Akanbi, popularly called Alfa, had a traditional healing centre on Lawani Street, in the Olodi Apapa area of Lagos.
We learnt that Kareem, who hails from Ilorin, Kwara State, had known Akanbi for about 20 years as she was a close customer of his.
It was gathered that on Saturday, October 25, Kareem, who lived on Ope-Ewe Street, Agbado Ijaiye, Lagos, went to visit an elder sister, Risikatu Raheem, whose daughter put to bed in the Olodi Apapa area.
She was said to have left Ijaiye after the monthly environmental exercise was over, informing her 20-year-old son, Abdullahi, of the visit to her sister.
Kareem reportedly stayed till around 6pm at her sister’s place on Salubi Street before she headed for the Alfa’s place. We learnt that two days after, Kareem did not return home as she promised. The family became apprehensive and went on her trail to the Olodi Apapa area.
After failing to locate Kareem at the sister’s apartment, some family members, who knew she was a friend of the cleric, decided to check the Alfa’s place.
On getting to Akanbi’s centre, the Alfa denied setting eyes on Kareem. However, the family became suspicious when Akanbi reportedly started packing his property, and preparing to flee the house some hours later. The family was said to have raised the alarm and headed for the Tolu Police Station to report the incident. The police later came to arrest Akanbi.
During interrogation, 55-year-old Akanbi told the police that he did not kill the woman, adding that she died in his place. Akanbi added that when he realised the woman was dead, he buried her personal effects to erase any trace of her in his house. He also told the police that he took the corpse to Marine Bridge, abandoning it there.
He said, “On the evening of October 26, it is true that she visited me. We have been very good friends too. On that day, she just collapsed and became unconscious. I quickly rushed her to a nearby hospital, but I was shocked when the nurses told me she had died.
“I got a NAPEP tricycle and took her corpse to the Marine Bridge that same night and abandoned it there. I did not want people to trace her corpse to me. When I got home, I buried her wallet, handset, bangle and ring behind my house.
“I did not kill her. I am an Alfa, I do favour charms for traders. I met Raliatu in 1986. Since then, we have been family friends. She used to come to my place for consultation and I had been to her house too.”
One of Kareem’s children, Abdullahi, said the family wanted Akanbi to produce the corpse of their mother so that they could bury her appropriately.
He said, “I have seen the man in our house a number of times. But he said she died in his house and he now took her corpse to Marina Bridge and abandoned it. We want him to produce that corpse so that we can bury her appropriately.”
The family said Akanbi might have dumped Kareem’s corpse in the lagoon as they could not find it on the Marine Bridge where Akanbi claimed he had dropped it. After contacting all relevant agencies in the state, the family said the corpse had yet to be found.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Kenneth Nwosu, confirmed the case.
He said, “The case has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigations Department, Yaba, for further investigation.”