A prosecution witness, Uchechukwu Orji, in the ongoing murder charge of one Ijoma, told a Lagos State High Court sitting at Igbosere how Ijoma was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. Ijoma got missing January 10, 2013, before it was discovered that her ex-boyfriend, Ifeanyi Christian, murdered her.
Orji, who was led in evidence by Lagos State prosecuting counsel, Mrs A. A. Saromi, said that he had gone to Ijoma’s family’s house over his intentions to marry the deceased and that they had introduction formalities leading to their engagement.
He said that the late Ijoma, who was 26 year old, came back from the East in January 2013, after travelling in December 2012 for the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. She came to his house and while they were discussing, her phone kept ringing and she refused picking the call. The witness further stated that when he asked her who the caller was, she replied that the caller was just a friend and that out of curiosity, he kept asking her who the caller was.
Orji said after much pressure, Ijoma later told him that the call was that of her ex-boyfriend, Ifeanyi Christian. He also said that the late Ijoma informed him that the defendant wanted her to come and see him, but that he refused.
He said he ensured that she took a bike from his place down to Alakija Bus Stop and kept calling her while she was on her way to be sure that she gets home.
According to him, the deceased coincidentally met her sister at the bus stop and informed him that she was with her sister, whom he asked her to give the phone to so that he could speak with her, which she did and then ended the call since he had been able to confirm that she was in a safe hands.
Orji, who was testifying before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, said that the next day, which was a Saturday, he started calling her line from 4p.m. till about 7p.m., but that there was no response. So he felt that she was busy and decided to give her some time because she was a food vendor and was probably attending to customers.
He said: “At about 10p.m., when I called her line again and did not get any response, I became very apprehensive, I then called Ijoma’s sister, who told me that she might probably be busy. “When she checked and did not see the deceased, she called me back to inform me that she could not find her sister. “We started searching for her that night and when we could not find her, we went back home and continued the search on Sunday morning.”
Orji also told the court that during the Sunday search, he met with one of her friends named Joy and inquired from her if she knew the whereabouts of Ijoma. Joy told them that Ijoma had informed her that she was going to give the defendant a bottle of acid he kept with her. The witness said he then asked Joy where the defendant resides and what he does for a living.
Joy pointed at a shop located at Aspanda in Trade Fair complex and said that the defendant was not around but that the next day being a Monday, he should be there.
He said: “On Monday, I saw other people in their shops but I went straight to where I was directed to and I met an elderly man whom I asked about Ifeanyi. “He told me that I should go to the shop. When I went there, I did not see him, so I went back to meet the man. He then asked me to sit and wait till when Ifeanyi will come.
As I was waiting, the man asked me if there was a problem and I said yes there was. “I then asked the elderly man if the defendant brought a girl to his house, but he said no.” Orji said he further asked the elderly man, a spare parts dealer and the defendant’s boss, if he uses acid to wash his toilet and he said no.
While they were discussing, the defendant was approaching them. The the elderly man asked the witness to hold Ifeanyi firmly, that he tried running away from the house.
The elderly man, according to the witness, said that he had to call the defendant’s brothers to ask him why he was trying to run away from the house. The witness also said that the elderly man told him that he was not aware of what was happening, as he then called on the security people at Aspanda to arrest the defendant so that he would not escape. He was taken to Festac Police Station.
The witness said that before the defendant was taken to the police station he had informed them that the late Ijoma was at Festac Police Station but that when they got there, the deceased was not there. That was when the defendant told them that she was dead, and they later saw her corpse on the road side.
However Justice Taiwo adjourned the case to October 24, for continuation of trial.