She laboured with her life to raise her husband’s six children from his previous marriage. The children are all grown now. Without her own children, a widow, Mrs. Egondu Opara, is in tears over moves to snatch all her husband left for her by the same children. But the children insist hard times have fallen on them. EMMANUEL IFEANYI reports from Aba
A childless, needy widow, Mrs Egondu Opara, who lives in Aba, Abia State, has cried out to the state government to save her from being driven from her husband’s property and made a destitute by the step children she suffered to raise.
The widow sent the SOS to the state government on Tuesday when she came to the Secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Aba Correspondents Chapel on St. Michael’s Road, Aba.
Opara, who hailed from Mbano in Imo State, said she got married to her late husband, elder Andrew Opara, from Okwudor in Njaba LGA of the same Imo State with the sole purpose of helping him train his children, whose mother died while they were still tender. According to Opara, the late wife of her late husband died leaving six little children; four girls and two boys of which she assumed the duty of a mother on them immediately she got married to their father. She said that after she raised them, they now have taken everything her husband left and have practically turned her to a beggar with nothing to take care of her life.
Mrs. Opara said that she never knew what was awaiting her with the children she helped in nurturing and training into adulthood as her own children until her husband died in 2014. Her situation was even compounded with the fact that she also gave birth to her own children (two boys), who both died mysteriously at the age of six and twelve which left her heartbroken until the demise of her husband.
In her words: “I came because of the troubles my step children have brought upon my life. “Before I got married to my husband, he told me that his first wife died, leaving six little children: two boys and four girls.
“They were very small then and my husband pleaded with me to help in their nurturing and up bringing, saying that I am now their mother since their biological mother was no more. “I did that with all my heart and I derived joy training them until they all became men and women.
“I gave birth to my own children later and they were two boys but those my boys died mysteriously with the first of the two dying at age of 6 while my second son later died at the age of 12, while preparing to enter secondary school.” Mrs. Opara said that everything her husband gave to her and every promise made to her by her late husband, which he instructed her step sons to fulfill have either been taken away or totally abandoned as they no longer see her as part of the family.
The widow said she suffered with her husband to raise the children and cared for their father which prompted the man on his sick bed to ask his children to adopt a female child in his name to take care of his wife when she is old. According to her, the person sent was Ejikeme, her husband’s second son who after many months of playing pranks and failing to show he is actually processing the child’s adoption, openly said he would not do the adoption.
She said her husband gave her some apartments, including a shop at No 18 Nweyo Street, with which to take care of herself before he died but that the apartments have been collected by her step sons from her, denying her access to those properties.
The widow, who wept bitterly also narrated how a bungalow with 14 rooms which was given to her by her late husband have been turned into nothing by the first son of her late husband who stays in Venezuela.
She said he deceived her into believing that they want to help to renovate the building which prompted them to evict the entire tenants and pulled off the entire roof of the building. According to her, since January this year that the roofs were pulled off till the time of filling this report, no single work was going on in that house which she said was a master plan drawn by her step sons to make her suffer more here on for no single offence against them.
“When they said they wanted peace, they invited a lawyer, asked that we open a joint bank account for collecting my husband’s property rents, so we could monitor withdrawals by each other from the account.
“The lawyer left and never did as agreed. So, I visited his office one day and demanded explanations. He said that there was no provision for joint account hence he kept collecting the rents and remitting proceeds to them alone. “They also said they wanted to renovate that bungalow with 14 rooms for me but before I could know it, they had chased out all my tenants, removed all the roofs, sold the sheets and left the house uninhabitable since January.
“The house is at number 10 Nwala street, Over-Rail Aba. The shop my husband gave to me under the two storey building at Number 18 Nwoye Street to be using to fend for myself and my children before they died, they have collected it also.
“The four girls among my step children are also supporting their brothers, saying that I have no right since I have no child anymore “she narrated. She said that efforts put by members of their extended family to ensure that her step sons meet up with the promise of giving her own portion of the property and taking care of her with a monthly salary of N30,000 as agreed have failed, as they have stopped appearing in any meeting called by the extended family at the village. The widow said she has absolutely nobody to fight for her from her own original home in Mbano as both her parents are now late together with her own brothers.
