Criminal Law

Late Bimbo Martins-Ogbonna: Family Cries out over Pressure to Settle out of Court

Accuses police of changing charges from manslaughter to negligence

The family of late Abimbola Martins-Ogbonna who died in a fire incident allegedly instigated by her husband, Ikechukwu Daryl Ogbonna, popularly called IVD, has accused the police of cover-up, intimidation and attempt to force the family into a out-of-court settlement with Ogbonna and also drop charges against him.

The family also accused a retired commissioner of police (names withheld) of being the one behind Ogbonna in his latest antics and the attempt to coerce the family into settlement even as the family said Ogbonna referred to that same former police senior officer on being his “godfather” in one of his statements. The family also claimed that when Ogbonna bolted immediately after his wife was involved in the fire mishap, which eventually killed her, he was actually holed up in the former police boss’s house. The family also alleged that the police have changed Ogbonna’s charges from ‘manslaughter’ to ‘negligence’ so as to make it easily bailable.

It could be recalled that Bimbo, as fondly called by family and friends, succumbed to the injuries she sustained in fire incident on October 12 during a scuffle with the husband. She died three days later on October 15th.

Speaking with the press in their Lagos home on Monday December 26, 2022, the Martins said their matriarch and mother of the deceased, Mrs. Comfort Martins, was on Friday December 24, 2022, arrested by the police on the orders of Ogbonna who, in a petition to the police, accused the old woman of stealing her $20,000 when she came to his house.
Wisdom Martins, the spokesperson for the family who was also arrested with Mrs. Comfort Martins, said it was not only unfortunate but laughable that Ogbonna would come with such a ridiculous accusation. “It was all trumped up charges to intimidate the family and change the narrative.”

Late Bimbo Martins-Ogbonna

The family said a team of experts including police, department for domestic violence in Lagos State and fire department all went to inspect the crime scene. “They had to take him to accompany them because the first time they went, and we were not there then, the house was locked. So the breaking of the house to do the examination and forensics was done in his presence as Ogbonna lives in a gated estate and only permission from him could grant any visitor or family members access into the estate. So let it be on record that the only time Mama and other members of our family went to IK’s house was that day. So how Mama or any of us had access to his house to steal money is not just stupid but figment of his imagination.”

Speaking further, the Martins said immediately after the incident and even days before his sister died, Ogbonna was nowhere to be found only to do a voice note that he did not abscond but was running around to raise money for hospital bills; adding that he was all that time hiding in the former police commissioner’s house. “Firstly, it is laughable because he alleged we stole twenty thousand dollars from his house. Yet, when my sister died, he made a voice note record that he did not abscond on the day of the fire incident rather he left to seek financial aid from his friends and associates, since he knows that hospitals will require money,” Martins said.

The family added that it was even total strangers that rushed the late Bimbo to the hospital and on top of that, he had the guts to accuse the family still mourning their daughter of stealing from him.
The Martins said immediately after their mother was released, the family has been put under immense pressure to accept out-of-court settlement and the police had even fixed Wednesday this week for the family to meet with Ogbonna’s family to reach an agreement and resolve the matter.

“They are claiming that for the sake of the children, we should settle out of court and he would open an account for the children’s upkeep and we should allow him to have access to the children. Someone who watched our daughter die and even did a video recording when she was burning in pains and ran away after. This is not only ridiculous but so unfortunate. We the Martins family want justice to run its course and if Ogbonna is culpable in our daughter’s death, he should face the penalty,” the family said.

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