A friend to a lawyer who allegedly murdered her husband, Maureen Offor, on Wednesday told a Lagos State High Court in Igbosere about a text message that the lawyer, Udeme Otike-Odibi, sent to her on May 3 around 12.04am, which stated that she had done something terrible.
Forty-eight-year-old Udeme is standing trial for allegedly stabbing her husband, Symphorosa Otike-Odibi, to death at their residence on Diamond Estate, Sangotedo, Lagos State.
Offor, at the Thursday proceedings, while being led in evidence by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Titilayo Shitta-Bay, said she was surprised when she saw the message as Udeme was billed to travel out of the country that day.
She added that she replied to the text message saying that she thought Udeme had packed her things for the trip.
She said, “In the text message to her, I reminded her that our agreement was that she should travel first and take care of her health because she has a thyroid problem. We agreed that when she comes back, we will address the relationship with her husband and see if the marriage will work out.
“She sent me a second message that read, ‘I have tried.’ I called her several times, but she did not pick the calls. I sent Udeme another message asking why she did not pick my calls, but she did not reply till I went to bed.
“Around 4am, I got a call from Udeme’s mum that Udeme and Symphorosa had had a fight, asking if she should come to Lagos. But I told her that Udeme was billed to travel to the UK that day that she should exercise patience.
“I called Symphorosa’s younger brother, Andrew, around past 5am; he did not pick the call. Later, Andrew called back and I told him that I received a call from Udeme’s mum. He said he also received a similar call from his mum the previous day that Udeme and Symphorosa were fighting. He added that they were adults and should be able to resolve their issues.”
Offor stated that Udeme’s mum called back and told her that Symphorosa was dead, adding that she started screaming until her husband came to collect the phone from her.
Offor, who said she had known the defendant since 1992 when they were both employed by Diamond Bank, added that Udeme was her chief bridesmaid when she wedded in 1996.
She stated further that since they met in 1992, they had been friends, adding that she knew the deceased at the University of Benin.
Offor said, “I knew the deceased for over 30 years; we met at UNIBEN and he was my elder brother’s friend and was even my elder brother’s best man when he got married in 1998.
“The deceased and the defendant got married in October 2014. I was present at their wedding; I was aware that they were having issues in their marriage and Udeme wasn’t happy. I knew because she confided in me last year that she was travelling to the UK to take some time off.
“She came back from the UK before Easter and she told me that Symphorosa wasn’t eating at home, so she did not bother to cook his food. I advised her to cook for him even if it was a small portion.
“On May 2, 2018, I saw Udeme; she had called and asked me to assist her to pack her things, so I drove to their house on Diamond Estate, Songotedo. We packed the things she needed for another UK trip and we went to a cinema to see a movie.”
During cross-examination by the defendant’s counsel, Oluseye Bamgbose, Offor said the defendant was a peaceful person and that for the 26 years that she had known her, she had never seen her arguing with anybody.
The presiding judge, Justice Asedayo Akintoye, adjourned the matter till October 30, for continuation of trial.