Corpse Roasted, Abandoned, As Suspect Flees
By Chris RICHARDS, Abuja
It looks like a scene from a movie, yet a sad reality, the manner in which, late Comfort Dibal, a.k.a Salamatu, was murdered ostensibly by a man who many suspected to be her lover and a very close confidant and business partner.
Practically roasted and abandoned in the bush, the corpse of Salamatu, a widow following the death earlier of her husband, Paul Samuel Dibal, who was a serving Navy Commander, was said to have been lured onto a journey by one John Hassan, her perceived lover, and never returned home alive.
According to a narrative statement; “The Murder of Comfort” authored by the deceased’s elder brother, Paul Adamu Dauda Mshelia, and made available to nationalTRAIL, on February 21, 2014, John Hassan, who is a well known person at the deceased’s home where she lived with her three other younger ones, left with her to Gadabuke village in Nasarawa State, to honour an invitation from Esther Hassan, a sister to John with the intention of returning back to her place that same day.
However, they only returned the following day, February 22, and proceeded to Sauka, said to be the native village of John Hassan, which according to mshelia’s statement, she was not happy with, especially that she was unable to reach any of her family members to inform them of the change of initial plan.
He said that Salamatu had informed her siblings that on getting to John Hassan’s village, he was not in a hurry to leave, as a result, they stayed till at about 11pm, when they departed the village, on getting to an isolated area, John allegedly claimed that the vehicle had developed some mechanical problem.
John then left her all alone there, with the excuse that he was going to the next village in search of a mechanic to fix the car. Left alone in the car, Salamatu became apprehensive and scared, and made attempts to reach any of her siblings, but due to fluctuating network, she couldn’t.
She was however able to send a text message to her sister’s friend, by name Blessing, explaining her situation, asking for her prayers, and should anything happen to her(Salamatu) she should take care of her children, and she also included in the text message, telephones numbers of John Hassan’s sister on whose invitation she undertook the journey as well as that of their father.
Similarly, she sent a message to her spiritual father, Malam Isa Shehu, also asking for his prayers, as she was in a very dangerous situation. Shortly after that John Hassan returned without a mechanic, but curious enough, drove the same vehicle he had claimed to have developed fault to Gadabuke village where they passed the night before returning to her place in Kubwa the following day, February 22.
However, on the same day, at about 4pm, she got a call from Hassan, asking her to meet him at Mpape junction, with instruction that she should carry her bag with few wears, and that he was going to pay her the money he was owing her, she then left her place in Kubwa to go and meet him(Hassan), and never returned home that day.
According to Mshelia, after four days, and she was not home, and no telephone call from her, all calls to her line went unanswered that the younger ones alerted him of the development.
This was on February 26, 2014, when was alerted by Victoria Mshelia that Comfort was missing, saying that she went out with John and since then there has not been any call from both of them, and that their whereabouts was not known. On confirming the incident Mshelia said he went to their resident in Kubwa to find out the true position of things, and on getting to Kubwa situation was still the same, as neither his sister, nor John would answer calls made to their lines. We were told that while John could no longer be reached through his number, his sister denied seeing her and warned that we should not disturb her, however, their father agreed seeing her in his place the last time she came with John and was to come back for result, but never showed up again.
Mshelia informed us that when Victoria placed a call to one Comfort’s business colleague, Engr. Paul Banu, he told her they should hold John Hassan responsible, alleging that John was a crook, dangerous and diabolic.
Mshelia further said that after several unsuccessful to locate both his sister and Hassan, he returned to the Naval quarters in Kubwa and reported the matter, and was advised to report the matter at the Abacha barracks.
He however said that they were again referred to the Department of State Security(DSS), but that as he was leaving the barracks, he got a call from Engr. Banu, that he was able to speak with Hassan, who claimed that not long, he had spoken with his sister who was along Bauchi road, heading to their village in Borno state, a story, he said they never believed, because she was never known to travel without notifying her relations.
Mshelia said that a complaint was lodged with the DSS but that for three months, the case was not making any meaningful progress, till someone later informed him that a lady was murdered and roasted about the same time in the same area, which turned out to be his sister when he got to the village.
Mr. Mshelia told nationalTRAIL that his late sister was a business woman who was into land and Property as an agency before the demise of her husband and worshipped at Blessed Chapel of Grace International where she met one Pastor Coker who is equally in her line of business and they became business partners.
He disclosed that as Comfort and Pastor Coker were facing serious challenges in their business due to lack of transportation, she decided to buy a Honda “End of Discussion” Car, and according to Mr. Mshelia since she did not want anyone to know that she had a Car, she decided to entrust it in the name of Pastor Coker whom the particulars of the car were registered with as well as other important documents belonging to her for safe keeping.
