The Punch Sunday reports details of what happened between Onyinye Eze and Stephen Akpata – the killer husband… read the story below.
The family of Onyinye Eze, an employee of Globacom Nigeria Limited, allegedly murdered by her Australia returnee ‘husband’, Mr. Stephen Akpata, have described the suspect as a liar and swindler.
On August 16, 2017, Akpata, according to police records, an indigene of Delta State and popularly called Bishop because he reportedly administered a church, allegedly murdered his 33-year-old ‘wife.’
Onyinye was reportedly murdered by Akpata, who allegedly married her at a court registry in Bayelsa State a few months ago.
Police said the suspect, who had reportedly confessed to the crime, also confessed to serving various jail terms in Australia and was also involved as a witness or suspect in a certain murder case.
The police suspected that Akpata jumped bail and returned to Nigeria.
The suspect, said to have spent over 27 years in Australia, allegedly strangled his new wife with the cords of a pressing iron before stabbing her to death with a knife.
The incident was exposed when one of Onyinye’s colleagues at Glo, identified as Moses Awo, reported it at Ekeki Police Division in Yenagoa when the woman failed to report for work.
Awo had reportedly told the police that when he and another colleague visited Onyinye’s house, located behind Fido Water Company in Kpansia area of Yenagoa, they discovered that the apartment was locked, while a television was on loudly.
The authorities at Ekeki Police Divison sent some policemen to the deceased’s house. They forced the door open and found Onyinye lying dead in a pool of blood.
Akpata, the prime suspect in the murder, was later arrested by the police in Badagry, Lagos State, about two weeks after the discovery.
The elder brother and guardian of the deceased, Alex Eze, a Master Warrant Officer of the Nigerian Air Force, described Akpata as a ‘pathological liar, swindler and unrepentant criminal.’
Eze, who described Oyinye as the last child of their parents, claimed that the information Akpata supplied to the police about himself was untrue.
The distraught Eze said, “First, let me correct the impression that Akpata is 40 years old. I read some reports that the suspect is 40 years old. That is a lie. The man is in his in early 60s.
“The suspect’s daughter is between 29 and 30 years. He (Akpata) told me he stayed overseas for over 37 years. That is what he told me when he came to my house. The man is not only a liar, he is a deceiver and has a sugar-coated mouth.
“I want to tell you that the man has not given the police his actual details.”
… ‘he didn’t show up for the traditional wedding’
Who is Stephen Akpata to the family?
Reports claimed that he was married to my sister, it is not true. They only met in June 2017. So, how could he marry our sister in June? What has he done concerning the marriage to make him our sister’s husband?
We learnt that they had a registry marriage about a month or two ago.
They did not do any court marriage. I do not know what he wants to achieve with such lies.
But there are photographs of both of them on the Internet holding a court certificate. What is your response to that?
She was not married to him. The pictures might have been taken in the house and posted on the Internet to deceive people that they were married. Even the shorts he wore in one of the pictures he took with my sister was the shorts we saw inside his house stained with blood, that is with the police. I am not aware they did any court marriage.
Did the man meet your family?
He only met me as the elder brother and guardian of the lady and asked me to give him a date. I gave him August 12, 2017 to do the first introduction to the family. He did not know my mother and my mother did not know him. How could he claim he was married to my sister?
Where are you people from?
We are from Udi in Enugu State. He claimed he was married to my sister and that he killed her because of infidelity. Did he pay any bride price to claim that he was married to my sister? Is that how to marry a person? We are pure Igbo and he did not do any marriage rites.
Was he married before to any other woman?
He was married. He told me that his son was the manager of his companies based overseas. He equally claimed he had over 2,000 staff members working for him over there. That is to tell you the extent of his lies; I never knew it was a swindler I was dealing with. He told me then that he wanted the marriage ceremony to be done within three months and that by the end of September, he would like to take my sister with him to Australia. He was even asking my sister to resign from her work at Glo.
When he sought your consent to marry your sister, what did you do?
