Hotels in Nigeria have gained notoriety as a result of the numerous alleged murders of hotel guests by the property managers or other guests. On the other hand, ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE reports that hotel owners are offended by the incident and promise to work to stop it
What was once a place where guests, visitors, or strangers could be welcomed with open arms and entertained, has perhaps evolved into a venue for the absurd, with tales of murders committed out of jealousy or rituals. When the first two hotels in history, known as Ryokans, were registered in Japan in the early 700s, this was not what the pioneers of hotels had in mind. These Ryokans, according to experts, were rest stops along the Silk Road. More than 600 inns were registered in England by the 1600s, and the first modern hotel was built in England in the early 1800s. This once noble locale in Nigeria has however been transformed into a slaughterhouse by evil actors.
This was true even though Owerri residents protested the murder of an 11-year-old groundnut hawker, Anthony Ikechukwu Okoronkwo, in a hotel on September 19, 1996, triggering the Otokoto Riot. Chief Vincent Duru, a bearded businessman from Owerri, was caught in the middle of the storm. Otokoto was his less-than-appealing moniker. He also owned the Otokoto Hotel in Owerri, which was on Orlu Road.
In 2012, Cynthia Udoka Osokogu was drugged, tied up, robbed, raped, beaten, and strangled to death. She was lured from her home in Abuja to a hotel in Lagos under the guise of business. The murder of Cynthia, who was born on November 10, 1987, in Agbor town, Delta State, sparked a lot of responses from the public second to what was Otokoto’s saga, and there was hope that such a cruel act would end, but it hasn’t.
SP Chris Anyanwu, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Police Command, confirmed in August 2022 that a group of unknown assailants had killed Galaxy Hotel Owner Nwadibia and two others in the Onicha Local Area of Ebonyi State. Anyanwu stated at the time, “Yes, the command has heard about the incident, but we have not gotten the full details of what really happened.”
In the month, a group of gunmen broke into the 16-Hour hotel in the Alomilaya area of Ganmo, via Ilorin, in Kwara State. The 45-year-old owner, Kayode Akinyemi, was killed. Okasanmi Ajayi, the state Police Public Relations Officer in Ilorin, said that the following day, hotel manager Emmanuel Olushila Ojo was seriously injured in the alleged assassination attempt and was taken to the general hospital in Ilorin for treatment.
A source who does not wish to be identified said, “Cases like this occur almost on a daily basis in the various hotels across the country,” says a source who does not wish to be identified. This is regrettable and intolerable.”
On Sunday, a community member who went by the name Mr. Igwe Nwaokorie told journalists in Abakaliki (aftermath the Galaxy Hotel Owner Nwadibia and two others in the Onicha Local Area of Ebonyi State were killed) that the incident took place on Thursday night.
According to Nwaokorie, “Chief Ogbonnaya Nwadibia, also known as “Galaxy,” the hotel’s proprietor, as well as two other individuals, were the three individuals who were killed. The incident took place on Thursday night, August 25.”
It was gathered that security agents, who were to be more circumspect in their operations, were not, as they usually paraded the roads unscheduled and the criminals escaped on motorbikes.
“On motorcycles, the three armed suspects rode. We started to hear gunshots that lasted for a few minutes before we could figure out what was going on. They then left, and three bodies, including the hotel owner, were discovered,” added Nwaokorie.
The fact that Nigerian hotels now have the reputation of not being safe for tourists is essential because it prevents foreign investors from coming to the country. An unidentified woman was also murdered in a hotel in Aba, Abia State, in the South-East of Nigeria.
The incident was said to have occurred on April 15 in the hotel on Ubani Street in Ogbor Hill, Aba, according to the state police. The incident was confirmed by Geoffrey Ogbonna, the Abia police spokesperson, to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday. Those in the know sermonized that hotel owners have to notify security agencies of any suspicious activity in or around hotels, with government encouraging the security and intelligence community to rise to the occasion and put an end to this sneaky trend.
While the police launched an investigation to identify those responsible for the murder and kidnapping of the woman’s two-year-old daughter, the woman’s body had been placed in a morgue. Chimuanya Ezenna, a local, stated that the hotel has allegedly a reputation for unsolved murders and customer disappearances.
He did not offer any proof, but stated, “Residents are now afraid to report cases of deaths and missing persons in the hotel to the Ogbor Hill Police Divisional Station in order to avoid being victimized.”
It was gathered that since January, at least seven murders have been reported at the hotel.
Ezenna added, “The fact that neither members of the hotel’s management nor staff have been charged with either conspiracy or murder is troubling.
“In order to put an end to the unpleasant development, I anticipate that the state government should get involved.”
Source of horror and terror
In recent times, Nigerian hotels have allegedly been a source of horror and terror. Mr. Azubuike Nwokolo, a 41-year-old businessman and father of two, was discovered dead in a hotel room on January 13, 2022, in Amichi, Nnewi North, Anambra State. Jennifer Anthony, a 300-level student at the University of Jos in Plateau State’s Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, was allegedly murdered in Jos on January 1 by her boyfriend, Moses Oche.
In Nigeria, there are numerous accounts of people being possessed in hotel rooms. It is believed that these locations that continue to welcome tourists are haunted. The incident occurred at Domus Pacis Guesthouse along Zaria Road in Jos. On December 31, 2021, the lady was said to have traveled from Abuja to Jos to meet a friend. Later, it was discovered that the alleged ritualist had allegedly drugged Jennifer before killing her and removing her eyes and other vital organs.
