●Nigerian’s business, home
destroyed in Togo over murder committed by another
●FG should help retrieve my money from Togolese govt, he pleads
By Vincent Kalu
Christian Ugochukwu Nnadozie, a Nigerian businessman based in Lome, Togo, is lucky to be alive. He narrowly escaped death in the hands of a Togolese mob for a crime allegedly committed by his brother-in-law, Mr. Ikechukwu Pius Metu, in Togo.
Metu was on a brief visit to his brother-in-law, Christian, in Lome. But unknown to Christian, Ikechukwu had turned his home to a love nest. Every morning, as soon as Christian went to his office, Akossiwa Djogbessi, a young Togolese lady, who was having an amorous relationship with the visiting Nigerian man, would sneak into the house and the duo would remain in the house. But shortly before Christian was expected back home, the lady would sneak out.
However, the love turned sour and event took a tragic note, following a squabble between Ikechukwu and the Togolese lady. Ikechukwu was alleged to have murdered Akossiwa on January 15, 2015. He subsequently threw her lifeless body into a well before hurrying back to Nigeria.
Following the development, youths in Lome and relations of the victim mobilised and destroyed Christian’s home. They reduced Christian’s beautiful edifice to rubble. Christian was also detained for about 11 months. He was released nearly a year after, following Ikechukwu’s arrest by the Interpol.
Narrating his ordeal, Christian told the reporter that he lived at BE’Kpota Face Station, Agip Lome, and has his business office at A Cote des rails d’Akodessewa, Lome. He said on January 15, 2015, when he returned home after the day’s business, his brother in-law, Ikechukwu, who had come on holiday from Nigeria, informed him that he, Ikechukwu, would love to return to Nnewi in Anambra State that evening. He said Ikechukwu insisted that it was important that he returned to Nigeria that night.
Christian said he didn’t argue much with Ikechukwu since the brother-in-law is a man that could take any decision on his own. He said since Ikechukwu was in Togo on holiday, the young man could not be stopped if he decided to return to his native land.
According to him, he was in his business office the following day, January 16, when the brother of a girl came to him and asked to see Ikechukwu. According to the young man, he always saw Ikechukwu with his sister in front of Christian’s house whenever the Nigerian businessman was not at home.
Christian said the young man told him that he, Christian, was not aware of the relationship between Ikechukwu and his sister. “He told me, ‘that is why I have come to inform you that my brothers are all worried and they are all waiting in front of your house to find out if our sister is inside because some people claimed to have seen her when she sneaked into the house.’”
He added that he decided to tread the path of caution by reporting to the police. He said the police subsequently accompanied him to his house.
“Upon arrival, we met a large crowd and they started searching every place in my house, including the septic pit, but the girl was not found. I went with the police to the station, and they asked me to go home but that I should call Ikechukwu.
“I repeatedly called Ikechukwu as instructed, but the only information I got from him was that he slept with the girl and sent her outside. I implored him to come to Togo and prove his innocence and he said he would. But when I called him subsequently, he had switched off his phone,” Christian said.
January 18, 2015, would be one day that Christian would not forget in a hurry. The development of the previous three days had started telling on his health. He said he was at home about 2.00p.m on that day where an infusion (drip) was being administered on him when a large crowd gathered again at the entrance of this house, this time, with policemen. The policemen came in and seeing that he was on drip, went straight to the well. Floating on top of the water was the body of the missing girl. The policemen called Ikechukwu to come and see the bloated body and from there he was taken into their custody.
He said: “While in detention, the girl’s relations and Togolese youths in that area razed down my house with all my belongings. They also burnt my new Range Rover SUV, the 2008 model, as well as four warehouses filled with new truck parts from Europe that is, after looting the goods. They also looted all the goods in my two other shops and then burnt down the shops.”
Christian said his family started looking for Ikechukwu in every part of Nigeria since he refused to show up in Togo. With the help of MTN and the police, he was finally tracked down and arrested in Abuja.
Ikechukwu allegedly confessed to the crime to the Interpol in Abuja, and said that nobody knew about it and that was why he hurriedly came back to Nigeria.
Consequently, Ikechukwu was extradited to Togo on November 10, 2015. “In Togo, he confessed to the judge that he killed the girl. After two weeks, the judge interrogated him again and he reiterated his earlier confession. He went further to say that he was the only one at home on the day with the girl and he could not see any reason he should implicate those innocent of the crime. He said he came to Togo for holiday but never knew he was going to be involved in a tragic incident that would destroy his brother-in-law’s property. He stressed that the girl and himself took a lot of hard drinks that day and were already very liquored up when the misunderstanding that resulted in the fight that caused her death started. He said when he punched the girl during the fight and she fell down, he did not know what came into him as he carried and threw her inside the well.”
Reprieve came for Christian, when the judge declared him innocent and he was released. Meanwhile, Ikechukwu is still undergoing trial.
Christian told the reporter that he had lived in Togo for a very long time and had contributed immensely to the development of the area where he lived. He wondered why the people had remained very unfriendly with him.
According to him, on July 12, 2011, he was travelling to Paris, France via Air France on a business trip with 132, 460 Euros, which he was going to declare at the customs.
“I was going to France for the first time on appointment with a business colleague – a French truck dealer and I do not have any bank account in Europe. I was taken to court because I’m a Nigerian and they believe a young man in his 30s could not own such money by honest means.
They investigated me, saw the volume of my business and the judge seeing that I’m a genuine businessman, ordered my release and the release of my money. But, till date, the authorities in that country are still holding on to my money despite the court order,” Christian lamented.
He asserted that Nigerians were highly discriminated against in Togo and appealed to the Nigerian government to always show a sympathetic response to the suffering of its citizens outside the country. Togolese businessman, he stated, were in Nigeria, making money, with no one molesting them. “But for Nigerians there, if you are making progress, they begin to envy you,” he lamented.
He called on the Nigerian authorities to help him recover his losses as well as his money still being withheld by the Togolese government.
His words: “All that I have laboured for in my over 20 years’ stay in Togo is in ruins. I have been pauperised and I’m looking for money to treat the infection I contracted while in detention. I plead with our government to come to my rescue by facilitating the release of my money with the Togolese government, which their court has ordered them to return to me. I don’t think I’m safe going back there. The government should show that the interest of their citizens outside Nigeria matters.”