“Nobody to fight for me. They’ve denied me every right I have as a legally married wife, a mother, a woman who trained them and even as an ordinary human being. “They even denied me the tribute I wrote during my husband’s burial as they tactically removed only my tribute and my picture from the brochure,” she lamented. Mrs. Opara, who couldn’t hold her tears, asked government to come to her aid since she has no money to stand a legal battle with them in the court.
Meanwhile, New Telegraph went to the house at No 10 Nwala Street, off Over-Rail, Aba and observed that it had its roofing sheets removed, leaving it open for the elements to ravage its remaining facilities. When contacted, Mr Ejikeme Opara, one of Mrs Opara’s step sons told New Telegraph that “everything the woman said is a lie, there is no iota of truth in it.” Speaking further, he said:”The little knowledge I had then, I know she was married into our family as a wife. I took her as an incubated mother then. “When my daddy died, I saw her as the only parent I had. I took her as mother, a friend and a sister. All of a sudden everything changed.
“When you are in a family where you are not comfortable with the person you call your brother or sister, the best thing is to leave. “You do not continue staying with your enemy. It is obvious, we are all human beings. Somebody cannot be threatening your life and you are still comfortable with staying with that person under one roof. It is not done. “She has done a lot of threats to me, even as I am talking now, she does not respond to my greetings.
That is why I stopped greeting her.” Ejikeme explained that they evicted the tenants in the bungalow because they no longer pay their rents. He added that the roofs were pulled off with intentions to renovate, but he does not have money anymore to carry it out the project for now. “We never had any intention of throwing her out of the house. There is no such intention. We’ve decided to fix the house for her so that she moves in there and be collecting the rent.
“The essence of removing the roof is to renovate the place. I started the project but the money I was expecting wasn’t coming and that was why the project remained that way. “After the death of my dad, we placed her on a monthly salary of N30,000.
I was paying the money from my own personal pocket, so that when we realize money from the property, I’ll place it back. “Then after some time, things changed for me and I couldn’t pay as at when due. And the tenants where we were supposed to get money from were not paying up and that was one of the reasons I had to evict all those tenants. “We now concluded that since the people leaving in the house keep owing rent, that we can’t keep owing her while those tenants are still leaving there.
“We said let’s vacate them and renovate the place, make it a modern house and she’ll move down there and take over the Landlord’s quarters and rent out the remaining rooms and collect the money by herself to take care of herself.
“It was a family decision between her and my elder brother who told me she made some specifications she wanted for the house.” On the adoption of a girl child for his step mother, Ejikeme said his late father mentioned it to him, but claimed that he did so under duress due to the pressure from his step mother to allow her adopt a child. “My father told me about the adoption of a child, but I told him it’s not my decision to make, that he should tell his first son, my elder brother, which he did. “And the reply my elder brother gave him was that his hands are not involved in any issue of adopting a child for her. Yes, my father mentioned it to me, but I think he did it under duress,” he claimed.
He however said the removal of her tribute from the brochure was a printing error as the work was properly proofread by one of his cousins. When our correspondent contacted the lawyer to Ejike, Mr Augustine Mbagwu, he said the matter was in court and so he would not comment.
On the explanation of the issue of “prejudice” at stake to him, he said he had filed for an out of court settlement on the matter many months ago but was yet to have the matter finally sorted.
FIRS: PDP wants probe of revenue collections since 2015
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the National Assembly to hold a public hearing into revenue collections in the country by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) in the last four years.
The party also told the lawmakers to take urgent steps to recover the alleged stolen funds and channel such to projects that have direct bearing on the welfare of Nigerians.
PDP, in a statement Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said variance in the remission of taxes by the FIRS further confirmed its stance that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government is neck-deep in corruption and looting of the nation’s treasury.
The party added that the discoveries have vindicated it of alleged underhand dealings and frittering of monies collected as taxes in the last four years.
According to the statement, Nigerians were not deceived by the desperation by agents of the presidency to cover its complicity by seeking the sack of the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Babatunde Fowler.
It noted that a critical study of the leaked correspondence from the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, to the FIRS Chairman at the wake of the revelations of financial discrepancies, betrayed the alleged complicity of the cabal in the presidency.
Insecurity: DSS moves to check nuclear threats
The Department of State Services (DSS), has begun moves to frustrate the use of nuclear technology for malicious purposes by non-state actors in the country.
