Feb 14, 2014 – Nigerian Husband Arrested For Beating ‘Witch’ Wife To Death At Iba Housing Estate Ojo Lagos Over Business Failure Says He’s Happily Married To A White Woman In Brazil
Police detectives at the Criminal Investigation Department, CID, Panti, Lagos, are currently working to untangle the mystery behind the sudden death of a middle aged woman, Obiageli Anajekwu. She was alleged to have been battered by her husband, Ikechukwu Anajekwu on January 19, 2015. She ran to her friend, Chinyere Onyali’s house where she died two days later.
Pleading that he is innocent, the accused, Ikechukwu Anajekwu, 54, lamented that life has never been the same ever since he agreed to marry the late Obiageli.
“I am an international businessman and have lived in several countries in Europe. I even own an African restaurant in Brazil. My family insisted that I should invest at home and also marry a Nigerian woman. I had married a white woman and I have children in Brazil.
“One of my relatives introduced Obiageli to me, that she is the perfect woman on earth. Sometime in 2013, we had a traditional marriage and I decided to stay around in Nigeria so that she can enjoy me a little. Suddenly, I realised that she is fetish especially when she did not conceive after six months.
“She accused everyone in my house of being the brain behind her childlessness. Meanwhile, the little business that I was doing in Nigeria started to crumble. I was finding it hard to make a living. I travelled down to Anambra and met a Reverend father who prayed for me. He told me that the cause of my misfortune was within my family. He asked me to return home and search my house. I came back in September and searched and discovered a mobile shrine in my wife’s bag. It had my pictures and those of my family members. She then used pieces of a red cloth to tie all of them together. I confronted her and she denied any involvement but refused to swear.
“I reported the matter to her people and told them that I am no longer interested in the marriage. I made it official in December and returned to Lagos. I was surprised when on January 19, she came knocking at my door,” Ikechukwu narrated.
On what he felt transpired on the day he was accused of beating up Obiageli, Ikechukwu said that he simply asked her to go back to where she was coming from. “I was already terrified when I discovered that she is the one behind my ordeal in Lagos. When I opened my gate and saw her, I shut it against her. I later drove out with my friend who came visiting. When I returned at about 11pm, I saw her still standing at the gate. She prevented me from entering the premises. I only dragged her out of my way and closed the gate. I received a call from my kinsman, Okonkwo, the next day that he wanted to discuss business with me. I came and was disgusted when I realised that it was because of Obiageli. He pleaded that I should accept her back and I told him that I am not interested. She was looking beautiful as usual and very healthy. I was surprised when Okonkwo called me on Wednesday that she was dead. I know they killed her and not me, I can swear with my life. I was committed to the marriage, although she did not have a child. I have even taken her to several doctors just to show that I am committed to the marriage, but she is a witch,” Ikechukwu further said.
He insisted that the police should arrest Chinyere and her husband. “They killed my wife and turned around to accuse me. I know that the autopsy will surely expose what happened to her. I have never touched her despite all the bad things that she did to me in the past. If she was wounded or battered, then she must have sustained the wounds during her trip to her friend’s house. I have a hard face but I am the most innocent man on earth”, he pleaded.
I only helped a friend -Suspect
Also interrogated is Obiageli’s friend, Chinyere Onyali Mbaukwu. She said the deceased, who was her close friend, came crying and asking for a place to sleep for the night.
Her words: “On January 20, 2015, my friend, the late Obiageli came to my house at about 1am in the night, looking battered with swollen eyes. I asked her what the problem was and she said that she was battered by her husband. I was shocked because I have never heard her complain that there was any problem. To be on a safe side, I asked her to report the matter to Adolf police station which she did.
“It was then that she narrated all the hell she has been going through in her husband’s house because she has no child. I told her to go back to the village but she insisted that she was in love with her husband and will stop at nothing to be reconciled with him,” Chinyere narrated.
Continuing, she said: “The next day we contacted one of their kinsmen known as Okonkwo. He was the one who mediated but her husband bluntly refused that he didn’t want to have anything to do with her again.
“On the third day being 21st, I returned home and saw her on the floor. She was convulsing and we kept praying for her while I searched frantically for a vehicle that could convey her to the nearest hospital. When we finally got one, she was no longer moving her body. We took her to the hospital where the doctor confirmed that she was dead.
“She was my friend and we met two years ago. I do not have any reason to kill her, I only accepted her because she is my friend. I even advised her to go to the church the next day but she refused. I was worried because she was looking bad that night. She told me that her husband was deported from Brazil for an alleged drug related crime.”
When Saturday Sun visited Ikechukwu’s house at number 7 Okoye Street, Iba Estate, Ojo area of Lagos, neighbours, who spoke on the incident, said they never heard the woman scream if there was any fight. “She was a peaceful person and have never heard her voice outside. Maybe since their fence is very high, it is possible that the man had been beating her silently. I was told that she had gone back to the village because of irreconcilable differences which came to me as a surprise. Oga Ik, is a peace loving man,” a man who identified himself as Steve, said.
Another neighbour, Mama Chichi said “Mr. Ikechuku will not touch his wife because he is a religious man. They are detaining an innocent person. It is because God wanted to exonerate him, that’s why she died in another person’s house.”
The reverse was, however, the case for Madam Folake, who said that Obiageli was maltreated by her husband. “I am a woman and cannot lie because I know the consequence. She was always coming to my shop with swollen eyes to complain and I told her to return to the village. I was surprised when I learnt that she was dead. I was much more shocked when I was told that she died in Lagos after her husband battered her. I won’t be surprised if you see holes all over her head, that woman has suffered in the name of marriage”, she stated.
