The Rivers State Police Command has advised young women to shun prostitution as a suspected serial killer has murdered the 10th victim.
Newsmen report that there have been killings of young women in the last one month in low-priced hotels in Port Harcourt.
The victims are usually found strangled and gagged with a white handkerchief.
So far, five cases have been reported to the police but social media reports suggest that about 10 young girls may have actually been killed.
It could also not be confirmed if the killings are being perpetrated by one person or a syndicate or by random persons.
There are also speculations that the victims are mostly sex workers.
Addressing protesters recently, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Administration, Chuks Enwonwu, asked women to shun prostitution and other vices.
He said, “In as much as societal values are disintegrating, we must go back to try to educate them (women) and discourage them from going into prostitution because that is how they fall victim to these crimes.”
Speaking with newsmen on Monday, the Executive Director, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Dr. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, said it was wrong of the police to castigate the victims instead of focusing on the killers.
Effah-Chukwuma said serial murder should not be treated with kid gloves even as she said those killed may be as high as 13.
She said, “It is a sad one for me. Assuming without conceding that they are prostitutes, does it mean their lives don’t matter. Yes, prostitution is wrong but if there are no buyers, there will not be sellers. Are the killings now justified? This doesn’t make sense
“We cannot say for sure that all those ladies are commercial sex workers. What we are playing with is serial killing and Nigerians are not used to this. The thing about serial killers is that if they are not caught on time they get bolder. The one that happened yesterday happened in the afternoon, not at night.
“After prostitutes, he will move on to the next victim. It is now about 13 victims in the last three months.”
The activist called on the authorities to clampdown on hotels that don’t have CCTV.
She said the absence of CCTV in some hotels was helping the killers to escape.
On Monday morning, Twitter users expressed outrage through #ProtectPHGirls.
Nearly 16,000 tweets had been posted with many condemning the lackadaisical attitude of the police.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer in Rivers State, Nnamdi Omoni, said the police were not treating the matter with kid gloves.
He said, “The Commissioner of Police will brief the press on the matter on Tuesday.”