Twenty years after the inglorious Otokoto saga, which set Owerri, the Imo State Capital on fire, over the gruesome beheading of little Ikechukwu Okonkwo at the then Otokoto hotel, along Amakohia in Owerri, the proprietor of the said hotel, Chief Vincent Duru (alias Otokoto) has reportedly been hanged in the prison. He met the hangman last Sunday, report said.
A source informed Nigeria Newspoint, that Chief Otokoto, who was sentenced to death by hanging by an Imo State High Court in 1996 presided over then by Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, was allegedly hanged last Sunday after the Imo State government reportedly approved the execution warrant. It was not confirmed who in particular signed the death warrant as at press time.
It could be recalled, that the heartless murder of little boy, Okonkwo in 1996 triggered massive uprising by the residents of Owerri, the state capital, which resulted to the arrest of Chief Otokoto and his son, Obicheozor, in connection with the heinous crime which was ascribed to rituals at the time. Okonkwo was beheaded under a palm tree, but unknown to the killers, there was a palmwine tapper high up the tree when the killing was taking place. It was this eyewitness who fingered the killers, who in turn identified Chief Duru and his son as their sponsors.
Investigations carried out then revealed that the then famous Otokoto hotel was housing many shallow graves, which led to the masses setting the hotel on fire while government locked up the premises. The street where the hotel was located was named after the murdered boy, Ikechukwu Okonkwo.
Chief Otokoto and his son were nabbed and after two years of strenuous legal trials, the court condemned the duo to death by hanging. His son, Obicheozor was then executed among other culprits by firing squad.
The death sentence was appealed by the accused persons and after 18 years of legal fireworks, the appellant court upheld the judgment of the lower court.
Chief Duru (Otokoto) had been remanded at the Port-Harcourt Federal Prison, but was said to have been finally executed last Sunday after the state government was said to have given consent for the Umudim Community in Ikeduru Local Government Area born business mogul, who owned the then Otokoto Pharmacy at Douglas Road in Owerri, to be hanged.
Nigeria Newspoint investigation further revealed that Imolites who heard of the recent reported execution of Chief Duru who was over 60 years by the time he was jailed, expressed surprise that he was still alive after several reports and speculations that he had long been hanged in the prison.