By KUNLE AKINRINADE
•I suspect foul play — Deceased’s mother •Husband: she’s lying
The untimely death of 45-year-old Mrs. Adebola Kushimo, an ex-Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) staff has thrown her widower, Olalekan Kushimo, and her mother, Alhaja Agbeke Balogun, into war of words that may endure for a long time.
The septuagenarian mother of the deceased has accused her son-in law of complicity in the death of her only daughter. She claimed that contrary to the belief that her daughter had died while undergoing a fibroid operation in a Indian hospital, she suspected Olalekan of manipulating information on the circumstances leading to her death and her burial in Lagos.
She said:” I never knew that my daughter would suffer such fate in the hands of her husband. There is more to her death than what her husband has made people to believe. My daughter never told me she was going for an operation in India and her husband too did not inform me until she died.
“Throughout their 13-year marriage, the couple visited me on three occasions. The last time I saw my daughter was on June 15, 2011 when I threw a bash in my residence. She came with her husband (Olalekan) in a space wagon car which she said she just bought and I prayed for her. Surprisingly, on September 2, 2011, Olalekan called me on the telephone to inform me that some people would be bringing an undisclosed consignments to me, not knowing that they were coming to break the news of my daughter’s death.
“But the moment I saw those who came in company of some landlords in my area, I knew that something terrible had happened. Eventually, his siblings who came told me that my daughter had died in a hospital in India during a fibroid operation.”
She further stated that when her daughter’s husband informed her that her daughter was dead, she told him not to bury her so that she could ascertain the cause of her death, but he allegedly went ahead and buried her without her consent. She, however, was given a picture of her daughter that was taken during the lying in state at the funeral by concerned friends, which showed a big cut on her head and her mouth was swollen.
She said: “I may not have a university education but I can distinguish what is reasonable from falsehood. How come my daughter was going for an operation of that magnitude abroad and I was not informed? You won’t believe that it was the younger sister to my daughter’s husband who is a medical doctor and runs a hospital that wrote the referral to the Indian hospital, if the document given to us by Olalekan is to be believed.
“That means my daughter was initially admitted at that particular hospital before her purported ‘operation’ in India. How come her husband or any relative did not accompany her on the trip? If truly my daughter died in India, how come her husband deceived me when her body arrived from India?”
According to her, from the findings made by the family, no corpse entered Nigeria through the Airport from India on September 7 2011, as being claimed by Olalekan except the corpse of an old woman from U.S.A.
“He had told me that her body was due to arrive on a particular day and having suspected foul play, I asked him to call me as soon as her body arrived the airport so that I could send my son to verify that it was her corpse. He instead chose to call several hours on the day asking me to send my son to come and look at the corpse somewhere on Airport Road, Lagos State.
“From what I found out during a check, the only corpse brought into Nigeria that day was that of an old woman from US. Please, ask him why he hurriedly buried my daughter despite my instructions that he should put the funeral on hold until a proper autopsy was done.
“He must have beaten my daughter to death because there was a deep cut on her head and her mouth was swollen. Some people took photographs during her burial ceremony and photographs don’t lie. He has been lying to the Police in order to absolve himself of complicity in the death of my daughter.”
She said that her daughter did not have a good relationship with her husband as he had physically abused her several times in the past.
“He was constantly beating my daughter when she was alive. There was a day my daughter sought refuge in my house for some days after she was assaulted by her husband. My daughter told me that Olalekan had resorted to beating her for daring to challenge him on some marital issues.
“My daughter had worked all her life to make her husband a better person in life. She opened a beer joint for him because he was allegedly jobless. He has converted my daughter’s belongings, including her vehicles, into his personal use. I believe that since my daughter did not have children for him, he should be honest enough to return all her belongings. “
In a telephone interview with our correspondent, the deceased’s widower, Mr. Olalekan Kushimo, however, denied complicity in the death of his wife and the allegations by his mother-in law. He explained that his mother-in law was trying to point accusing fingers at him in order to curry sympathy.
“I don’t know what my mother-in law’s problems are. She is just trying to cook up stories in order to attract public sympathy. I want to believe that someone has been feeding her with lies and pushing her to do all these.
“Her daughter had barely been buried when she started asking me for her daughter’s personal effects while I was still mouring and I told her it was too early. She had never taken off a single day to mourn her daughter.
“She had even asked me for some documents that she gave to my wife and I have asked my lawyers to take them to her. Her belief is that my wife had made so much money from her job and that I wanted to corner her belongings. Is it possible for a low rank civil servant to amass wealth without running into problems?
“Contrary to her wild tales or allegations, I asked my late wife to inform mama about her medical trip to India and she did. She was hale and hearty when she was leaving for India to undergo a fibroid operation because she was bent on having children for me. I had admonished her to consider adopting children, but she explained that since her medical hindrance was not beyond cure, she would rather prepare to have her own kids.”
He explained how he disagreed with the mother-in law following her insistence on having another autopsy carried out on her body.
“Even her family members were at the burial and I think she is saying these because of money. There was nothing I could have done because the Nigerian High Commission in India and Indian authorities were duly informed and an autopsy had already been carried out on the body in India. It was on the day of the burial that she called to say that I should not go ahead with the burial anymore.
“I refused to heed her instructions because it came rather late when my late wife’s colleagues, friends and associates were already at the lying-in state. So, how could I have cancelled such an event and what would I have told those present? I cannot keep her corpse in my house because I had already set out the programme for her final interment. If she has any grievance against me, let her go to court. I was never at any time jobless; I am a car dealer and I have been running my business for many years now.
“My wife and I had mutual agreement on what to do in case of death. I told her to ensure that a certain nephew of mine gets university education and today, I am happy that the boy is a graduate in my lifetime. She equally asked me not to let her mother suffer in case she dies. It was on the strength of this understanding that I considered it necessary to give her money for Ileya celebration in November last year. Unfortunately, the money I gave her to celebrate Eid-fitri (Ileya) is what she used to facilitate my arrest by the Police. I was taken to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, Lagos and I have explained my own side of the story.”
Findings by our correspondent revealed that the late Adebola until her death worked in the Administration Department of PHCN Ikeja Distribution Zone, Alausa.
A highly placed source, who asked for anonymity, said:”Ah, Bola (the deceased) was such an amiable lady. She actually applied for a sick leave and it was rather unfortunate that she died during operation in India. She was a Level 9 Officer until her death.”
via The Nation