Woman Demands Police Probe Over Her Daughter’s Death
In this interview, Deborah Adeboriola, a 35-year-old mother of three, who was reported to have asked the police to investigate her husband over the death of their child, Esther Ajijolaoluwa, tells PETER DADA why she took the action
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Deborah Adeboriola. I am the mother of Ajijolaoluwa Esther, the little girl that died last week.
How old are you?
I am 35 years old.
What do you do for a living?
I work with a private company in Ore (in the Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State).
You said your daughter died last week. How did it happen?
I don’t know what happened to her that led to her death and how it happened. Her father did not let me know anything about her death. The girl died and was buried by her father. He did not inform me.
Are you and your husband not together?
We are not together. We have been divorced and the court ruled that the three children we have, including the deceased who was four years old then, should be in his custody.
When did you get married to him?
Actually, we were not legally married but we started living together as husband and wife in 2008 and the relationship produced three children.
Did your parents consent to it?
Yes, they were aware of everything that happened between us.
What led to the divorce?
I had to file for divorce due to his bad behaviour. He had been acting irresponsibly in the house and I could no longer cope with it. So, I had to go my own way. That was why I went to court to seek a divorce in 2019.
You said he had been behaving irresponsibly in the house. Can you explain how?
He had an extramarital affair with someone close to me to the extent that he impregnated her and aborted the pregnancy. Again, when the lady was preparing to get married, he vowed the lady would not get married. He also slept with the wife of one of my relations. Whenever I talked about it, he beat me up. I did not have peace in his house. All these things and some other irresponsible actions caused a serious crisis between us and that was why I said I could no longer continue with the relationship and I stepped aside because I didn’t want him to kill me. Since then, he had been threatening me, saying he would kill me. He stalked me wherever I go telling me he would make sure he killed me.
Did you talk to the lady about it or cry out to other members of your family?
When they were doing it (having an affair), nobody knew. I didn’t know. He used juju to warn the lady not to tell anyone, that whenever she told anyone, she would die. So, she was quiet about it and they went on. There was an indication that the lady too was not pleased with what was going on between them but he would bring out the juju to warn her to either keep the secret or die.
How did you find out about the illicit affair?
When the lady could no longer bear it, she voiced out. She revealed everything that went on between them. She said he always brought a charm to warn her never to tell anybody or she would die. But she revealed the matter and said she was ready to die. But after she exposed it, nothing happened to her.
Did you report his behaviour to his family members and yours?
I reported him to my parents and his parents. When he threatened to kill me, I reported him to them as well. I also reported the matter at the Ore Police Station that he was threatening to kill me.
What did the police do?
They invited him and we wrote a statement. Later, his people started begging me to resolve the matter amicably without involving the police. When I was planning to take him to court, people also begged me to resolve it with him for the sake of the future of our children. So, I had to shelve the plan. But I later went to court to file for divorce. When we got to court, he was represented by his lawyer; I didn’t hire a lawyer and we both spoke there. After everything, the court granted my request and ruled that the three children should be in his custody. The court also said I had the right to visit my children anytime, except at night.
The first time I went to check on them, I went to his church but he sent me away. He did not allow me to have access to them. All the gifts I took to them, he didn’t allow me to drop them. I also went to their school to see them. But he had to call me on phone, warning me not to see my children without his consent. The last time I went to see them again was in December last year. Again, he did not let me see them. He chased me away, along with the person that accompanied me. I bought many things for the children but he did not let me drop them. I was really worried.
When the court ruled that the children should be in his custody, did you appeal to judge to let the youngest one, who was four years old, be in your custody for the sake of proper care?
No, I didn’t.
Did you go back to inform the court that he refused to let you see your children?
Yes, I wanted to go back to the court but I was told judiciary workers were on strike and the court was not open.
Since you were not allowed to see the children, how did you know one of them was dead?
He didn’t tell me anything. I heard it as a rumour from the people around. I became worried, so I went to the police station in Ore for them to invite him to let me see my children. So, they gave me policemen to go to his place and bring those children. It was at the police station that he disclosed that the girl was dead on Tuesday (August 3, 2021) and that he buried her at the back of his house. He was asked to write a statement but he refused; he said his lawyer would do that for him. So, he was detained at the police station. It was later that we learnt he had been bailed. I was also told he had petitioned the Commissioner of Police in Akure and we were asked to go to Akure.
What happened when you got to the police headquarters in Akure?
The first time we went, we were told to return on August 17, 2021 and when we got there, the police said they had handed over the matter to a family court to settle.
What do you want now on this matter?
I want a thorough investigation on the death of my daughter who died without the father telling me and I want justice to be done on it.