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A man, Lekan Shonde, who fled after he allegedly killed his wife, Ronke, five days ago, yesterday surrendered to the police.
Police chief Fatai Owoseni ordered that he be detained at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCID) at Panti, Yaba, Lagos Mainland, pending investigation.
Owoseni gave the order after the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) commander, Tunji Disu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), took the suspect to the police headquarters at Ikeja GRA.
The police recovered the late Mrs Shonde’s phone from her husband, who had earlier denied having the phone.
Shonde was alleged to have beaten Ronke to death on Thursday night and fled. He allegedly locked their two kids in the house with her body.
Since leaving home, the suspect was said to have move from Cotonou, Benin Republic to Badagry and Ondo State.
It was gathered that he was convinced to come back to Lagos from Ondo State on Sunday night.
According to a police source, Shonde, who is from Ogun State, eventually listened to the advice of his friends and relatives and returned to Lagos, but stayed in a hotel at Ikeja GRA.
It was gathered that undercover detectives from RRS were already in the hotel before his friends took him to Disu’s office at about 1pm.
Shonde, it was gathered wept, claiming that he did not kill his wife.
Although the police shielded Shonde from reporters, his friends, Sunday Nwobi and Gbenga Sholuki, who claimed to have known him for over 30 years, said he is not violent.
They claimed that he loved his wife so much that he allowed her to keep the family’s account.
“At the moment he has nothing because even the money he makes was kept in an account the wife has access to. Even the ATM card is with her. Everything was under her. That’s how much he loved her,” they claimed.
According to Nwobi, the suspect’s friend for 33 years, they both attended Ikeja High School, but he was a class ahead of Shonde.
“He has never been violent. I have known him for the past 33 years and I can tell you that he is a gentleman. He was in the same class with my immediate younger brother who has just returned from the United States because of this matter.
“He attended Ikeja High School. I have been in touch with him since the ugly incident and he sent me over 70 messages threatening to commit suicide.
“He told me he had quarrelled with his wife on alleged infidelity. He said his wife confessed she has a man friend in her work place.
“Lekan told me that he caught his wife talking to the man on phone and that she went to Abuja with her lover and they spent five days together.
“As the wife was confessing and begging him, he said he pushed her aside and went into the room to sleep. That he didn’t talk to her nor touch her because he was angry.
“Since he usually left the house early (5am) for work every day and returns around 8pm, he said he left that day as usual and that their eight-year-old son was the one who bolted the door, while he used his own key to lock the gate as usual.
“Lekan told me that he never knew anything has happened to his wife until he was called by his landlady on phone. That his landlady told him his wife had died and that he was a suspect. He said his landlady’s daughter also called him.
“He was on his way to the house but different people called and told him to run because police were in his house and they were looking for him as the suspect. That was why he fled.
“But as soon as he contacted me that same day, I kept telling him to come out. His aged father also told him to turn himself in and allow the law to run its course,” he said.
Some of the text messages the suspect sent to Nwobi on May 7 read: “I want to die. Please help me, I can’t face the police or cell. They will kill me.”
Other messages sent to Nwobi, including that of May 9, thanked him for being a true friend.
“Morning Senior Sunday, thanks for everything. I want to go to Alausa. You are the only one that advised me not to kill myself. I will respect you till I die,” he said.
Sholuki, Executive Director, Campaign against Impunity and Domestic Violence, said he came out for Shonde because he believes in him.
He said: “Even as we were coming to the police command, he has spoken with his mother-in-law to notify her that he has surrendered. The woman told him that he has done very well for her family and that though they were pained, they have forgiven him and he should not think of suicide again.
“He also called his wife’s lover and told him he hoped he was happy now that he has destroyed his home. The man begged for forgiveness.
“When information came to us about what happened, we told him to come out for the law to take its course. We have known him for a long time and he is not a violent person.
“We want justice. We are demanding a medical examination to ascertain what really happened. He is a family man. He cherishes his wife and says very pleasant things about her. All we want is justice. If scientific evidence proves he killed his wife, then, he should go in for it. But what we do not like is his being condemned even before autopsy result comes out.”
Owoseni said autopsy would ascertain the cause of death, adding that the police were yet to interrogate Shonde.
“As you can see, he has just been brought. It is still an allegation and the police are not the court of law to pronounce anyone guilty or otherwise.
“He has turned himself in. I confirm he is in our custody. We will ensure we get to the root of the matter. He shall be interrogated and investigation is ongoing. We cannot say for sure what happened but autopsy report will prove the cause of death,” he said.