A former wrestling champion, John Uti, aka Power Uti, has been arraigned before an Ebute-Meta Magistrate’s Court for allegedly killing and locking up his wife’s corpse at their residence on Oremeji Street, in the Ilupeju area of Lagos State.
The 55-year-old was arraigned on two counts of murder and disrespect for a corpse, which the police said were punishable under sections 165 and 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.
The charges read in part, “That you, John Uti, on October 10, 2017, at about 10am on Oremeji Street, Ilupeju, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did disrespect the corpse of one Toyin Uti, by abandoning it to decompose in the room, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 165 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.”
The police prosecutor, Sergeant Jimah Iseghede, brought an application for remand of the defendant, saying the case should be transferred to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions for legal advice.
However, the defence counsel opposed the application, urging the court to dismiss the charge of murder for lack of evidence.
The magistrate, Mrs. Bola Folarin-Williams, who had earlier perused the case file, called the Investigating Police Officer from the Homicide Section, State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, to give the facts of the case.
The IPO said the case was transferred to the SCIID from the Ilupeju Police Division, adding that the family of the deceased were the complainant in the case.
He said, “On October 9, 2017, the wife of John Uti, one Toyin Uti, complained of headache and on October 10, she died. She was certified dead by a doctor at the Gbagada General Hospital.
“The husband took the corpse back home and left for Canaanland to see his pastor. He came back the following day and the corpse was eventually taken to the Isolo General Hospital mortuary. However, the corpse had started decomposing. The deceased family members alleged that he killed their sister.”
The magistrate said there was nothing in the statements of the defendant and witnesses to suggest that the defendant killed his 38-year-old wife.
The IPO later revealed that an autopsy report on the death showed that the deceased died from acute cardiac failure and hypertensive heart disease.
Folarin-Williams quashed the remand application brought by the prosecutor and admitted Uti to bail in the sum of N500,000 with two responsible sureties in like sum, adding that they must be blood relations of the defendant.
She asked that the case file should be duplicated and a copy forwarded to the DPP for legal advice.
The case was adjourned till November 15.