He narrated that one faithful day, late Comfort and Pastor Coker had some misunderstanding and in the process she went and collected all her belongings from the Pastor and reported to the General Overseer of their church, demanding the sum of N1.6million, which Pastor Coker was owing her. As the situation became unbearable, Mshelia said the Pastor reported the matter to him, pleading that, “I should be present and witness the judgment of the case and the peaceful resolution of the matter between him and the late Comfort in the Church premises by the G.O”.
Said Mshelia, “Here I was in the premises of the Church, I met Pastor Coker and he took me to the G.O’s reception hall, few minutes later, I saw Comfort arrived together with three men in a Honda Car popularly called Honda, Academy, we sighted each other, I called her attention, she came with the men, I excused them, but they refused to leave her alone, I demanded to know who they were, she told me her business colleagues, I ignored them and asked her to tell me her side of the story, she narrated, and after her narration, I understood she was brain washed by the guys to rubbish the Pastor’s name. I adviced her to withdraw the allegation against the embattled Pastor, but the guys encouraged her to object the idea. I was left with no option than to allow them”.
He continued, “Few minutes after the conversation, one of the Ministers called us to the Church’s Conference Hall, there we sat waiting for the G. O. Without wasting much of our time he joined us in the Conference Hall, he prayed and introduced himself and his Ministers. We did the same. Comfort’s men introduced themselves as John Hassan and Dogara Yusuf (D.Y) as brothers to her husband, Late Navy Commander Paul Samuel Dibal, with this impersonation; I understood John and his brother Dogara are fraudsters. The G.O continued by reading some verses, he related the explanation to the crisis, he throw questions before judging the case in favour of Comfort”.
Mshelia said Pastor Coker admitted the allegation without argument, and immediately handed over her motor spare keys and particulars, and her other documents which she confirmed completed after cross checking same. He added that the Pastor pleaded to pay the N1.6million installmental, in tranches of N50,000 per month which was accepted. He alleged that when Comfort was requested to give her bank account number, she claimed that she does not have it off hand, but surprisingly, John Hassan brought out an account number of First Bank belonging to one Rahab Isa, and the Pastor commenced payment through the account number given to him.
Mshelia alleged that he got hint that John Hassan is an impostor and fraudster, and immediately rose from the case he told Comfort to wait for some private discussion but before he could come out from the Church she had gone with her men and since then he maintained that Comfort until her death was isolating herself from other related colleagues and family members, he opined.
He said, “Six months later I called Pastor Coker to find out how far he had gone with the payment, he told me, he had already paid three hundred thousand naira. I asked him again if he has been seeing Comfort in the Church, he said since the day they went there they separated ways, he has not set his eyes on her, but John Hassan brought another account from FCMB Bank bearing his name John Hassan to continue with the payment, and ignored the First Bank that was initially given to him”.
One faithful day he continued, “At about 10am in the morning, I accidentally sighted Comfort, John Hassan and Shokwailo pulling her Ecolac Box at Abuja International Airport, immediately John Hassan noticed me he quickly disappeared and ran into the departure hall and left Comfort behind, I walked up to her and asked her the reason why she was hiding herself, I have been looking for her, she looked at me and refused to talk. I insisted to know where she was heading to, she was adamant staring at me. I told her to be careful she was engaging herself with a fraudster. I continued to advice her, and finally I told her I saw them with John Hassan and I saw when he sneaked away and ran into the departure hall. I told her to watch out John doesn’t want to identify himself with her because of his cruelty behaviour. She remained silent and walked away when I excused her, still I was not satisfied I was so curious to know their destination. I rushed to the airfield to monitor their movement and see which airline they are travelling with, after waiting for sometime at the tarmac, I saw them boarding Aero Contractors destining for Lagos”.
He stated that on returning from Lagos, her friend Blessing said she was not comfortable with her mood and behaviour, which she was always confused and she began to suspect her. Mshelia said that Blessing tried to find out what was her problem, but she kept saying nothing. So, she wisely convinced her to go into 21 days fasting and prayers, after the fasting Mshelia said she was able to recollect her senses and made some confession about what was happening between her and John Hassan. Mshelia further narrated that it was at that point that Blessing knew John was siphoning money from her friend. When she regained her senses, she Comfort now started asking him to return everything he had tricked and collected from her. According to Mshelia it was at this point that they started having problems, then the alleged conspiracy between John, Esther and Dogara also began.
Investigations reveal that before her death, Comfort was living with three of her relations, namely; Victoria, Bulama and Ladi and Victoria was the oldest of them. Mshelia said it was in their presence that John Hassan picked his sister to honour his sister’s invitation at Agadabuke in Nasarawa State.