A widow, Mrs. Stella Ogheneovo, who was allegedly forced to drink the water used to wash her dead husband’s corpse by relatives of the deceased to prove her innocence about the death of her husband, Captain Johnbull Ogheneovo, has alerted police authorities over her plight.
The widow who alleged that the incident took place at Emervo in Isoko North Local government area of Delta state after her husband died intestate on 9,May 2017 at Warri, Delta State said she had petitioned the Assistant Inspector -General of Police, Zone 5, Benin, Mr. Muhammed Abubakar, through her counsel, Mr Olayiwola Afolabi.
In the petition, Mrs Ogheneovo alleged that when her husband died, she was invited by her husband’s relations to their family house at Emevor village and was forced to disclose her husband’s assets, property, bank details including information about the company where her husband worked before his sudden death.
She added that her mobile phone was also seized. Stating that she was legally married to her late husband and the marriage was blessed with five children, the widow narrated that on the day her husband died, she received a call from her husband’s office that he had slumped and had been taken to the hospital.
She disclosed that during the funeral rites which commenced with a service of songs on the 29th June 2017, a member of her husband’s family, a Reverend Father with the Roman Catholic Church (name withheld) came with thugs to harass and intimidate her and her children adding that she was given over 30 strokes of the cane by the thugs. She said that the said Catholic cleric also threatened her that if she did not declare the assets of her late husband to the family, he would deal with her.
Deceased amputated before burial
According to her counsel, “Our client was forced by the same family member in the presence of other family members (names withheld) to drink water from an unknown source claimed to be the water used to wash the corpse of her late husband to prove her innocence about his death. As a result of the substance forcibly taken by our client under duress, she was admitted at the hospital due to poisoning which caused her severe stomach ache.
The same family member warned her to desist from further interference in their family matter and never to attend the burial. It is imperative to note that our client’s late husband was buried without his legs as they were allegedly amputated based on the instructions of the same family member.”
She told the AIG that it was through the first son of the late Captain Ogheneovo,Master Shedrack Ogheneovo, who saw his father being buried without his legs intact, that she got to know that her late husband was amputated and the gory sight had continued to have a devastating effect on her son till date.
However, she said that despite several attempts to curtail the excesses of the said Priest who now posed as the next of kin to her husband, he ( the priest) has sworn to take over all her late husband’s property and assets despite the intervention of a monarch from the area who had pleaded for settlement.
She said that appeals were made to the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Warri, the first Lady of Delta State and the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) over the inhuman treatment meted on her and her children.
”As of today, our client and her children have been chased out of the solace of their home by the Rev. Father, who is acting in connivance with other family members. Our client has suffered serious molestation and gross maltreatment in the hands of the said Rev Father who is bent on making life miserable to our client and her children and frustrates all her attempts to expose his selfish evil acts.”
Mrs. Oghenovo said that several legal actions have been instituted against her by the family members with the aim of shutting her and her children from having a say in the sharing of her husband’s estate. She, therefore, called on the police, all relevant government authorities, Civil Societies and human rights organizations to intervene in the matter to ensure that she and her children get justice.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Zone 5 of the Nigeria Police, Benin, Mr. Emeka Iheanacho (DSP) confirmed that the zone has received a petition by Mrs Stella Ogheneovo through her counsel. He disclosed that the Rev. Father in question was invited by the Zonal Investigation Bureau and made his statement adding that the ZIB has commenced investigation into the allegations levelled against the clergyman.