The events surrounding the hotels have yet to be written about by the likes of the English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell. His work is characterized by clear prose, social criticism, opposition to totalitarianism, and support for democratic socialism. Orwell reminds his audience that the act of terrorism is terrorism itself. Occupation is what oppression is all about. Tormenting something is torture. Murder is the murder of an object. Power is the object of power. “Do you begin to comprehend me now?” he asks.
Timothy Adegoke, an MBA student at Obafemii Awololowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State, who had been reported missing on November 7, was discovered dead on November 15, 2021. He was based in Abuja, but on November 5, he traveled to Ile-Ife to take an exam at the school’s distance learning center in the state’s Moro region.
Like Orwell’s who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past, Mr. Toritseju Emmanuel Jackson, a 23-year-old law graduate from Buckingham University in the United Kingdom, was murdered in Abuja on September 12, 2021. The well-known Abuja hotel, Toprank Hotel, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), insisted that it had nothing to do with the vicious assault and death of a corps member, Toritseju Jackson, on the hotel’s grounds on September 12, 2021, by unidentified persons.
The dispossessed relatives guaranteed that by Monday morning, when they were called to recognize the body, which was deserted for the time being at the crime location, the lodging had proactively messed with the proof by tidying up the bloodstains as though nothing had happened the earlier evening. Mr. Chris Richards-Jonal, the hotel’s media consultant, told The Guardian that the late Jackson was never a guest of the hotel; rather, he came with a male friend to visit some guests under very suspicious circumstances at approximately 3:30 a.m. on the night of the heinous murder.
Toritseju was a 23-year-old law graduate from Buckingham University in the United Kingdom, who returned home as a patriotic Nigerian in order to fulfill the required National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at the Nigerian Law School. He was brutally murdered by being stabbed multiple times in front of the Toprank Hotel in Wuse Zone 4, alas, exactly like the tales of others who returned and ended up in tragedy.
While some of the cases are unresolved, in September 2021, a 23-year-old chef named Joshua Usulor was given a 28-year prison sentence by an Ikeja Special Offences Court for killing Mrs. Feyisayo Obot, a 34-year-old lawyer.
Like a Boko Haram kingpin told reporters on October 4, 2017 that “killing means nothing to us,” on January 26, 2019, the chef killed the lawyer at the Citiheights Hotel in Opebi, Lagos State, where they were staying in separate rooms.
While robbing Obot in her hotel room, Usulor cut her throat, killing the Abuja-based mother of two. Obot was in Lagos to take a project management exam as an employee of Save the Children, a non-governmental organization based in Abuja. On the day she was scheduled to leave the hotel, she was killed.
Killers and kidnappers
On September 21, 2021, as if that weren’t bad enough, gunmen attacked the Hilltop International Premium Hotel in Tunga-Maje, Gwagwalada, Abuja, causing death, sorrow, and tears.
They were said to have engaged in a gunfight with police officers that resulted in the death of one of them. In addition to the three others who sustained injuries, a stray bullet struck one of the hotel guests. From the same hotel, gunmen allegedly kidnapped eight others and Friday Makama, a former Kogi State House of Assembly member.
This happened after Chidinma Ojukwu, a 21-year-old undergrad at the College of Lagos (UNILAG), was captured in June 2021 for purportedly killing Usifo Ataga, the CEO of Super television, in Lagos. The conventional and online entertainment spaces buzzed following the incident. The university’s 300-level student was accused of stabbing Ataga to death with a kitchen knife after a fight in a temporary apartment.
On October 27, 2022, the Lagos High Court at Tafawa Balewa Square heard how Chidinma Ojukwu, charged with the murder of Super TV CEO Usifo Ataga, allegedly transferred N5 million from his bank account. This occurred despite the fact that the case had been adjourned for a season. The money is said to have been transferred by Ms. Ojukwu on June 15, 2021, the day Mr. Ataga died.
In addition, in November 2020, men from the Ogun State Police Command made an arrest for the murder of a killer’s 26-year-old girlfriend, Patricia John. On October 30, 2020, the suspect was apprehended at the motel where the girlfriend’s body was found. In early February 2020, he died in a hotel in Onitsha, Anambra State. According to reports, he allegedly engaged in sexual relations with his female lover by using sex-enhancing drugs.
Stakeholders cry out
Because hotels and other lodgings are homes for tourists and other guests from all over the world who come to relax, attend meetings, take classes, or do all three, a source like the Daily Independent stated that it is important that hotels and other lodgings remain a big part of the global travel industry.
As a result, numerous nations are eager to exhibit commonplace assets like mountains in fascinating locations like galleries and sanctuaries. As these individuals travel from one location to the next, motels frequently serve as the primary type of lodging available to them.
The source stated that the shocking revelations that lodgings are shelters for crime, where innocent people are killed for ritual money, are the basis for the current emphasis on the fact that they do not provide the same level of safety as they did in the past.
On the part of hotel owners
The fact that bad things, including deaths, are taking place in hotels was acknowledged by some opinion leaders as something they could not deny. However, they said it should be discouraged to include the hotel names in something that they do not have complete control over.
“No matter what the hotel’s owners do to stop it, bad lodgers will always be able to get around the checks,” a source said.
They added that it is a very complicated issue that the majority of people will not comprehend; the majority of guests who stay in hotels are typically couples. The Nigeria Hotel Association (NHA) said in June that hoteliers all over the country would work harder to improve hotel security.
Eze Patrick Anyanwu, the organization’s national president, stated that ritual killings and other forms of criminal activity in hotels would not be tolerated. He stated that hoteliers had become aware of the need to enhance security within and around their establishments. Anyanwu promised that a variety of security measures would be taken to ensure that hotels would remain safe for everyone to stay in and visit.
Due to the privacy law, however, those in the know concluded that hotels cannot monitor guests indefinitely.
Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers state via: email@example.com