According to the secret service, unless urgent steps were taken in that direction, terrorists, kidnappers, separatist agitators and other elements have the tendency to recruit students, workers in public and private sectors, to undermine the security of the country, using the available nuclear materials.
Conmandant of the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS), Mr. Ayodele Adeleke, made the disclosure Monday at a workshop in Abuja.
Adeleke said the choice of participants from the military, security, intelligence, para-military as well as ministries and agencies of government, was a deliberate decision to imbue them with expertise in insider-risk reduction among others.
The workshop, which was organised by the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, in collaboration with the NISS and other partners, had the theme, “human reliability implementation”.
Alleged extortion: Joint enforcement team arrests 42 FRSC officials, agents – ICPC
Thirty seven officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), and five of their suspected agents, have been arrested for alleged extortion of motorists in parts of the country.
The officials were arrested by a joint inter-agency team comprising the ICPC, FRSC ans well as the Department of State Services (DSS), operating in Kaduna, Bauchi, Abia, Rivers, Kogi and Ogun states.
Spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, who made the disclosure in a statement Monday, said the joint team was established following complaint of extortion made by FRSC’s management against officials.
“A Joint Inter-Agency Team led by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arrested 37 officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for allegedly extorting money from motorists on Nigerian highways.
“The Team, comprising officials of ICPC, FRSC and the Department of State Services (DSS) also arrested five persons said to be agents of the corps officials in a sting operation carried out simultaneously in the six geo-political zones.
“The Team struck on Friday 16th August, 2019, following the receipt of a complaint from the management of the Corps of massive extortion of money from motorists on the highways by its patrol teams.
“The FRSC management had, in the complaint to the Commission, observed that incidents of extortion were rife in the six states of Kaduna, Bauchi, Abia, Rivers, Kogi and Ogun.
“Based on this, the ICPC-led Team went into action and identified the notorious spots in each of the aforementioned states to include Aba in Abia State; Ahoada, Ajaokuta, Itori, Torro and Gwantu in Rivers, Kogi, Ogun, Bauchi and Kaduna States respectively,” Okoduwa said.
Police seal off Lagos venue where Soyinka, Falana, others to speak on insecurity
The police on Monday sealed off the venue of a symposium where Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana (SAN) and other speakers where to address the state of insecurity in the country.
The programme organised by a group known as Coalition for Revolution (CORE) was billed to hold at 46, Ibijoke street, Oluyole Bus-stop, Oregun, Lagos.
It has as its theme: “Democracy, State Repression and the State of insecurity in Nigeria”.
However, when New Telegraph showed up at the venue, police vans were seen at strategic locations around the venue preventing people from entering.
Falana, who is present at the venue, has been seen discussing with the policemen, ostensibly to find out why they are being prevented from holding the programme.
Ekweremadu: Kalu debunks shelving medical check-up in Germany
Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr Orji Kalu, has described as unfounded, social media reports that he suspended his planned medical check-up to Germany because of what happened to Sen. Ike Ekweremadu.
Kalu disclosed this in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
Only recently the former deputy senate president was physically assaulted in Germany at the weekend by some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Ekweremadu was invited as a speaker/special guest of honour at the 2nd Annual Igbo Cultural Festival in Nuremberg, Germany.
Kalu said that since the Senate commenced its recess, he has been in his country home, interacting with his constituents.
“I have been in my country home interacting with the people and settling disputes. The news that I suspended by planned medical check-up in Germany was not true.
“I was invited by Igbo group in Spain to attend their function, I could not go because of the interaction with my constituents.’’
Kalu had described the action of the IPOB members as uncivilised, unacceptable and barbaric.
The former Abia governor urged Igbo people to respect their leaders at all levels.
He noted that the only way the South-East zone can be prosperous was by embracing dialogue, peace and unity.
Kalu also urged the Embassy of Nigeria in Germany, the German Government and appropriate authorities to bring the perpetrators of the ugly incident to book.
He said: “After watching a viral video of the physical attack on the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweramadu, I was not only disappointed, but irritated and disturbed with the action of some members of IPOB.
“The assault on the senator is a slap on Igbo leaders regardless of age, party affiliation and religion.
“The perpetrators of the uncivilised act must face the wrath of the law.
