon learning of the development had said, she was actually not buried in the tomb shown to the public.
Mr. Agonman said the family had only invoked her spirit, and buried it, since they could not find her for several months that she had been missing.
He said it was a family rite to do so, whenever a missing person was not found within the period of eight months to one year.
The new twist, our source said, may cause the charges against the suspects to now exclude the offense of murder.
“We were all very shocked, and it seemed to us like a dream” said Joe Okei-Odumakin, a civil society leader who had advocated for the family since commencement of the case, after the video circulated on the Internet.
“We were taken to the burial ground because we insisted we must be sure she had truly died after they told us that, and now they said she was not buried there anymore”, she continued.
Okei-Odumakin said she is suspecting something ‘fishy.’
“How come they did not even call for once, all these whiles to say there was something they had failed to tell us, or correct the impression they sold to us, before the investigation reached this stage?” she exclaimed.
Our correspondent learned that Mr. Agonman kept insisting that that was what to say, by their custom, whenever a missing person is not seen for a long period of time.
It was also learned that some persons in Porto Novo had claimed they saw Juliana few weeks ago in a hospital, having a new baby.
The family, however, said they did not see her even though they also heard the news.
Saharareporters learned that police at the Federal SARS had invited the members of the family, who are also witnesses in the case against the suspects, to begin making new statements in view of their new disclosures. It was learned that counsels from the Lagos State Office of Public Defenders (OPD) were also present, and had also expressed bewilderment.
“The question is, if Juliana is still alive, and they said they did not bury her, where then, is Juliana?” That is the view of the family’s new confession queried today, but no one had answer.
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