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Maria’s ex-boyfriend battered, killed her for seeking better life with new lover – Sister

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A 31-year-old Abuja-based lady, Maria Ali, was allegedly murdered by her ex-lover. The victim’s sister, Cecilia Ali-Ene, speaks to the Punch Newspaper about the family’s fight for justice

What is your relationship with the deceased?

My name is Cecilia Ali-Ene. I am the elder sister to Maria, the 31-year-old graduate of Theatre Arts, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend, Benedict.

Your sister was allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend. What really happened?

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They had been dating for about 10 years. Those 10 years were years of turmoil and agony for Maria as the man would hit her at the slightest provocation and even push her out. Many of Maria’s friends would call to tell me and my family about the way Ben was treating my sister and how he had no regard for her. We would call Maria and tell her to come back home as they were not even married, but she would say Ben would change, that he only needed some time. Even when she gave birth to her daughter through Caesarean section in their first three years or so of dating, this man still beat her, not minding that the wounds had not healed. You can imagine the wickedness. When I learnt of it, I threatened to get Ben arrested, but she knelt down to beg me to forgive him because he would change.

While in the relationship, this man refused to marry her. He avoided every conversation about marriage until she found a new man, who cared for her and was ready to marry her almost immediately despite her daughter. That was when he knew he was now serious with my sister. This is the result. He killed her.

How exactly did it happen?

He called her one day to ask her to leave her new fiancée and come back to him. She refused. He told her that he would either kill the new lover or her. She told my parents and they thought it was a joke. I even called him and told him that if anything happened to my sister, I would hold him responsible. He has fulfilled his promise; he has killed my sister. My sister was in the house on Sunday, May 22, with her new fiancée, having some discussion when they heard a knock on the door of her house inside an estate in Abuja. Maria peeped through the window and didn’t see anybody apart from the kids playing nearby. The person knocked again, and when she opened the door, it was Ben asking to see her, so they could talk about their child. It was surprising.

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I remember she told me that she had been begging Ben to come to take custody of his kid, who is now seven, but he refused. So, coming out of the blues to suddenly ask after the child was surprising. I would like to note now that my sister was the one taking care of this girl alone without any help from this man (Ben). He doesn’t even know how this girl feeds or what she wears. This happened around 5pm.

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What did your sister do next?

Ben requested that she ask the guy to leave, but she said no. He then asked her to follow him to his car so they could talk about the welfare of their daughter. They were there discussing from that time till around 9pm. Maria’s fiancée was still waiting. When she got back to meet her fiancée, she was shivering. He (fiancée) asked her why she took so long, and she told him that Ben threatened to kill her if she didn’t leave the house and return back with him (Ben). According to the fiancée, Ben showed Maria a gun and threatened to shoot her if she didn’t come back to him. He said Ben slapped Maria and locked her in the car, threatening her and raining abuse on her. She was really distressed when she spoke.

How did she die?

The next day (Monday, May 23), around 8.30pm, Ben called me. I refused to pick at first, because we were not on talking terms. It was my 10-year-old son who begged me to pick up the phone, because, according to him, it might be important. When I answered the call, Ben asked me where I was and I said I was in Abuja. He said he needed to see me right away. I ended the call. He called again to say it was really important and that he needed my presence because my sister’s blood pressure had risen dramatically. I was shocked because, the last time I checked, they didn’t live together.

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He requested that I meet him in the hospital, where my sister was admitted. I was a bit reluctant because I thought he was only tricking me out so that he could ask me to beg my sister to accept him back as he always did, but after giving it much thought, I decided to go to the hospital. I went there with my son.

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The hospital staff didn’t allow me to see my sister for about five minutes. They said we should wait outside, he (Ben) told me that he and Maria were arguing in the car and he hit the vehicle in anger and his hands ‘mistakenly hit my sister’ and she started throwing up. It was not clear. The story was not adding up.

Was the car being driven as they argued?

No, he said they were not. Ben said the car was static. He just got angry during the argument and hit the car and she started vomiting just like that. How that is possible, I don’t know.

When did this happen?

He said it happened on Sunday night. But, he was telling me about it on Monday evening.

