Five deaths in the last month have sparked fears of "serial killings" targeting suspected sex workers and protests by women activists in the city of Port Harcourt.
Nigerian police investigating the murders of at least eight women lured to hotels in the southern city of Port Harcourt said they had arrested a suspect.
Five deaths in the last month have sparked fears of "serial killings" targetting suspected sex workers, and a wave of protests by women activists in the city, the capital of oil-rich Rivers State.
Another peace walk against serial killing of ladies in Rivers State holds in Port Harcourt as Police latest figure shows eight women so far killed. @chiomaezenwafo reports | #Nigeriainfoph— NigeriaInfoPH (@NigeriaInfoPH) September 18, 2019
#1 News, Talk & Sports Station! pic.twitter.com/MDf3niSqdJ
Officers have arrested a suspect who had made "useful confessions" and they were pursuing other accomplices, Rivers State police commissioner Mustapha Dandaura said in a statement late on Tuesday.
They suspected the murders were for ritual practices, he added.
"After the killings, a white cloth material is rolled on the victims' necks or waists. So, there is an element of cultism in all the killings in the hotels that have taken place," Dandaura said.
"The serial killer normally drugs his victims and thereafter, he strangles them," he added.
Although local reports suggested more than 10 women had been killed, Dandaura said they had only eight verifiable cases, with the first of the victims murdered in July.
There have been so many reported cases of abduction, rape and killing of women in South Africa and Nigeria (Portharcourt) recently💔. Let's stop the violence and crimes against Women. Stop gender-based violence! Enough is Enough. #ProtectPhGirls #VoiceOfTheDon pic.twitter.com/lBIvR4VU4T— ITS DONJAZZY AGAIN😉 (@DONJAZZY) September 17, 2019
In recent days, women took to the streets of Port Hartcourt in a series of protests calling for better police protection.
Outrage at the killings and the police response spilled over on to social media after police told protestors that women should abandon prostitution to avoid being targeted.
"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," deputy commissioner of police, Chuks Enwonwu told demonstrators, according to local reports.
Protesters and activists condemned the police response, saying all women were vulnerable to the rising attacks.
Prostitution is illegal in Nigeria, and police have enforced restrictions on hotels in the city, forcing hotel owners to install closed-circuit cameras to monitor activity or face closure.