For Mrs. Iyabo Abolarinwa, marriage has become a hobby of sorts. At age 35, she has tied the nuptial knots five times with five different men at intervals of a few years. One after the other, she gleefully had pronounced marital vows with Dayo Adegbusi, Kayode Oluwadare, Seun Ajayi, as well as Bode Balogun, all in Ekiti State, and parted ways with each of them after bearing a child. Now, she is in her fifth marriage and nursing her barely one month old child in her matrimonial adventure.
Iyabo’s current and fifth husband, Ayeni Abolarinwa, was a co-tenant with her immediate past hubby, Bode, and indeed, impregnated her under his roof while the illicit affair lasted. It was when the bubble burst that Ayeni moved her out of the compound and rented another apartment for her near a Celestial church at Omisanjana area of Ado-Ekiti, where she presently resides.
Interestingly, her latest pregnancy and resultant baby which has not been christened, was not the only shocker Iyabo had for Bode, her immediate past husband. Two months into her marriage with him in 2014, Bode’s father, Elder Joshua Balogun, 85, a resident of number 15, Olabode Street, Ajebandele, Ado-Ekiti, was pleasantly surprised when his daughter-in-law informed him that she was pregnant. He did whatever he could to assist his son in providing good care for Iyabo whom he married for Bode until she was delivered of a baby girl named Heritage Oluwabukunmi Balogun. She also had a male child for Bode, Oluwatumininu Balogun, aged three.
Five years later, he was perplexed when another man, Seun Ajayi emerged to claim paternity of Heritage. He followed with phone calls to Bode, requesting to take custody of his daughter. It was a big blow to Bode and his father, Balogun, when Iyabo gave a nod to Ajayi’s claim rather than contesting it. “I was shocked five years after in year 2020, when somebody came that he is the owner of the child, Heritage Balogun and the wife never told me this, so it shocked me that the child I had been taking care of from birth, now, one Seun Ajayi surfaced that he is the owner of the child after five years”, Pa Balogun lamented.
But his daughter-in-law insisted Ajayi was the biological father of five-year-old Heritage. “Yes, Seun Ajayi is the father of Heritage; that was when we were living at Aba Ibira, Sije area, Ado-Ekiti. I had Heritage for Seun Ajayi while living with Bode there. Bode Balogun and I lived in the same compound with Seun Ajayi”, Iyabo affirmed in an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun in Ado-Ekiti. However, the paternity crisis occasioned by her marital frolic has turned fatal.
On Sunday, October 11, her two children who lived with Bode, their father – Heritage and Oluwatumininu, were sent by their grandfather at about 1pm to pick a tea he purchased from his second wife’s shop a few meters away from their home, but had forgotten on a table. They never returned from the errand till three days later when their decomposing bodies were found in an abandoned red Honda Accord car with registration number CN 579 ABJ (Abuja), at a mechanic workshop on Olabode Street, Ado-Ekiti.
The two kids were said to be inseparable while alive and shared the same fate in death. On the day they embarked on the eternal journey, Pa Balogun had sent only Heritage to get the forgotten tea for him, but her younger sibling, Oluwatumininu insisted he would accompany her despite being dissuaded by his grandfather.
While residents of the neighbourhood puzzled over the circumstances surrounding the death of the children, their father, Bode, pointed fingers at Seun, one of Iyabo’s ex-hubby, and Ayeni, her current husband, as suspected perpetrators of the act when he reported the incident to the police. Consequently, the duo was arrested among others, as police investigations intensified.
Abutu Sunday, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and spokesperson for the Ekiti State police command confirmed in a telephone chat with Saturday Sun on Thursday that investigations into the incident had been concluded and the suspects arraigned in court.”Yes, about two suspects had been arraigned in court but I will call you back for further details”, he said.
Checks however indicated that Ayeni, 42, and Seun, 34, were on Monday, November 2, arraigned on charges of conspiracy and murder before an Ado-Ekiti magistrate court presided over by Abdulhamid Lawal, who ordered the accused persons to be remanded at a correctional centre and the case file forwarded to the state Director of Public Prosecution(DPP’s) office for legal advice.
