200-level Student Found Dead In Hotel Room
Twenty-two-year-old Veronica Takor, a 200-level Microbiology student at Benue State University, Markurdi, was found dead in a room in Modona Hotel, sending shock waves down the spines of Markurdi residents and leaving her widowed mother and siblings in trauma.
The NATION paid a visit to the grieving mother who narrated how she found out about her daughter demise.
She said: “My name is Mrs. Philo Takor; a teacher by profession. I lost my husband to the cold hands of death more than 12 years ago.
“I have four children, three girls and one boy, and I have been training them from primary school until they are now in the university.
“Two of my daughters, the late Veronica and Doowuese, are both in Benue State University Makurdi.
On Saturday, 19th March, Veronica woke up at about 7 am, and told me that she was going to Wadata Market where she used to buy second hand clothes to sell. She went and returned to the house at about 12 noon.
“When I came out of the bathroom and was getting ready to go for a wedding, I saw her and she told me that she had bought the clothes and left them at the shop so that after having her bath, she would go back to the shop where she also fixes nails for people.
“I told her I was going to a wedding and I left. Thereafter, I checked her up at the shop but met the clothes she arranged on the table while Veronica herself was nowhere around. It was around 3 pm.
“I asked her friend who operates a POS centre beside her shop and she told me that Veronica only told her that she was going out and would soon return. So I left a message with her friend that when she returned, she should tell her that I checked on her.
“Thereafter, I tried to call her on the phone but her phone was switched off. From about 3 pm, we kept trying the number but it was not going through. My daughter Doowuese also joined in trying to get her on the phone to no avail.
“When it was night, I became apprehensive and did not sleep. I was worried because she had never spent a night outside her house. I sat outside till about 5am on Sunday morning.
“Doowuese later joined me and said, ‘Mummy, I know you would not sleep. But don’t worry she is an adult and she knows your phone number offhand. If anything had gone wrong, she would have called you.”
“As my daughter was talking to me, I saw a young man standing on the other corner of the street. The young man had been standing there for some time, so I became suspicious. And each time I attempted to see the young man, he would try to hide.
“Then a lady in the next house was going to fetch water and the young man who was standing called her to come over to where stood.
“By then, I stood up to eavesdrop on what the young man was discussing with the lady (Nadoo).
“The young man was showing the lady something on a handset, so I asked my daughter Doowuese to go and find out from Nadoo what the young man was showing her.
“Immediately my daughter got close to the young man, he handed her a handset and told her that it was her sister’s (Veronica’s) handset, saying that she (Veronica) was drinking and collapsed.
“The man also gave my daughter a key and she asked him what the key was for; the man said it was the key to the room where my daughter was drinking before she collapsed.”
“Doowuese told the young man, ‘I don’t know you, how come you are in possession of my sister’s phone? Hold the phone and key and take me to where you said my sister collapsed’.
By then, my daughter switched on the phone, screenshot the Facebook chat and messages of the man that invited her to the hotel. The messages and those on Facebook were the same.
“My daughter rushed back into the house and dressed up to follow the man. I told her I was the one who asked you to see the young man, so where are you going? You have not even told me what happened. But she said I should be calm and left immediately to meet the young man.
“The man took my daughter on a motorcycle and I started my car and followed them. I followed them with courage as the cyclist rode recklessly towards Nyimam Layout in Makurdi and came to a halt in front of Madona Guest House.
At Madona Guest House, my daughter and the young man went into the hotel. I switched off my car engine and followed them into the hotel.
“I saw a man near the gate and asked him where the two people who just came had gone to, and he said he didn’t know. I asked him why he would not know when the two people had just entered this premises. He reluctantly pointed to the upstairs, and I followed them.
“Inside the hotel, I heard my daughter shouting the name of her sister to know whether she was alive. This was on in Room 406 on the last floor. The door to the room was open and we saw Veronica on her knees face down on the bed. She was locked inside an air-conditioned room that was cold enough to kill anyone.
“Doowuese touched her hand and it was cold; an indication that she was dead.
“We held the young man by his shirt and asked who are you? The man said his name is Kator Jibo; that he was living in the same neighbourhood with me. I asked if he worked there, but he said no. I asked how he knew my house that he would come and give me my daughter’s phone.
“At this time, two boys came and pleaded with us to go down stairs. Then I asked for the Manager of the hotel. The manager later came and my daughter held him and asked how her sister died in his hotel. Incidentally, the Manager is the son of the owner of the hotel.
