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Benin millionaire hangs self

Posted by VINCENT ADEKOYE, Benin on 2005/03/20 | Views: 3558 |

Benin millionaire hangs self


BARELY two years after his wife was shot dead by unknown gunmen, a Benin-based millionaire businessman, Chief Martins Osunkwo, has committed suicide.

BARELY two years after his wife was shot dead by unknown gunmen, a Benin-based millionaire businessman, Chief Martins Osunkwo, has committed suicide.

His death Tuesday evening threw his neighbours in Ikpoba Hill area of the ancient city into mourning while his relations and business associates thronged his residence.

Chief Osunkwo hailed from Anambra State and owns the popular sachet water company, Maria Pure Water.

Edo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Mr. Peter Ogboi, who confirmed the report told Daily Champion that the lifeless body of the business mogul and owner of several business outfits in Edo and Delta states, was discovered dangling in the premises of his sprawling mansion situated at Ogbemudia Street, Off Benin-Agbor road in the state capital about 6.00 p.m. last Tuesday.

The police spokesman said the late Chief Osunkwo hanged himself with a rope on the ceiling of his garage without any suicide note that would have helped to determine the cause of his action.

"We had received a report at about 4.00 p.m. last Wednesday that a prominent businessman in Benin had committed suicide in his compound at the Ikpoba Hill area of the town.

"Based on that report, our men from the Oregbeni station swung into action and when they got there, it was discovered that the man, called Chief Martins Osunkwo, had hung himself with a rope at the ceiling of his garage and he was already dead when our men got there.

"His lifeless body was brought down after the necessary formalities. We are still working round the clock to ascertain the cause of his action. He did not leave any suicide note behind," Mr. Ogboi said.

Sources in the compound of the late millionaire told newsmen yesterday that he had ordered both his domestic and industrial workers who had reported for duty last Tuesday, to close and go home, saying that he would not want to see anybody around him that day.

Reports said some of the private security men who had wanted to stay behind were ordered out of the compound about noon by the man.

Investigations revealed that the action of the late Chief Osunkwo, might not be unconnected with the controversies that continued to trail the gruesome murder of one of his wives about two years ago.

It would be recalled that some unknown gunmen had stormed the residence of the late chief and gunned down one of his wives in a suspicious manner and left the house without taking anything away.

The death of the woman generated tension both in Benin and among her kinsmen in Anambra State, who pointed accusing finger at Chief Osunkwo. The relations of his late wife were said to have been so bitter over the death of their daughter and as such decided to invoke the spirit of God to avenge the death.

Sources within his compound revealed that the late chief had been behaving funny since the past few months.

"At times, he will look so troubled and sad, he will even say he does not want to see anybody. We were so worried because he does not behave like that before now," one of his domestic workers told Daily Champion on condition of anonymity.

As at the time of filing this report, thousands of people, mostly his business partners from all parts of Edo, Delta, Ondo, Bayelsa and Kogi states, were still trooping to his residence to ascertain the sad development.

The late Chief Osunkwo was the owner of many businesses in Benin, which included hotels, transport haulage firm, pure water company and filing stations.

He was a devout Catholic who until his death was the major sponsor of the popular six hourly prayers on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) channels, and other local broadcasting stations in the state.

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