I Didn’t Kill, Dump My Wife’s Corpse In River, Electrician Tells Court
By Benedict Sunday
A 49 year old electrician, Ismaila Salau, who was arraigned on Tuesday before the Lagos State High court in Igbosere for allegedly killing his wife, Silifat Yakubu, by hitting her head with a pestle and later dumping her corpse in a stream has denied the allegations.
Salau, who is standing trial before the court on a one count charge of murder brought against him by the Lagos State government, told the court that he was not at home on the day of the incident.
The accused person, who was testifying in his own defence, said that on the day of the incident he had left home around 6am and did not returned till the following day at about 4am.
The Lagos State Prosecuting counsel Jubril Kareem, had told the court that Salau, who was first arraigned before the court in 2015, committed the offence on October 3, 2014, at about 11pm, at 18, Igbele village, in Araromi community of Badagry, Lagos State.
Kareem also maintained that the offence is contrary and punishable under section 221, Criminal law of Lagos State 2015.
The accused person, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and he was remanded in prison custody by the court.
In his defence on Tuesday, Salau told the trial judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye that he ran an errand for one of his friends on the day of the incident and that on his way back, he encountered traffic which stretched into the early hours of the morning.
He further stated that he also had a problem with the bus he was driving, which sank into the drainage system as there was heavy down pour on the day.
He also claimed that the deceased had told him earlier in the day that she was going to visit her mother, along with their three children, since it was during Sala festival.
The accused person, who was led in evidence by his counsel A. A Babalola, said that, “At about 10 am, my wife called me and I asked her if they had gotten to her mother’s place, she said no that they were still on their way, so I asked her to inform me once they get there and at 11 am, she called back to inform me that they were already there.
“After my wife got to her mother’s place she called me and asked me to speak with her mother and by 8pm, she called and informed me that she was still at her mother’s place, and that she wants to stay a bit longer before leaving for home, so I said ok.
“Before I got to Igbele, it was 1 am, and it rained heavily, till the next morning, while I was going I did not know that there was a gutter close by because the whole place was flooded and the bus sank in to the gutter. I then went to my wife’s elder brother’s place and told him what happened so he offered to help me pull out the bus from the gutter,
“So by the time we succeeded in pulling out the bus, it was already 4am, so I went home and opened the door since it was locked, at about 5:30am, I called my wife’s number it was switched off, then I waited and after sometime I called my first child who told me that his mother left the previous night around 8pm and has not returned, then I called my mother-in-law and she also confirmed what my first child said.
“On October 4, which was a Saturday, we were having meeting because that day was an environmental sanitation day, and while there, they asked me if I have heard what happened, that they saw a pregnant drowned woman in the stream and she was already dead, and they added that the Baale in our community has gone to report the incident at the police station.
“I then told the Baale that my wife was missing so he asked me and my wife’s elder brother to go to the Badagry general hospital, when we got there, they took us to the mortuary, and they showed me a corpse they had brought the previous day, but I couldn’t identify the corpse, when I saw it, I was terrified and said this is not my wife, until the next day when I and my wife’s friends went back there before I was able to identify the corpse”.
During cross examination by the prosecuting counsel, Kareem, the witness who said he has been married for 20 years, said he did not make a report to the police about his missing wife, but that he told the Baale of the community.
When the statement, made by Salau who is from Kwara State and only went to primary School, at State Criminal Investigation Department, (SCID), Yaba, Panti, Lagos, was read to him, he denied it.
In the statement, Salau, said “my wife said I should leave her alone that she can go to anywhere she likes, when I stood up, she asked me if I wanted to beat her up?, I said if I beat you, what will happen? I then slapped her and she took pestle and mortal, and hit it on my head. Then I also hit her head with the pestle and started beating her and she fainted,
‘’I poured water on her but she did not wake up, so I now tied rope on her and dragged her to a nearby river, because I already knew that she was dead.”
Consequently Justice Ipaye adjourned the case till April 9, for continuation of trial.