EXCLUSIVE: Witness Recounts How Suspect Nearly Killed Him

The suspect, Daniel Ibeaji is second from left.

An Abuja-based businessman, Mr Ikechukwu Efulu has narrated to a Lagos High Court sitting at Tarfa Balewa Square (TBS) how Daniel Ibeaji, nearly killed him while pretending to buy his Abuja property worth N150million. Zebra News reports;

Efulu disclosed this in his testimony before Justice Yetunde Adesanya, in an ongoing trial of three defendants in the alleged murder of Chief Executive Officer of FIRMAN, Ignatius Odunukwe.

Aside Daniel Ibeaji, other defendants are Uzor Arinze and Cletus Solomon. They are standing trial on a three-count charge of conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and murder brought against them by the Lagos State government.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had on August 28, 2021 arraigned them on three counts charge for allegedly killing the businessman while pretending to buy a property from him.

However, when the matter was called yesterday, the prosecution Mr. Olayemi Shofolu told court that  his witness is present in the court and ready to go on 

Led-in-evidence, Efulu told court that he met the first defendant (Ibeaji) sometime in 2016 through an estate agent who introduced him as his client.

The fouth prosecution witness told court that, the first time he met the defendant, the defendant came with his wife, daughter and son. He noted that they discussed and agreed on the price for the property which was N150 million.

Efulu further told court that  defendant pressured him to accept Dollars but he refused and insisted on bank to bank transaction.

He said the defendant even came up with some business ideas while they were discussing and promised to introduce him to some businesses.

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The witness said the defendant told him that he would sell his Dollars and put the money in his brother’s account.

Efulu said the day the defendant was to pay for the property, he asked him to come to his house so they would go to bank.

Narrating his ordeal how he nearly lost his life in defendant house, the witness said, when he went to the defendant’s house, he was handcuffed and his legs was  chained by the defendant and two other men who are facing trial in another case in Abuja.

He told court that the defendant told him to bring N500 million before he would allow him to go.

The witness also narrated how he was rescued by the help of some automobile mechanic behind the defendant’s house who called the police after the witness had raised alarm.

He told court that they were taken to the police station in Abuja. 

He also narrated how the key to the handcuff and leg chain which the defendant used in locking him in his house helped to solve another murder case of a Bayelsa politician who was killed by same defendant while pretending to buy a property from the politician.

Earlier, in the proceeding, Mr Friday Clement, a security man and a friend of the deceased, told court how he volunteered and accompanied the police to Abuja where the third defendant (Solomon) was traced and arrested.

Clement, the third prosecution witness, said that Solomon was already in police detention in Area 10 for another offence when he was arrested.

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He said, “immediately Solomon saw that the police who came for him where from Zone 2, Lagos Command, he started shouting, that he will confess, he will confess continuously.

“He said that chief (deceased) has been appearing in his dream asking him to help his family recover his body.” Clement said arrangements was made and Solomon was flown to Lagos.

According to him, “while we were  inside the plane, I asked Solomon if he would remember where they dumped chief’s body and Solomon answered yes.”

Clement said when they landed in Lagos, police took Solomon to Zone 2 police station for further investigation.

The defendant counsel, Mr C.J. Jiakponna represented the first and second defendants while Mr A.O. Ogusanya represented the third defendant cross examined the witness.

The witness while answering questions from Jiakponna, told court court that he had worked for 20 years as a security. He noted that when he arrested a suspect as a security guard, he would hand the suspect over the police.

He, however, said that he did not make any statement at the police station because he only represented the family of the deceased by accompaning the police to Abuja.

He also said he didn’t know among the defendants who was arrested first.

After the evidence of the two witnesses, the trial judge subsequent adjourned the case to February 23, 2022 for continuation of trial.

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