Amusu and Hounkpe
| credits: Olaleye Aluko
Two cooks, who are nationals of the Benin Republic, Victor Hounkpe and David Amusu, have been arrested by the police in Lagos for allegedly poisoning their employers’ meal in the Lekki area of the state.
The employers ─ Mr. Nwogu Chinaka, and his wife, Omowunmi ─ were taken to a hospital outside the country after eating the poisoned meal. Apart from the couple, the security guards and other domestic workers who ate the poisoned meal became unconscious and were hospitalised.
On Wednesday, April 22, at about 5pm, Hounkpe, who had stayed for about a month in the house, prepared a vegetable soup for the family. All members of the family, including the security personnel in the compound ate the soup which was served by the cook for dinner. Minutes later, the husband, Nwogu, reportedly developed a severe stomach ache and collapsed, while Omowunmi rushed him to a nearby hospital.
The wife, however, also became unconscious and fell at the gate of the hospital after she allegedly had a severe stomach pain. The couple was treated in the same hospital. Two security guards in the compound were brought to the hospital later in the day.
Hounkpe and Amusu reportedly fled from the house during the incident. The police said the couple later wrote a petition to the Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti, on the matter, and after investigation by the Department of Criminal Investigation, Yaba, the runaway cooks were arrested. 34-year-old Hounkpe said he put the substance in the family’s soup to make everybody fall asleep so that valuables in the house could be easily carted away.
“I am from the Benin Republic. I came to Nigeria in 2007. I have always worked as a cook in Lagos. David was the agent who brought me to the couples’ house. He was the one who gave me the substance to put inside the soup. He told me the substance was a sleeping pill. The plan was that everyone would fall asleep. They wanted to steal gold and other valuables. I put the substance inside the vegetable soup. It was a powdery substance. I had worked with them for about a month. The couple did not offend us. They were to pay me N50,000 monthly. We just wanted them to sleep off. I ran to the Ogudu area after the incident to pick up another job. That was where I was arrested.”
The police added that the plan was to use Hounkpe as an insider to give free access to the robbery gang. Amusu was to lead the gang members into the compound. They added that the plan was foiled. The CP, Aderanti, who paraded the suspects, advised residents of Lagos to always do background checks on people employed into their homes and places of work.
He said, “They have both confessed to the crime. The couple has been flown abroad for treatment. I want the public to always be careful about the people they bring into their homes. In Lagos, there is no place for criminals to hide.”