There is a serial killer on the loose in Port Harcourt and the nation is still grappling with how to stop him.

There is a serial killer on the rampage in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. 

Here are five things we know about the developing story thus far:

1..Since July 2019, a serial killer has been luring women to nondescript hotels in Port Harcourt (and maybe in Owerri, the Imo State capital), probably having sex with them, drugging them and then proceeding to strangle them with white cloths.

It’s been the same discernible pattern meted on all the victims found so far.

2..It is unclear if a lone wolf is responsible for the killings at this point or if a group of deranged murderers are perpetrating all of this in cahoots.

But there has been a discernible pattern in all of the killings and a white cloth or handkerchief has been found on all the bodies discovered in hotels in Port Harcourt.

Men of the Nigeria Police Force on duty (The Nation)

In most cases, the feet and hands of the victims have been found bound and pieces of cloth or tissue have been stuffed in the mouths of the victims before they are clubbed to dead.

3..There is no official death toll at this point, but various reports put the casualty figure at 10 or 3.

Writing for Firstreportsonline.com, Dr Attah Essien posits that “the fact that a similar crime was perpetrated in Owerri, Imo State a week ago makes one wonder if this serial killer is not widening his dragnet. This brings to 9 women killed in Port Harcourt and 1 in Owerri. All the women were strangled and left naked in a sleazy Motel.... The criminal is on a dangerous spree. Ten (10) women in less than three months shows he is in a frenzy with no cooling off period as he evolves in his craft....”

4..Some of the names of the victims have been given as Jennifer Nwokocha and Maureen Ewsu. Law enforcement is yet to provide names of other victims at the time of writing.

5..The police has blamed prostitution for it all. Deputy Commissioner of Police in Rivers, Chuks Enwonwu, told the BBC that “in as much as societal values degenerate, you need to go back to educate your fellow women and advise them against prostitution because they are the targets and victims of such crimes.”

Women protested at Police headquarters in Port Harcourt over serial killings of women in hotels in the state. (BBC)

However, Soibi Ibibo Jack, who led a group of women protesters to police headquarters in Port Harcourt, said the women are worried that police profiled all the victims who died in the hotels as prostitutes.

She said that was not true, adding that "even if they were sex workers, their lives matter because they were human beings too."