Thursday, 16 August 2012

WICKED: Why cultists wasted my wife

If Esosa, the 23-year-old son of Mrs. Elizabeth Osayande, an employee of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), had known that quarrelling with a stranger would lead to his mother's death, he would have apologised to the man after a fight in Benin City.

But little did he know that fighting with a self-confessed cultist in front of their residence at 9 Akpata Street, Egor, Benin City, Edo State, would turn him and his two siblings to motherless children, and their 57-year-old father into a widower so soon. Few minutes after the brawl, 48-year-old Elizabeth was shot at close range by the suspect in the evening of Sunday, August 12.

She was on her way to fetch water for her husband when she was gunned down. When this reporter visited the residence of the Osayandes located in a remote area of Egor on Tuesday, he had to hire a commercial motorcyclist who also acted as a guide, since there is no good access road leading to the community.

The reporter also met scores of sympathizers outside the house and in the bereaved family's living room. The widower, Mr. Sunday Osayande, head teacher of a primary school, gave a vivid account of the imbroglio that sent his wife to her early grave. He explained that he had on Saturday, August 11, bought some planks to roof his house, adding that he asked his children to pack the planks to the site the following day, August 12. Hear him: "My children were packing the planks when a boy came and parked his motorcycle at the entrance of my house. As my first son, Esosa, was coming, he met this boy who claimed to be a cultist on top of the motorcycle.

My son asked him to remove the bike, that the place is an entrance to where he would offload the planks. "The boy was so violent to my son and started saying: 'Are you mad? Do you know who you are talking to?' From there, both of them were exchanging words which led to a little argument. After a moment, I started begging the boy because he said he was a cultist. He said my son tore his shirt. I promised I would buy a new shirt for him.

"In the process of giving him money to buy a new shirt, he disagreed with me. Then I called the police. When he heard that I had called the police, he became more annoyed. So, people who were at the scene told me that I shouldn't have called the police. But I know personally that it is the duty of the police to protect lives and property of people. "As my wife was holding the boy for the police to come and settle the matter, he forcefully freed himself and ran away. Later that evening, my wife went to fetch water for me to bathe.

But the boy met her and shot her to death." Osayande, who stated that the incident occurred at about 7:20 p.m., explained that he had no prior interaction with the boy who shot his wife. He said however that his wife's killer claimed to know him (Osayande). He added that the matter had been reported to the police. He continued: "I don't know where he lives but he is a Benin boy, even from a royal family. From my investigation, he is related to a royal family. To the best of my knowledge, my son is not familiar with the boy.

My son is not living in Benin. He is a final year student of Public Administration at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife. He just came to town." The deceased's son, Esosa, also recounted how he was carrying out his father's assignment before the argument broke out between him and the man suspected to have killed his mother. He told the reporter that he was packing the wood bought by his father to the back of their house at about 7:00p.m on that fateful Sunday. According to him, they wanted to use the wood to roof the back of their uncompleted building.

"After putting some of the wood on a wheelbarrow, I pushed it towards the site. On getting to our house, I saw a guy on a red Suzuki motorcycle. He was standing at the point I wanted to put my wood. So, I told him to please remove the motorcycle from the road. "He said: 'Are you crazy? Are you blind? Don't you see that I'm receiving a call?' And that was how the whole thing started. I responded because his answer was rude and insulting. He came down from his bike and started fighting with me. He hit me and then I slapped him.

"When he wanted to attack me people who were around held him back, then he started making noise, saying that he was a cult member. He said we might not know him but that he knew us. He threatened that he would go, come back after three days and make sure that my parents cry over me. He was drunk, reeking of alcohol. "Because of those threats, my parents held him and my daddy immediately called the police.

Then some people begged my parents to let him go because he was drunk and that he did not know what he was saying. So, my parents left him. My parents told me to go inside the house and I went inside. "Later, my sister wanted to go and fetch water for my dad to take his bath and my mum said no. Instead, she asked my sister to serve my dad's food while she went to fetch the water. As she was going, the boy came back again with the bike.

They were now two this time. One was riding and one was with a gun. The next thing we heard was 'gboaa.' My mummy fell on the ground and then we came out shouting and the bike took off." The remains of Elizabeth Osayande, who worked in the personnel department of UBTH until her death, have been deposited at the morgue in the teaching hospital.

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