I did not object, knowing full well that my sister was a grown adult. I told him I would seek Onyinye’s consent and would not like to be a hindrance to their marriage. I gave him go-ahead with the marriage preparations. I went to the village and told my kinsmen and they gave me a date.
Then we agreed on August 12 and September 2, 2017. The August 12 was for his first visit to the family, what we call ‘knocking of door’ or introduction. The September 2 was meant for the wine-carrying ceremony. These events did not hold for no reason. On August 12, all of us including my sister (Onyinye) were in the village for the ceremonies, expecting him to come. He then called to say that he was kidnapped. My sister left the village for Bayelsa immediately. After my sister left for Bayelsa, Akpata called to tell me that he had been freed by his abductors and that he never knew Nigeria was such a bad place. He further said he had called my sister and that he was going to see her in her house in Yenagoa. He later called me that he was at home with my sister. I advised him to leave with her and come to Port Harcourt, so that the next day they would leave for Enugu in order to see my mother and other family members. He was thanking God for his release. He also thanked God for making him to see my sister, saying that my sister was God-sent to him.
To prove to me that he was truly with my sister, he enquired from me if I wanted to speak with her. I said yes, and I spoke with her. She confirmed that she was there with him and that they had agreed that they would go to Port Harcourt the following day as I advised them. I then advised him to remove his SIM card from his phone so that the kidnappers would not be able to track him with the line. He said all right.
On August 16, their lines were available in the morning. Two hours later, I called again, the two lines — his own and my sister’s own were switched off. The development made me curious. I started calling all my sister’s friends.
I became worried. Later, I was told that there was one of our town persons working with my sister in Glo office in Yenagoa. I called the man (Glo employee) and he told me my sister’s line was off. Akpata killed my sister that early morning of Wednesday, August 16. After killing her, he quietly went to the bathroom, cleaned up himself, changed his clothes and vamoosed from the house.
What did you do next?
When I called the Glo employee, he said he had sent somebody to my sister’s house but that the person met the door open and the burglary proof was locked from outside but the television was on loudly.
He said he informed a senior official of the telecom company what they observed at my sister’s apartment. Both of them went back and it was the same thing. They reported the development to the police. Meanwhile, we were communicating all this while and they were giving me situation report. They later called to inform me that I should give them permission to force the house open in company with the police. I agreed.
After sometime, I called them. They asked me whether I was her elder brother. I said yes. They said, please take heart, your sister is lying in a pool of blood.
The next day, being August 17, I came to Yenagoa and saw everything for myself. We even met his (Akpata’s) shorts and a pair of trainers he wore stained with my sister’s blood with a stick of cigarette tucked into my sister’s body. That was what happened.
Tell us more about Akpata…
The man has a daughter working at the Niger Delta University, Amassoma. His daughter’s husband also works at the NDU. The daughter’s husband is an ex-police officer.
Prior to her death, did your sister receive any kind of threat from Akpata’s family members either in Nigeria or abroad?
Yes. At a point, the daughter working at NDU sent a threat message to my sister, which she showed me on the day she left for Yenagoa. She had received the threat message earlier but hid it from us. But on that day she was leaving for Yenagoa, she told me. She said, “Brother, see the letter I received from Stephen’s daughter threatening me to stay away from her father.’’
Why was Akpata’s daughter threatening your sister?
From what I deduced from the threat message, Akpata’s daughter was against my sister’s relationship with her father. She swore that her father would not marry my sister and that her mother was still there.
What about Akpata’s wife?
We learnt that the wife was married to another man. The man (Akpata) had claimed earlier that he got his daughter out of wedlock and that he had other children overseas. He said he could no longer stay alone, claiming that the last time he had a woman in his life was in June 2012.
How would you describe your late sister?
She was the last child of my parents. She studied Philosophy at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She was 33 years. I brought her up from the beginning to the end. She stayed with me in Ikeja, Lagos. She did her National Youth Service Corps at Nigeria Emergency Management Agency.
What attributes would you miss about Onyinye?
