Family members of slain airwoman, Solape Oladipupo, share their grief with Arukaino Umukoro.
If walls could talk, the ones in the family home of murdered airwoman, Solape Oladipupo, in the Badagry Township area of Lagos State, would be screaming the deceased’s name.
Not because the 21-year-old was once in the choir at her home church, but because her imprints were markedly on the walls of the small room she had shared with her sisters.
“Solape was a beautiful and kind person. She was determined to make the best of her life and for others. She was always looking out for her family and friends,” one of her elder sisters, Kehinde, told Punch on Thursday night.
Sadly, last Sunday morning, thousand of miles away from her family home in Badagry; the young lady had no one to watch her back when her alleged boyfriend, a fellow non-commissioned NAF officer, identified as Kalu BA, shot her dead.
Kalu was alleged to have pulled the trigger at her in a fit of devilish rage and jealousy, after he accused Oladipupo of double dating at the Air Force Base in Makurdi, Benue State.
“Most idiots would insult me for this, but if they were in my shoes they would do the same,” wrote the killer boyfriend in a purported suicide note he had written. He described himself as a ‘crazy lover who died for heartbreak.’
By a spiteful stroke of fate, Kalu failed in taking his own life, but succeeded in killing Oladipupo and, in the process, a thousand dreams.
In the small room that served as a sitting room – with no chairs – and a bedroom, Kehinde spoke of her younger sister’s big dreams.
Kehinde said, “In 2014, before Solape decided to join the Air Force, she had applied to join the Nigerian Navy and Army, but it wasn’t successful. During the screening process for the Navy at Apapa, she couldn’t get an accommodation, so she slept under a trailer for about a week. She came back home with several mosquito bites and fell sick afterwards. That was how determined she was.
“My mother fainted twice when she heard that Solape had been killed. The man that killed her hadn’t paid her pride price; he didn’t know anyone in her family. She had gone through a lot to get to where she was. She was not supposed to die like that; this was her time to enjoy,” her distraught sister said.
She also spoke of Oladipupo’s determination to join the Air Force following an unexpected incident.
Kehinde narrated, “We were together when we saw a lady on the way who was dressed in a way that exposed her body and Solape made a comment about it, which she heard. Later, the lady came to our house with about five or six guys and they beat us up, until a soldier came to our rescue. From that day, she told me she wanted to join the military, because she hated cheating and injustice.
“I was very proud of her when I first saw her with the Air Force uniform when she came home last June/July. I rushed to hug her tight, despite that I was heavily pregnant. She said she would train my elder sister’s children and our last two siblings and ensure they become lawyers and doctors. She had a big heart. I’m very sad that my younger sister also did not see my new-born baby,” Kehinde said, bursting into tears.
Just then, a friend of the Oladipupos walked into the house, and collapsed on the bed, holding another of the deceased’s elder sister, Jolade, tightly. “They have killed our Solape,” she screamed.
Everyone in the room, including Kehinde’s three children, then broke into tears.
“I’m based in Abeokuta. Solape was a very caring person. For two years, she accommodated me in this room. She was a friend I would never forget in life. In 2012, she helped me get a job in the filling station where she worked then. For two months, before I got the job, she fed me all through. She didn’t follow men about. She was welcoming to everyone. She hated cheating,” said her friend, who gave her name as Opeyemi Obatola.
Oladipupo was described by friends and neighbours as a goal-getter. “She was a hustler. I felt bad when I heard how she was killed. She worked in several places just because she wanted to make ends meet and help her family,” said a neighbour, Femi Ogunbiyi.
“She was gentle and hard working,” another, who gave his name as Salem, said.
At the bar in Badagry, where Oladipupo last worked as a waitress before she joined the Air Force, colleagues and friends spoke highly of her.
“She was outgoing and straightforward. She taught some of us here how to handle the business,” said Nifemi, one of the waiters at the bar.
One of the bar managers, who didn’t identify himself, said, “She was always with a smile and was very intelligent.” A few others declined to comment about her or the incident.
A university lecturer, Mr. Dawodu Abayomi, told Punch that just before she travelled to join the Air Force, Oladipupo was hosted to a send-forth by her employers and colleagues at the bar.
“Solape was not a wayward girl; even my pastor friend was there to celebrate her. She was friendly and a likeable personality,” he said.
At the time she left to join the Air Force, Oladipupo was already a first-year student at the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin, Lagos, where she was studying business education.
“Before her admission into AOCOED, she had been processing the Air Force application. She believed that one of them would work for her,” Jolape said.
Jolade also rubbished the killer boyfriend’s allegations that Oladipupo was double-dating. “My sister had both male and female friends alike because she was an accommodating person. But she wasn’t one to flirt around. If she was a flirt, she wouldn’t have been hustling to look for jobs,” she said.
“My daughter never had that time; she wasn’t the kind of lady that messed herself up with men. Solape was intelligent, gentle, easy-going and disciplined. She was courageous and ambitious. She was my two eyes and, with her death, they have punctured my eyes, and I’m blind,” Oladipupo’s heartbroken father, 60-year-old Tolani Oladipupo, told our correspondent.
When he heard of his daughter’s tragic death, the father said he almost committed suicide. “My children, friends and family members, who were there at the time, held me back,” he said, almost crying.