Vanguard reports that an investigation into the case commenced shortly after Francis was gruesomely murdered and his body dumped in a bush in August 2020.
The Benue state police command in the course of its investigation got information that Ikon and late Francis had a faceoff over a certain N70, 000. Ikon was arrested by the police but was however placed on holding charge at the Makurdi Correctional Center since he denied any involvement and there wasn’t any evidence to prove the claim that he indeed killed late Francis.
The family of the deceased petitioned the Inspector General of Police over the matter and a team from the Force Intelligence Response Team, IRT, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, were then assigned to commence an investigation into the matter.
The crack team deployed to Makurdi, the state capital, visited the site where the corpse was found as well as the NOUN study centre where Atache and Danasabe worked. It was during the investigation that it was discovered that Ikon was a member of dreaded Aye Confraternity and he had a feud with Atache over the sum of N70,000.
The operatives also discovered that Ikon invited his cult members to help him kill Francis when he refused to pay him the said sum. These facts were then presented to Ikon who then confessed to committing the crime.
Ikon in an interview, said
I am a staff of NOUN, Markudi branch. I am 31 years, I have BSc in public administration. I started working with NOUN over 5-years, I started as senior clerical officer as I used my diploma to apply for the work.
While at work I applied for school study where I got my BSc from NOUN. Francis Atache was a junior clerical officer who worked with me. If I generated data for students to go and pay their school fees at the bank, I usually give him the money to go and help me pay it.
On that day, I was preparing to go to Nassarawa and I gave Francis money to help me pay for my monthly contribution organized by one Alhaji. Normally after some months or years we would collect the money back with interest. I told him that if he paid the money he would be given a paper that would serve as receipt and reflect my balance.
When I came back, I asked for the paper, he promised to bring it to work the next day. The next day when I asked for the paper, he gave one excuse or the other. I reported him to his elder sister who was also working in the same office, after two days that I did not hear from her, I called her again and she asked me why I gave money to Francis who was not trustworthy.
Francis then started threatening me with a gun. I even reported the matter to the director. I told him that if he wanted to engage in confraternity war, we should do it outside after office hours.
Later I reported the case to the vigilante in our area and he begged for two days. The two days elapsed and a week later, I called the vigilante people to report him again. Francis met me the next day and told me that I should bring proof that I gave him the money. He made it clear to me that he was not going to pay me my money. ”he said
Ikon said it was at this point that he contacted his cult members to help him deal with Francis.
” I was bitter because I knew at that point he was not going to give me the money. I contacted my cult members and asked them to monitor his movement. There was a place near a Bishop’s farm where we normally went to smoke and relax.
On August 5, my cult members who spied on him got information that he was going there to buy weed and smoke. I chose that place to confront him because if anything should happen, people would assume that it was a cult fight and would not take it seriously.
When he went there with his friends, about 15 of us went there to meet him. I confronted him with the issue, my boys asked him to surrender the money he had with him. He had more than N70, 000 at that point which he wanted to use to buy weed which he would sell at boys’ town.
He refused to surrender the money. Meanwhile, while we were coming, I brought an axe and the others came with their guns.
When he refused to bring the money, we started fighting. He stood up and came after me, my boys hit him with a stick from the back and he fell down. He started bleeding and stopped moving. Everyone was terrified and ran away from him. I ran home, took some of my clothes and left my house. I got information that the police found the body. We did not hide it, unfortunately, I was found and arrested. I did not expect him to die like that.
After some days in police detention, I was remanded in prison. Meanwhile, I told them that I was innocent. I was shocked when on August 29, police came and picked me. They had arrested some of the boys who witnessed the incident. I had no choice but to tell them the truth. I denied it initially because they didn’t have any proof. I did not use the axe but a stick.
I was initiated in 2009 into Aye confraternity by one Ernest. Aye means African Youth Empowerment. It is normal for every youth to join one cult group or the other to earn respect. We still relate with other cult groups that was why I trusted Francis so much to give him such money to make payment for me. I only wanted to scare him as we normally did as cult members but he died in the process. I was not the one who hit him with the stick but I pinned him down on the ground while my guys were beating him”.he said