CP Idowu Owohunwa

CP Idowu Owohunwa

…Suspect locked up for four days for defilement

…He should come and collect his car -Police

…My husband should settle me -wife

…Police turned carjacking to defilement case- ACVPN

Juliana Francis

A father of four children, Mr Innocent Uchenna, has told in great detail how police personnel at State Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (SCIID), Section D10, Lagos State Police Command, traumatised, harassed and accused him of defiling his 44 years old wife, identified as Jennifer Uchenna.

Innocent, 47, said that he was shocked because what initially took him to the police was a complaint against his wife, who disappeared with his youngest child and Toyota Camry car.

He explained that he and his wife had been having marital issues after he stopped having sex her with for a year and a half.

According to him, he took the decision to stop exercising conjugal rights after he found out that she was having a series of affairs, which their eldest child, who is 20 years old, confirmed to him.

Innocent also claimed to have pictorial evidence of his wife’s chats with other men and pictures.  He further alleged that his wife used to leave home for as long as four days without telling him where she was going, “Sometimes she would return with different cars, which I didn’t buy for her.”

Jennifer would later drag her husband to Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN), alleging neglect and domestic violence.

Innocent said: “She reported to me to Advocates, alleging domestic violence and that I was not taking care of the children. She told too many lies. Our youngest child is 10, while the oldest is 20 years old. She claimed that I used to beat her and refused to carry out my responsibilities as a father and husband.

“When she wanted to start her restaurant business, I supported her financially and whenever she asked for money for housekeeping, I give her. Our case was later transferred to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. We were given 25 days to work on our marriage. After those days elapsed, we returned to the ministry, and we were given additional weeks to work on our marriage. We were still working on it when she disappeared with my Toyota Camry, a 2007 Model, and our youngest child.”

Innocent dashed to the ministry to tell the latest development and Jennifer was invited. The ministry said it could not resolve the matter and referred the couple to the Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA).

“I returned to the Advocates and then petitioned the SCIID. I had to write the petition after Jennifer deactivated the tracker on the car and made her phone remain unavailable. I also discovered during that period that one of her lovers’ named Promise was calling my children, telling them that he would take care of them. My children told me that he used to take them and their mom out,” said Innocent.

Innocent was invited to the SCIID, and his Investigating Police Officer (IPO) was one Inspector Ajanaku.

He recollected: “ I was asked to write a statement which I did and then I was asked to pay N50,000 for mobilisation fee, which I paid through a POS operator that Ajanaku directed me to. In fact, he followed me to the POS, where I collected cash and gave it to him. I was asked to go, that they would get back to me.”

He would be later invited again, told that his wife was also invited, But they all waited in vain. Jennifer did not come.

He was given another appointment and this time around Jennifer came with a lawyer, but they also came with a counter-petition, alleging domestic violence.

Innocent said: “In the petition, it was claimed that the Ministry of women affairs was looking for me because I ran away. The Police now insisted I should write another statement concerning the allegation of domestic violence. After writing, Police again said that they were charging me for defilement and that I married Jennifer when she was 16 years of age. Police insisted that Jennifer’s elder sister, who brought her to Lagos should write a statement, and she wrote Jennifer married me when she was 18 years. The truth however is that I married her when she was 21 years old and I was 25 years old.

“One Mr Ayo Yakubu, the second in command at D10 handed me over to Ajanaku again after my second petition. I was taken to the Officer in Charge of D10, CSP Margaret Ighadalo, who ordered that I should be detained for defilement. I was put in a cell on Wednesday, and on Friday, someone came for my bail. We went to see Margaret, she said we should not disturb her, that I would go to jail, and that someone was coming with the birth certificate of my wife to show her age. I was shocked at her behaviour.”

He said that on Monday, his lawyer came and he was brought out again and Ajanaku asked him to cough up N500,000 for bail. At that point, he had to call Ms. Blessing Aderemi, the Programmes Manager of ACVPN.

“We had to start negotiating and my lawyer told them that as at the time we married, there was no Child Rights Law if they wanted to pursue the defilement allegation. I married Jennifer according to customary law and her family collected all their traditional rights. We bargained from N500,000 to N60,000.”

Again, Innocent paid through the same POS Operator, but he was surprised when the money was returned to him by the police officer.

He would later hear that the co-founder of ACVPN, Ebenezer Omejalile, when told of the demand for N500,000 bail money, had immediately reached out to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), in charge of the SCIID.

