The trial of a Danish man accused of killing his wife and three-year-old daughter in their upscale Lagos home was on Tuesday adjourned to next month, lawyers and court officials said.
The magistrate court in Yaba in the city also ordered the continued detention of Peter Nielsen, 53, until June 28 when his proper trial at a high court for the April 5 alleged murder of Zainab, his wife and their daughter Petra, was to start.
Zainab, a 37-year-old singer popularly known as Alizee, was a rising Nigerian star.
“He was brought to court this morning but no plea was taken. The prosecutors asked for an extension of his detention in Ikoyi prison pending his trial at the high court,” activist lawyer Christian Kolawole Love said.
“The request was granted as Mr. Nielsen will remain in prison until June 28,” he said.
He said the prosecution was hopeful that justice would be done in the matter.
“We are optimistic that the course of justice will be served. Nielsen is culpable in the murder of Zainab and Petra and should be brought to justice,” he said.
Court officials said the suspect had been returned to prison after the hearing.
Dozens of rights activists under the auspices of Women Arise NGO, families and friends of the victims, beseiged the court in black in T-shirts with the pictures of Zainab and her daughter.
They carried placards denouncing the growing menace of domestic violence in the country, amidst sobbing and wailing of relatives of the victims, including Zainab’s mother.
“Our campaign against domestic violence will be pursued with renewed vigour in order to stop this menace that is consuming our families,” Women Arise president Joe Okei Odumakin said outside the court.
She commended the police for their prompt investigation as well as the state justice department for establishing “a prima facie case of murder against the accused”.
The Danish man was first remanded in prison when he appeared in court on April 11 as the authorities awaited legal advice from the state director of public prosecution.
He was said to have hit his wife’s head against the wall several times, inflicting fatal injuries and later poisoned his daughter and tried to cover up the murders as a domestic accident.
The case, which has generated media attention and publicity in Nigeria, a country where domestic violence is receiving more attention.
In March, the Lagos state governor Akinwunmi Ambode led a protest against domestic violence in support of a 25-year jail term for rapists.