Confirming the incident, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Kenneth Nwosu said investigation was ongoing to ascertain the true cause of death. He, however, advised couples to shun domestic violence as the aftermath is always disastrous.
Obiageli’s family seeks justice
Her elder brother, Chukwuma Eze, who travelled down to Lagos from Onitsha to claim his sister’s corpse, lamented that Ikechukwu had made good his threat. “He threatened to kill my sister last December and he has done it. They have been married since 2010, he paid her bride price but is yet to perform the normal rites. Shortly after their marriage, he travelled back to Brazil and promised his wife that he would do the rest including church wedding when he returns. Unfortunately, on his way back through Cameroon, he was caught with substances suspected to be cocaine. It was my sister who rushed down to Cameroon and spent more than a million naira to secure his bail. She suffered a lot to raise the money and was frequenting Cameroon just to facilitate the release of her husband. None of his family members helped him. He finally came back early last year.
“When he came back, my sister requested that their marriage be legalized in court or church. He was against it and my sister insisted.
I even told her to hold on till the economy improves and she agreed. ”
On the witchcraft allegation, Chukwuma said that she did it to protect herself from household enemies who wanted her dead. “They hated her and will stop at nothing to destroy her. It was her father-in-law who loved her so much that advised her to follow that part. When the issue came up in December, Ikechukwu’s father admitted that he was the one who advised my sister to seek a traditional way of securing her life. He actually gave her money for that purpose. She nearly died of stroke and several other illnesses including fibroid. At the peace meeting, he admitted that one of his children is diabolical and wanted to kill. She simply listened to her father-in-law.
“Ikechukwu’s father is still alive and can confirm what I am saying. He has been battering my sister and even the whole village knows that. Her father-in-law even asked her to stay back in the village till the matter was resolved.”
On the alleged battering, Chukwuma said that he received a distress phone call from her sister on the fateful Tuesday morning. “She told me that Ikechukwu and his friend, Polycarp beat her black and blue. I was the one who advised her to report the matter to the police in case of a repeat. I only seek justice so that my sister will rest in peace. My greatest regret is allowing her to come back to Lagos to live with him.”
Also, Chief Okonkwo, who mediated between the couple, told Saturday Sun that the late Obiageli came to his house on January 20 alleging that her husband, Ikechukwu beat her up and tore her dress. “I always sit in the living room as early as six to listen to the network news. She walked into my house bitter and showing off her torn dress. I summoned Ikechukwu who said that he was very busy. She threatened to call the police. I pleaded with her to forgive and that I would definitely talk to Ikechukwu.
“The next day being a Wednesday, I was able to bring them together to face each other. I pleaded but Ikechukwu insisted that he was done with the relationship. I advised him that before that will be the case, he had to go through the process of legally ending the marriage. Obiageli tried to beg him but he became violent and I asked her to go.
Later in the evening, I went to his house. We were still discussing when Theo called me that Obiageli was dead. I was shocked. I thank God that I did not offer her ordinary water, maybe I would have been accused of poison. It is so unfortunate”, he narrated.
Onyali’s family on the run, alleges threat to life
The Onyali’s family, whose statement led to the arrest of Ikechukwu, has gone into hiding. They alleged that the night before Chinyere was released on bail, gunmen stormed their house and carted away several valuables including phones and laptop which contained some of their evidence.
Speaking to Saturday Sun on phone, Mr. Theo Onyali said that he accepted Obiageli into his house that night because of her situation. “She was battered and needed help. It would be unfair to drive her away. My wish was that God will intervene in their marriage and reconcile them. Obiageli was a good woman but was unfortunate to fall into the hands of a wrong man.
“We only told police the truth. Initially my wife was also detained as a suspect but was later granted bail. By the time we came home that night, our house had been ransacked. We were advised to relocate as they wanted to silence us forever. We reported the matter to the police and they advised that we should stay away for the meantime. They still came back repeatedly to confirm if we were back. Is it a crime to tell the truth? Just like my wife said, she came here that night battered.”
He never touched her, Ikechukwu’s neighbours insist
Uzochukwu lives directly opposite the house which is the alleged scene of crime. He claims that he witnessed everything that transpired that night and if she was actually beaten, someone should have heard her cry. “They are holding on to an innocent man. We were all seated here when she arrived at about 11pm, their arguments drew everyone’s attention. I personally heard when he asked her to leave but she refused. Everyone in the street is aware that there was a time they found fetish things in his wife’s bag. The matter was not settled because she refused to swear. IK did not touch her that day, we all witnessed it. You can go round and ask people except those who are not at peace with him.”
Another neighbour, Mrs. Ibenalu, who shared the same fence with Ikechukwu, also insisted that the police is detaining an innocent person. “I know the history of their problem and was surprised when she returned. She told me that she wanted to take her husband by surprise and ask for his forgiveness. I even advised her to go back and come along with her people since it had not been sorted out. She refused to clear her name when the matter of witchcraft came up. We were all awake till 1am when she was forced to leave. He only asked her to leave and not beat her. Ikechukwu is innocent.”
Yet another neighbour, Mr. Okolie, who swore in the name of God, also confirmed that what happened between Ikechukwu and Obiageli was just an argument. “They are holding on to an innocent man. If they are judging that case based on what happened on the 19th, then they should release an innocent man. Maybe because of the pressure of life, she could have died of heart failure but definitely not beating.”
[Reported By Chioma Igbokwe, Saturday Sun]