…says ‘I need to care for my nine children’
Mrs. Christiana Odo was 14-year-old when her family married her off to Romanus through proxy.
Christiana married the absent groom without knowing him from Adam. In fact, it was Romanus’ mother who approached Christiana’s family and asked for her hand in marriage.
The woman carried out the necessary marriage rites and paid the bride price, and Christiana soon moved in with her in their village, in Ebonyi State.
Romanus first met his wife, when he came to the village to carry out his conjugal duties. Christiana had two children for him right in his mother’s house.
The husband was only going to the village to sleep with her, and then he would return to Lagos. This was how the first two children were born. After the birth of the two children, Romanus stopped going to the village.
He didn’t make any move to take Christiana and the children to Lagos with him. His mother took care of young Christiana and the two children.
Christiana said: “The last time he came to the village was after the birth of our second child. Even when his mother died, he didn’t come to the village. My father said that I should remarry. I decided to trace him down to Lagos. I came to Lagos by myself, with my two children. I didn’t know anywhere. The bus we boarded dropped us at Ojota.
“My brother came to the park to pick us. He took us to Romanus’ house. When I got there, I discovered that he was living with another woman. The woman is from Cross Rivers. I didn’t fight, I didn’t complain.
“I asked the woman if Romanus has paid her bride price, she said yes. I said it was alright. I was not angry because in my village, a man is free to marry two wives. My father married 12 wives. The woman started fighting Romanus that he had a wife and children at the village, and lied to her that he had not married. She left him. It was when I started living with him, that he started beating me. The beating was so much that landlords keep giving us quit notices. I can’t remember the number of houses we had moved out from because of quarrel and beatings. The major problem was that Romanus had a drinking problem.”
Despite the beatings and hardship which were Christiana’s lot in that marriage, she ended up having nine children for Romanus.
To ensure they didn’t die of starvation, Christiana started hawking rice with pepper soup. She would leave her community at Ikorodu area of Lagos, and move to Jibowu with one of her children to hawk rice and pepper soup.
In 2016, everything went wrong; the domestic violence escalated, leading to Romanus’ death. Christiana was accused of killing him and ended in prison.
Christiana said that Romanus’ family members had withdrawn from the case, stating that they preferred her to be freed from prison, so that she could return home to take care of the nine children. The family allegedly claimed that there was no sense in losing father and mother, when there are nine children to care for. Romanus, before his death, hawked hoes in traffic.
Christiana’s lawyer, Mr. Kingsley Oseghale of Greystone Solicitors, who is also a human rights activist, said that he met the woman through one of his clients in prison.
Oseghale explained that after he was connected to Christiana, he interviewed her in an attempt to get the fact of the case and not base his conclusion on social media information.
The lawyer said he learnt that during a quarrel, Romanus picked a knife and started chasing Christiana with it.
He said: “They live on the top floor of their apartment, a one-bedroom apartment. She was running away from the man, so that he wouldn’t injure her. She was used to his beatings. If you see her, you’ll see several marks on her body, which the man had inflicted on her. Even now, when you see her, she still has a broken tooth, which she got through him.
“The man ran after her with the knife, he missed a step on the staircase and landed on the knife. People saw him bleeding. He was already dead. Everyone ran from the scene, including children. The only child that came over, was Chidera Ado, he was playing soccer with his friends when the incident happened. He ran home to see people gathered in their compound. He heard people shouting, ‘she has killed her husband.’ And then he saw his mother weeping. He was the only child that stood beside his mum and his dad, as the man lay dead on the ground.
“Everyone was accusing her; that she killed her husband. They didn’t know what happened. The landlord’s brother ran straight to police station to report that a woman has killed her husband. He didn’t witness how the man died. There was no evidence that she killed her husband. The police arrested and handcuffed her; they took her to the police station. They also took Chidera to the station.
“When she got to the station, the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) tortured her and told her what to write. He told her to write that she killed her husband, she wrote it. He asked her to write that she held a knife and used it to stab him, she wrote it. He then asked Christiana’s son, who was just 11-year-old to write his own statement. He told the police that he was not there when it happened; he argued with them. But he was also forced to write that his mother killed his father.”
Asked why the case had not been struck out since Romanus relatives said they didn’t want to make a case with his wife, Oseghale said: “When the relatives came to Lagos, she had already been arrested and taken to court. Romanus’ relatives came to demand his corpse. They said they didn’t want a case; that it was a family issue, but the case was already a government case. There was nothing they could do. It was not a family issue anymore, but a case between her and the government. There was nothing anyone could have done. They took Romanus’ corpse and left. There is no medical report of what actually caused the death of the man. No autopsy was conducted. No murder weapon was retrieved. The police didn’t interview any other person.
