A man who was declared wanted by the police for allegedly stabbing his lover to death on Christmas day of 2015 says she was killed by robbers.
Monday Hounga, the 28-year-old Benin Republic native who allegedly killed his live-in lover, Cecilia Joseph, on December 25, 2015, in the Raji Rasaki Estate, FESTAC Town area of Lagos State, and fled to his country, has voluntarily surrendered himself to the police, saying he was not the one that murdered the 21-year-old lady but that she was killed by armed robbers.
Hounga who insisted that he and the deceased were attacked by a three-man gang on the day, also told the police that the armed men stabbed Joseph to death and also ripped open his stomach before he managed to escape.
He narrated that after he was rejected by four hospitals in Nigeria, a relative got a cab which took him to Porto Novo, Benin, where he underwent a life-saving operation and had to go against medical advice to come back to Nigria to submit himself to the police after he learnt that he had been declared wanted for murder.
The police in its statement while declaring Hounga wanted over the murder, had reported that the suspect and the victim had had a disagreement on Christmas day which culminated in a bloody fight during which the victim was stabbed to death.
The Lagos State Police Command had then contacted Interpol to assist with the arrest of the suspect, after he was said to have escaped to Benin Republic.
The police later released a statement saying it had arrested a woman, Taiye Ganiyu, and one Sodjinou Singbo, for aiding Hounga's escape. However, the suspect surrendered himself to the police in Benin Republic on January 1, 2016, and was transferred to the FESTAC Police Division the next day while the matter was immediately transferred to the State Department of Criminal Investigation (SDCI), Panti, Yaba.
Hounga, an iron bender, told the police that he had never engaged in a fight with the deceased while they were living together.
“We have known each other for more than 10 years now. We met while in the primary school. Although we attended different primary schools, we usually met during inter-house competitions and that was when we started dating.
I rented the apartment where we lived and we had been living together for more than one year. We would have been married, but her parents said she should get pregnant for me first.
On December 25, around 12.30am, while we were both asleep, she (Cecelia) suddenly shouted, ‘Monday, help me.’
As I opened my eyes, I woke up to see a gun pointed at my head. The intruders were three, but only one carried a gun. He said if I shouted, he would blast my head off.
They stabbed me in the hand and in the wrist when I tried to struggle with them. They later stabbed me in the stomach. I forced myself to pull out the knife from my stomach. When I checked Cecelia, she was dead.”
He further said the landlord of the house and a few other people later arrived and put him in a tricycle which took him to a nearby hospital where he was rejected. He said he was also taken to the FESTAC Police Station, where he was issued a police report to enable him get quick treatment.
However, around 4am, after being rejected at a general hospital and two other places, a relative was said to have suggested that he should be taken to the Porto Novo Hospital in Benin. The doctors at the hospital were said to have operated on him, before placing him on admission.
“I was on admission when I heard in the news that I killed Cecelia. Here was somebody I loved so much and would many times kneel to beg whenever we had issues. Why would I kill her?
She once left me after she was impregnated by another man, whom she claimed her family supported. After a few years with the man, she returned to me after two stillbirths for the said man.
She came back in 2014 and because of the love I had for her, I accepted her. Despite what happened, I have not stopped loving her and if I get out of this case, I don’t think I will ever love any woman like I loved her.”
But the late woman's elder sister, Titilayo Joseph, denied that Hounga and Cecelia lived together, saying that her sister was staying with her in Mazamaza.
“Cece (Cecelia) lived with me and not him. She would go to work in the morning and return home at evening.
I called her on December 24 to know why she was not at home and she said the Yuletide season had kept her busy at work.
On December 25, she came home to pick something and my neighbours said they saw her. I was sick and couldn’t go out.
I was at home on December 26 when I received a call that she had a fight with her boyfriend and he had stabbed her to death.
He claimed they were attacked by robbers; were they the only one living in that compound? Why was she the only one that was stabbed to death? Why didn’t he raise the alarm?”
The Deputy Police Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Command, ASP Aliyu Giwa, confirmed the arrest, saying the police would get to the roots of the case and give justice to the deceased.