“Sen. Ekweramadu is not only one of the Igbo leaders, but also a prominent Nigerian and as such should be accorded due respect by all and sundry at home and abroad.
“For the South-East to move forward, the people of the zone must embrace dialogue as a way of resolving pertinent issues and eschew violence.”
Kalu appealed to Igbo people across the globe to be law-abiding and good ambassadors of Nigeria.
Sudan’s ousted President Bashir in court for corruption trial
Sudan’s ousted President Omar al-Bashir has arrived in court in the capital, Khartoum, for his trial on corruption charges.
There’s heavy security around the courthouse.
After he was ousted in April, millions of dollars in cash were allegedly seized from his house.
Bashir’s trial opened last month, but had to be postponed following the death of his mother, reports the BBC.
Police, soldiers deploy in Zimbabwe as opposition challenges protest ban
Soldiers and police deployed in large numbers in Zimbabwe’s second city Bulawayo on Monday to enforce a ban on an anti-government demonstration, as the country’s main opposition party sought to overturn that decision in court.
The street protest was the second called in four days by the Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC), which accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of repression and economic mismanagement.
Authorities had also banned Friday’s gathering in Harare, intended as the launch event of a nationwide protest movement. The MDC called it off, saying it aimed to avert bloodshed after police there rounded up its followers and dispersed them with batons and water cannon.
In a similar show of force in Bulawayo, an MDC heartland, authorities prohibited the march on Sunday and on Monday sent soldiers in trucks into the centre of the city and nearby townships, bolstering police who patrolled on foot and lorries, witnesses said.
Businesses remained open and residents circulated as normal in the city, however.
David Coltart, an MDC senator from Bulawayo and lawyer, called the ban “clearly unconstitutional and unjust”, and told Reuters the party had lodged a court appeal that city magistrates would hear on Monday morning.
The MDC protest movement is rooted in Zimbabwe’s worst economic crisis in a decade, and viewed as a test of Mnangagwa’s willingness to tolerate dissent in a country tainted by a long history of repression under Robert Mugabe, its ruler for nearly 40 years.
Anger is mounting over triple-digit inflation, rolling power cuts and shortages of U.S. dollars, fuel and bread – bringing back memories of the hyperinflation of a decade ago that forced Zimbabwe to ditch its currency, reports Reuters.
APC: Attackers of Ekweremadu are irresponsible elements
… Says they were supported by PDP
Johnchuks Onuanyim, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the attackers of the former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu as “irresponsible elements” being supported by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to the ruling APC, the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who attacked Senator Ekweremedu on Saturday in Nuremberg, Germany, had been supported by PDP against the ruling party.
In a statement issued in Abuja by the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party called on all to condemn activities of criminals everywhere and at whatever form.
APC condemning the attacks on the former Deputy Senate President, said: “Those involved in the despicable actions and the organisation they represent are unworthy in character. No Nigerian should be assaulted in the manner Senator Ekweremadu was. It is an indecent action and it is below the acceptable standard of behaviour expected of our citizens whether in Nigeria or abroad.
“It is, however, regrettable that some of the people and organisations who had offered these irresponsible elements open support in the past are raising their voices now. It would be recalled that the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its leaders chose to play politics over a matter that called for collective patriotic actions when IPOB raised a terror group in the South East. It is clear that PDP and its other short-sighted co-travellers who were the main cheerleaders of IPOB owe this country an apology. IPOB hid under regional identity to perpetrate criminality having recruited some misguided elements and miscreants.”
Speaking on the opposition political party, APC said: “Are we surprised by the PDP’s hypocritical reaction to the unfortunate attack on Senator Ekweremadu? No! The PDP and their leaders have acted true to type. This is what happens when politicians become myopic and allow narrow sentiments becloud their sense of judgement.”
Calling on all Nigerians to be responsive to security issues, the APC said: “We all have a responsibility to collectively rise against evil wherever we find it and in whatever guise it appears. We hope lessons have been learnt from this unfortunate incident.”
Ohanaeze youths warn IPOB against attack on Igbo leaders
hanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, yesterday warned members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against further attack on Igbo leaders.
The group was reacting to attack on former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu by IPOB in Germany at the weekend.
Ohanaeze youths condemned the attack and urged IPOB to stop assaulting Igbo leaders.
In a statement issued in by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, the Igbo youths said Ekweremadu’s attack was contrary to Igbo norms and values and should be condemned vehemently by all.