“Christiana went to court yesterday (Monday) and the witnesses were also brought to court. Are you aware that one out of her nine children is missing? We have not been able to locate that child. The child, a female, went missing after the incident. Today, she should be nine years old. Nobody knows her whereabouts.
“But on Monday, Chidera was brought to court. He stopped schooling after the incident. He said he had to stop, after his mother was arrested. He said that people were avoiding him in school and he couldn’t go through the trauma, coupled with his mother being in prison. He left and went to start working as a bus conductor for commercial drivers at Obalende. He was meant to be present in court for the case, but his siblings didn’t know where he was. It was when we started looking for him, that we tracked him down to Obalende. We found him under the bridge, sleeping.
“When he came to court yesterday, he didn’t want to remember what happened that day. He said it was a sad day and all the statements that he wrote were what police asked him to write. He didn’t see his mum kill his dad. The IPO and the policeman that arrested her also came to court. They were also asked if they saw the woman killed her husband, they said no. They said they heard people saying it. There was a picture of her kneeling down with the husband dead on the floor. The policeman that handcuffed her was also asked in court if he witnessed the woman stabbing her husband, he said no. He said that he met her kneeling beside her dead husband. There was no evidence. The case was adjourned till October since there was no evidence.”
Christiana’s first daughter, Blessing (23), said that her mother didn’t kill their father. She described her father as a, “troublemaker,” whom everyone knew.
She said: “When he was alive, and before he died, he was always talking about death. It was as if he knew he was going to die. He usually starts his trouble whenever he drinks. We would all start running away from him. My dad’s family members want the case to be settled within our family, but then my mother was already in Kirikiri Prison.
“I took over my mum’s business in order to take care of my siblings. I sell pepper soup and rice in Ikorodu.”
Blessing recalled a day she was dressing her siblings for school; she bought them gala, but her dad snatched the gala from the children.
She recounted: “I asked him to return the gala to the children; he said that I should come and kill him. He said that he wanted to die and that it wouldn’t be beyond that day. I told him that I wouldn’t kill him, that he would kill himself. I left with the children; on our way, he met us on the road and returned the gala. Every time he wanted to start trouble, he would say he would die or that somebody would kill him. I don’t know what happened that particularly day, because I was not at home.”
Blessing added that on the fateful her dad died, her mother, about 5a.m., left with one of her siblings to the market.
She said: “I later got a call that something was happening. My dad first called me, asking where I was. I told him that I just got to the place I went to.
“I asked him what happened, he said that I should not worry and disconnected the line. Some minutes after he called me, someone called me that my father was dead. I was shocked. When I got home, they said they had taken him to the general hospital mortuary.
“I was confused; I couldn’t believe it until when they went to bury him. It was then it dawned on me that my dad was truly dead. He was a troublemaker and had been praying for death. Everyone in our community confirmed that it wasn’t my mother that killed him. Even the Baale knows.”
Blessing said that the information she got was that Romanus was found dead in the compound, with bloodstains on his body. There was a small mark on his body.
She said: “Even the landlord confirmed it when he went to court. When my father’s relatives heard about his death and the circumstances, they said they didn’t want to make any case. They insisted that the matter should be closed, but before they came from the village, my mother had been charged to court and then remanded in Kirikiri. They should please release her. We need her.”
Remembering how she landed in prison, Christiana said: “It happened on December 25, 2016. On that fateful day, I returned from market about 2p.m. I wanted to bathe; I carried a bucket of water into the bathroom. It was at that point that my husband returned. He was drunk. He had been drinking since December 23.
“I went into the room to pick toiletries that was how he called me, asking me how many men I had had sex with that day at Jibowu. I sell at Jibowu. I sell rice with pepper soup. My sons used to go and hawk with me. We used to hawk from Ikorodu to Yaba, Jibowu and Sabo. That was how my children and I used to struggle. When we returned home, Romanus wouldn’t allow me to rest. It’s everyday beating.
“So on that day, as he was asking me the number of men I had slept with, I didn’t respond. I told him to allow me to go and bathe. I knew he was drunk. I knew he wouldn’t allow me to sleep in the house that day. My children were around, but none in the yard.”
Romanus also didn’t like her to greet male neighbours, let alone to have any meaningful discussion with them, he would allegedly become enraged, accusing the men of having sex with her, while accusing the women of trying to hook her up with lovers.
