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Suspect In Femicide Case Finally Declared Wanted By Nigeria Police 

Three months after Nnanyereugo admitted to killing a woman on social media, the Nigeria Police has declared him wanted, saying they have unsuccessfully explored different means of bringing in the alleged killer. This was following wide condemnation of the silence from the Police on the case.

The Lagos State Police Command has declared Benjamin Best Nnanyereugo wanted for the murder of Augusta Onuwagbagbe, HumAngle has learned.

The declaration which was announced on Oct. 10, is coming three months after Nnayereugo himself publicly admitted to murdering Onuwagbagbe in July.

The suspect had in a series of viral social media posts, admitted to murdering her over an argument that broke out in his apartment located in the Ajah area of Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria. They had been in a relationship.

“I mistakenly killed her and ran away out of fear,” one of Nnanyereugo’s posts at the time read.

His post was trailed by mass outrage on social media with many calling for his arrest.

Except for the lone comment confirming that the Police have taken up the case into Onwugbagbe’s murder, the Lagos Police did not provide any more information until now, despite direct attempts made by journalists to enquire about it.

Social media users (especially on the X platform) found the silence of the security agency both deafening and maddening.

What many described as the negligence of the Police birthed an online campaign under the hashtag #JusticeForAusta, which demanded justice for the deceased. After this was met with more silence from the Police, concerned individuals created a petition which was passed around for online signatures.

In September, the mother of the victim also took to social media to express the pain that the freedom of her daughter’s murderer brought to her.

“[The inaction of the Police] sends a message that the Nigerian government does not really prioritise the lives of women,” feminist writer and gender rights activist, Emitomo Nimisire said to HumAngle in August about the case.

The just-announced declaration of the Lagos Police has been trailed by posts calling it long overdue.

A social media user who was at the fore of the online activism to get justice for Onwugbagbe tells HumAngle that she feels the same way.

“As much as it’s a welcome development, it’s actually quite sad,” Morticia Addams (prefers to be addressed by her chosen social media name), said of Police’s timing.

“Augusta’s mother had to resort to expressing herself on Instagram, highlighting how unhelpful the Police had been and she still did not get any response [at the time],” she continued.

Addams also tells HumAngle that her pushing for justice online has been somewhat frustrating as the Police appeared to be doing nothing.

“My last resort would have been to meet the judges I met during my internship at Ikeja High Court so they would perhaps refer me to the director of public prosecutions,” she said.

The social media post (made on the official handle of the Lagos State Police Command) declaring Nnanyereugo wanted did not offer much insight or explanation on why the suspect had been declared wanted three months too late, but it said the decision to declare Nnyaereugo wanted is coming “following the exhaustion of all available options to bring him in.”

The poor handling of violence against women by the Nigerian Police has also been a matter of discourse following their silence in the past months.

“It’s unfair that there had to be social media pressure and clamour for the case to be taken up,” Addams says.

“I am hoping that moving forward, justice is made more accessible since not everyone is on social media.”

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Chigozie Victor

Chigozie Victor is a journalist and a creative writer. Her work focuses on SGBV, policy and security infrastructure. The graduate of English and Literature from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka is passionate about helping audiences understand salient issues through clear reporting and multimedia journalism. She tweets at @nwaanyi_manaria

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