The manager pleaded that the man that was with my daughter was a regular guest in the hotel, saying he didn’t know about the death, but my daughter, Kator Jibo and their regular guest who is now at large were in the hotel when he (Manager) left for home.”
Mrs Takor alleged that while the argument between them was going on, the manager secretly arranged for police and an ambulance. When the police came, she said, they refused to allow them to take pictures.
“Even the police themselves did not take pictures as evidence that Veronica died in their hotel,” she said.
“However, my brother’s son managed to outsmart the police and took pictures, which we have as evidence that she died in Madona Guest House, Makurdi.
“The manager even frustrated attempt to take pictures, which made us to suspect that there is more to her death than meets the eye.”
I want Justice —Philo
Mrs Takor said she had accepted the fact that her daughter is dead and would not come back even if she cries and sleeps outside for one month. “But I want to know the cause of her death so that the culprits would be brought to justice.
She said: “Of all my children, she is the best in terms of character. She hardly goes out. You would not even know when she was in the house. She was a choir mistress; a Christian committed to serving God.
“If you know her, she was always in the church. I keep trusting God to find her killers. Now that she is dead, let the will of God be done.
Philo said she disagreed with the claims made by the police and the owner of the hotel on the radio.
“I say no! It’s a total lie. The police have not allowed us to examine the body as I grant this interview. So how would I know if there are injuries on her body? The police denied us access to her body right from the hotel to the mortuary.
“I still ask: Why did the police not allow us to examine the body of my daughter? Why did the police not take pictures in the room where she died? What are they trying to hide?”
Modona Guest House is located on Nyiman Layout, Makurdi. It is a place good enough for love birds who want to stay away from prying eyes.
The efforts our reporter made to speak with the owner of the hotel and manager were futile despite paying many visits and dropping notes and phone number. The receptionist kept saying “the manager is not around”.
I believe my sister was killed because I saw her nails turn black – Doowuese
The late Veronica’s sister, Doowuese, also a student of Benue State University Makurdi, Education Foundation, said there were obvious signs that her sister was tortured and she died a brutal death.
She said: “When I went to the hotel room 406, I saw bloodstains on the bed sheet and she defecated all over the room. Her pant was in her handbag.
“From every indication, it was planned. If not, why would the manager of the hotel and the police not allow us access to the body or take pictures?
“Can someone ask the policemen that came to the hotel if they have any picture of Veronica dead in the hotel? There is a cover-up here. Something is not adding up.
“My sister was the zonal president of Rosary Bloc of St Paul Catholic Church, Ahule, Makurdi. We were close. She was loving and kind. We were fond of each other. Unfortunately, she died suddenly and I am yet to come to terms with her death.
We have no hand in his death, says hotel
The Manager of Madona Guest House, Mr. Amstrong Iloakahia, however, said the hotel had no hand in Victoria’s death.
Speaking in an interview with The Nation over the incident, Iloakahia also denied social media reports that the deceased’s body was mutilated.
He said: “One of our guests checked in on Saturday and he came back on Sunday morning to check on his female guest only to discover that the girl had died in the room.
“I closed to go home on Saturday, but from what I saw, the girl was doing drinking competition outside the hotel.”
The drinking competition, according to him, was such that anyone who could consume a certain amount of spirits was given N1,500.
He said from what he was told, the guest brought her inside the hotel room to sleep when she became unconscious.
According to the manager, the guest who brought late Veronica into the hotel later appeared on Sunday morning to check on her and was immediately arrested.
“He pleaded against people tagging the guest house a den of ritual activities, saying that it was the first time in 10 years of its operation that such an incident would occur. Iloakahia expressed sympathy for Victoria’s family members over the incident.
The Benue State Police Command, however, said that three people had been arrested in relation with Veronica’s death.
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Catherine Anene, who disclosed this while confirming the incident, said no part of the deceased’s body was missing at the time her remains were recovered from the hotel room.
He said: “There is a death report of a lady in a hotel but details will come from the doctors, though we didn’t see marks of violence on the body. So, the autopsy will reveal the cause of the death.
“The person that died was dressed but we didn’t see marks on her body, meaning there are no injuries.
“Three suspects were arrested in connection with this case, so they will give us details. We can’t say it is a case of murder, because we didn’t see marks of violence.”
The Tiv socio-cultural organisation known as Mzough-Tiv has since stepped into the matter, calling for proper investigation and arrest of the brains behind the death of Veronica Takor.
“The President of Mzough-Tiv worldwide, CP Iorbee Ihagh (rtd) told The Nation: “We have taken interest in the death of Veronica Takor and we have gone to see the Deputy Commissioner of Police, who assured us that justice would be done.”