She said: “I pay the rent, but when he starts his trouble, he wouldn’t allow me to sleep in that same house. In fact, before that day, the landlord had already given us quit notice to leave that compound. The landlord and I no longer speak with each other. Any man that spoke with me, would be accused of sleeping with me.
“When he started asking me the number of men that had sex with me that day, I knew he wanted to start trouble. I begged him to leave me that I wanted to go and bathe. He called me back; he said that he heard I had gone to rent a house.
“He said that I wanted to live in the house I just rented with my children; that we wanted to run away from him. I told him that every one of us, including him, would be moving to the new apartment. I told him that when we get to the new place, he would have to behave himself because the landlord lives in that house. I told him that he shouldn’t go about accusing the landlord that he was sleeping with his wife.”
Christiana claimed that after speaking with Romanus, she entered her room to pick soap, and then heard children shouting. She came out, saw her husband armed and she bolted.
She said: “I ran. Everybody shouted that I should run. I ran to the main road. A boy came to tell me that my husband was dead. He said that people were looking for me. I ran to the yard; when I got there, I saw people asking me what happened. I told everyone that I didn’t know what happened. I didn’t fight Romanus. He used to beat me up, but I never fought him. It was not even up to two months after he punched my mouth that he knocked out my teeth. Police entered and said that I was the one that killed my husband and ran away. I didn’t kill my husband; I have nine children for him. What will I gain if I kill him? I was taken to police station and then to the State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (SCIID). It was from Panti, they took me to court and then prison.”
Asked if she stabbed Romanus, Christiana said, “God forbid!”
She added: “Even when my landlord went to call police, they asked him if he saw any injury, he said there was a small injury on my husband’s body. My landlord had told me repeatedly to go and report my husband to the police because of the way he used to beat me, but I refused. It’s an abomination to take my husband to police station.”
Asked if autopsy was done on Romanus, Christiana said that she was not sure.
Ultimatum to herdsmen: Imo disowns group, urges public to disregard ultimatum
The Government of Imo State has disowned an ultimatum issued by a Group, under the aegis of Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, giving herdsmen in the state 24 hours to vacate.
According to a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Chibuike Onyeukwu, the group lacks legitimacy to speak for the state.
Onyeukwu described the report of the ultimatum as an embarrassment to the government and people of the state, urging members of the public to disregard it.
The statement read in part: “The group, led by one Goodluck Ibem, relied on an alarm allegedly raised by the management of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, accusing herdsmen of destroying their farm lands and crops, among other concerns.
“The Government of Imo State, under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha hereby dissociates itself and the entire good people of the state from the said ultimatum to herdsmen in the state.
“Imo State government is embarrassed by the development and has taken steps to prevent breakdown of law and order in the state.”
Onyeukwu said that efforts are being made to address the concerns raised by the management of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and stressed that the Governor Emeka Ihedioha administration shall not tolerate individuals taking laws into their hands
Car dealers lay siege at Customs office, protest sealing of businesses
Automobile dealers on Monday took to the streets of Lagos to protest the sealing of their businesses by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
The car dealers, under the aegis of Automobile Dealers Friends Association, claimed that their business premises were sealed as a result of a crackdown on cars suspected to have been smuggled through the land borders, which began on September 30, 2019.
Over 100 protesting members of the Association had from 10am walked from Awolowo Road Ikeja to the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The peaceful protest started at the office of the Federal Operations Unit of the NCS at Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja.
At the NCS office, Mr Morgan Ogbede, the Chairman of the Association and other executives engaged in a closed-door meeting with Mr Mohammed Aliyu, the Comptroller Federal Operations Unit Zone A and other officials of the NCS.
At the end of the meeting, the Comptroller addressed the protesters telling them that their grievances will be addressed.
Speaking on what led to the protest, Ogbede gave an insight into his meetings with officials of the House of Assembly and the NCS.
He said the NCS had promised to unseal their shops if the required duties were paid on allegedly smuggled cars.
Judge to mother of alleged rapist: ‘Mentor your son to desist from sodomy’
Justice Abiola Soladoye of an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, Lagos Monday told a widow, whose 19-year-old son was accused of sodomizing a minor, to mentor her son in order for him to desist from such acts.
The 19-year-old, Chinedu Ezebuka, was docked for allegedly sodomising a 13-year-old secondary school student (name withheld).
