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Widow of slain orderly tackles Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello

Posted by By KENNY ASHAKA, Kaduna on 2007/11/13 | Views: 4119 |

Widow of slain orderly tackles Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello


She did not look happy when she showed up at the JunctionRoad office of The Sun Newspapers in Kaduna. It was obvious that she was in a foul mood. But her anger was not at the reporter.

•'The promise of heaven and earth she and her dad made has turned ashes'

She did not look happy when she showed up at the JunctionRoad office of The Sun Newspapers in Kaduna. It was obvious that she was in a foul mood. But her anger was not at the reporter.

Rather, Mrs. Abigail Magdalene Duniya, a Woman Corporal with the Nigeria Police Force in Kaduna is angry with Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello and her father Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former president.

Nothing fuels her anger and at the same time elicit sympathy for Mrs. Duniya than the heart-rending story of her four children - a boy and three girls.
Recently, her four kids (Rebecca, Rachael, Levi and Leah) were shown the classroom door for non-payment of school fees. Apparently, they were the only ones sent out of school after series of demand on their mother to pay their fees yielded no positive result.

But the children longed to be with their peers in school. From the windows, they were itching to listen to the lecture but were disallowed. In frustration, they left for home, weeping.

They are today suffering for something over which they have no control. The four are children of Corporal Gideon Duniya, former orderly to Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello who reportedly died in 2003 during an armed robbery attack on her convoy.
For Mrs. Duniya, it is time to spill the bean after four years of what she described as “suffering in silence”.

She told Sunday Sun that few days after her husband’s death, then President Obasanjo made a promise to pick the educational bills of the four children from primary school to the university level.
She was in tears that evening when she narrated what she says is her ordeal in the hands of the Obasanjo family.

Intermittently, she would mop her cheeks to stop the tears from rolling into her mouth.
“My husband was killed on the 20th of April, 2003. My husband died as her (Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello's) orderly. When he died, they (Obasanjo and Iyabo) promised to take care of the children. He died in Otta. They went on a visit there and armed robbers, according to their report, killed my husband. He was killed along with two kids and a driver.

“When my husband was killed, the former president, Obasanjo, promised to take care of my kids from primary to the university level. The last child was about three months when my husband died. Because of the condolence letter she (Iyabo) wrote to me when I traveled to Lagos, I seized the opportunity to see her. Then, she was Ogun State Commissioner for Health. She gave me N50, 000.

“When I came back to Kaduna, I called her because she too promised to take care of us. After sometime, I went to her and she gave me N20, 000 with the promise that she would call me. She gave me both her office and personal numbers. So, I would call her.”
However, Mrs. Duniya said after a while there was a sudden twist as Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello stopped picking her calls.

As she spoke, her voice echoed through the window of The Sun office as she cursed and vowed not to let the matter lie:
“If they cannot keep their promise, let them settle me once and for all. For now, I will leave her with God. But I assure her that my husband’s blood will never leave her. If she wants the blood of my husband to leave her, let her stand before the public to say that she has rescinded her promise; then she would be left alone. If not, my husband’s blood and that of the kids are with her.

I will never leave her.”
Attempts by Sunday Sun to get Iyabo’s side of the story were futile as at press time. Repeated calls made to her cell phone were not answered. A text message subsequently sent to the same number intimating her on the same issue also failed to elicit a response.

More woes
Duniya’s widow is the more piqued because her mother-in-law believes she had collected the promised money from the family of ex-president Obasanjo in respect of school fees for the children.
She told Sunday Sun that all efforts to get to the former president through her daughter had failed.
At a time, she expected the Obasanjos to exert their influence in order to secure financial reprieve for her and her children by influencing the Nigeria Police high command to pay her husband’s gratuity. But the former president’s daughter, she says, rebuffed her:

“If they were fair to me and the children, they should have used their connection to get the money for me. But no way. More than four years after, I am yet to get the gratuity. I keep transporting myself up and down in pursuit of the gratuity. This is four years now, so, you can imagine how much I have spent on transportation.
“What is even paining me now is that they have driven them out of school because of fees. Each day I see them at home when their mates have gone to school, I feel like shedding tears. This would never have happened to the children if their father were alive. That is why I said I must look for your (The Sun) office.”
After much pestering, Senator Obasanjo-Bello, Mrs. Duniya recalled, sent her "another N100, 000 with an instruction that I should be calling her at the end of each month. She said she would be sending something to me. Since then, if I call her, she would not pick. Sometime ago, I sent a text message to her.”

In the text message, Mrs. Duniya told Senator Obasanjo-Bello that the promise of help by her and her father four years ago has merely done more harm than good to her (Duniya's) and the children as those who intended to assist, having heard of the former president’s promise, simply kept away.

She recalled that the promise of the president was well publicized: “So, now, I said in the text message that since 'You have told the public that you will be responsible for the children’s education, and you have not done anything, I will now also tell the public that you have not done anything'.”
Iyabo, according to the widow, replied by accusing her of wanting to blackmail her.

The more they met or spoke on phone, the more the mis-understanding grew, culminating in a total breakdown in communication following accusation of blackmail leveled against the widow.
Clearly, the additional burden of bringing up four kids coupled with the spiraling prices of virtually every item needed for the children’s education has set Mrs. Duniya on riotous spin.

“I now have to pay more than N20, 000 school fees apart from their books and other school needs. I am a Corporal in the Nigeria Police Force. How much is my salary? Since that yesterday (last Monday), they (her four kids) have been at home. Where will I get the money?” she queries, adding, “When I told her (Iyabo) about helping to get my husband’s gratuity, she said that is Police matter, which does not concern her.

“Even her father, Obasanjo has not done anything. If not that my house got burnt on November 5, last year, I would have shown you evidence of the promise Obasanjo made. My sister died and I went for her burial in the village. I was at the burial when they sent a message that I should come back; that my house was on fire. I was not at home. I would have shown you publications relating to the promise.

“Last two months, I sent a text message to her (Iyabo) telling her to put herself in my condition. They promised taking care of the kids, not me. This man (Corporal Gideon Duniya) put himself in arm's way for her. She should understand. She is a woman like me. She should know that Gideon left four kids.

If she were the person, how would she feel?
“When they dissolved the cabinet in which she was Commissioner in Ogun State, she invited me to come down. When I went, she gave me N20, 000 and was complaining that I don’t always come in time whenever she invited me. She gave me the money outside and said I should go back to Kaduna. She asked me to come back at the end of the month,” she disclosed.
For now, Mrs. Duniya is at her tether’s end as Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello has simply, according to her, refused to “play ball".

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Comments (7)

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Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

The name ULIMASI is from the UTUGWANG tribe in OBUDU local government area of CROSS RIVER STATE in Nigeria.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)