A former player with the Super Eagles, Godwin Okpara, has been arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court for allegedly battering his wife, Linda Oladoyinbo, at their house on Oduduwa Street, GRA, Ikeja.
Okpara played for the Super Eagles at the France 98 World Cup and African Nations Cup in 2000, among other tournaments.
Okpara and Oladoyinbo, who were based in France, where the former played for French club, PSG, had been married for over 25 years, and the union blessed with four children.
However, crisis started in the marriage in 2005 when the wife reported to the French authorities that Okpara was sleeping with their 13-year-old housemaid, Tina.
He was arrested and convicted for the crime.While he served a 10-year prison term and was released in 2012, his wife got 15 years for child abuse.
Although Okpara was released early on the grounds of good conduct in prison, he forfeited all his property and money to the French government, who also took custody of the family’s three surviving children.
Oladoyinbo, after her release, returned to their house in Ikeja, in May 2016.
However, she was said to have met some persons in the house, which led to an argument between her and the husband.
Oladoyinbo, who wrote a petition to the police at the Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan, alleged that 45-year-old Okpara later brought some thugs into the house and ordered them to beat her up.
The attack, according to the petition, was because Oladoyinbo questioned the partitioning and sale of the family’s landed property in Ikeja.
One of her relatives was said to have videoed the attack and also took pictures of the injuries sustained by the victim.
Okpara, in his reaction, told the police that the fight happened after he returned home and discovered that his wife had stabbed one of his visitors.
The case was referred to the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions, which issued advice on it.
The advice, dated September 2017 and signed by the Director, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Y.G. Oshoala, said the ex-international had a case to answer.
The advice said, “Facts in the duplicate case file revealed that Mrs. Linda Oladoyinbo travelled to France for some time and upon her arrival, she was denied access to her matrimonial house by her husband– Godwin Okpara; and when she finally gained access after many weeks, she was only allowed into the guesthouse, while her husband’s brother and wife moved into the main house.
“Further facts revealed that Mrs. Linda Oladoyinbo questioned Godwin Okpara about the joint property he sold without her knowledge and he beat her mercilessly with the participation of his brother and his wife. He equally brought thugs into the house, who beat her up with sticks upon which she suffered internal bleeding.
“This is corroborated by a picture showing severe face injuries suffered by the wife and the medical report from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital indicating that she suffered serious injuries and was found bleeding from the nose and mouth as a result of the assault from the husband. The attached video record from the police clearly shows the suspect assaulting the complainant despite pleas from other observers.”
The advice, which dismissed charges of forgery, stealing, malicious damage and threat to life due to lack of evidence, said the suspect should be arraigned on one count of assault occasioning harm.
The charge read, “That you, Godwin Okpara, sometime in August 2016, on Oduduwa Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, unlawfully assaulted and injured one Linda Oladoyinbo, by flogging her with a stick and other weapons, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 173, Ch C.17, Vol.3 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty and elected summary trial.
His defence counsel, Malachi Odo, asked for his bail in liberal terms.
He said, “The defendant is an ex-player of the Super Eagles. He served his country honourably. We pray the court to grant him bail in liberal terms.”
The police prosecutor, Simon Imohwa, did not oppose the bail application.
The magistrate, Mrs. B.O. Osusanmi, admitted him to bail in the sum of N50,000 with two sureties each in like sum.
The case was adjourned till January 29, 2017.