By Emma Nnadozie
Residents of Oke-Afa area in Lagos State were jolted in December 2014, after the body of a 35-year-old housewife, Martha Ifeoma Ifewulu was discovered at her house in a pool of her blood. The mother of four and wife of Chief Lawrence Ugochukwu Ifewulu, 52, was murdered by an unknown person few hours before her children arrived from school. Reports said the children came home only to find their mother in a pool of her own blood, which flowed freely down the staircase.
On closer examination, it was discovered that the silky-soft skin of her throat was hideously slashed with a knife like that of a goat.
The distraught husband later said he received a distress call about 3pm from one of his tenants , crying and telling him to leave whatever he was doing and rush home . According to him, “I could not even drive. Getting home, I could not imagine what I saw. I was told that when the children came back from school about 3.30pm and opened the door to the staircase, they saw blood flowing down from the staircase. One of my girls tried to go upstairs and that was when she discovered my wife’s corpse and then raised the alarm.
When asked if his late wife had ever reported any case of harassment or disagreement between her and any one, the bereaved husband reportedly simply retorted: “Hmm! I will like to hold on for now till a later time……let me just hold on for now”.
Surprisingly, the husband later was reported to have alleged that one Collins should be held responsible for the death of his wife. The grieving husband also alleged that the wife might have been killed to prevent her from divulging their plans to kill him, dispose off his assets and elope to Canada with his children.
Since then, it was gathered that police detectives at the State Criminal Investigations Department, SCID, Panti, Yaba, Lagos, have spread their dragnets in search of the fleeing suspected killer of the housewife.
A shocker then came early January, 2015, when a call from an unknown telephone number was received by this reporter. The caller who was sounding as if he was in a hurry asked if he was speaking with Emma Nnaedozie of Vanguard and I corrected him by saying my name is Emma Nnadozie. He apologised and went ahead to introduce himself as Collins Nwafor, the one that police were suspecting to be the killer of a housewife at Oke-Afa, Lagos.
Trepidation overwhelmed this reporter after remembering the grisly manner the said housewife was killed and wondering why he called him. The caller continued: “I got your number from Saturday Vanguard , Crime Guard page and I decided to call you. Can I meet you anywhere of your choice.? I asked why and he continued: “I would like to give you all the details about the woman that was killed.
The Police are frantically looking for me and I was reliably told that they have been paid to kill me if I show up. I am afraid of my life and I decided to cry out before they succeed in locating my hideout. I did not kill the woman but I will tell you the people I am suspecting killed her.”
After this brief explanation, we fixed appointment outside Lagos because he refused to show up anywhere in Lagos. We ended up meeting outside Lagos where he narrated his stomach-churning story.
“I am Collins Nwafor ,39, from Umuawulu in Awka South L.G.A, Anambra State. I read Marketing at the IMT, Enugu. I left school in 1999 and served in Edo State in 2010. After that, I proceeded to Port-Harcourt where I started life as a clearing agent with Chapman Resources.
From there, I went to South Africa where I stayed for about four years dealing on telephone accessories. I came back to Nigeria in 2011 and later proceeded to Europe, Germany and Norway where I spent about two years. I came back in September 2012.
HOW I MET HER
On June 13, 2013, I met Mrs. Ifeoma Ifewulu at her shop in Ago Palaace Way, Lagos. I was passing through the Mall on that street, I saw people promoting their goods in the shop and both of us watched them after which we exchanged numbers.
From there, we started exchanging calls and we became intimate friends. The first time we made love was in her car, a green Honda Baby Boy, after she dropped me in front of my house. We were there till 12 midnight and I asked if she was married but she did not reply. Later, she spent a weekend with me and when I insisted on knowing her marital status, she told me that her husband is a big man but she wanted to feel good.
She said she needed company and that she had two boys and two girls. From then, our love blossomed. After sometime, she told me that her husband’s birthday was in August, I advised her how to commemorate it with him, buy food and take the kids to his office as a surprise which she did and she later told me that her husband appreciated it. We continued our relationship till December when she even spent the Christmas with me after the husband bought a Toyota Corolla for her.
We stayed behind from December 29th 2013 after the husband travelled till January 5th, 2014. We were in my house at Isolo, few meters away from her matrimonial home at the same Oke-Afa. We kept on meeting and enjoying ourselves till the middle of the year when I discovered that she was also a lesbian. I was able to know this through the attitude of her friends who visit her in her shop.
Even when they go to parties, they kiss and romance themselves openly. I also discovered that she has many other boyfriends. My investigation showed that I was the fourth in the series of boyfriends she had. Nevertheless, we continued our relationship till April when her mother died.
We organized the burial programme including how to buy expensive lace materials for well- to- do men that would attend the burial.”
So you discovered that they used to keep girls in the shop? “They are lesbians and the way she went with men, she was sleeping with men. I was the fourth boy friend she had going by what she told me. So from January 14th, February, March, we started dating and by April or so, the mother died and we planned to buy some clothes to give to twenty different men for them to attend the mother’s burial which we did.