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What was your response to his story?

I didn’t believe him. I was shivering because I knew something was wrong with my sister somehow, because I know how deadly his anger used to be. The doctors now came and told me to go into the ward and see my sister. When we got in, my sister was already dead. I didn’t understand it. By the time we got out, Ben had fled. We asked the doctor what happened, he said somebody brought her in and had left. The doctor said he wrote out a phone number, which had been unreachable for hours.

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What exactly did the doctor say caused her death? Was there bleeding?

Honestly, as I am here now, I don’t understand. There was no bleeding. They said she was vomiting and that was it. It is not clear to me. I am very traumatised now. I cannot even think properly. This is all I know about the incident.

Do you suspect foul play?

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Of course, I do. Ben has some explaining to do. The doctor said they were trying to refer her to another hospital, but he gave the wrong number. My brother alerted the police and Ben has been arrested and is being investigated.

How cooperative have the police been?

They have been very cooperative. They want to get to the bottom of the incident. I wonder how a man, who claims to love my sister, will kill her and keep quiet about it, pretending not to know what happened.

What kind of a person was your sister?

She graduated four years ago. She read Theatre Arts. We both used to work with an NGO before her unfortunate death. She was a peace-loving, calm and smart young woman, who just wanted the best for herself.

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How are your parents coping with the incident?

My father is distraught. My mother has not been able to properly accept the fact that Maria is dead. She (Maria) left behind a seven-year-old daughter. How will she cope? This man (Ben) just cut short a young life for nothing. My father has said we should leave everything to God. My five brothers and I have said no to that. We want justice for my sister. Let Nigerians come to our aid and help us.

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Crime

Two jailed for stealing Dangote company’s armoured cables

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The Magistrate Court sitting in Ilaro, Ogun State, on Tuesday, sentenced Hussain Waziri aged 36 and Mustapha Aliyu, aged 33 years old, to one-year imprisonment for the two counts of conspiracy to steal and stealing made against them after pleading guilty to the offences.

Theheute learnt that Waziri and Aliyu were arrested last week Thursday by the operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ogun State Command, while stealing the armoured cables worth millions of naira within the Dangote Cement factory, Ibese, Yewa South Local Government Area of the state.

This was according to a statement from the Ogun State Commander of NSCDC, David Ojelabi, on Wednesday.

It was stated that an exhibit recovered from them was a special armoured cable, property of Dangote Plc, which is being used in transmitting and distributing power within the factory.

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The statement partly reads, “The arrested gangs who are serial cable thieves allegedly conspired, jumped over the perimeter fence and accessed the (DCP-I) cable yard within the power plant, with the intent to commit a crime.

“At approximately 0336 hours, during the routine patrol at the power plant duty post, the NSCDC armed personnel sighted Mustapha Aliyu and Hussein Waziri while committing the heinous crime.

“The suspects violently engaged the security personnel with dangerous tools in order to escape arrest. Mustapha Aliyu was overpowered and eventually arrested while Hussein Waziri escaped with the stolen cable.

“Unfortunately for him, the NSCDC personnel conducted an intelligence-based ‘search and arrest’ operation and at about 0436 hours of the same night, Waziri, who had earlier escaped from the scene where he carted away the special armoured electrical cable, was rearrested, within the geofencing of the Dangote Cement Transport [DCT-I ] by the alerted NSCDC personnel assisted by the Dangote security guards.”

The convicts were said to have been transferred to the NSCDC state headquarters for a thorough investigation and prosecution. It was during the investigation that they confessed to committing the crime.

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Having pleaded guilty to the counts, the court sentenced them to a one-year jail term for each of the two counts of conspiracy to steal and stealing. The term is however to run concurrently on each of the two counts.

Reacting to the arrest and the conviction secured at the court, the Ogun State Commandant of the NSCDC, Ojelabi, reiterated the commitment of the security agency to the protection of critical infrastructure and ensuring that crime is stamped out of Ogun State and Nigeria at large.

