HOW MY HUSBAND WAS MISTAKEN FOR A THIEF AND KILLED BY MOBS IN EKITI
A Forty-five-year-old carpenter, Falayi Obadare, was killed by a mob that labelled him a robber at the Olujoda area of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. His wife, Yemi, tells ABIODUN NEJO of the punch that her husband was robbed of his dream of seeing his three children become university graduates
How was your husband killed?
He was killed on June 16, 2020. My husband left home, saying he was going to work on a building site. Later in the day, I got a call from my husband’s phone. We saved each other’s phone numbers as ‘One Love’. When I answered the call, I said, ‘Hello dear,’ but the voice on the other end said, ‘It’s not your dear calling. We found this phone on the ground.’ The caller said he did not know the owner but that I could come to collect the phone at Zone 3, Olujoda area of Ado-Ekiti.
I quickly took a taxi to Olujoda. I met two men at the junction of Zone 3. When they ascertained I was the one who spoke to them on the phone, they gave me the phone. When I asked about my husband, they said I would see him if I followed a path there.
As I was leaving, I overheard them saying: ‘The man was not a robber but those people refused to listen. Seeing his wife confirmed that he was not a robber.’ By the time I turned round with intent to grab them and find out what happened, they had got on a motorbike and taken off. When I got to a bend, I saw my husband. He was on the ground, stark naked and with bruises and cuts all over his body.
Was he the only one there?
Some people and a policeman were there. I screamed and started rolling on the ground, ‘What happened? What did he do? This is my husband, the father of my three children.’ I kept screaming that he was a craftsman and a responsible person. The people there were confused as I was shouting. I could hear them saying they mistook him for a robber. Then they disappeared one after the other. But one of them said I should cover his nakedness and he used his clothes to cover him.
He was bleeding all over his body. His body had been battered but he was still gasping for breath at that point. Someone took pity on me, brought some water and poured it on his body, but he died thereafter.
You said you met a policeman there…
I learnt that people around there called the police after my husband had been beaten to a pulp by some youths, who mistook him for a robber, although nothing was found on him, except his phone. I learnt some residents had told the policeman to take him away, but the policeman, on realising he could survive, said he could not take him and only did a video recording of the incident before he left. It was after the policeman left that I put some clothes on him. When he died, I raced to Ologede Police Station and told them what happened. The policemen came to the scene but there was nobody to arrest as everybody had disappeared, except for two landlords and two guys. They are the four persons in police custody.
I do not know the person. What he told me was that he was going to work on a site. Maybe it was while he was moving around there that they suspected that he was a robber and pounced on him. But why would they do that in broad daylight and to an unarmed innocent man? Killing my husband who was in search of means to feed his family is cruel. He was a carpenter and had a shop in the Baptist area.
Did they say your husband argued with them?
No. One of the landlords that witnessed the incident said he did not argue with them.
How would you describe your husband?
He was an easy-going person. He was neither quarrelsome nor a troublemaker. He could give everything he had to take care of others. He was a nice person, a loving husband and a caring father. He never joked with the welfare of his children. He was hard-working and hated greed. He was a good man. Anytime anyone who knew him heard about the incident, they said he did not deserve such cruelty.
What were his unfulfilled plans?
We were planning to complete the construction of our house to make it more befitting. He also wanted to ensure that his children received sound education. Our three children are still young; the eldest child is nine, while the youngest one is four years old. We had good plans together. He was the breadwinner of the family as I’m not working.
He had great plans for our children; he was already dreaming of how to sponsor them from primary school through secondary school and to university. He even said his children would be given adequate education to make up for the education he could not get and that he would ensure they had all the education they could get.
What are your plans for the children?
We had great plans for them. I will carry the burden alone now, but how to go about it is my priority now. I need support to pay their school fees and feed the family. I want to appeal to the government and well-meaning people of Ekiti State and Nigerians who can be of assistance to the family to come to our aid. They should not allow my children to suffer or be deprived of the dream their father had for them.
How far have the police gone in their investigation into the matter?
The police at Ologede Division, where the matter was reported, have transferred it to the headquarters. I was at the headquarters on Tuesday. The relatives of the four persons in detention over the matter have been going there with their lawyers, I think, in a bid to resolve the matter. But the police are still giving us the impression that they would do their job and apprehend four other persons that were also said to have beaten my husband to death.
Eyewitnesses are saying there were four principal actors in the incident and that they have left the neighbourhood since the evening of the fateful day to evade arrest. The police are still assuring us that they would fish out the culprits, using necessary intelligence gathering.
What message do you have for the police?
I want justice to be done in this matter. The government, police and appropriate authorities should not let the killers turn my life upside down without any repercussion. They should get to the root of the matter and ensure application of the appropriate sanctions against the culprits. My husband should not die in vain.
The appropriate thing should be done so that the family is not oppressed because we have no money to pursue litigation. Our focus now is to get money for the education of my children and upkeep of the family. I have not been sleeping since my husband was killed. I stay awake all night thinking of the tragedy that has befallen the family and how to move on, especially how to change the future that seems bleak. The government should come to my aid to ensure the matter is well-investigated and that justice is done.
How has the last one week without your husband been?
I have been sad and depressed. I cannot eat; I have not been able to sleep since that day. In fact, I need medical attention because I don’t understand myself anymore. Food has no taste in my mouth. A woman’s husband is her crown. Her husband is her joy and power, but my situation has been turned to sorrow. That I will not see my husband again in this house is an eternal sore.
Can you recall your last moments with your husband?
We discussed the education of our first child, who is due to take the common entrance examination. We discussed how to pay for it. The person to handle it for us said he would collect the money next month. That was our last discussion.
What will you miss about him?
What I have lost is enormous; they cannot be measured and are too many to count. I do not know where to start. The fact that I will be alone in this house gives me enough reason to shed tears. Losing someone I have shared a bed and woken up to see every morning, just like that, is very painful. Feeding, fending for the children and paying their school fees alone have been a cause for concern.