Posted by News Express | 22 October 2017 | 4,137 times
Two brothers, Edwin and Victory Usifo were allegedly murdered on their sleep last month in their home in the outskirts of Benin City by a group of men suspected to be cultists, who have been terrorising their family after a failed initiation ceremony of a third brother two years ago.
The cultists, numbering about five, reportedly stormed the home of the Osifos in the dead of the night on September 1, burst through a room window, and shot the two brothers at point blank range, leaving with open threats of wreaking more havoc on the family in future.
The sad incident, which was said to have occurred in the Upper Sakpoba area south of the city, has thrown family members of the deceased men in agony and fear.
News Express investigations revealed that the ordeal of the Usifo family started in 2015 when a teenage boy of the family, Kelvin Osifo was said to have been lured into the bush by a friend, John Junior who wanted his cult members to forcefully initiate him into the Black Axe confraternity.
A middle-aged man and neighbor of the Osifo family who gave his name as Ehimen, told this reporter that on the night of July 7, 2015, he was at Joster Spot, a bar, where the friends were drinking when he suspected that John was tampering with Kelvin’s glass of beer while the latter went to pee.
“The two had been together drinking, but John was acting a little weird when Kelvin went to ease himself. I’ve known the two as close friends in the area and I really didn’t suspect much at first. Then, some time later, Kelvin looked really dizzy and I felt he was too drunk. His friend helped him up and I thought he was going to take him home,” Ehimen said.
But the father of the deceased men, Mr Godspower Osifo told News Express recently (after the killing of his two sons) that, when Kelvin came around in the dark of that night, he found himself in a bush surrounded by fearful looking youths who were asking him forcefully to drink some concoction and demanding he recited some strange words.
“My son (Kelvin) narrated to me how he somehow escaped and fled the bush that night. He said there was a bonfire and he could see their faces a little. They asked who brought him for initiation, and he saw his friend Junior raise his hand. He was terrified. They soon started to beat him and then he fell down and acted unconscious. One of the guys, who sounded like the leader, asked them to leave him a little to regain consciousness. As they were focusing on another initiate, he wriggled his way out and took to his heels. They chased him and shot behind him but he managed to escape. He never wanted to be a cultist and never knew his friend was one. He was really a nice guy to him until that night.”
Osifo further added that he and his son reported the matter to the Police in Benin City, but that despite assurances they got, no arrests were made.
“I later got to understand that some of the Police officers were suspected Black Axe members and they were just toying with the case,” Osifo said.
John was said to have left his home (which was close to that of the Osifos) immediately and then Kelvin started receiving threatening calls and messages from unknown people who warned him to come and finish his initiation or be killed.
“They told him not to fool himself into believing the Police can save him. He was so afraid for his life because the Police had not taken any special action to protect him.”
Just a few days after he suffered the near initiation ordeal, Kelvin was said to have been attacked in his home by a group of unknown young guys who battered him with cutlasses, sticks and blows.
“The assailants were shouting slogans that I was told belonged to the black axe confraternity. It was a miracle how my son escaped that attack,” Osifo recalled.
Kelvin escaped with trailing blood and was picked up unconscious near the junction of a nearby street by a kindhearted Clement Okhomina, who offered him first aid and then took him later that night to the home of a doctor friend of his, Paul Aghatise, who gave him some treatment.
Okhomina told News Express that he took pictures of Kelvin the next morning in order to properly identify him, once he had heard his narrative of how he arrived at that situation, and that Kelvin had to flee Aghatise’s home the next morning, fearing that the cult boys could get wind of his whereabouts and launch an attack on him there.
Kelvin left Nigeria for Libya in July 2015 without seeing his mum and dad again after the attack that night.
His mother Mrs Florence Osifo, cries: “I miss my children. They have killed two of them and I can’t see Kelvin who is being hunted by evil people.”
News Express understands that the Osifo family have known no rest since Kelvin ran away from Nigeria as the suspected Black Axe members have made good their threats to continue hurting the family, if they don’t see Kelvin.
“It’s like they have provoked the mafia called Black Axe and they want to terrorise them to the end. The killing of Edwin and Victory is just too sad and painful. They were such nice young men,” one neighbour of the Osifos said.
News Express spoke with an investigating Police officer involved in the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He promised that the Police would do its best to provide safety for the family and unravel the mystery surrounding the killing of Edwin and Victory.
But it is clear from talking with residents of the Upper Sakpoba area about the Osifo family troubles that they have doubts that the Police would get to the bottom of the matter.
One neighbour told News Express: “At best the Police are lukewarm about dealing with cult-related killings in many cases because they think that anyone involved with cultists brought trouble to themselves somehow, and at worse, some members of the Force are cultists themselves who prefer to shield their members.”
The Black Axe confraternity is a feared violence-centered group with roots deeply in Edo State, but with many members spread around the world.
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