July 25, 2021

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Still On The Serial Killing Of Girls In Port Harcourt Hotels

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In the last few weeks, there have been reports of girls being killed by suspected ritual killers in some hotels in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. In August, for example, three cases of such killings were reported in Port Harcourt.
Two of the girls were said to have been killed with white clothes tied to their mouth. Some reports said the girls may have been strangulated to death. Various reports suggest that a serial killer who drugs and kills ladies in hotel rooms, may have been on the prowl in the Rivers State capital.
Just when security operatives thought they were taking steps to check the malaise, another one occurred in Omoku, in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of the state. The latest action led to street protest by some women who challenged the police to get to the root of the matter to stop further killings. There is a growing concern on this issue across the state.
The police have already said that some arrests have been made. But they are also blaming prostitution as the possible cause of the killings. This has, however, not gone down well with some of the women who believe that not every girl that goes to the hotel is a prostitute, as some of them do have the need to visit hotels in the course of their legitimate businesses.
Last month, there were reports that the police and other security operatives met in Port Harcourt to brainstorm on possible solutions to the issue. One of the decisions reached was that the hotels should install CCTV cameras to enable them track the movement of guests into and out of the hotels.
Other stakeholders have also expressed the view that there should be proper record of all those who check into every hotel, with guests providing detailed information about themselves before getting into the rooms.
These are all good measures. But how can the CCTV take record of visitors into hotels in a situation where there is no electricity? In most of the hotels, if there is no public power supply, generators are only turned on from 6pm or thereabout. So, in this case, how do you capture events and movements within the period that there is no electricity? It is not all hotels that can afford to have inverters, which could easily be an alternative source of power supply.
The other worrisome issue is the way guest houses operate. In most cases, those guest houses where people go for short-time services hardly record anything about the guests. Those running such facilities are mostly not well read people, who would know how to handle guests with evil intentions, or insist on taking proper identity of their guests. Those guest houses are in a world of their own.
Interestingly, none of the cases where those victims were killed took place in any of the big or even medium standard hotels. They happen most times in obscure looking guest houses.
We are as worried and concerned about the development as every other person. But the security agencies who have been trained on how to tackle crime of this nature should be at their best. It is not enough to ascribe the incidents to prostitution, but the operatives should take this as a huge challenge and ensure that they find a solution.
It is also our candid opinion that owners of hotels and guest houses should device means of properly identifying all their guests and keeping a track of them, especially before they leave the rooms. It may be important for the hotels to ensure that before a guest leaves a room, even if he is not checking out, a random check is made in the room before he is allowed to leave the premises.
Lives are precious and should be protected by all. The killings take almost the same method. This should give a clue to security operatives and hotel owners, that a serial killer may truly be on the prowl. They should device various ways of getting to the root of this. Enough of the killings in hotels.

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