With Ayeni, her latest husband behind bars, the curtain closed on Iyabo’s honeymoon and joy of having a new baby. A secondary school leaver and indigene of Ado-Ekiti, she exclusively told Saturday Sun the story of her sojourn in the homes of five men and how the death of her two children crashed her world like a pack of cards. Her story:
Before the kids were murdered
“I had seen the children a long time before the incident occurred; then, I was pregnant with this baby, my new child, when their father, Bode, warned me not to call him again. He said Seun Ajayi called him and was asking after Heritage. Meanwhile, Bode had called me before that I should come and pick the children; even Bode’s father said he was old; that it is a mother that knows how to take care of a child. Baba even called and explained to his son to allow me take the children so that I could take good care of them, and Bode replied that there was no problem. This year, when the Coronavirus issue was already abating, Bode came to my house to inform me that Heritage was sick; he said Heritage was sick that I should go and see her. So, I went to see her and came back. That was when Bode and his father said that I should come and take the children; that a mother knows how well to take care of her children, so, I agreed and took some of their things; it was their footwear that I brought to my house on that day.
Thereafter, everybody was on our own and I was praying for my children. Now, when they said I should come and pick the children, I had thought of going to take them on the next Saturday. Bode came to me again that Heritage was still not well that she was complaining of abdominal pains. So I went there again and suggested if they could administer typhoid drugs on her. The drug was administered on her and she vomited. That same day, I concluded I was going to take the children with me; that they should help arrange their things, Bode said no, because Seun Ajayi had called him concerning Heritage that he would not want Seun to kidnap her in my place. I replied to him and said how can Seun come and kidnap her in my place when I gave birth to her? Bode and his father declined and said no.
So I left and later called him on the phone to ask of the children and he said I should stop calling him, so I stopped calling him but kept praying for my children. Now, within this period when I last saw the children when Heritage was sick and their father told me to stop calling him, it was more than three months and the next thing I heard was that they were looking for the children; that they were missing, and I heard again that they saw their corpses.
News of their death
On Sunday, October 11, my mother came to visit me in the morning to make arrangements for the following Monday, the day we were to christen my new child. My husband, Ayeni Abolarinwa, was at home discussing with my mum while I was preparing food, and we ate towards afternoon. Around five in the evening, the stylist who was to do my hair had come around and while making my hair, not too long, I saw Bode and one elderly man; they came to my place at Omisanjana where I live. Bode said he wanted to see me so I excused myself.
At that time my mum had left my place around after 3pm. My husband couldn’t have his bath while my mum was around and when my mum left, another visitor came to visit me and the baby. After the visitor left, my husband went to take his bath. I attended to Bode and asked what happened? He said they have been looking for Heritage and Dunmininu. The elderly man he came with was the first to ask, where are your children? I replied to him and said children? This is their father standing, you should ask him; after all the children live with him, it’s been more than three months I have set my eyes on them. He said they had been looking for the children since afternoon. Bode interjected and said he went to church and left the children at home with his father and step mother. That on his arrival around 2pm, his father said he sent Heritage, the older one, to bring tea for Bode’s step mother because she was sick. He said he earlier bought the tea and forgot it on a table in front of Bode’s stepmother’s shop and he sent Heritage to go and bring it and the younger sibling (Dunmininu) ran after Heritage and followed her; that they only saw their exit and didn’t see them return.
As he told me the story, I started shivering. My neighbours came out when they heard that they were looking for the children, thinking maybe, I went to collect them. So, my neighbours said this person you have come to meet just gave birth, can she bring in the children and people will not see them?; that they only see the new-born child and the husband’s son who is older than my children, and lives with me. My neighbours fought for me and they sat me down, reminding me that I just gave birth, that I should be calm to avoid an untoward medical condition. While seated, I was still shivering; I asked where would Heritage and Dunmininu have gone to play? Bode answered they had searched everywhere in the neighborhood. I used a neighbour’s phone and called my little child’s father, Ayeni Abolarinwa, because he had gone out then and I told him to come and narrated what they told me to him. He (Abolarinwa) came back and he asked where the children had gone to?
