A young, beautiful Nigerian girl, Comfort Benjamin, a teenager living with her family in Jos, Plateau State, went out on May 22, a day to her 16th birthday, and never returned.
Two days later, her corpse was found dumped on the street. The sister of the deceased, Magdalene, tells GODFREY GEORGE the family is distraught
What is your name?
My name is Magdalene Otega Benjamin. I am from Delta State but I live in Jos, Plateau State. I am the elder sister to Comfort Benjamin, the teenager who was murdered and her body dumped on the street.
How did this happen?
My sister went out a day before her birthday and didn’t come back all day. We called her lines and they were all switched off. We made contact with everyone around who we thought should know her whereabouts, but our efforts were all futile as no one seemed to have seen or heard from her. We kept calling till it became so late and she still wasn’t back.
How old was your sister?
She was going to be 16 on May 23, 2021. She is the most considerate and caring human I have met and would not just leave have without saying anything to anyone. I am still in shock.
When you did not see her all day, what did you do?
She was around in the afternoon. I saw her at 1pm that Saturday. The next morning, being Sunday, May, 23, 2021, my parents and I went to report to Laama Police Station, Rock Haven, Jos North, Plateau State. They told us to write a statement about all we could remember and where we thought Comfort could be. They also said they would need to wait for another 24 hours before she could be declared missing. So, we gave all the information needed and went home.
Before then, I had gone on Twitter and made a post that my sister was missing. I dropped her pictures and my phone number for people to reach out to me.
Did help come?
The next day I got a call from a man who said he was a patrolman. He said he saw my post on social media and that he had information concerning my sister. He told us to meet him at St. Michael Junction. Before we got there, he was not there anymore. So, we went to the Nasarawa Gwong Division of the Police Force close to the junction. Officers there showed us pictures of my sister lying naked and lifeless on the streets covered in her own blood.
What happened after that?
We went straight to the mortuary at the Jos University Teaching Hospital, where she had been kept and saw how bad her remains had got. Her body was not well-handled. It was left at the entrance, unclad and quite dishonourably. I felt so bad with the way things were. My mom couldn’t help it, she fell to the ground and began to roll. I had never seen anything like that since I was born.
Were there any eyewitnesses who could tell you how her body got to the street?
The vigilantes guarding the area said they saw a tricycle push a body out and zoomed off. They chased after the tricycle but couldn’t get it as they were ill-prepared for the emergency. They checked who was pushed out and saw a young teenager. That was when they called the patrol guard in the area who took pictures of the corpse and took it to the police.
Did your family run an autopsy on the body?
Yes, we did. The doctors at JUTH, when they examined her said there were marks of strangulation around her neck and undue pressure on her head. And from the blood around her private parts, she must have been raped. They also said she struggled to the point of death from the restrictions from her blood vessels. She also had bruises around her body.
My sister was raped and killed for just being a happy teenager. They didn’t let her celebrate turning 16. The pictures she snapped for her birthday were what we used to announce her death. A girl full of life and dreams is gone just like that.
Did she discuss what she wanted to be in future?
She was in Senior Secondary School 1 when she died. She said she wanted to be a flight attendant, so she could travel around the world and see different places.
Before she got missing, she was with me and we talked about her wishes for her ‘sweet-16.’ It is such a sad thing that she is gone now.
What are the police doing about the case?
They said they are having ‘discreet investigations’ to identify the prime suspect, whom they have conviction must be from her circle on social media. We told them we have access to Comfort’s Facebook account and we were told to provide these details, and investigations will go on from there. They also said they needed to track her number.
It has been two weeks, and she has been buried, but we haven’t heard anything from the police since then, but we have never stopped going to the station. They keep telling us they are investigating, but we don’t see them doing anything.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the state told me that they were working closely with your family to have the case investigated…
See, I don’t know about all that. My parents most times skip work and go spend time at the station, but nothing fruitful comes out. Initially, they demanded that we pay N25,000 for the tracking of the phone and other ‘miscellaneous.’ After a while, we saw them arguing and said we should forget about it. Today (Wednesday, June 2, 2021), I went with my family to meet them and they said they needed N10,000 for another investigation.
We haven’t given them any money, so they are dragging their feet. Not even a single arrest has been made, no concrete report has been given. All we hear is, “Madam, relax, we are investigating!” We want justice for our sister! She cannot just die and go like that. My family has not been the same since she left. She was the last child, so lively and a happy child. I see her in my dreams, most times, and it makes me angry, that about a month after her death, nothing is being done.
Source: The PUNCH