VISIT TO WEALTHY CLEARING AGENT
So, when she got to the office of this wealthy Clearing and Forwarding Agent (name withheld), she whispered to me that the man has been toasting her for the past 13 years and had also tried to rape her in her house in two to three occasions but failed. When we met the agent, he told her that if she wanted him to come for the burial, she should come to the hotel and make love to him. After all said and done, the burial was fixed for June.
MY RELATIONSHIP WITH THE AGENT
At this juncture, I would like to tell you my relationship with the wealthy agent. When I came back from Europe in September 2012, I met him in July 2013, he told me that since I was in the country, he would be giving me containers for me to be clearing, that we should be doing something together. If he wanted to travel, he would call me and I would go with him and act like his personal assistant.
So by December, he gave me fifty thousand naira to travel with him. I protested that the money was too meagre going by the fact that he just bought a car worth thirty something million naira. In anger, he travelled without me. I ended up spending the Xmas with Mrs. Ifewulu who stayed behind after her husband travelled on December 29th, 2014. We stayed together from that 29th to 5th of January when the husband came back and brought her sick mother back to Lagos. Later, her mother died in March. While she was sick, I used to visit her in Awka with Mrs. Ifewulu.
We always stayed in a hotel at Asaba, Delta state. They buried the woman on June 7th. We went for her burial. When we got there, the wealthy clearing agent noticed the intimacy between me and Mrs. Ifewulu and he was visibly angry with me. Later, he even accosted me and asked me why I should be “eating the food that belonged to the masters”.
BLOOD IN THE PALACE
A very ugly incident took place after we attended the burial.
When we later retired to the wealthy agent’s home at Umuawulu, Awka, Anambra State, he wanted me to escort him to a relation’s home nearby. But I refused, claiming that I was tired. Few minutes after he stepped out, the gate man announced the presence of two women who wanted to see him. I thought that he was back and quickly climbed the stairs to his apartment. And after I called several times without response, I even stepped into a container filled with blood and two egg-like objects beside it.
In shock, I quickly left the room and as I was descending the stairs, I saw him climbing up. When he saw me he asked whether I entered his bathroom but I quickly denied. He then furiously left me. The following morning when we were all supposed to fly back to Lagos together, he said I should rather go with his driver by road.
ACCIDENT ON THE HIGHWAY
Unfortunately, as we were getting into Edo State, we had an accident that got two of us trapped inside the vehicle. When sympathizers came to rescue us, they called him on my phone to inform him about our plight but they were all shocked when he asked them whether I was alive and after they told him yes, he switched off his phone.
It was Mrs. Ifewulu who later called and she came and took us to the hospital. She even paid the bills but the wealthy forwarder did not care about us until after we were discharged and returned to Lagos. He offered me N30,000.00 which I refused.
That signalled the cold war between us and after sometime, I also started feeling guilty over my relationship with Mrs. Ifewulu because things were not moving fine with me. I summoned courage and called her on phone to break the news, that I was no longer interested in the relationship. On hearing this, she turned off the phone and told me she was coming.
She later came and started pleading that I should remember that we have gone very far in the affair, that I am the only man she has fallen deeply in love with, that her relationships before we met did not exceed 2-3 months, that I was the fourth boy friend she was having. I told her no, that I didn’t have something doing, that I was a young man not married. I told her I wanted to be focussed; I wanted to know what I was doing. I never knew she was a bisexual and they have strong cult group at Jakande Estate and I have been there with her for one or two parties.
REV. FATHER TO THE RESCUE
After this, her friends were rebuking me for stopping the affair. The pressure was so much and I had to go to a Reverend Father at SS Peter and Paul Catholic church, Oke- Afo. I confessed to him by telling him all about my relationship with the woman. The Reverend father was shocked and immediately demanded for her number which I released to him.
He invited the coupld, the husband was wearing a basket ball short and singlet outside the church and was drinking bottled water, the wife was putting on a black skirt and a red top. The Rev. Father started asking her about me, the lady denied. The father then came out to call me into his office. I followed him and when Mrs. Ifewulu saw me, she stood up to leave, and then the reverend held her at the door and told her to sit and said, you told me you didn’t know this man.
She sat down, and then I knelt down and started crying and pleading that I didn’t know what happened, that I was not interested any more and that we should all be left alone, we would just be friends.
HER FRIENDS ALSO…
She then told the Reverend Father that she has heard and she opened the door and left. The Father told me not to worry and gave me his number assuring that he would look into this matter. When she continued pestering me to continue with the relationship, I went to some of her friends to plead for their intervention. I also went to other churches where she attended.
I met two of her friends and invited them to an eatery at Isolo. When they came, I told them everything and they assured that they would intervene. I also talked to one of her bosom friends called Isioma, she took me to see their General Overseer where I also confessed. After that, the Overseer advised me to relocate from Lagos. I insisted that I would not run away from Lagos because of a married woman.
THEN, HER HUSBAND
It was at this stage that I decided to call the husband and intimate him with our affair. While the relationship was going on, she willingly gave me her husband’s number and those of her children. Her children and her house help all knew me. They called me Uncle Collins. But the husband and his sister who work in Lagos Island did not know me before then. I confessed to her husband but now I had known Christ; that I was no longer interested and that his wife was into women and drug trafficking.