Ezebuka, a mechanic, was arraigned on March 25 on a one-count charge of sexual assault by penetration contrary to Section 261 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015.
According to the State Prosecutor, Mrs Arinola Momoh-Ayokanbi, the defendant committed the offence at 8pm on January 9, 2018 at Akinwunmi Street, Ikeja.
“He sexually assaulted the minor by penetrating him through the anus.
“The mechanic was allegedly caught in the act of defiling the minor by a member of the public who reported the offence to authorities,” Momoh-Ayokanbi said.
However, Justice Soladoye admonished the mother of the accused after the prosecutor told the court that the parents of the complainant and other witnesses were no longer interested in pursuing the case.
The judge, addressing the widow, said: “You need to talk to your son, pray with him, guide him and spend quality time with him. God is a God of second chances.
“Get your church involved, get an elderly person in your neighbourhood to also mentor him. You cannot abandon him, for he is your tomorrow.”
Kwara civil service, firefighters get 27 operational vehicles
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Monday presented 27 new operational vehicles to the state civil service, including the State Fire Service, saying the gesture was to strengthen efficient service delivery and conducive working atmosphere.
“We present these to them to make their job easier. Civil servants are entering taxis and okadas to perform their duties. That is not good enough. This will boost their performance capability. We saw that there is a need to mobilise them and make them more functional,” AbdulRazaq told reporters in Ilorin, the state capital, shortly after handing over the keys of the vehicles to the Kwara State Head of Service (HOS), Susan Modupe Oluwole.
The governor said the government purchased the 300-litre capacity modern firefighting vehicles for the Fire Service to empower it to operate more effectively during fire outbreaks in order to save lives and properties.
“We procured these fire fighting equipment because of the safety of lives and property. It is important we safeguard lives and property. The firefighters have been selfless in what they do to the government and people of the state. So, we need to build their capacity and keep them up to the task,” he said.
He said another set of fire fighting equipment have been ordered and would soon be delivered as part of the government’s effort to strengthen the capacity of the state to combat fire incident.
“Plans are underway by the Federal Government to set up Fire Training Institute in Kwara State to build the capacity of fire fighting officers,” he said.
The vehicles comprised 15 Toyota Hillux vans; five Coaster Buses; five Hiace Buses; and two Hilux pick-up with Fire equipment.
At last, Lagos evacuates lion to Lekki Zoo
Officials of the Lagos State Task Force, in conjunction veterinary doctors from the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, have succeeded in moving the lion found at a private home around Victoria Island to a zoo in Omu Resorts, Lekki.
There had been palpable fear at No. 229, Muri Okunola Street,Victoria Island area following discovery of the two-year-old big cat in one of the apartments by some residents.
New Telegraph learnt that an Indian, whose identity has not been ascertained as at the time of filing this report, owns the lion. He was said to have told the property owner that he wanted to rent the apartment for his own use but did not live there. Instead, he rented it for the lion.
Dissatisfied with cohabiting with a lion, it was learnt that residents of the building subsequently petitioned the Commissioner for the Environment Mr Tunji Bello on the development, calling for the immediate evacuation of the wild animal for their safety.
Speaking on the evacuation of the lion, Taskforce Chairman, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi confirmed that the exercise was carried out in conjunction with officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and medical personnel from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan.
Speaking further, Egbeyemi said that Dr. Ogunmo Bamidele, who led the medical team from the University of Ibadan, had to tranquilize the lion thrice before evacuation.
Officials drug, evacuate Lagos lion
Lagos State officials on Monday tranquilized and evacuated the lion found in the home of a person living at No. 229, Muri Okunola Street,Victoria Island.
Court sentences 3 to jail for impersonation, criminal conspiracy
A Magistrates’ Court in Minna has sentenced three men to two years imprisonment for engaging in cheating by impersonation and criminal conspiracy.
The men are Alhaji Tijajani Sarki Abdullahi, who is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Zumunta marketing and Construction company limited, Musa Umar and Adamu Magaji both from Zumba village in Shiroro Local Government Area.
They were docked on a four-count charge of criminal conspiracy, cheating by impersonation, criminal misappropriation and mischief, contrary to Sections 97, 324, 309 and 327 of the Penal Code.
The complainants, which include the Commissioner of Police, Niger State told the court that a complaint was received from Moses Makeri, Sokoto Muhammadu and Ibrahim Makeri that the land of the subject matter where the convicts illegally mined ‘woframites’ (precious stones) is located at Patuko village near Zumba in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.
