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20 Feb 2018

How Lagos trader was murdered after threats from estranged husband

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a 45-year-old man, Philip Ononaku, in connection with the death of his estranged wife, Iyabo Akinpelu.

Iyabo, 48, was reportedly found dead floating on a river in Oke Eeri, off Odo Eran, in the Oworonshoki area of the  state on Friday after she was declared missing by her family the previous day.

PUNCH Metro learnt that Iyabo and Ononaku had been together for about 10 years.

However, last year, the woman packed out of the house and relocated due to alleged domestic violence.

It was gathered that Ononaku saw Iyabo with another man last Tuesday and protested. He was allegedly beaten up by the man.

He was said to have reported the assault at the Oworonshoki Police Division and Iyabo was arrested.

Our correspondent learnt that Ononaku became angry when his estranged wife was released the following day and he allegedly threatened to deal with her.

The deceased’s younger brother, Olukayode Akinpelu, said his sister had told neighbours that she was going to bed around 9pm on Wednesday, but was not found in her apartment at dawn.

He accused Ononaku of having a hand in his sister’s death.

He said, “They had lived as a couple for 10 years without a child. The man usually beat her. Two years ago, I got a call from her neighbours that her husband was beating her. I had to get the police to rescue her. They stopped living together last year.

“On Tuesday, there was a misunderstanding between them and they fought. My sister was arrested and released on Wednesday. The husband was not pleased and he threatened to deal with her.

“On Thursday morning, her neighbours didn’t see her come out. My elder sister, Christiana, went to check her in her apartment, but she was not found. We searched everywhere, but didn’t find her.

“We reported at the police station on Friday and her husband was invited. The Divisional Police Officer told him to provide her latest on Tuesday. About an hour after we left the station, I received a call that her bloated body had been found floating on the water.

“When I got there, I observed that her hands were tied. She was murdered and we suspect the man was responsible for it. She must have been drowned since Wednesday for her corpse to float on Friday.”

One of the deceased’s neighbours, who identified herself only as Deborah, said Iyabo bid them goodnight on Wednesday.

“She always came out very early, but we became suspicious around 9am on Thursday when we did not see her,” she added.

Iyabo’s younger sister, Christiana Akinpelu, told PUNCH Metro that the victim was strangled.

She said, “Her plank house was built on the waterfront in the area. I am sure she was strangled because her tongue was out and her eyes were wide open. When we saw her body, her hands were tied to the back with a rope. We want the police to bring the perpetrator to justice.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, confirmed Iyabo’s death and the arrest of her estranged husband.

He added that the case had been transferred to the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, for further investigation.

He said, “The man was arrested on the suspicion that he murdered his lover. The deceased was said to have left Philip (Ononaku) for another man. Philip protested against the turn of event and got beaten up by the new lover and his estranged lover.

“He reported a case of assault against both parties at the Oworoshoki Police Station. However, Philip threatened that he would mercilessly deal with Iyabo.

“Now that Iyabo is dead and her relation is pointing an accusing finger at Philip, detectives have been directed by the Commissioner of Police to determine if Philip actually committed the murder as alleged by the complainant or made good his threat to deal mercilessly with the deceased. The CP has directed the police at the Homicide Section, SCIID, to investigate and report their findings.”

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