Immediately, he called my mum and explained to her. My mum lives in Iyin Ekiti; she said I should go and report at Ekute police station that they are looking for the children. My neighbours said I shouldn’t go because I just gave birth, to avoid falling down on the way. Meanwhile, when Bode and the elderly man came, my neighbours told him to go in and check if the children were there, that it wasn’t possible for them to be there and not come outside to play. So, my husband, Abolarinwa went to Ekute police station to make the report and before Abolarinwa came back with a police officer, Bode and the elderly man had left. Some people even said maybe Bode kept the children to punish me, knowing I just gave birth. They said I should be calm and continue with my hair.
Police invitation and the search
As I sat to do my hair, I heard noise outside that Bode had gone to Ologede police station to bring officers to come and arrest Abolarinwa and myself, saying that we came to take the missing children. My neighbours insisted the children were not with me except for the little child and my husband’s son, and that the next day (Monday) would be the eight day I gave birth. At this time, it was getting dark and the officers asked my husband and I to follow them to the police station, so we followed them. When we got there, the officers said we should go to the Ajebandele area in Ado-Ekiti, where the children were declared missing and search again. We all went, including Abolarinwa, Bode, his father, Bode’s step mother, I and my mother who had arrived. And as we went, my mother kept shouting in the area that whoever had Heritage and Oluwadunnininu in his or her custody should release them. So, residents started coming out.
That night, we returned to the police station and the officers asked if we had seen them and we replied no. They said we should keep searching for them and that we should report the following day. The following day (Monday), we reported at the Ologede police station. They asked us to make statements and said we should keep looking for the missing children till the next day. On Tuesday, we were transferred to police headquarters, along Iyin Road, where my husband, Ayeni Abolarinwa, who works as a private driver, was detained.
Recovery of corpses
On Wednesday, when I got to the police headquarters, I didn’t know what was happening. Some minutes after I sat beside some officers, my mother came to join me. When I got there, I didn’t meet Bode and his father; I was about to ask if anyone had seen them when my mother said that as she was coming, a friend called her that corpses of two children were found inside a car; she prayed it wasn’t the children they were looking for, and I answered Amen. There, some officers challenged my mother immediately that she was not supposed to have revealed the information. Had she forgotten I just gave birth? My mother said when she heard it she couldn’t control herself that was why she said it and immediately, I fainted with the little child strapped to my back. The police headquarters had been informed, so they kept mute about it and I didn’t suspect anything.
Seun and I
It is true that Seun Ajayi was always disturbing me that he wanted to take custody of Heritage but, I didn’t call him. It was my new husband, Ayeni Abolarinwa that called him due to the fact that they had known each other for a long time. Ayeni and Seun knew each other even before I knew them. Yes, Seun is the father of Heritage; I had Heritage for Seun while living with Bode. Bode and I had lived in the same compound with Seun at Aba Ibira, Sije area, Ado-Ekiti.
Seun and my new husband, Ayeni
Yes, there was a time Seun was passing by on my street; he came to my street to repair a generator for someone in my neighbourhood when he saw Heritage playing outside my house and asked her, where is your mummy? She answered I was inside. When I heard them talking, I came outside to see who was asking after her mummy. I had seen him for a very long time so I asked; what are you doing here? Do you live in this neighborhood? He said no, that he came to repair generator for a customer. In the course of our conversation, Ayeni, my new husband came out, saying the voice he heard sounded like a known voice. On getting outside, he met Seun and asked what he had come to do. I was surprised as I watched them, and I asked do you know each other. He said they knew each other because they both lived at Ori-Apata area. Seun then answered and said this is the mother of my child; he was referring to me. That was when Ayeni got to know that Seun is the father of Heritage. But even when he knew, he had no qualms. When Seun stepped aside, I was living as a wife with Bode and also dating Ayeni in the same compound we lived together. Heritage had been bearing Balogun as surname because she was lived with Bode.
When I gave birth to my new child, a male, for Ayeni, the baby had yet to be christened. We were planning the ceremony for Monday, October 12, when my children, Heritage and Oluwadumininu were declared missing on Sunday and the naming ceremony could not hold.