A 42-year old man beat his wife to death following a disagreement. TOYOSI OGUNSEYE spoke with the suspect who says he cannot justify his action
The marriage of 10 years ended in just 10 minutes. Olushola Ojaelatan and his wife, Basirat Oluwatoyin, had been married for 10 years. They had three children out of which two are surviving.
The marriage was not Ojaelatan‘s first. The 42-year-old man was married for 10 years to another woman who left him after the union did not produce any child. Then he met Basirat who married him just after the first woman had left. Basirat‘s first child died a few months after birth, but she had two other children ages four and one respectively.
Neighbours at their No. 18/20, Laidi Street, Ofin, Ikorodu, Lagos, testified that the Ojaelatans‘ marriage had not been blissful. The landlord who pleaded anonymity said that he always had cause to settle the couple‘s differences. He said, ”I was always in their room settling one fight or the other. If the wife was not screaming, the husband would be shouting. I always told Basirat‘s husband that it was not everything his wife did that he should react to; but he never listened to me. Hardly did any week pass by that I did not have to placate either of them. Their trouble was just too much.”
One of the Ojaelatans‘ troubles that the landlord referred to occurred last Saturday. It was the last scuffle the husband would ever have with his wife. Ojaelatan, a carpenter, said that he returned from a night vigil in his church when his wife picked a quarrel with him. According to him, the woman was angry with him because he did not wait for her or the children when he was leaving the church. He said, ”She started shouting on top of her voice that I left her to bring our children home alone. Her grouse was that while she put one of the children on her back and held one, I did not bother to assist or wait for her after the service.”
Ojaelatan however said that Basirat, 32, had been nagging him for two days before then because he did not give her sufficient money, ”She started her trouble two days before that Saturday. I gave her the little money I had, but she kept complaining that it was not enough. I knew that she was preparing for another fight, so I decided to avoid her.”
The native of Ondo State however did not keep to his resolve to avoid his wife that Saturday. He said, ”I got home before her and our children and was lying down on the bed. She said that I would not sleep for leaving our children with her. Initially, I pleaded with her to let me sleep because we had another church service in the evening; but she did not listen. The next thing my wife did was to jump on the bed. She pulled my cloth and tore it into shreds. I can‘t lie against her.”
The father of two said that he couldn‘t bear it any longer at this stage, so he decided to beat her with his brown leather belt. As if dealing with an unruly child, he turned her face down and started to beat her on her bare back.
Ojaelatan said, ”Before she tore my shirt, she locked the door. I was very angry after she tore my shirt. So, I picked up my belt and started to beat her.”
Basirat‘s screams woke up the neighbours in the compound, including the landlord who ran to the couple‘s apartment. According to the landlord, he begged the couple to open the door and he met Basirat crying on top of her voice. He said, ”Basirat said that she was not going to leave her husband until he killed her. I managed to separate them and told my other tenants to take her out of the room while I admonished the husband.”
The landlord was still reprimanding Ojaelatan for beating his wife when someone shouted that Basirat, an auxiliary nurse, had fainted. Both the landlord and the lady‘s husband hurriedly went to the spot. When all efforts to resuscitate her failed, they rushed her to a nearby hospital but she died on the way.
Immediately, the neighbours reported the matter to the police. Then the reality of Ojaelatan‘s action dawned on him. He said, ”I still cannot believe that my wife is dead. I‘m shocked that she died over nothing. If you ask me what the cause of our quarrel was, I can‘t even say what exactly happened.”
That was not, however, the first time he would be beating her, “Even though we were always exchanging words, the last time I beat her was six years ago and I told myself that it will never happen again. I don‘t know what came over me.”
The spokesman of the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Frank Mba, confirmed the incident and said, ”Basirat‘s cry for help was said to have alerted other tenants who reportedly discovered that the door was locked from inside, thereby preventing them from quickly saving her. Moments later, she became unconscious. She was rushed to the hospital where, unfortunately, she was confirmed dead. We have started our investigations and an autopsy will be carried out for us to know the cause of her death.”
Mba, a Superintendent of Police, added that the deceased had a caesarian operation less than a year ago. ”She gave birth via a caesarian section barely a year ago, and it is possible that she was yet to recover, health wise. But the autopsy will tell us what went wrong.”
The PPRO advised couples to shun domestic violence.
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