An Ikeja, Lagos State High Court on Thursday sentenced a businessman, Suleiman Olalekan, to death by hanging for killing his 22-year-old wife, Chika Egbo, by bathing her with acid.
Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo sentenced Olalekan to death after finding him guilty of a two-count charge of murder and grievous bodily harm.
Lawal-Akapo, while pronouncing the sentence, said: “The defendant is found guilty of murder, the defendant, Suleiman Olalekan, will be hanged by the neck until you are dead.
“May the Lord have mercy on your soul.”
Olalekan, a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ibadan, bowed his head and remained expressionless when the sentence was pronounced on him before a crowded courtroom.
Olalekan’s trial started at the High Court on December 9, 2014.
During the trial, the prosecution, led by Adeniji Kazeem, the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, said Olalekan committed the offence on November 5, 2012.
Kazeem said: “The accused at 1.35pm on the said day at Bakare Street, Ikotun, a Lagos suburb, allegedly caused the death of Chika Egbo by bathing her with acid.
“He also caused the grievous bodily harm of one Mr. Sunny Daniel, a commercial motorcyclist.”
According to the prosecution, the convict and the deceased got married and had a daughter, who is currently four years old.
Kazeem said: “The accused and the deceased were having problems in their relationship; the accused lured the deceased who had moved to Enugu back to Lagos under the guise that he wanted her to visit his mother.
“When she came to Lagos, he and the deceased hailed a commercial motorcycle, which was to convey them to his mother’s house.
“While the motorcycle was on motion, the accused brought out a container of acid and poured it on Egbo’s head.”
According to the prosecution, Suleiman was caught while trying to flee the crime scene by passers-by and sympathisers.
Kazeem added: “The attack left Egbo’s head badly disfigured and unrecognisable as well as leaving severe burns on her shoulders, breasts and private parts.
“Daniel, the commercial motorcyclist, was also grievously injured during the attack and almost lost an eye.
“Egbo succumbed to her injuries at the Burns Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) on December 20, 2014.”
The offence contravened Sections 221 and 243 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
Suleiman, who pleaded not guilty during the trial on November 24, 2016, said that Egbo got doused in acid during a scuffle between him and her lover at a hotel room.
He said: “On November 5, 2012, a friend informed me that Chika was in a hotel room with a lover.
“I went to the hotel and knocked on the door and Chika opened the door and a man called Emeka was lying on the bed in the room.
“A scuffle broke out between me and Emeka; Chika and Emeka brought out acid to pour on me but Chika was injured in the acid attack.
“Daniel, the motorcyclist, was injured while conveying Chika to the hospital.”
But Justice Lawal-Akapo, while pronouncing the verdict, debunked Suleiman’s claims.
The Judge said: “I closely watched the demeanour of the accused while he gave his evidence, he was panting and fidgeting.
“I believe his testimony was filled with falsehood.
“I believe he poured the acid on the deceased, which led to her death and the three ingredients of murder have been established.
“The defendant put up the defence of provocation and strenuously admitted it in his defence.
“However, in his statement to the police when the incident was still fresh in his memory, he did not raise the issue of provocation.
“In his confessional statement, he admitted that a battery charger sold the acid to him for N1,500 after he told the battery charger that he needed the acid for an experiment.
“A scenario of provocation did not arise while they were in motion on the motorcycle.
“He also did not bring up the defence of provocation during his oral testimony.”