The DCP had summoned D10 personnel to his office and ordered them to return Innocent’s money and grant him bail immediately.

“After my release, they invited me again; it was Margaret that attended to us. She said my car has been impounded, that it will serve as an exhibit and that her men should go to my house to snap pictures, that she would charge me for domestic violence.

“They went to my house and snap pictures of the kitchen, sitting room, bedroom, and frontal view of the house. The car has been with them now for seven months and that is since October. I really suffered at the hands of those police people and now I just want my car! I just bought the car and it’s in perfect condition, but right now, I don’t know its condition.”

Reacting to Innocent’s allegations against her Unit, Margaret explained that she deliberately impounded the car after she heard that Jennifer wanted to sell it. She stated that she did not want Jennifer even though the documents were with the lady.

She added that she had been calling Innocent to come for it, but he had refused to pick up her calls.

Also speaking on the Police’s alleged twisting of the case to defilement, she said it was Jennifer’s elder sister who told the Police that Innocent married Jennifer after he impregnated her.

She added: “We told the woman to go and bring Jennifer’s birth certificate in order to prove defilement, but she couldn’t. I remembered minuting on the case file that the defilement case was unfounded. I also minuted on the file that Innocent’s car should be released to him.”

Innocent insisted that Margaret had never called him, stressing that if she had called, he would have picked up because he did not commit any crime.

My husband should settle, says Jennifer

Jennifer also told her own side of the story. She said that it was Innocent who deflowered her, impregnated her, and then married her according to traditional rites.

She further alleged that her husband has been beaten since he married her.

She added: “My husband beats me, even while pregnant. When  I was pregnant with my second child, he beat me and I fainted. I went to the hospital.

“Anytime he beats me, he would tell me to thank God, he never wooed me, thank God he had not gone to court to wed me, that his spirit did not accept the marriage.  We kept going like that till we had four children, before this last time, there was a time he beat me, and I ran to the village. He came to the village pleaded and took us back to Lagos.”

In 2013, the couple started a health product company together and had issues when Innocent sister came to live with them. Jennifer said that Innocent slapped her in the presence of his sister, “to show that I didn’t have power over him because his family believes I am controlling him.”

According to her, she could manage their company on her own without supervision and did so when Innocent travelled to India.

She narrated: “The problem I had with him was for him to make me a signatory to the account. To cut the whole story short, between  2014 and 2015, the company went down because of his stubbornness.

“In 2016 we started life afresh with this same company, and we started looking for where to borrow money. I borrowed N2m in 2017 and gave my husband to ensure that the company started. In 2016, I met a friend with that we were working together who is into real estate, the woman said because of the nature of her job she needed a Jeep vehicle.

“We did a job, the woman gave me N2.5 million, which I gave to my husband to get a car for me. We sold that same car in 2017. He said that was the only thing we could sell to raise money to invest in the money. We sold the car for N1.7.

“I sent the money to him. After everything, I also gave him N2 million while the business was still going on. That is about N6.5 million.”

Jennifer said that as the company came afloat, Innocent said he could not work with her, and that she should go and look for another job.

She recounted that Innocent then brought in a nurse, whom she herself interviewed and they then employed her to be working in the company.

Innocent would later urge her to go for skill acquisition and she went for baking.

After acquiring the skill, “Innocent said he could not support me because the money to open a bakery was much. I have his account details and the money in his account was about N6m, but I asked for only N3.5m to start the bakery business. So that was how it all started.”

She also accused Innocent of infidelity with the nurse working in their company. She had allegedly discovered love text messages between Innocent and the nurse.

She said: “I was mad. I went to the lady; I asked her how much she wanted so I could pay her to leave my company.  She said that it was my husband that could ask her to leave. I showed her the messages, so this is it, so you and my husband have been going out together. When the lady was begging me, I recorded everything.”

She further stated: “There were pictures that I snapped in 2008, and 2009, that is what my husband is using against me. Pictures I snapped with some people, although one of my positions in the picture was wrong, and I begged him to leave the matter. He left the matter, but suddenly he is now using it against me.”

She explained that when the nurse refused to resign, she went to her husband.

She stated: “I had to involve the nurse’s husband. I asked him to tell his wife to resign from the company. The moment my husband got the information I went to see the woman’s husband to ask his wife to leave the company, and he warned me never to come around the company. I told him to settle me. He stopped giving me money, food, and anything.”

