There is apprehension in Rivers State, South-South Nigeria, over the alleged existence of serial killers, said to be targeting women in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The police are yet to speak on the issue, despite pockets of protests in Port Harcourt by women groups.
“We must go back to try to educate them (women) and discourage them from going into prostitution because that is how they fall victim to these crimes,” was the much a deputy commissioner of police in charge of Administration, Chuks Enwonwu, could say when some protesting women met with him on Friday at the police headquarters, Port Harcourt, according to a report by the Punch newspaper.
Several women groups took to the streets of Port Harcourt on Saturday to sensitise residents on alleged serial killers on the prowl in the city.
The BBC reported on Friday that the police spokesperson in the state, Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed that a girl was strangled to death in a hotel in Omoku.
It is the fifth time the police recovered corpses of murdered women in hotels in Port Harcourt within one month, the BBC said on its site dedicated to news reports in pidgin English.
“Ten girls have been killed within two months,” Nengi Jumbo, the leader of a non-governmental organisation, Port Harcourt Significant Girls, told PREMIUM TIMES, Monday morning. “Yesterday, they killed another girl. The tenth girl that has been killed so far.”
The victims are said to be prostitutes, who are often lured to a hotel within the city, and then strangled to death by some unknown men.
“Their bodies are either found in the hotel or on the streets. None of their body parts was harvested, so we really don’t know if they were killed for ritual purpose,” Ms Jumbo said.
All the bodies had one thing in common – a white piece of cloth tied either around their hand or their neck, she said.
Ms Jumbo said the body of the girl that was killed on Sunday was found at a hotel called Ibinabo at Rumuola, close to Mountain of Fire Church.
She, however, said she did not see the body of the girl or that of other victims.
Ms Jumbo, while speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, was in the company of 14 women, they were heading to Ibinabo for a peaceful protest in front of the hotel.
At about 10:30a.m, the women were gathered at the premises of Ibinabo hotel, displaying placards with the inscriptions such as “Shut down until further notice”, “You are responsible for your guests, beef up security”, “Have full details of your guests”.
“We are no longer comfortable with the happenings in the state anymore, our lives are at risks. People would say they are prostitutes, but they are humans and no one deserves to die the way they are being strangled to death. This hotel needs to be shut down until further notice. The security agencies need to come to our aides,” one of the protesting women said.
The police spokesperson in Rivers, Mr Omoni, did not respond to calls and text messages from PREMIUM TIMES as at the time of filing this report.