According to the police officer, the lawyer, Udeme Otike-Odibi, confessed to killing her husband after allegedly stabbing him to death. Forty-eight-year-old Udeme stood for trial for the murder of her husband, Symphorosa Otike-Odibi, to death at their residence on Diamond Estate, Sangotedo, Lagos State.
Udeme was also alleged to have mutilated the corpse of her husband after killing him. The offences were said to contravene sections 165 (b) and 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015. At the proceedings, Bamidele, the final prosecution witness, while being led in evidence by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Titilayo Shitta-Bay, said he was the head of the team that investigated the killing and that he personally recorded the defendant’s statement.
He noted that the second time he met Udeme, she was in protective custody at a police hospital in Ikeja after she had been moved from the Safeway Hospital in Lekki, adding that it was during an interactive session at the hospital that Udeme wrote a detailed confessional statement.
He said the defendant was recuperating from what one of the doctors attending to her described as “superficial and self-inflicted wounds,” adding that she spoke freely after identifying herself as a lawyer.
Bamidele stated, “While she was writing her statement, it was an interactive session. I put questions to her; she would explain the answers to me and put them down in writing. She stated in her statement that she was married to the late Symphorosa and that they had marital issues.
“She stated that the deceased was having extramarital affairs and that whenever she raised the issue with him, his responses were not satisfactory and he appeared nonchalant. She also said in the statement that on May 2, 2018, when she was preparing to travel to the United Kingdom, she checked the bedside locker for her marriage certificate but she could not find it and when she went to the deceased on the bed and asked him about it, there was no response.
She had a discussion with him and there was a hot exchange of words, which made her to go to the kitchen and get a frying pan and knife. When she returned to where the deceased was, she hit him on the head with the frying pan and said: ‘Tell me, what is in your mind that you are withholding.’
The deceased called his mother to report her conduct. She continued to hit the deceased on the head again and again. Finally, she confirmed that she used the knife to stab the deceased in his abdomen.
She also said that while the deceased was lying on his back, she was still angry. She sat beside him, looking at his intestines coming out and said: ‘If this your penis is the one that is giving you the licence not to have the feeling for another person, it’s better we cut it off,’ and she proceeded to do so with the same knife she used in stabbing him, and hung a piece of the penis in his right hand.”
Bamidele further told the court that after the incident, Udeme sent her close friend, Maureen Offor, a WhatsApp message which read: “I have done something terrible.” He added that further investigation showed that she sent two other WhatsApp messages to the husband of the deceased’s younger sister, Charles Akpoguma, which read: “Just pray for us. May God forgive,” and to her mother in Calabar the same night, stating,“Sorry mum, we engaged in a fight.”
Shitta-Bay also tendered through Bamidele several exhibits recovered from the defendant. The exhibits included a big shiny frying pan allegedly used by the defendant on the deceased; a blood-covered kitchen knife allegedly used in killing Symphorosa; a bloodstained pen; four phones, two of which were bloodstained; and Udeme’s Nigerian and British passports.
When Shitta-Bay sought to tender the two statements allegedly made to the police by Udeme, her counsel, Olusegun Banjoko, opposed her.
Banjoko, after showing the statements to his client, prayed the court not to admit them, on the grounds that they were made without her lawyer being present as required by law.
Justice Akintoye adjourned the matter to consider the admissibility of the statements in a trial within trial.