Metro & Crime

Sickle cell: ‘My husband’s lies create hell on earth for me’



A mother of two, Mrs. Helen Iluobe, has dragged her estranged husband, Mr. Kelly Iluobe, to the police for allegedly lying about his genotype status before marriage, resulting in her having three children with sickle cell disorder and then getting married to another woman while still being married to her.


According to Helen, Kelly not only lied about his genotype status, but also married her using his brother’s name.


She’s also accusing him of bigamy. She had three children, but now left with two. The first child had since died following complications caused by the illness. She further alleged that Kelly stole her landed property, abandoned her with the sickle cell children and then remarried. Kelly, who spoke with our reporter, said that Helen was being economical with the truth. H


e explained that it was Helen, who walked out of their marriage, returning the bride price and refusing to listen to pleadings.


The woman, who said that she was at her wit’s end, said the children’s illness causes her to keep borrowing money and has plunged her into depression. She said: “I have thought of killing myself in order to escape my present reality.


I cry whenever I’m alone and most times, I don’t know why I’m crying. I’m always sad. I need help. I can’t continue like this.” Helen alleged that she was deceived by Kelly, who told her that his genotype was AA.


The lady, whose genotype was AS, felt Kelly’s genotype was the ideal match for her. When her children became sickly and doctors told the couple the children were suffering from sickle cell anaemia, she had thought it was a lie from the pit of hell. However, further medical tests proved the doctors right. She said: “Before the wedding, Kelly informed me that his genotype was AA. I told him that I was AS and we got married.


At the end of the day, I lost my first born, a boy, to this illness. He died when he was about three years old. Our third child was just a few months old when we found out. But before then, our second daughter used to fall sick often and when she did, I took her to hospital and she would get better. One day, my third child fell sick and a blood


transfusion was required. It was at that point that the doctor asked if my husband had genotype tests before getting married.” Helen said that it was after the discovery that she and Kelly started having major issues in the union.


They often quarrelled because of the children. She recalled that during one of their quarrels, Kelly had threatened, “that there would be a time I wouldn’t see him that he would just leave”.


It was in the midst of this cloud in the marriage that Kelly travelled. Helen said that Kelly travelled in August, promising to return by September to pay the house rent. The rent was N500,000 and they lived in the Egbeda area of Lagos State. She recounted: “My mum sells clothes and I had been working with her before I got married. She doesn’t pay me, but I work with her to help myself. After I married, I continued going to my mum’s shop to help out. After Kelly travelled, I expected him back by September, but he didn’t return.


Kelly called one day, saying his travel documents were seized. When I asked what he did, he said it was a long story. He was arrested on his way from Brazil to Morocco.” While Kelly was in prison, the house rent expired and Helen and her children had to relocate to her parents’ house. She explained that before Kelly went to prison, he had taken to hitting her and refused to take his responsibility as a father with the seriousness it deserved.


Helen said that while in prison, Kelly occasionally called to ask about the children. Sometimes, the calls would come when the children were having a crisis, with Helen being at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). She said that for a long time, she had been using private hospitals until something happened, which compelled her to go to LUTH. “One of my children started vomiting and stooling blood.


I prayed fervently that she shouldn’t die. It was from Isolo General Hospital that we were referred to LUTH,” Helen added.

She said that most times, after the children had been discharged, she wouldn’t have money to pay for their medical bills and would continue to stay at the hospital. Sometimes she would go round the wards, begging for money for drugs. She said: “Drugs for sickle cell children are not cheap and taking care of such children is not easy, especially for a single parent.


At one point, due to the way everything was going, I took my uncle and some members of my family, with the children, to meet Kelly’s brother at Iyana-Ipaja. They quarrelled with us and threw us out of the house. Kelly’s brother said the children didn’t exist. At the end of the day, after almost four years, Kelly came back.


In fact, I didn’t even know he was back until his friend informed me. I was surprised; even if he wanted to ignore me, he shouldn’t ignore his children who needed his care, affection and attention.”


Helen also said that she and Kelly had contributed money to buy a piece of land in the Ijegun area of Lagos, based on her advice. She alleged that Kelly, at the end of the day, tricked her and collected the land from her. Helen was advised by friends to seek intervention of the Lagos State Government, to compel Kelly to commit to his responsibilities of caring for the children.


According to her, he married her, using his brother’s name. It was later she found out his real name. The matter has been dragged to different police stations, including the Lagos State Welfare Department, with Helen alleging fraud, bigamy and abandonment. She said: “I have been to court four times and in those times, Kelly didn’t bother to show up. It was the fourth  Juliana Francis



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