When news broke out of the gruesome murder of a 22-year-old former student of Federal Government College Owerri, Lauren Onye, who was found dead in the home of her boyfriend, Navy Lieutenant, Yusuf Yahaya Abubakar, on Friday May 4, 2018, at the Nigeria Navy Barracks in Borokiri area of Port- Harcourt, Rivers State, many suspected her boyfriend was behind the murder, but they had no inkling he was equally a victim.
Two days after she was killed, some Naval Officers forced their way into her boyfriend’s apartment after they received an information from one of Onye’s friends, known as Joy, that she had been killed by her boyfriend and that her corpse was lying in his apartment.
Joy was said to have alerted the naval authorities in Rivers State that she received a text message from Onye’s boyfriend, Abubakar, who also asked her not to call him back, revealing that he killed Onye during an argument over their relationship. She added that Abubakar also said Onye demanded to be paid N3million if he knew he wasn’t going to marry her but he offered N500,000 which she rejected. Onye then reportedly became very angry, picked up a knife and stabbed him on his head while Abubakar also picked up another knife and stabbed her on the chest and she died on the spot. According to the text message sent to Joy purportedly by Abubakar, he said he fled from the barracks and was on his way out of the country.
The naval authorities felt terribly embarrassed with this report, and having found Onye’s corpse in Abubakar’s apartment, they bought the story and made an official complaint at the Borokiri Police Station. But Ababakar’s father didn’t buy the story, he suspected something more sinister and he felt his son’s life was in grave danger and he needed help. The senior Abubakar, was said to have written a petition to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, asking him to investigate the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of his son and the murder of his girlfriend.
Vanguard gathered that the IGP, promptly approved the petition and assigned his operatives at the Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to commence investigation into the matter. Vanguard gathered further that a team of IRT operatives were deployed to Borokiri in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, they visited the scene, conducted interviews around Abubakar’s neighbourhood. The operatives also visited his bank where they discovered that in spite of Joy’s story that Abubakar was leaving the country and his phone lines switched off, someone was still withdrawing money from his account.
It was further discovered that some of the withdrawals took place in Lagos while a larger part of it, took place in Benin Edo State. The operatives also found out that Abubakar wasn’t the person making the withdrawals, rather the photograph of the person caught by the cameras at the ATM machines in Lagos and Benin, had striking resemblance with Abubakar’s former houseboy, Thaddaeus Jaja, who was seen by neighbours around Abubakar’s apartment few days before the murder was discovered.
Sources also disclosed that the moment the IRT operatives discovered that Jaja was the person making the ATM withdrawals, they launched a manhunt and trailed him to hotels and night clubs in Benin but discovered that Jaja rarely slept twice in a hotel and his phone lines were always switched off.
According to a source who was involved in the investigation, “we returned to Port Harcourt and waited for him, believing he would return to Rivers State when the money he was spending got finished. Three weeks later, one of our informants spotted him in Borokiri and we got him arrested. During interrogations, he confessed killing Abubakar and his girlfriend because he was angry with him for not paying him the money Abubakar owed him. He also burnt Abubakar’s corpse in a bush to prevent anyone from linking him to the crime. He told us that he was the person who wrote and sent the text message to Joy while he went to Lagos to withdraw the money from Abubakar’s account because he wanted to create an impression that Abubakar was on the run. He further told us that he sold Abubakar’s car for N1.9million and he equally took us to the spot where he burnt Abubakar’s corpse and we recovered his bones.”
When Vanguard interviewed the suspect who is currently being detained at the Force Headquarters Abuja, he pleaded for mercy and asked to be given a second chance. He told Vanguard in a sober tone that he was overwhelmed with anger and hatred for Abubakar and his girlfriend.
“My name is Thaddaeus Jaja and I am a native of Opobo, Rivers State. I am 28-year-old and I am an electrician. I was arrested because I killed my boss, Lieutenant Yusuf Yahaya Abubakar, who was working with the Nigerian Navy and his girlfriend, Lauren Onye, in May 2018. My boss is 35 years old. I started working for my boss in the year 2016. I started by installing his DSTV dish and decoder from where we became friends and he gave me one of the keys to his house. He even asked me to be his houseboy and that he would settle me whenever I was ready to get married. I washed his clothes, cooked his meals and did all the domestic work in his house. I worked for about seven months before he met his girlfriend Lauren, who moved into his house.
