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Witness reveals last conversation hours before lawyer allegedly killed husband

High Court

A prosecution witness, Chijioke Akukuma, has narrated to a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere yesterday how he was informed about his brother’s death in an ongoing trial of a female lawyer, Udeme Otike-Odibi, who allegedly murdered her husband, Symphorosa Otike-Odibi.

Akukuma told the court that he aborted his trip when he received call from his wife, Dr. Awunli Akukuma, that his brother has been killed by his wife.

Udeme, the 48-year-old lawyer, is facing a two-count charge of murder and misconduct with regards to a body by the Lagos State government. She had pleaded not guilty to the offences and was remanded at Kirikiri prison since she was arraigned on June 13, 2018.

She allegedly stabbed her husband and mutilated his body by cutting off his genitals on May 3, 2018 at Diamond Estate, Sangotedo, Lekki, Lagos. The offences committed are punishable under Sections 165 (b) and 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 and Section 165 (b) provides five years imprisonment while Section 223 is punishable by death.

At the resumed hearing, in his testimony before Justice Adedayo Akintoye, the witness told the court that he had known defendant since she got married to his brother-in-law (the deceased) for over 25 years. He narrated: “On May 3, I was at the airport when my wife called me that her elder brother, Symphorosa, has been killed by his wife”.

He said before the incident, he had on May 2, exchanged messages on WhatsApp with the defendant, who came to his house a week earlier, complaining about the challenges she and the deceased were having in their marriage.

Akukuma said while chatting with the defendant on WhatsApp at about 11:00p.m, on his way back from the office, told her that they had been on his mind, but it was too late to call her and that he will be traveling the next day but he would call her when he gets back.

He said he advised the defendant to go for her planned trip in the United Kingdom, take care of her health and give him the opportunity to talk to Symphorosa, to which the defendant told him she too will be leaving for the UK but was worried because the deceased was having affairs.

Akukuma further told court that the defendant did not respond to his WhatsApp messages until 12:09 a.m. with ‘May God forgive you.’ “I sent a message back to her if I should call her. Her response was
‘No, just pray for us.’ So I went back to sleep, because I had a flight to catch early in the morning.”

Earlier, a househelp, Blessing Austin, in her evidence, said in December 2017, when she went to clean the deceased and defendant’s room, she saw the couple’s wedding photograph torn and thrown into the dustbin, so she packed and threw it away.

“On December 4, 2017, madam travelled outside the country and came back in April during Easter. Since she returned, her character changed towards her husband. She wasn’t cooking for her husband, she cooks only her food and her husband buys his own food”.

The trial judge subsequently adjourned further hearing till November 20.

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