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Crime

Hoodlums kill Niger health worker during wedding ceremony

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A health worker, Umar Mohammed, was stabbed in the head at a wedding ceremony by hoodlums in Niger State

Niger State security agents have been battling hoodlums and other miscreants who have been running riot in the State, especially its capital, Minna, killing and maiming unsuspecting residents.

The incident occurred last Friday in the Gbegenu Area of Minna when Mohammed was said to be returning from his workplace and decided to attend the wedding ceremony.

According to an eyewitness and resident of Gbegenu who gave his name as Haruna Aminu, Mohammed had not stayed at the wedding for more than a few minutes when the hoodlums came for him with dangerous weapons.

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“I saw when Umar came there. He was returning from the private clinic where he worked. I cannot say whether he wanted to stay or continue his movement.

“It didn’t take long after he was there that these hoodlums, numbering over ten began shouting at top of their voices. They were welding dangerous weapons. Many people gave way for them while others were injured.

“Umar was attempting to leave the scene of the wedding when the hoodlum came after him and one of them stabbed him in the head with his dagger. He immediately fell to the ground with blood coming out from his head,” Aminu said.

Muhammed was said to have been rushed to the Minna General Hospital where he was confirmed dead by the doctors.

When Press contacted the Niger State Police Command spokesman, Wasiu Abiodun, he confirmed the incident and said two suspects were arrested in connection with Mohammed’s killing while others were still on the run.

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Abiodun sent a WhatsApp message where he confirmed the incident, “On 17/5/2024 at about 2200hrs, it was reported at Kpakungu Div that there was a wedding ceremony at Gbeganu area, while some miscreants from the Area reportedly led by one Ukasha and others armed with dangerous weapons attacked a victim named Umar Mohammed 35yrs.

“The victim was inflicted with serious injury on the head, and he was rushed to Gen Hospital Minna, where he later gave up the ghost and was confirmed dead by the Doctor.

“The police patrol teams were drafted to the scene and two suspects were arrested while others fled from the scene, however, effort is ongoing to apprehend the fleeing suspects as the incident is under investigation,” Abiodun stated.

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ICYMI: Oba of Benin accuses EFCC of corruption

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Oba of Benin, Ewuare II has alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is aiding crimes in the country.

The monarch made the allegations when he received the new Benin Zonal Director of EFCC, Effa Okim in his Palace in Benin on Monday.

He cited a case involving unnamed former palace officials who were left off the hook after they were arrested for fraud and handed over to EFCC in Benin for investigation and prosecution.

The Oba alleged that some EFCC operatives allegedly handled the case with kid gloves, which led to the release of the culprits a few years ago.

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The monarch, who did not name the palace officials, expressed shock that the EFCC investigators allegedly swept glaring evidence of fraud against them (the palace officials) under the carpet.

While tasking the commission to fight crime without fear or favour, the Oba added,” We want to draw your attention to one or two grey areas in your operations”.

“No matter how much you try to support the EFFC from the palace, It is very difficult because they seem to listen to other parties. What I have been told is that they take instructions from the highest bidder.

“You know that I have been known for speaking the truth. I was not happy about certain things that happened with your predecessor.

“We get news from everywhere. We try to assist the EFCC. I even wrote a letter to the then-chairman who was removed from office.

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“I even sent an emissary to talk to him regarding certain elements in Edo State, particularly the palace.

“How can EFCC operatives, especially, the lady who handled the case I cited earlier behave like that? If I was asked to comment on her performance, I would score her zero. I do not know if she was doing an EFCC job or just dancing to the tunes of people who were giving her money.

“At the time we were trying to assist EFCC, the report we kept getting was negative and I was not happy about it,” Oba Ewuare II added.

The monarch, however, said the newly appointed Chairman of EFCC, Olanipekun Olukayode is on the path to greatness if he continues to demonstrate fidelity in his duties.

He also pledged the palace’s support to the state government in addressing social inequality and reducing social vices.

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Earlier in his address, Okim appealed to the Oba to support advocacy against financial crimes with Edo State ranking second behind Lagos State in the financial crime index in the country.

Recalling the historical ties between his state of origin, Cross River and Edo State, he solicited prayers and royal blessings to enable him to discharge his duties diligently.

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