A 33-year-old lady, Ms. Faustina Onyinye Eze, an employee of Globacom Nigeria Limited has allegedly been killed by her Australia-returnee husband, Stephen Akpata.
The couple, according to reports, got married a few months ago at a court registry in Bayelsa State.
According to the police, the suspect, who had reportedly confessed to the crime, had also confessed to serving various jail terms in Australia and was also involved as a witness or suspect in a certain murder case.
They suspected that Mr. Akpata, from Isoko, Delta State, probably jumped bail, after which he returned to Nigeria.
It was gathered that on August 16, 2017, Akpata who claimed in a statement that he was 40 years old and popularly called Bishop because he reportedly pastored a church, allegedly murdered his wife, a native of Obinagu in Udi, Enugu state, in her Yenagoa residence.
Police could not believe Mr. Stephen Akpata’s age as he also claimed that he had spent 27 years in Australia, meaning that he went there when he was 13 years-old.
Bayelsa state Commissioner of Police, Asuquo Amba, said the suspect strangled his new wife with the cords of a pressing iron before stabbing her to death with a knife.
The incident was reportedly exposed when one of Onyinye’s colleagues at Glo, identified as Moses Awo, allegedly reported it at Ekeki Police Division in Yenagoa when the woman failed to show up for work as expected.
Awo had reportedly told the police that when he and another colleague visited Onyinye’s house, located behind Fido Water Company in Kpansia area of Yenagoa, they discovered that the apartment was locked, while a television was on and broadcasting loudly.
Some police officers from Ekeki Police Division in Yenagoa went to the deceased’s apartment and forced her door open. They found Onyinye dead in a pool of her own blood.
The state police boss said Mr. Akpata was the prime suspect in the murder. He was arrested by police in Badagry, Lagos State, after about two weeks on his trail.
Parading the suspect on Thursday at the state command’s headquarters, Mr. Amba said that his operatives discovered that the deceased room was scattered.
He mentioned the exhibits recovered at the scene of the crime, all stained with blood, to include a knicker; a pair of canvas shoes, one damaged electric iron, one jean jacket, one pen knife, one pink singlet, a Nokia mobile phone and a damaged wristwatch.
The police chief said the body of the victim was removed and deposited at the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, for autopsy.
Narrating how the suspect was arrested, Mr. Amba said that discreet investigations revealed that the suspect absconded to Ghana after allegedly committing the murder in Yenagoa.
The commissioner, who said the suspect returned to Badagry, Lagos a few days after, added that Stephen Akpata was tracked and arrested in Badagry on September 1 and brought to Bayelsa the same day.
“When our operatives went into the apartment of the deceased, we meticulously searched the environment and we saw a three-quarter knicker that was well hidden, tucked somewhere in the room that one would not suspect that something was hidden there.
“We discovered there was a blood stain on the knicker. By this time, we tried to find out who was with the lady because we knew that they had just contracted a registry marriage.
“We got in touch with Akpata who is the purported husband. He gave us the impression that he was out of town, implying that he travelled out of town before the incident.
“So, we were still communicating with him, at least to break the news to him that his purported wife was dead. He told us he was on his way back and this took us some days.
“As we were communicating with him, he was just giving us the impression that he was coming back, not knowing that he was plotting his own escape.
“We found out that prior to that time of her murder, the suspect had spent so much money on the lady and they were moving from one hotel to another.
“Still, we were playing along with him to enable him to come to us. But since he said he was in Lagos, we suspected that Ghana or Republic of Benin would be a likely point of escape.
“We got in touch with the embassies there and the Ghanaian Embassy was on the alert. From our radar, we found out that he slept in Ghana.
“He escaped back to Badagry in Lagos. He did not know we were still following him up. We got in touch with the police in Badagry. Eventually he was arrested at the Badagry border. So, we brought him back.”
Continuing, Mr. Amba said: “When we arrested him, we brought him here. After much interrogation, he agreed that he actually killed the lady. He said the lady (Onyinye) attacked him because of a certain text messages he saw on her phone.
“He has been staying in Australia for a very long time. He claimed to be a Bishop; he mentioned some few churches. We also knew that he was involved in a case that had to do with murder, either as a witness or a suspect.
“We have also seen pictures of him in and out of prisons in Australia. They show that he must have jumped bail because of certain criminal matters in Australia.”
The police commissioner said Stephen Akpata had confessed to serving various jail terms in Australian prisons such as Mount Gambier Prison between September 2008 and August 2009; and also in Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre, Melbourne, among others.
He assured that the suspect would be charged to court while the case would be diligently prosecuted as soon as investigations were concluded.