In his ruling, Magistrate Murtala M.B. Ibrahim sentenced the men to two years imprisonment or to pay a fine of N60, 000 each.
They were also ordered to pay the sum of N50,000 as compensation to the Nominal Complaints and in default of payment they are to serve three months without option of fine.
Perm Sec, pregnant wife, two kids burnt to death in Benue — Police
The Acting Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, Mr Seker Akaa, his pregnant wife and two kids were burnt to death in a fire incident in Makurdi early hours of Monday.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Benue State, Deputy Superintendent of Police Sewuese Anene confirmed the inferno to the News Agency of Nigeria in Makurdi.
Anene said the fire started at 2.40 a.m at Kwarafa Quarters, Makurdi.
NAN reports that three other flats were also burnt including the resident of Evangelist Daniel Unongo, Chaplain of Benue Government House, who is also Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Samuel Ortom on Religion.
Anene said Mr Akaa, his pregnant wife, Linda, two children; Sender and Tertsegh Akaa, all occupants of Flat 1 were burnt to death during the fire disaster.
She said that the dead bodies had been deposited at the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi mortuary.
The police spokesperson said the cause of the fire accident was yet to be known, saying “investigation into the matter had already commenced”.
The Deputy Governor, Mr Benson Abounu, who immediately visited the scene, expressed shock at the level of destruction and loss of human lives.
According to Abounu, it is a black day for Benue and the state has lost a prized asset in Akaa.
He prayed to God to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“We cannot undo what has happened. At the moment, the government will take responsibility for their burial and assist the other families to relocate. We warn against any looting of property.” Abounu said
The Commissioner, Energy, Science Technology, Dr Godwin Oyiwona also confirmed the incident and expressed the ministry’s deepest condolences.
NAN gathered from an eyewitness, who refused to be named, that the fire started in flat 1 the residence of the late acting permanent secretary.
He said the perm sec and his family would have been saved but because of the incessant cases of armed robbery recorded within the neighbourhood, the neighbours thought it was armed robbers that were operating again.
“Actually the fire started at Mr Akaa’s house, we would have saved him and his family but we thought it was armed robbers that were again attacking us.
“You see armed robbers attack us here regularly. So, we have adopted ways of self-defence by providing burglary protection on the doors to prevent them from getting easy access inside, that too caused delay of getting to them on time,” it said.
The witness said firefighters from Benue Government House, Makurdi, came to the scene on time but they had little to do to save them.
NAN reports that though the cause of the inferno remained unknown, eyewitnesses said it might have been caused by electrical fault as it razed down the entire house and extended to three other houses.
NAN further reports that the fire was still burning as of the time of filing the report.
Man shoots brother after mistaking him for deer
A man shot his brother after mistaking him for an injured deer in a hunting accident in Michigan on Saturday.
The incident occurred after the men went looking for a deer that one brother had shot earlier with a muzzle-loading rifle, reported the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office on its Facebook page.
The shooter, a 29-year-old man from Saranac, told authorities that he believed he saw the deer moving and fired, but after firing realized he had struck his 28-year-old brother.
He called 911 immediately for help and the two siblings walked out of the dense corn field where they were hunting and were met by first responders, reported ABC Grand Rapids affiliate, WZZM13.
The victim was flown to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in serious but stable condition.
The exact cause of the shooting remains under investigation, but all persons involved have been cooperative with authorities, according to the sheriff department’s Facebook post.
Friday was the opening day of firearms deer season in the state.
*Courtesy: ABC News
US: Four dead in mass shooting during football party
Ten people were shot and four of them were killed Sunday at a party in Fresno when suspects sneaked into the backyard and fired into the crowd, police said.
The shooting took place about 6pm on the city’s southeast side while people were gathered to watch a football game.
Deputy Chief Michael Reid said a total of 10 people were shot, with three people being found dead in the backyard, reports metro.co.uk.
A fourth victim died at the hospital. Six others are expected to survive and are recovering at the hospital, police said. Fresno Police Lt Bill Dooley said: “What we do know is that this was a gathering, a family and friend gathering in the backyard.
“Everyone was watching football this evening when unknown suspects approached the residence, snuck into the backyard and opened fire.”
Others were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in critical condition, and some are in critical but stable condition, the TV stations reported.
No suspect is in custody.
Agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives field office in San Francisco are responding to the shooting, the Bee reported.
It was at least the second fatal gun attack Sunday in southeast Fresno, the Bee reported.
A man in his 20s was shot to death early Sunday at a home in another part of the city.
Police have not said whether the incidents could be connected
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