By Esther Onyegbula  & Juliet Umeh

When residents of Aso Oke street, Seaside Estate in Badore community of Ajah, Lagos began to perceive the foul odour in their community, never did it occur to them that it was the remains of one of their neighbours, Precious Okeke.

Twenty-four-year-old Precious was alleged to have been murdered by her lover, 34-year-old Ifeanyi Maxwell Njoku. Not done, he was said to have kept the dismembered corpse in his apartment to decompose for seven days as reportedly advised by a herbalist.

Report said he was under instruction to leave the corpse in his apartment for seven days before burying it.

After allegedly committing the act,  he locked his apartment and lodged in a hotel awaiting the completion of the seven days rituals. Neighbours however discovered the corpse on the sixth day. 

Initially, tenants and residents in the community felt the stench was emanating from the waste bin area.  But when the stench became unbearable with each passing day, residents in the community became suspicious.

One of them was said to have discovered  the corpse and subsequently alerted other neighbors who called in the Police.

When our reporters  visited the community Thursday, the security guard at number 17 Aso Oke Street where the incident happened, John, revealed that the lovers  moved into the apartment last December.

According to John, “She never came out.  She was always indoors. The only time she came out of the house was when she was going out with her finance. Every night you would hear her  voice while praying between 3am and 5 am.”

Shallow grave discovered

Our reporters also spoke with one Mama Cindy, the woman who discovered  the shallow grave that gave the suspect away. The man had dug the shallow grave with an intention to bury his victime there after seven days. Mama Cindy revealed that the skinned head of the victim was dropped by a dustbin in the fenced compound.

She said: “I noticed that there was a black sack that was attracting flies and there was an offensive odour coming out of there. 

Anybody that came to my shop or passed through the street complained bitterly about the odour, so I thought it was their neighbour’s waste bin. On second thought, I felt their septic tank  was full or it was leaking.

“While I was still wondering where the offensive stench was coming from, Odogwu who lives in the same compound came to complain about the terrible odour. He said ‘Mama, this odour is coming out from my compound’. I then asked him to tell their security guard to go round. But Odogwu said he had asked him to go round several times and that  he said he did not discover anything. But I kept saying it might  be a waste in the dustbin because I always had issues with them.”

“The odour continued for days and on the fourth day which happened to be a Saturday, it became unbearable. Odogwu then told me that this odour was different from waste as it smelt like the stench that comes from the mortuary. He told me he had lived near a mortuary before.

“That night, I couldn’t sleep. My dog was barking all night, that was the night they dug the grave”.

Explaining further Mama Cindy said, “During Easter, I went to church but while in church I was feeling  uncomfortable. When I got home,  I told my daughter that I was very uncomfortable but I couldn’t explain what was wrong with me.

“Then I went to the fenced compound to check if my bananas are doing well. While I was looking around, I saw a ridge of sand and I was wondering what was planted there, so I moved closer and discovered the bag that had been outside the waste bin beside the grave.  Beside it was a towel soaked in blood which I guess was used to mop the blood.  I  concluded that they wanted to bury what had been smelling  there.

“On second thought, I said, why will they dig a normal grave? That was how I raised an alarm. I called my daughter and she shouted saying, mummy, this is a tomb. A shovel and a pair of shoes were beside it. They shaved the girl’s entire hair  out of her skull. Immediately I sent for Odogwu and when he came, he told me, mama, I have been telling you that this odour is from a corpse.

“We then called the police and the Estate Chief security officer, CSO.

“I  called my son who said, ‘mummy, let it not be what I am thinking, the girl that used to pray upstairs, if you notice for a while, we have not heard her voice since  they did that party’. The girl in question always woke  up every night to pray from 3am to 5 am. She always ended her prayer with  ‘God arise and let my enemies be scattered’ and thereafter, she would conclude with Igbo songs “

When the police came, they passed through my compound because where they were supposed to pass through was smelling.

The police then carried the bag containing the shaved hair with the skin on it and arrested all the tenants to come and write statements.”

Neighbour’s narrative 

According to Ifeanyi’s neighbour, who didn’t want to disclose his identity, “when the incident happened, nobody knew until her remains began to decompose and offensive odour started emanating from there. She was killed in the sitting room but her corpse was discovered in the kitchen where he was performing his rituals.

“He would come in the night to sleep and leave in the morning to a hotel where he stayed during the day. It was after he was arrested that he said he sold his vehicle on Sunday, a day after he killed her. The night before she was killed, they had a party where his friends came around. That Sunday, Ifeanyi left the compound around 8 am and locked everywhere..

“When they tried to reach Ifeanyi on the phone,  his phone was switched off. Fortunately, the motorbike man who dropped him in the morning when he was leaving for the hotel was the one who gave an account of his movement. The police then traced him to the hotel where he was hiding and arrested him.”

Saturday Vanguard learned that Ifeanyi transferred N100, 000 to one of his friends and requested him to come and help him bury his wife who fell in the bathroom while having a bath and died. When the friend reportedly asked him why he did not rush his wife to the hospital before she died, he did not give any reason.

Meanwhile, the man who helped him to dig the grave is currently on the run while Ifeanyi is presently being detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba, Lagos.

Disclaimer

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