It reads: “We condemned vehemently the introduction of mob action against Igbo leaders, as this is a wrong precedence that should be condemned. We believe that there are likely more targeted Igbo leaders on their lists, who may face the consequences of failed leadership in the South-East but Ekweremadu’s assault is contrary to Igbo norms and values and should be condemned vehemently by all stakeholders.
“From intelligence report, Revolution has begun in Igbo land, Igbo leaders should be careful, they are no longer safe across the globe, this assault on Ekweremadu was to test run on what is likely to happen to other marked leaders, if this ugly trend remained unchecked, it will be bring doom to Igbo leadership.
“We call for cease fire on violence against Igbo leaders, but urge that South-East political leaders to find a means to make peace with between all the stakeholders in the South East, especially the youths and agitators.”
Crisis rocks Ondo community over upgrade of monarch
major crisis broke out at the weekend in the oil-rich Aboto in Ilaje Local Government of Ondo State over the upgrade of Chief Behiah Idiogbe as Alaboto of Aboto by the state government.
Sources in the town said there was a breakdown of law and order in Aboto community following the upgrade of Idiogbe from being chief to the status of the monarch of the coastal community.
The source said youths in the community who have been protesting the upgrade of Idiogbe who they alleged is not from that community to the status of a monarch threatening to blow up the bridge linking the community to other parts of the state if the decision is not reversed by the government.
The State Executive Council had effected the upgrading of Chief Beniah Adeola Idiogbe from Oloja of Aboto to the position of Alaboto of Aboto in Ilaje local government area of the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Donald Ojogo said the request for the upgrade had been approved by the State Executive Council 12 years ago, adding that the present government came in and decided to effect the upgrade.
This announcement, sources in the community said had led to the burning of houses and government projects.
The lawyer to Aboto community, Prince Idowu Mafimisebi who confirmed the crisis in the community said the former administration of late Olusegun Agagu in 2007 erroneously announced the approval of Idiogbe as the Alaboto which led to a bloody crisis leading to the death of some persons and razing of many houses in the community.
The lawyer alleged that many indigenes of the town have fled the town for safety since Thursday when the announcement was made by the government.
The statement appealed to the state government to call its foot soldiers to order and allow peace to reign in Aboto community.
Mafimisebi said Agagu’s administration immediately reversed the decision then having discovered it was wrongful. He said the community already has an approved monarch who was selected by the kingmakers.
The statement by Aboto community read ” It is an anathema that a government led by a SAN had to toe the line of a wrongful decision of a previous government made 12 years ago which was reversed consequently after the loss of lives and properties.
“Although correspondences have been sent to the present government through a letter dated July 8 and another one on August 14 to the effect that selection has been done for our client, while the commissioner for local government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Attorney-General and Ilaje local government chairman affirmed that the selection of Prince Oyetayo Ofoaye was done in accordance with the Chieftaincy law of Ondo State.
“The Amapetu of Mahin who has been restrained by Ilaje District Council and a court of competent jurisdiction since 1957 from meddling with Aboto land not being a community under him cannot make a person an Oloja over such a community, and it is, therefore, impossible to upgrade a person made an Oloja through an incompetent authority”.
However, Ojogo insisted that Alaboto’s elevation had been approved almost 12 years ago, emphasizing that some encumbrances had delayed the pronouncement.
Ojogo said” The process is what we met on ground and government felt justice must be served. It is not a fresh process; state executive council gave approval for Alaboto’s elevation since 2007, but was not effected by the previous administration”.
Metro and Crime18 hours ago
Lagos: Four hospitalised, five arrested as Hausa, Yoruba clash
Politics18 hours ago
2023 presidency and zoning conundrum
News19 hours ago
Briyia’s resignation confirms how INEC rigged 2019 election –PDP
Metro and Crime18 hours ago
We don’t operate in our communities –Robbers
Metro and Crime18 hours ago
Lagos: Four hospitalised, five arrested as Hausa, Yoruba clash
Opinions18 hours ago
Kogi 2019: Another Zamfara, Rivers in making
Business18 hours ago
U.S. hospital hires Nigerian as surgeon-in-chief
News20 hours ago
Obasanjo, Abiodun admonish monarchs as Bakre becomes new Agura