Later, the husband called me on phone and asked me to give him instances so that when he would confront her she would not deny it. I then told the husband so many things. The man said ok. The man called after some days and said his wife denied it. Then I told him to call one Aaron, that he should call their elder sister that was at Alaba and also call the girl’s brother, Ifeanyi and one other person. I also maintained I would come but he must guarantee me of my protection. He agreed. By Sunday, he called to say that his wife had agreed.
After some days, the man called to say that his wife told him that bot of us wanted to kill him. I then told him that if I had such plan, I would have executed it long ago because I had unrestrained access to him and his house. And that I would not have confessed to him and even informed him including men of God to help intervene. In fact, I told him a lot of intimate things about his family which an outsider should not ordinarily know including how the wife slept with the man that is making his business boom. I also told him that the wife carried out abortion twice.
At this stage, he told me to forgive him and that I should keep the whole story secret. After some days, he called me and said that his wife gave me a phone, then I told him yes your wife did but I misplaced the phone. He kept telling me to forgive and forget everything that I shouldn’t tell anyone. He also intimated me that he had strong suspicion that the wealthy Clearing and Forwarding agent was into a relationship with his wife but that she was denying it.
After that encounter, I decided to go for deliverance. I was directed to Okpoko in Onitsha at Ezenwanyi’s place. They charged me N18,000.00 after which I was taken to a river for the cleansing. Afterwards, I came back to Lagos and went to the General Overseer who also invited her and advised her to leave me alone, that we should just be friends. But she refused.
HOW I HEARD NEWS OF HER DEATH
Then, on December 1st, 2014, I went to Apapa with my friend to get something and on coming back, I got a call at around past 9pm from her born- again friend. she asked me if I heard anything from my side or Ify’s side, I told her no, she hung up. At about 11:30, she called and told me to pack out from my place, that Ify has been killed. I was shocked. She called me at 12 midnight again and asked me to leave my house, I left with one shirt to stay at my friend’s place.
The next morning I came back to my house, although my friend warned me not to go to my place, I was at my place with the people that came to look for me when four police men and the woman’s house help came asking my neighbour about me. My neighbour told them that he had not seen me for the past two days.
POLICE STEP IN
While I was meeting with my people in Lagos over the issue, I was reliably informed that the wealthy agent had gone to the police to allege that I was the killer and that I sold human parts. Later, detectives numbering over 20 invaded my house and harassed every body on sight. They later met the caretaker who called me on phone and I narrated my side of the story.
It was later I got to know that both the caretaker and the policemen listened to my story and after that, one of the policemen confided in the caretaker that I should not show my face because they have been asked to kill me immediately they arrest me. I learnt also that the policemen went to all the places I mentioned including meeting with the Reverend Father and they all confirmed that I opened up to them about the affair.
One of the detectives even called to inform me that I should not show up else they would kill me. That was why I decided to go into hiding.
ATTEMPTS TO IMPLICATE ME
Since then, two people have been going round, telling people that I killed the woman.
The wealthy agent and another person (name withheld) have gone to my people in Lagos and I was invited to the village. After I narrated my story to all the influential men in my village, they took me to a shrine where I was made to swear to an oath. That proved my innocence.
After this, I called the investigators at Panti and told them that my relationship with the woman ended since September last year, that I was innocent of the allegations against me, that they should either hold(name withheld) or the wealthy agent responsible for her death.
HER SUSPECTED KILLER (S)
I believe one or both of them know what happened to the woman. This may be because of my confession and in anger, he may have killed her. Secondly, I disagreed with the wealthy agent because of the ritual blood I saw in his country home. This man has been associated with many strange and mysterious deaths. He may have done it because he was aware I was no longer with her and he believed if he killed her, people would put the blame on me.
So, while in the hideout, I read crime page in Vanguard and saw your number. This is my story and I decided to open up because I know that if police eventually arrest me, they may not allow justice to prevail. I suspect that they have been paid to kill me in order to cover up the crime. The only option left for me now is either to keep on hiding or for somebody to arrange for me to go into protective custody where I will be assured that nothing will happen to me and I will quickly show up and tell the whole truth.”
THE DRUG BIZ
This drug business, to what extent were you involved and did you make effort to help her out of it? “She usually told me, but I kept telling her that I was not interested in that kind of business. So, she stopped talking to me about that but I knew she did it and also did pimping too.
Sometimes I accompanied her and the girls she organised to see men for sexual purposes and she would get paid. She passed the girls to wealthy men. They met at various places and after wards she would be paid.
FEELING ABOUT HER DEATH
How do you feel now that your former lover has died in so gruesome a manner? “Hmmmm, I feel hurt. No matter what I say, she was a very good and generous woman. In fact, it was after her death that I realised that a dead person has no power. Once you are dead, it is all over. If not, I wonder why such a good woman cannot rise up and not only expose her killers but take revenge. I leave everything to God, the truth will be revealed.