A 30-year-old Nigerian man, Onoseta Oribhabor has reportedly committed suicide after murdering his 27-year-old girlfriend, Essozinam “Martine” Assali, in Toronto, Canada.
Oribhabor graduated from Babcock University, Ogun State, before leaving for Canada. Police characterize the case as a murder-suicide.
Assali, a bilingual sustainability marketing intern who had studied at Seneca College and overseas at England’s Oxford Brookes University, was treated for her injuries, but ultimately died.
Police found her boyfriend, Onoseta Oribhabor of Edmonton, dead on the balcony.
Investigators on Tuesday called the case a murder-suicide and listed Assali, affectionately called “Martine” by loved ones, as the victim of the city’s 10th homicide in a total of 14 so far this year.
Friends and family expressed their shock at the couple’s death.
“The last time I saw the them was in December at a wedding,” said Chuks Andrew Okeleke, a childhood friend of Oribhabor who studied with him in Nigeria. “They seemed happy and they were dancing. He told me that he was planning on proposing to her.”
Okeleke said Oribhabor immigrated to Canada in 2013, and later helped him settle in the country.
“Oribhabor was working in Alberta and visited his girlfriend in Toronto often. They met in the city at an event they both attended,” Okeleke said, adding that the condo belonged to Assali.
Okeleke contacted The Star after Oribhabor’s parents called from Nigeria to say they hadn’t heard from their son in more than a week.
“They still don’t know they are dead,” Okeleke said.
Police are calling the case another “domestic incident” in the GTA.
Ontario has seen an unusually high number of domestic-violence deaths this year. Gender-based violence experts have documented more than a dozen cases of women or their family members killed by past or present intimate partners.
A number of people wrote tributes to Assali on a website listing details of her funeral.
“It is very difficult to express how shock I am with the news of your death considering we only spoke three weeks ago,” wrote Eddie Idisi.
“Words can’t describe how nice a person you were and how blessed I was to have known and be a brother and friend to you.”
“Martine, you were such a humble, loving and caring soul,” wrote Sir Emeka Onukagha.
“You were one of the very few exceptional soul I have met here in Canada. I remember we met on Sunday 4th of march after the mass at St Timothy’s Catholic Church, we greeted and you told me we were going to see again. I never knows that will be the last time I will see you.”
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