Elder Joshua Balogun is the father of Bode, Iyabo’s immediate past husband. In this interview with PRISCILLA EDIARE, in Ado-Ekiti, the 85-year-old man narrates how he married her for his son in 2014 and the unpleasant events that followed. Excerpts:
How did your former daughter-in-law, Iyabo come into your family?
“I married Iyabo for my son, Bode, in 2014, from her mother’s elder sister, Adekemi’s place. Then, she was living in my house; she was a food vendor. Two, three months into their marriage, Iyabo came to me and said she was pregnant and I was happy. I gave her N13, 000 to buy baby’s things; later, I sent my son (Bode) to his mother in Lagos to buy baby items and Bode’s mother also gave him some items to add to the things for the baby. So, when she (Iyabo) gave birth, my son paid the hospital bills. She gave birth to a girl and we christened her Heritage Oluwabukunmi Balogun. On the day of the naming ceremony, Bode’s mother came down from Lagos, I was present; my family members were also present. Iyabo’s parents and her family members also came. The clothes the baby wore on the day of the naming ceremony were bought by my second wife, Bolanle Balogun.
Tell us about the paternity crisis
I was shocked five years later, in the year 2020, when somebody came that he is the owner of the child, Heritage, and my son’s wife never told me this. So it shocked me that the child I had taken care of from birth, now, one Seun Ajayi surfaced that he is the owner of the child after five years.
What led to the death of your two grandchildren?
On October 11, 2020, on a Sunday around 1pm, I sent my children, Heritage Oluwabukunmi Balogun, a female aged five 5years and Oluwatumininu Itunu Balogun, male, aged three years, on an errand. Whenever I sent Heritage on errands, Oluwatumininu would always run after her; even when I tell him to stay back, he would refuse. So, after church service on that fateful day, I told them to go to the shop where my wife, Bolanle sells, to bring tea so we can drink, while their father, Bode, was away to another church. When I expected the children for about 30 minutes and they didn’t return, I became worried though the place they went to was just some houses away from my house. That was not their first time of going there. I had thought being kids, they might be playing on their way. When I went outside and they were out of sight, I phoned their father and he came around 1:30pm. I explained the situation to him, we started looking for them; people in the area and landlords came out to join in the search. We searched for them everywhere till around 4:30pm, then I requested that an elder in the street should accompany Bode to the children’s mother’s place at Omisanjana area in Ado-Ekiti to check if they were there. The children’s mother, Iyabo, is now married to another man, whom she lives with and has a baby for. The baby is about a month old. When they arrived there, they explained what had happened.
It happened that where Bode and his wife and the late children lived, another married man in that same house impregnated Bode’s wife whom she now lives with. So, I reported the incident at the police station at Ajebandele and the police asked them what they knew about the incident. So, while people were still looking for the children, Iyabo and her new husband were asked if he knew the contact of the man, Seun Ajayi, who said he is the father of one of the children, Heritage. He was asked to call Seun on phone and Seun responded that he was in Ogun State. While her new husband had told Seun the previous Saturday to come and pick Heritage, the incident occurred on Sunday, the following day. The new husband was asked to call Seun again and was told to put the phone on speaker, which he did. So, he called and told Seun that the child, Heritage, that I told you to come and pick has become a big issue and Seun replied him, saying, “ ko soro lo ri e sebi o mo bo se nlo”. Translated, it means, “ No issue on it, you know how it’s been going”. On Wednesday around 7am, some people living in the area came to call me that I should come and see the corpses of the children in a car. This is a place close to my house where there are shops and mechanic workshops; where people pass every time and until the previous night, Tuesday, nothing was there. Before morning, they came and deposited their copses in a car there”.