The Enugu State High Court has, in a landmark judgment, sentenced Chiamaka Ifezue, a Nigerian woman, to death by hanging for the murder of makeup artist Ijeoma Nweke. The tragic incident unfolded in November 2020 when Ijeoma, responding to a job request, mysteriously disappeared, only to be found lifeless by the roadside days later.
The court proceedings, presided over by Justice Kenneth Okpe, reached a conclusion on Wednesday as he declared Ifezue guilty of forcefully administering a poisonous substance that led to Ijeoma’s untimely death. Ifezue’s brother, Chukwuemeka, however, was discharged as the judge accepted the defense’s argument that there was insufficient evidence linking him to the crime.
Ijeoma Nweke, a talented makeup artist and graduate of Imo State University with a degree in psychology, received a call for a home service job on November 11, 2020. Her disappearance prompted her family to report her missing to the police. Five days later, her lifeless body was discovered on the roadside.
The subsequent police investigation focused on tracing the phone number that had contacted Ijeoma for the home service job. This led to the arrest of Chiamaka Ifezue and her brother Chukwuemeka, who were subsequently charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
During the trial, Justice Okpe expressed his observations about Chiamaka Ifezue, noting her seemingly gentle appearance but asserting that she possessed “a heart of steel.” He further commented on her lack of remorse from the beginning of the trial to the judgement day. The judge delivered the verdict, stating, “I hereby sentence the defendant, Ifezue Chiamaka, to death by hanging until she dies. May God have mercy on her.”
The case had generated significant public interest since 2020, with Nigerians calling for justice upon learning of Ijeoma’s tragic demise. Notably, popular Big Brother star Mercy Eke revealed a personal connection, stating that both she and Ijeoma were classmates and that the deceased had graduated with a 2.1.
As Enugu State processes this high-profile verdict, the community grapples with the aftermath of a heinous crime that claimed the life of a promising young woman and has left a lasting impact on those who knew her.