The ‘Trial’ of Clarence Peters

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World-class video director/cinematographer, Clarence Peters, is evidently going through the most difficult period of his life, following the bizarre death of music video dancer, Love Divine Ike (aka Picture Kodak) in his studio in Lagos. Clarence was invited and detained by the police for a few days. He is now out on bail while investigation continues. Will this gentleman come out unblemished? Ferdinand Ekechukwu reports

“Please note that no one has been charged or arrested, by the police. The witnesses and I willingly made ourselves available to the police and we have all pledged our full co-operation, through every part of this process. I will be helping out in every possible capacity.” That was in part the statement given by ace video director and cinematographer, Clarence Peters following the allegation of murder of video vixen, Love Divine Ike, aka Picture Kodak.

The popular music video dancer, with Instagram handle @picturekodak, was said to have been electrocuted while charging her phone in Clarence Peters’ Lagos home on Wednesday, April 29.

Police in Lagos had detained Peters and four others, due to circumstances surrounding her death.

However, when the news of the vixen’s death became public knowledge, Nigerians while commiserating with the victim’s family, demanded an investigation to unravel the true circumstances surrounding Kodak’s death.

Though, Clarence Peters had debunked report of him being arrested, he revealed in the statement that he willingly made himself available to the Lagos State Police on Monday May 4. Bala Elkana, spokesperson of the state police command had in a chat stated that Clarence was being investigated for murder. He said since the incident happened in Clarence’s apartment, himself and some others, who were present at the time of the unfortunate incident, had been invited.

According to the force spokesperson, ‘’Yes it is true; he is in our custody answering some questions. We are investigating the circumstances that led to her death; so, definitely, there are questions investigators will need to find out and he is one of those that need to answer some of those questions; that is why he has been invited and some few others who were there,’’ Bala said.

When asked if they will be detained beyond that Monday May, he responded. “They are detained. It is full-fledged investigation. It is a murder charge. We are probably looking at murder. We are not concluding at this stage. If she died of electrocution according to reports, it is left for us to find out. Was she actually electrocuted? What went wrong? “Autopsy will also show,’’ he said.

However, a crew member who claimed to have been a witness to the death of video vixen had narrated how she died, while insisting that Clarence was not at the scene. The crew member known as Melvn gave his narration of the event after Clarence Peters was called in for questioning over Kodak’s death at his house. Melvn, according to a report, said Clarence was not present when Kodak died, a claim which was also made by Clarence longtime girlfriend, Jennifer Alegieuno. He also claimed that the incident happened in a studio, and not in Clarence’s house. Recounting the events that led to her death, Melvn began his narration by warning against the use of phones with a metal body.

Melvn said Kodak was charging her phone which has a metal cover and she was also trying to use a metal socket while her body was sweaty with no shoes. He added that, suddenly, they heard a bang which got them curious. He said: “We looked back to see what happened and saw a spark on LD’s phone lying on her chest, we rushed to her and saw that she had been electrocuted. We carried her somewhere safer, tried to revive her, she was responding with gasps, her colleague was calling her name, I went out to call for help, (and) then Clearance was notified.

“After first aid, we carried her in a car and went to hospital in the estate, they wouldn’t even open gate. We moved to another hospital, finally, doctor came and checked her and said she was dead….” To Clarence Peter’s girlfriend, Jennifer Alegieuno, the makeup artist, said the investigation carried out by the IPO in charge of the case after the on-scene investigation was done and the body visited at the morgue, concluded that the death was a result of a natural accident.

Alegieuno added: “Events took a different turn when The DCP- Yetunde Longe, came in and asked that the report be torn. She wrote a second one that she tore again. By the third report, then came in Mr. Oye and his father Sir Shina Peters and she (Yetunde Longe) couldn’t continue with her foul play. She agreed they had no case with him and the rest of the witnesses. So why are they still holding him? Everyone asked and she said she was waiting for the autopsy result so she can attach it. When she saw she had been caught, she sent them to put out a press statement that he was charged for murder. So thinking Nigerians, can someone be charged without an autopsy conducted?”

Until her death, the top dancer worked with a number of top artistes like Olamide, Burna Boy, Korra Obidi and ace dancer, Kaffy among others.

When Clarence spoke to defend himself in a lengthy statement five days after Kodak died, he said he was not in the same building with the late dancer when the unfortunate incident occurred. He also said his attention was called only after Kodak collapsed; claiming that two hospitals they had rushed the late dancer to assumed she was a COVID-19 patient. He added that they refused to admit her.

He wrote on Instagram: “On the 29th of April 2020, Love Divine Ike (Picture Kodak) was in the dance studio, on the premises of Capital Dreams Pictures, with 5 other team members and myself – 7 people in total.

“At about 7:30 pm on the same day, while in another office – a building beside the dance studio, on the same premises, some people who were said to be with Love Divine at the time, rushed in and called my attention to the fact that Love Divine had collapsed. We immediately rushed her to the nearest hospital, which refused to let us into their premises, let alone admit her. They assumed she was a Covid-19 patient. We tried, but we were not able to gain entry into a second hospital.

“We eventually got her to a third hospital where she was pronounced dead 30 minutes after arrival. I was not physically in the same room with her when the incident occurred, and when I inquired, I was told by those present at the scene that Love Divine, while taking a break from the dance session, was sitting on one of the metal sliding door rails, charging and using her phone plugged to an extension box.

“The witnesses didn’t realize anything was wrong, until they saw down, and they noticed smoke coming from her chest area. She was said to have been electrocuted, her phone was found on her chest, with severe burn marks, and the phone’s imprint on her chest. The witnesses were taken to the Ojodu Police Headquarters straight from the hospital where statements were taken and the phone (which had traces of burnt flesh on it) was deposited.

“Love Divine and the entire West Life Crew was a huge part of Capital Dreams Pictures, and losing her hurts us all deeply. She was an exemplary person and a legend in her own rights. We will miss her very much. Words will never be enough to describe what her family is going through in these things trying times. My thoughts and prayers are with them, and I ask God to grant them all the strength & fortitude at this time. This is a truly difficult time for us all, and we’re asking for a lot of patience and goodwill from the general public, in these difficult times.”