Friday, 07 August 2020

Nicholas Kalu, Abuja/ The Nation

The Nigeria Police has arrested a 54-year old man, Chukwudi Odo, for allegedly luring a 40-year old Filipino woman, Irene Panas, to Nigeria through Facebook and keeping her incommunicado for months.

She was allegedly sexually molested and money extorted from her while she was held.

Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, who paraded Odo alongside other suspects at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) headquarters in Abuja on Monday, said the woman who flew all the way from Manila in the Philippines to Abuja, came in an apparent unsuccessful search for love.

He said the woman, who was held in Enugu State, was successfully rescued by operatives of the State Police Command at Neke-Uno Village, Enugu East local government area, following a tip off.

“The Philippino was rescued six (6) months after she arrived Nigeria from the Philippines in an apparent but unsuccessful search for love.

“Irene Torento Panas, an Accountant by profession and a native of Manila in the Philippines arrived Nigeria in November 22, 2019 on a visit to one Chukwudi Odo ‘m’ 54yrs of Enugu Ezike in Igbo-Eze North LGA of Enugu State whom she met on Facebook on 8th March, 2017.

“The visit which was originally intended to be for 10-days however turned out to be a full case of abduction following Chukwudi Odo’s refusal to allow her return to her country against her will. She was held incommunicado by the suspect, Chukwudi Odo.

“The victim who was critically ill at the time of rescue was successfully rescued by police operatives attached to the Unity Police Division, Ibegwa Nike, Enugu State led by the DPO, SP Siga Malgwi, following a tip-off from some members of the public in the area. She was immediately taken to the hospital for medical attention where she was admitted from 5th June to 16th June.

“Preliminary investigations reveal that the suspect, Chukwudi Odo deliberately lured the victim into the country with the aim of confining her, sexually abusing, and extorting money from her.”

The IGP, while enjoining members of the public to tread cautiously in their use of the social media, warns against any abuse of the cyberspace noting that such criminal acts will not go undetected and unpunished by the Force.

Meanwhile, the Force is already in contact with the Embassy of the Philippines in Nigeria so as to reunite the victim with members of her family,” Mba said.

Odo confirmed that he met the woman on Facebook in 2017 and they became friends and were keeping in touch on the social media platform until he invited her to Nigeria last year.

Odo said he was planning to marry the woman.

He said he has been married before but was separated from his wife.

He said he doesn’t have children.

“I met Irene on Facebook on March 8, 2017. I added her and sent her a message and she responded and we became friends on Facebook. Then we became familiar with each other and was in touch with each other. From 2017 to 2019. In 2017 we had agreed to marry each other. And she was working in Dubai at that time. And then she told me to have patience with her until 2019. Then she would come and live with me in Nigeria or I have an option of coming to live with her in Philippines.

“I told her for now I would not leave to another country and then I told her I was financially handicapped and being that we are in touch with one another despite the distance that we should try and save some to sustain,” he said

According to PM News:

Filipina, Irene Torento Panas, who arrived Nigeria on 22 November 2019 to meet her Facebook lover, ended up a victim of abduction for for more than six months.

Irene’s lover Chukwudi Odo turned out to be a monster.

He turned her into a sex slave, squeezed her for money and locked her up in his home in Neke-Uno Village, Enugu East LGA, making her incommunicado.

A romantic journey that was to last 10 days, became more than a six-month nightmare for the Filipino.

Her ordeal ended 5 June, when the police rescued her and arrested her abductor and tormentor.

She was critically ill, the police said today.

“She was immediately taken to the hospital for medical attention where she was admitted from 5th June to 16th June”.

In a statement today, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, cautioned users of the social media, using 40 year-old Irene’s case as a lesson.

Here is Irene’s story as told by the police:

“Irene Torento Panas, an accountant by profession and a native of Manila in the Philippines arrived Nigeria in November 22, 2019 on a visit to one Chukwudi Odo ‘m’ 54years of Enugu Ezike in Igbo-Eze North LGA of Enugu State whom she met on Facebook on 8th March, 2017.

“The visit which was originally intended to be for 10-days however turned out to be a full case of abduction following Chukwudi Odo’s refusal to allow her return to her country against her will.

“She was held incommunicado by the suspect, Chukwudi Odo.

“The victim who was critically ill at the time of rescue.

“She was successfully rescued by police operatives attached to the Unity Police Division, Ibegwa Nike, Enugu State led by the DPO, SP Siga Malgwi, following a tip-off from some members of the public in the area.

“She was immediately taken to the hospital for medical attention where she was admitted from 5th June to 16th June.

“Preliminary investigations reveal that the suspect, Chukwudi Odo deliberately lured the victim into the country with the aim of confining her, sexually abusing, and extorting money from her.

“The IGP, while enjoining members of the public to tread cautiously in their use of the social media, warns against any abuse of the cyberspace noting that such criminal acts will not go undetected and unpunished by the Force.

“Meanwhile, the Force is already in contact with the Embassy of the Philippines in Nigeria so as to reunite the victim with members of her family”.

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