Parents of Olaide Bournes, who was allegedly killed by her lover, are in agony and they want justice to take its course, writes GBENGA ADENIJI
Tears welled up the eyes of Mrs. Bournes as she welcomed our correspondent to her Aguda, Ogba residence. There were a few sympathisers outside the house, who came to comfort the Bournes family.
A few days earlier, Bournes had lost her daughter, Olaide, a part-time business administration student of the Lagos State Polytechnic, who was allegedly killed by her lover, Abuchi Cyril.
Initially, Mrs. Bournes was too heavy-hearted to talk about her loss, especially as the continued arrival of sympathisers reinforced the reality of her 22-year-old daughter’s demise.
Although there was nothing to suggest that she was walking to her death on the day she died, Olaide was reluctant to leave home, repeating the same house chore several times and taking a long time to dress up. She had planned to see her alleged killer, Abuchi, in his house and later head for a branch of an old generation bank to open an account in which her first salary would be paid.
She worked as a contract staff with a popular confectionery firm in Ikeja, Lagos State and she was expected to resume by 3pm on that fateful day.
Mrs. Bournes described her late daughter as a very quiet and peace-loving person whose death has created a big vacuum in the family.
She said, “She was always eager to assist others. Olaide hated argument or anything that will lead to a fight and she was never happy seeing people exchanging words. The day she died, we were together talking outside the house because I was waiting for the sanitation exercise to end so that I could display my wares. I am a trader and we observe sanitation every Thursday. Later, she went inside to get dressed and her phone rang. I had her phone with me so I rushed inside to give it to her. She told me it was Abuchi who was calling and that she wanted to see him before going to work. She said Abuchi was leaving for Malaysia during the week and had asked her to come so that they could celebrate before his departure.”
She added that before the deceased left home that day, she told her she would go to the bank to open an account where her first salary would be paid.
“She started working with the confectionary company on January 28 and was yet to get her first salary. They were told to provide their account details and many of her colleagues who had done so had been paid. She filled the form a day before the incident,” Bournes stated amidst tears.
But expectation of joy turned sorrow when, a few hours after her daughter left home, Mrs. Bournes noted changes in the way people were relating with her. She later learnt that Olaide was rushed to a nearby hospital where she died after she was allegedly beaten by Abuchi.
It was not the first time Olaide’s boyfriend had abused her. Mrs. Bournes confirmed that there were times when her daughter would return home sullen after visiting Abuchi. She recalled that she met Abuchi for the first time at a hospital where her daughter had gone to receive treatment for malaria.
“I asked my daughter who he was and she told me he was her friend. I remember that he sat looking as I questioned my daughter about his identity. Olaide used to tell me that the guy was fond of beating her and I warned her to be careful and desist from seeing him. But she would reply that they had settled whatever the problem was.”
Our correspondent gathered that the deceased and Abuchi had been dating for over three years before the final fatal meeting. It was also learnt that Abuchi, who lives close to the deceased’s house with his parents, often accused the late Olaide of cheating on him.
Abuchi, said to be popular in the area, was alleged to have beaten Olaide during an argument after which she hit her head against the ground in the suspect’s room and became unconscious. The suspect later went to the Area G Police Command to hand himself over to the police. He was subsequently detained.
The deceased’s father, Akindele Bournes, who was visibly distressed as he spoke to our correspondent, said he was shocked to learn that Abuchi attends the same church with him.
He stated, “I never knew that the suspect attends the same church with my family. At the close of service every Sunday, he would call my late daughter to tell her that he sat beside me in the church. I know that my daughter has been killed but the manner of her death was painful. I cannot believe that I have lost my girl. She was a source of joy to me. I want justice to be done. When I was at the Area G Police Command and the suspect was brought out for me to see. I was shocked when he said he knew me in the church.”
Olaide’s elder sister, Olabisi, said she would miss everything about her late younger sister. “I miss everything about my sister. Is it her smiles, jokes, beauty, gentle nature or caring attitude that I will forget? We did everything together being the only two around since our other sibling is not in Nigeria. She would joke about my choice of clothes and tell me what to put on and what not to. I would then tease her by saying ‘big girl.’ Her hearty smile to my taunt often made me laugh happily. I cannot believe she was gone forever,’’ she state.
The late Olaide’s friends in school, who paid the family a visit, were unable to hold back their tears. President of the institution’s students’ union, Mr. Udechukwu Ifeanyichukwu, said his first encounter with the late Olaide was in 2012 when she mistakenly stepped on him on the campus.
He said, “I told her she stepped on me and her response was so awesome. I didn’t forget the episode because I was moved by her apologies which was warm and courteous.
“Since then, I took notice of her and got to know that she was a very nice person. She was quiet and friendly. It is so painful that such a lady so full of hopes and promises could die so cruelly,” said Ifeanyichukwu.
When contacted on the telephone, the Deputy Police Public Relations Officers, Lagos State Police Command, Damascus Ozoani, said the case had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba, Lagos.