“When she came in my boss stopped me from sleeping in his sitting room because his girlfriend wasn’t comfortable with my presence in the house, then I moved out of the house and I started sleeping outside until I got an apartment of my own. Sometime in September 2017, my boss got a contract of N15.7million to supply and install computers and some other technical equipment at a Girl’s Technical School in Port Harcourt. I represented him because he didn’t want people to know about it as he was still in service. I executed the contract and submitted all the documents to the Universal Basic Education office. When I asked for the money he promised me, he said he would give me all my money immediately after my wedding which was fixed for December 2017.
“Few days to my wedding, I ran out of cash and I went to him and begged him to give me part of the money he was owing me but he told me that he had no money with him and said I shouldn’t disturb him. I was left with no other option than to borrow money from people for wedding. By January 2018, I went to him again and asked for my money buy he told me bluntly that he had no money and I left him in anger while I stopped communicating with him.
“Sometime in April, 2018, he called me to come to his office at Navy Primary school Borokiri, Port Harcourt that he had a job for me and when I got there he told me that I came late that he had already given out the job to someone else. After that, I also repaired his generating set as well as other things I did for him but he didn’t pay me enough for all the work I did.
“At that point I became very angry with him and I started thinking of any evil thing I could do to him. Then, on Wednesday May 2, 2018, I went to his house while he was at work and I met his girlfriend in the house and we started chatting in a friendly manner. She then told me how my boss was making arrangements to travel to Canada with her, she told me that he bought her a new phone and also gave her N300,000 to rent an apartment because she told him that she didn’t have a house in Port Hacourt, but that wasn’t the first time my boss had given her money for apartment. He had earlier given N1500,000 to rent an apartment but she spent it on clothes. Then I teased her that if she really believed she was close to my boss, she should tell me the the pin code of his ATM card. She then told me that his service code was his ATM pin code.
“She equally took me into their room and showed me many other things my boss had bought for her. I then asked her to turn around so I could have a good look at her hair, when she did, I held her neck from behind and I strangulated her. As she was lying helplessly on the ground, I went to the kitchen, took a knife and stabbed her on the chest and she died on the spot. I took her body to the sitting room and hid it behind the three-seater chair and was thinking of how to dispose of her body. So I went and bought a small cutlass which I intended to use in dismembering her body but before I knew what was going on, my boss came back and he discovered that the rug in the sitting room was wet and he asked to mob it up for him. When he asked about his girlfriend I told him that I didn’t meet her when I came, he tried calling her but her phone was switched off. He then entered into his bed room and slept off.
“At that time, I knew there was no way I could dispose off the corpse without my boss knowing then, I decided to kill my boss also so as to end all traces to me. So, by 4am, while my boss was deep in sleep, I hit him on the head with a cutlass and covered his face with one of the pillows then I stabbed him on the chest. When I confirmed he was dead, I brought out his girlfriend’s travelling bag and dumped his corpse in it. Then, I wore his uniform, took the bag into his car and I drove off with it. If I hadn’t worn his uniform, there was no way, I would have been allowed to leave the barracks with his car. Then, I drove to a bush in Apani area of Rivers State, after I had bought fuel from a petrol station I set the corpse ablaze and took the car to Benin. I took his ATM to Lagos where I withdrew N2,500,000 from his account.
“I also wrote an sms with his phone to one of Lauren’s friends known as Joy and I made it look like my boss was the person writing her since I was using his phone. I told her that her friend was dead and she died during a fight with me over our relationship. I took advantage of some of their conversations which I had heard in the past where my boss told his girlfriend that he could not marry her because his father had found him a wife. So I told joy that I, the boss, killed her friend because she refused to accept the sum of N500,0000 which I gave her as a pay off. I told her that I stabbed her to death because she insisted on collecting N3million from me as compensation for the time she had spent with me.
“I told her friend to go to my boss’ house and retrieve Lauren’s corpse as I was on my way out of the country. I also told her that she shouldn’t call me. I later sold my boss’ car for N1.9million. Then I went into a spending spree with women, sleeping in expensive hotels and going to night clubs. After a while I discovered I had only N300,000 left and I became scared, so I went back to Port Harcourt with the intention of setting up a business. But when I got to Port Harcourt, I didn’t know how the police knew I was in town and they came and arrested me where I was. I need to let you know that I have no intention of killing my boss and his girlfriend, I killed her because she was the person who prevented my boss from paying me my money. The girl was the person who told him to send me out of his house.”