Grieving mother tells how her children were killed during spiritual bath

February 8, 2015 5:39 am

 On November 20, 2014, every parent’s nightmare became a reality for
42-year-old Ayedun . It was a normal Saturday. There was
nothing out of the ordinary that morning that could foretell the tragic
she was about to hear.

“I did not even have a nightmare or a bad dream that could make me think
that such a terrible thing had happened,” she told our correspondent.

Barely out of bed that Saturday morning, Shitta-Bello got a call from her brother, Prince Musaliu Buhari.

“Come quick, please, don’t ask why, just come,” she was told on the phone.

Shitta-Bello said apprehension set in as she tried to understand what could have warranted such an early summon.

Our correspondent met Shitta-Bello at Badore area of Ajah, Lagos, on
Wednesday where she spoke of the agony of the last two months since she
learnt that her sons, Abiodun and Ayinde Oniru (23 and 20 respectively),
had died.

The fair complexioned woman, could not hide her agony during the
interview as she kept asking, “Why? Why? Why would anybody kill my sons?
To punish me or what?”

Shitta-Bello and her sons’ father had parted ways since Abiodun and
Ayinde were little but they lived with their father who had converted
from Islam to Christianity.

Saturday Punch learnt that the deceased attended a white garment church pastored by one Samuel Olusoji. with their father and step mother.

Two days before the incident (November 18), Abiodun and Ayinde along
with their father and step mother were said to have gone to church for a
programme. The church is located at 739, Ori-Oke Ibukun, Ilasan Street,
Jakande, Ajah.
Shitta-Bello’s ex-husband and father of the deceased told the police
that he left the church earlier having performed his own bath but left
behind his children and wife in the church.
According to the statement he gave to the police, early morning on
Saturday, he got a call from his wife who told him that his two children
had drowned during a spiritual bath in a stream frequently used by the
church along Ogombo area of Ajah.

The father of the deceased called his ex-wife’s brother (Buhari), who
raced to the scene in shock and saw his nephews’ dead bodies lying on
the ground.

Screaming inside but trying not to sound alarming, Buhari dialled his
sister’s phone line and told her to come to her ex-husband’s house right
away without giving reasons.

She said,

“I just woke up when I received the call. I quickly put on clothes and
went there. I got there and realised that relations were there as well. I
became suspicious.
“I asked what had happened but no one told me anything initially. I then
asked for my children. That was when they told me they drowned during a
spiritual bath. From then on, everything they told me made no sense.
The more I thought about it, the more it did not add up.”

The church pastor initially fled while the police arrested the assistant pastor of the church.

According to Shitta-Bello, she was told during investigation by the
police that almost 100 other people were present during the ‘spiritual
bath’.

“How can two people drown during a spiritual bath and they turn out to
be siblings? How can anybody expect me to believe that was a
coincidence?” she said.

The grieving mother said sleep had eluded her since the incident as she
always stayed up in the middle of the night to think about her precious
children.

Shitta-Bello has another child from the man she remarried but lamented
that the hope that her two late children would meet their young sibling
would not be fulfilled.

She said,

 “I called my children around 7pm on Friday, the day before the incident and they told me they were in church for a programme.
“Few days before then when I visited them at their father’s house, they
did not even want me to leave. But I promised to come back soon and
bring their sister along because they had not met her before.
“My children had become a source of joy to me. But they died
mysteriously just at the moment they were of age to fulfil their
responsibility to me as a parent.
“I am not saying this because I am grieving but no one can tell me
anything that will make me believe that they died just by drowning. How
could they both drown when people were there and nobody went in to help?
I was told Ayinde went into the water first and his brother went in to
rescue him and they both drowned.”

Saturday PUNCH learnt that the deceased were scheduled to travel out of
the country in a few days that same November and had even packed their
bags.

The bodies of the deceased are still lying in the mortuary at the Lagos
State University Teaching Hospital as investigation into the case
continues.

Buhari, the deceased’s uncle, told our correspondent that he believed that there was more to the story of the drowning as well.

“The police are still conducting investigations. That is why the bodies
are still in the mortuary. We will know what happened when the result of
the autopsy conducted on the bodies comes out,” he said.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ,
said investigation into the case is still ongoing at the Department of
Criminal Investigations.

“The pastor of the church was tracked down and arrested shortly after the incident last year,” he said.

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