She alleged that at a point their children were hiding to give her money to eat and that Innocent was beating her too much.

She said: “I involved many people in this matter, but he didn’t listen to them to make peace. I had to beg him for us to come together for the sake of the children.

“He refused, he said he has found someone to marry that will be good for his children. He said he doesn’t want the marriage anymore. I went to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and they asked me what I wanted,  I told them that I wanted my husband back. I want peace restored in my marriage. When they invited my husband, he told them he didn’t want the marriage.

“They asked if it was true that I gave him N2.5 million he said yes. They told him to use the money to settle her and then allow me to go since he was no longer giving me food.

“Everything they told my husband to do at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs he didn’t. He bought a new car, refused to speak with me and stopped giving me food for a year plus.

“I have a shop, sometimes I will sleep in my shop because if I go home, it was one problem or the other. When the problem became too much at a point, he said I should leave the house, that I am like a sore to him, and the insult became too much.

“When I was leaving, I left with his car and my son. I asked him to settle me with the money I gave to him to put into the company. The evidence of the money I gave him is with me, then I will return the car. He went to the Ministry of Women Affairs, and those people reminded him that they had told him to settle me, and since he didn’t want the marriage, he should let me go.

“They told him that since I went with his car, the property was now involved and that he should go to the Citizen Mediation Centre to report the case. My husband didn’t go there, he never called me once that I should come let’s settle this amicably, he went to SCIID to say I stole his car and went away with his son.

“The police invited me saying that he has written a petition against me, when I got there, they tried to arrest me. Meanwhile, I have written a petition against him. I said I am not going to go ahead with it because it is a family issue, let’s see how we can settle it.

“When I got there, I narrated my side of the story, how I got married to him. I don’t even know how old I was when I got married. At the SCIID, he was arrested and put in a cell.”

Jennifer further stated that after Innocent was released, he wrote a petition against her, leading to them going to court to fight for custody of their youngest child.

She said: “I have every evidence of his beatings. I didn’t want to have problems with him. Even recently, I wanted peace, I know how many times I begged him to let us forget this issue, but he said no.

“It’s because of all the money I invested in that company that made me take his car. While we were still in court, he stopped the children from going to school. When I went to the welfare court, they judged it the way they wanted.”

What we found out during preliminary investigation – ACVPN

Omejalile, who had been following the matter, said that it was ACVPN that referred the couple to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

He said: “ACVPN played a lot of roles in ensuring Mr. Innocent was not victimised and ensured he accessed the necessary services in the true course of justice.

“It was Innocent’s wife that first contacted us and she was invited to our office so that we have a clear picture of what the situation was.

“During interaction with Jennifer, we noticed some discrepancies in her summation when we had some interactions with Mr. Innocent.

“We referred both parties to the Domestic Unit of the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) Alausa Secretariat Ikeja to conduct further investigation and inquiry while we debriefed the ministry of our findings.

“We weren’t surprised when we heard Jennifer started exhibiting a high level of irresponsibility, she became very apprehensive due to the fact she thought she could use us to oppress and illegally put Mr. Innocent in jail.

“We equally drew the attention of the OC D10 Gender and Anti-Human Trafficking, SCIID Panti through the office of the former DCP, now CP, regarding the sudden disappearance of Innocent’s Toyota car and the abduction of their last child whom Jennifer took with her.

“We got worried when we heard Jennifer was alleged to have been galivanting with the vehicle with one of her numerous boyfriends according to her husband Mr. Innocent.

“But we were very surprised the case took a new turn from a vehicle hijacked by Mr. Innocent wife into defilement from the Office of the OC Gender D10, at Panti. Mr. Innocent was locked up for four days with this unfounded allegation of defilement, and underage marriage, a marriage which took place over four decades ago. The OC Gender D10 tried to turn the case against Innocent despite the evidence presented.

“We tried to explain to the OC Gender D10, but she felt she could abuse her office privilege. We had no other option than to escalate to both Lagos State Police Command Ikeja and the Force Head Quarters before Innocent was hurriedly released unconditionally.

“Innocent claimed that he paid N60,000 for his bail through POS with an operator situated at the back of the SCIID.”

ACVPN also said it could not substantiate allegations of domestic violence against Innocent. According to the organisation, the pictorial evidence Jennifer presented was a bruised hand and nobody knew who the hand belonged to.






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