“It was an accident and I was told that I would be hanged if I report the case to the police.” Those were the words of Anita Harrison, 29-year-old nursing mother, Anita Harrison accused of disposing off the body of a woman she knocked down while driving around Ikeja, Lagos, on March 3, 2021. She was responding to my question as to why she dumped her victim’s body in the bush and fled, without bothering to report the case to the police.
She was alleged to have knocked down the victim, later identified as Nafiat Idowu, picked her up initially and drove her to a hospital where she was confirmed dead. But on realizing that the victim, aged 35, was dead, Anita and her friend, at moment, at large, dumped the body at an isolated area of Ogun State and fled. But soon the game was up for her when she was later tracked down and arrested the following day. She is currently being detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti.
More information that has come to light since the incident shows that her world started crumbling when her victim’s family realized that their sister and wife who went to market to make some purchases was not back home as at dusk. They tried to reach her on her phones. But they were switched off. But on asking around, they were told that she had an accident. Said a police source: “The traffic warders who were also at the scene confirmed same but told the family that the person who hit her had taken her to the hospital. It was at the hospital that they were told that Nafiat was brought in dead and they advised the suspect to head to the nearest police station and report the incident. They also showed the family the picture of the vehicle and the body of their lifeless sister.”
How she was caught
Unknown to Anita, these details were what were used to track her down her after she dumped her victim’s body somewhere after the Long Bridge in Ibafo area of Ogun State. The body was, later, discovered by a passerby who quickly raised an alarm. Togther with others, the woman who, incidentally, turned out to be a distant relative of the deceased, informed the police and they got the body evacuated to Sagamu General Hospital morgue. But the relative who did not initially establish the corpse’s identity, was taken aback when she got home to learn that her relative was involved in an accident and that the suspects disappeared with her body.
Equipped with the photograph of Anita Harrison’s car number plate and other photographs gotten from the hospital where she and her friend initially took the victim to, before she was confirmed dead on arrival, the police in Lagos swung into action. They were able to track her to her house.
Having been cornered with such incontravertible evidences, she broke down, admitted guilt and took the police to the scene where she dumped the body, only to find that it was longer there. Again, unknown to her, it had been evacuated a day earlier, on the order of police. It was then it occurred to the victim’s relative who helped to discover and to draw police attention to it that the unidentified corpse could be the woman they are talking about. With the information she provided, they were able to trace the police station that helped evacuate the body. The corpse still lying in Sagamu General Hospital mortuary will soon be sent for autopsy, Saturday Sun leant, as soon as it is confirmed to be COVID-19 free.
Suspect explains why she refused to report case
At the homicide section where she is being detained, along with her baby, Anita told Saturday Sun that she agreed to dump the body of the deceased and run away because of the fear of being accused of murder. The woman who hails from Akwa Ibom recounted what led to the accident.
Her account: “I live at No. 3 Sabina Close, Iju Ishaga, in Lagos and I am a housewife. On March 3, 2021, a friend called to meet her at Computer Village, Ikeja. She said she wants to introduce me to a business. On our way back, at about 3pm, as I turned under the Ikeja bridge and faced the route that leads to Agege, people started screaming at me to stop. I did. As I stepped out of the car, I was made to understand that I hit a woman. I really did not see her till I was stopped. She was already on the ground. Some people that gathered around the scene helped my friend and me to put her in the car and carry her to the nearest hospital. I don’t remember the name of the hospital now, but it has a Yoruba name.
“When we got there, the nurses came out and snapped the photo of my car and the woman. I begged them to attend to her immediately. But they told me to hold it, that the doctor would soon attend to us. About five minutes later, the doctor came out. He checked her and said that she had internal bleeding. The next thing he said was that the woman was dead. I fainted. When they finally revived me, the doctor told me to carry her corpse to the nearest police station. I was shattered and scared. It was then that my friend told me that we should not go the police as I could be accused of murder.”
In tears, Anita said she was terrified when it dawned on her that she could be sentenced to death according to her friend. “I was confused and scared. She told me that dumping the body was the only way out since no one else was with us at the hospital. She warned me that I could be sentenced to death and she would have to testify that what happened was true. We waited till it was dark and she took me to a spot where she said it would be easy to dump the body and no one would see us. She said that the police would find the corpse and her family would pick it and say that it was a hit-and-run incident. It was already dark, so it was easy for us to dump it and disappear. We drove to a place along Lagos-Sagamu expressway and stopped at a lonely spot in Ibafo. My friend quickly stepped off and dragged the body down and we zoomed off.
“I dropped her off at Berger and drove home. When I got home, I told my husband what happened and he advised that we report to the police since it was an accident. He made some calls and I agreed to turn myself in the following day. But on that day while he was preparing to drive me to the police station to report the matter, he was stopped at the gate. The men that stopped him told him that they were policemen from Ikeja and that they were looking for me. This was how I was arrested.
“I took them to the place where the body was dumped but it was no longer there. But later, they were able to trace it. I thank God that the body was found. If they did not find it, I would have been accused of using her for ritual purpose. It was an accident; I was so scared when it happened. My friend who helped me cannot be found as her phones are all switched off. My husband did not know what happened; neither did he advise me to throw away the body. My husband is a food supplements marketer and a good man.”
Anita who has a valid driver’s licence which she got in Lagos, said she has been driving for more than two years. But right now, she is in police detention with her seven months old baby who she is still breastfeeding. The state police spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi, who confirmed the incident, said that the suspect would be charged to court after proper investigation. He advised motorists on the need to be cautious of other road users and to quickly report any accident to the nearest police station.