She was a brilliant, intelligent, easy-going, quiet, kind-hearted and jovial person.
We will miss her greatly. She was the breadwinner of the family. She was taking care of many people in the family. Before she died, she placed my mother on N40,000 monthly upkeep. My mother has been crying since she died, saying her own is finished. Besides, she took the responsibility of paying tuition fees for many family members. I must say her death has created a big vacuum that we do not know how to fill it.
Are you satisfied with the police investigation?
We will pursue the matter judicially till justice is served. Her death cannot be in vain. So far, we are satisfied with what the police are doing. I also believe that since the matter has come to public consciousness, the relevant authorities will do the needful to ensure that justice is served.
Onyinye Sister’ Account As Reported by LIB
The However LIB who reached out to the sister of the deceased, Clara Uche, revealed that Faustina and Stephen met in February this year when he came for his Sim card registration at their office.
Faustina who was previously working at the Bonny Island branch of the company, was transferred to Yenogoa and so she had to relocate. When they met, he asked her out and she accepted his proposal.
The relationship was going smoothly until when he revealed his intention to marry her and take her to his base in Australia. He pressured her to resign from her work while he was reportedly working on her visa but Faustina refused because her sister whom she confides in, advised her not to resign from her work until she gets her visa. This did not go down well with Stephen who felt she was going against his will.
“He had been disturbing my sister to resign from Globacom and I was like why is he bent on you resigning. I told my sister that when the visa is ready, then you can resign your work. He wanted her to resign so that he can corner all her money and the benefits she would get when she resigns.
Sometime this year, she told him to follow her to see her people in Enugu so they can start off their wedding plans. Apparently not ready to tie the knot with her, feigned his kidnap. He called her on the phone few days to the day they were supposed to meet her family and informed her that he had been kidnapped by his daughter and her husband. When that day passed, he surfaced and apologised to her.
Stephen had always dodged her call for him to Enugu to see her parents for their introduction.
Early August, Faustina called her elder sister informing her that her fiance, Stephen, said they would be going for their court wedding on August 8th. Only one of her younger cousins was at the court wedding as her family members could not make it because the invitation was too sudden for them to travel down to her base. All this time, no member of her family had seen Stephen physically. So on August 8th, they went to the registry and got married legally.
Stephen continued to turn down her request for him to follow her to Enugu to see her people so they can begin their traditional marriage plans. This got Faustina worried so she traveled to Enugu to see her sister whom she bore her mind to and expressed all her fears. The sister advised her to back out of the marriage if she wasn’t certain about the man. Faustina also revealed to her sister that she was three months pregnant for the man. While she was in her sister’s house, Stephen called and even told the sister that Faustina was pregnant with his twins.
Faustina returned to Yenagoa and on August 15th, she told Stephen that she would walk out of their marriage if he doesn’t follow her to do their introduction. He asked her what becomes of their child and she lied to him that she had terminated the pregnancy. An argument ensued and in anger, Stephen picked up an iron and used it to hit her head. She collapsed and died. He fled from their home and ran to Lagos where he called his brother claiming he was kidnapped by some people and dropped off in Bayelsa. The elder brother of the suspect then called the sister of the deceased and they were able to track his phone to Badagry in Lagos state where he was arrested and then taken to Bayelsa state.
“On the day she was murdered, her phone rang, she didn’t pick it. My elder brother also called but she didn’t pick. At a stage, the phone was switched off. The man’s own was also switched off. On Wednesday, August 16th we were all panicking. We contacted her office and they told her she wasn’t at work and that they were also worried. We now gave them the go ahead to go to the police so they can go and check the house. When they got there, they found my sister dead. I went to Bayelsa with my brother to take the body. My sister had been getting threatening messages from the daughter of the man”.
Stephen initially denied knowledge of her murder but confessed after the family of the deceased told him they would not pursue the case against him.
Oyinye is the last child of her mother who is still alive and has been informed about the gruesome murder of her daughter.
Stephen is currently in police custody and would soon be charged to court.
-This article was originally published by PUNCH and LIB