When a Lagos lawyer stabbed her sleeping husband to death at dawn on May 3, 2018, ripped his stomach open, sliced off his penis and placed it in his right hand, everybody wondered why an accomplished legal practitioner would commit such blood-curdling murder.
The couple got married after the deceased divorced his first wife, who had a daughter for him. The child is a student in the UK now.
Investigation has revealed the challenges that the 3-year-old childless marriage of 47-year-old Mrs Udeme Otike-Odibi and 50-year-old Mr Symphorosa Otike-Odibi had been facing for over a year.
Detectives digging into the murder case found that the couple was living together but far apart.
They also found that Udeme had a plan to bolt after the murder as she had procured a UK Visa a month ago.
The police have obtained her statement and seized her passport. They have also revisited the crime scene to conduct further search in the house, following the directives of the Lagos State commissioner of police, Mr Imohimi Edgal, who had involved Crime Scene Detectives from the homicide section of the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (SCIID), Panti, Yaba, and Forensic experts in the investigation.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of the SCIID, Mrs Yetunde Longe, who is handling the investigation told NewsmakersNG that there had been reports of domestic violence and the couple were not talking to each other for a long time, even though they were living under the same roof at Diamond Estate, in Sangotedo area of Ajah, in Lagos.
A neighbour had told the police that Symphorosa called him on phone in the night before he was murdered, complaining that the wife was threatening to kill him with a knife. The said neighbour, however, warned him to be careful. The deceased also called his mother and his younger sister complaining of threat to his life that night.
The wife, who is from Akwa Ibom State, is a well trained lawyer like her husband who allegedly hailed from Delta State.
Udeme’s LinkedIn profile also revealed that she is not just a brilliant lawyer, but a financial guru, who had worked in banks, the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) and had been a player in the Oil & Gas industry.
But investigations showed that she was not happy in her marriage and had been actively trying for a child.
The scar on her belly is a testimony to a fibroid operation she had some time ago.
Udeme has indicated on her LinkedIn page that children are uppermost among the three causes she cares about. The others are education and poverty alleviation.
Cool, calm, and collected, according to some of her friends, Udeme’s mind allegedly snapped when she suspected that her husband was having an affair.
As the relationship began to drift apart, Udeme allegedly turned into a virtual recluse, and people thought she had schooled herself in patience. Nobody suspected that the still water was running deep.
The couple’s law firm, Johnson Bryant, is at 3b, Oyewo Close, off Oje Imiavan Street, along Kudirat Abiola Way, in Ikeja, Lagos. A condolence register has been opened, but the place was deserted save for the presence of a few staff members who were still too shocked to speak much.
It was however revealed that Udeme had stopped coming to the office since last year.
With the murder of her husband, Udeme has ended her life of accomplishments as a career woman on a sad note.
Udeme attended Cardiff University/Prifysgol Caerdydd, between 2003 and 2005, for her Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree, after obtaining Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the same institution.
She had earlier bagged a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Political Science and Public Administration at University of Uyo, in her home state, after attending the Federal Government College in Minna, Niger State.
She had also attended the Nigerian Law School.
Udeme had worked in the banking and Oil & Gas industries, marketing and maintaining relationships with companies within the Oil & Gas sector of the economy; oil producing companies, oil marketing companies, and oil service companies, including Shell, Mobil, Chevron and Saipem.
She had been Head of Financial Institutions Group, marketing and maintaining relationships with companies within the financial sector of the economy; Merchant Banks, Securities Companies, Insurance Companies, Insurance Brokers, and Investment companies. She had driven growth in sound and profitable credit packages with demonstrated initiative and knowledge of the industry and competition. She had also managed and coordinated (with representative: of Citibank, Citizens Bank and FSB) the process that led to the adopted operational mode of the Central Securities Clearing System for the Nigerian Stock Exchange Direct supervision of four co-workers.
Udeme was Deputy Manager for 10 years (1991-2001) at Diamond Bank, where she was into the creation and management of risk assets by preparing credit packages and examining company financial and management accounts to ensure they met the bank’s lending criteria. She also ensured proper legal documentation was in place before disbursement of loan facilities, and she had broadened customer base of individual and corporate accounts by marketing and following up on proposals for new businesses.
She also ensured accounts remained profitable whilst maintaining customer satisfaction, and had increased volume of investment funds in line with the year’s budget among other things.
She served as Insolvency Case Officer, in London, United Kingdom, for four years administering own caseload of bankruptcies and companies in liquidation, ensuring that cases were progressed and completed within specified target times and that the Insolvency Service Quality Standards were met. She conducted initial interviews with bankrupts and directors of companies in liquidation to gather relevant information regarding assets and full extent of liabilities whilst providing them with the necessary legal information about their duties and responsibilities. She also provided accurate information to company directors, company secretaries, bankrupts, solicitors, Insolvency practitioners and other stakeholders whilst ensuring that the official data base was kept up to date.
She also made applications to the Secretary of State for the appointment of Insolvency Practitioners and processed bundles of documents for handover to them and other special regional departments, and she made decisions regarding further proceedings on bankruptcy cases relating to asset realization.
Udeme was also Principal Manager, Listing Sales and Retention at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for 10 months.