How I was almost killed over my property worth N150m, by Abuja businessman

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An Abuja-based businessman, Mr Ikechukwu Efulu, on Monday, narrated to a Lagos High Court how a defendant – Daniel Ibeaji –  allegedly almost  killed him while pretending to buy his property worth N150 million.

Efulu testified  as the fourth prosecution witness in the trial of three persons charged with the murder of Chief Executive Officer of FIRMAN Generator Company, Mr Ignatius Odunukwe.

The defendants are Daniel Ibeaji, Uzor Arinze and Cletus Solomon.

They are standing trial on a three-count charge of conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and murder.

Lagos State Government had on August 28, preferred the charge  against the defendants.

The state accused the defendants of  killing Odunukwe while pretending to buy a property from him.

On Monday, Mr Olayemi Shofolu  appeared for prosecution, Mr C. J. Jiakponna represented the first and second defendants, while Mr A.O. Ogusanya represented the third defendant.

Testifying, Efulu said he met Ibeaji sometime in 2016 through an estate agent who introduced him as his client.

The witness said that the first time he met the defendant, he came with his wife, daughter and son.

He said that they discussed and agreed on the price for the property which was N150 million.

According to him, the property is located in Abuja.

Efulu said that the defendant mounted pressure on him to accept payment in dollars but he refused and insisted on a bank-to-bank transaction.

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

The witness added that the defendant told him that he would sell the dollars and make payment  in his brother’s bank account.

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

The witness said he went to the defendant’s house and nearly lost his life.

He narrated how he was allegedly handcuffed and his legs chained by the defendant and two other men facing trial in another case in Abuja.

Efulu narrated how the defendant allegedly told him to bring N500 million before he would allow him to go.

The witness said that he was rescued by some automobile mechanics behind the defendant’s house, who called the police after he raised an alarm.

He also narrated how the key to the handcuff and leg chain, which the defendant allegedly used in locking him in his house, helped to resolve a murder case involving a politician said to be killed by the same defendant while pretending to buy a property from the politician.

Earlier, Mr Friday Clement, a security guard and a friend of the deceased, gave evidence as the third prosecution witness.

Clement told the court that he volunteered and accompanied the police to Abuja, where the third defendant (Solomon) was traced and arrested.

He said that Solomon was already in police detention at Area 10 for another alleged offence when he was arrested.

The witness said that immediately Solomon saw that the policemen who came for him were from Zone 2 Command, he started shouting: “I will confess, I will confess.”

According to Clement, arrangements were made and Solomon was flown to Lagos.

The witness said that while inside the plane, he asked Solomon if he would remember where they dumped  Odunukwe’s body and Solomon said, “Yes.”

Clement said that when they landed in Lagos, the police took Solomon  for further investigations.

The witness was cross-examined by the defendant’s counsel, Jiakponna, who asked him how long he had worked as a security guard.

Clement said he had worked for 20 years.

According to him, when he  arrests a suspect, he  hands the suspect over the police.

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

He also said that he didn’t know which of the defendants was arrested first.

Justice Yetunde Adesanya adjourned the case until February 23 for continuation of trial. 

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