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Widow seeks son’s release from ‘unjust’ incarceration in French prison


 Precious Igbonwelundu


“MY son alerted me immediately Rhoda packed out of his house and the police came a year and a half later to arrest him for the murder that doesn’t stand.

“That is why I am calling on both Presidents Buhari and Macron to come to my rescue. Let the two leaders institute comprehensive investigations by deploying all security apparatuses,  including Interpol, in respect of this case in order to unveil the circumstance surrounding Rhoda’s death.

“If Rhoda had separated and excommunicated my son, Rufus, from the time she left him, who she communicated with within that period should be important to the police and I know there are ways the intelligence community can figure these things out. They can even find out what really happened to Rhoda.”

According to her, Rufus’ problem started shortly after relocating Rhoda to France in November 2012, and she suddenly wanted out of the marriage.

“This continued for some time and on February 14, 2014, she finally left my son’s house, though, without her son, Michel, because my son insisted she would not go with Michel. When this was happening between them, I tried several times to reach Rhoda’s mother but she warned me to stop contacting her.

“Rhoda stayed at my place after their wedding in 2011 because she was about four months pregnant. It was after she gave birth to Michel that my son came and took both of them with him. She knew my son was previously married.

“My son told me then that he tried to contact his mother-in-law to notify her of the issues he was having with Rhoda in France but the woman was not taking his calls. Her sister too wasn’t taking his calls.

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“Both of them avoided Rufus’ phone calls like plague even as he could not reach his wife Rhoda again. I was informed that it was his mother-in-law that petitioned France authorities that my son, Rufus killed her daughter.  Their petition got to France authorities in August 2016 after my son was arrested on December 15, 2015.

“They kept the news of Rufus’ arrest from me until January 2016. When I heard the bad news of his arrest, I became worried and I still made some efforts to reach my son’s mother-in-law but she shunned me. She went to police to make report against my son about April or May of 2016.

Contacted, Rhoda’s mother, Mrs. Francisca  Chucks,  said she was not happy  that old wounds were being reopened, adding that Rufus’ family never bothered to tell her the true situation.

The woman who expressed doubts that this reporter was indeed a journalist, retorted “Whatever they want you to publish, go ahead and publish it. I do not care.”

When assured by the reporter that she was on nobody’s side and only wanted all sides of the story represented, Mrs. Chucks said: “If you want to hear anything from me, I will channel you to the right source that will tell you what you what you  need to know.

“What happened was not in Nigeria. I heard it the same way they heard it. What they should have done when this incident occurred is what they are doing now. I do not gain anything from anybody being in prison. It will not bring my daughter back to life.

“All that I know is what their son told me and that is what Nigerian and French governments are working with. The case is between Rufus and the government. All that I know is what I was told.

“Immediately it happened, they should have told me but they kept covering up. Their son told them lies and they believed it. They never bothered to get in touch with me. They want to tell me they are smart, wise and that I am nobody and cannot do anything.

“Why are they doing this now? Why are they sending you people pretending to be working for one newspaper or the other? Rufus and his mother are tormenting me with the death of my daughter. I am trying to heal over that incident and they are reopening the wound. I will send your number to INTERPOL in Abuja for them to call you. Make sure you pick their call when they call you. They will give you full details of what happened.”


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