•Accuses in-laws of confiscating late husband’s property, company
•Police recover deceased’s bank cheques, vehicles from relatives
By Evelyn Usman
She created a scene, as she stood motionless in front of a building on 33 Owodumi street, off Liasu road in Lagos, with flashes of thoughts on how she had lived there with her late husband and son before fate dictated otherwise.
All she could do was to allow the tears flow unhindered, down her cheeks.
Some inquisitive passers-by shook their heads in sympathy, without having a clue of what could have elicited such emotion, while others who probably knew her, tried to pacify her.
She is Mrs Chineye Onyeji, widow of popular businessman, Okechukwu Onyeji, who had her world crumbled like a pack of card, following the demise of her husband in the last quarter of 2019.
Her late husband who was described as a successful businessman reportedly left behind a flourishing business, cars and houses.
Unfortunately, as you read this piece, she and her 13-year-old son, have allegedly been chased out of the building she was living by some relatives of the deceased.
The genesis of her ordeal could be traced to when she took ill and had to leave their Ikotun home for her sister’s place in Onitsha, Anambra state, where she was to undergo treatment.
Her decision to leave her matrimonial home according to her, was because of the busy schedule of her husband which prevented him from taking care of her in that state.
Unfortunately, her decision to leave her home became her greatest undoing, as her late husband reportedly never bothered to look for her until she was informed he was at the point of death.
According to her, “I never knew my late husband was diabetic to the point of death. As soon as he died, his brother, Nnaemeka, and another of his sibling, relocated to Lagos and took over our matrimonial home and my late husband’s business.
“When I called to inform my brother-in-law that I was on my way to Lagos, he told me that thieves had invaded our house and stolen some vital documents.
“I have done everything possible to appeal to them to stop selling my late husband’s property. It is not my fault nor that of my son that my late husband, while he was alive, refused d to give his brother money to start up a business when he requested for it.
“What explanation will I give my son about his father’s property when he grows up? All I am doing is to save guard my son’s future”, she said in tears.
Police begin investigation
Determined to secure her late husband’s property, the widow, petitioned the Inspector General of Police, accusing some of her in-laws of burglary, stealing, forgery and conversion of property, among others.
She alleged in the petition that one of her late husband’s houses on Fatokun street, Adam estate, Ikotun, was sold for N10 million without her consent, as well as some vehicles. She therefore appealed to the Police to eject her in-laws who are presently occupying her home at Owodunni Street off Liasu road, Idimu, before they would sell it to a ready buyer.
Part of the petition read, “We are appealing to the Police to unearth every detail of criminal withdrawals from our client’s late husband’s personal and company accounts since his unfortunate death; recover all vehicles, keys, title documents, mobile phones, ATM cards, cheque books, laptop and any other property belonging to our client’s late husband that have been criminally converted”.
Respite, however, seems to be on the way as detectives at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, , FCID Alagbon, have reportedly recovered some of the property confiscated by the suspects.
Some of the recovered items as reliably gathered included: life insurance of the deceased, several insurance certificates worth N40million and cheque books of five different banks belonging to late Okechukwu Onyeji, as well as vehicle particulars already sold. Crime Guard gathered that two key suspects had been arrested.
Spokesman for the FCID, ASP Niyi Ogundeyi confirmed that investigation was still ongoing when contacted. He said, “On receiving the petition, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Uche Anozia in- charge of FCID Annex, Alagbon, Lagos, deployed detectives attached to the X-squad section to thoroughly investigate the matter”.
On the part of the Chairman, Umuduru Onyiriagha and Umuagubu in Umumilo, Amanaasa village, Umuchu town , Aguata area of Anambra State, Socrates Ebo, he stated emphatically that the widow and her son were entitled to their late bread winner’s property.
He explained that on receipt of the complaint, he met with the concerned parties three days after the interment of late Okechukwu.
According to him: “when we confronted her brother-in-law, he denied the allegation. A decision was reached to set up a 3-man committee, which members are based in Lagos.
“We thought they (members of committee) would do justice to the matter by tracing the investment of the late businessman since those involved were into same business as the deceased. It was at the point of allowing the committee to work with him (brother in-law) that he claimed thieves broke into his brother’s house and stole all the documents.
“Since it has become a case of theft, I ordered that the matter be reported to the nearest police station. “Another decision reached during the meeting was that after recovering the property, the deceased’s responsibilities to members of his extended family would still go on, but with the consent of his widow, in order to foster peace in the family.
“We also reached an understanding that no landed property belonging to the deceased should be sold until his son comes of age.
“As for the movable property, they could be sold in agreement between the deceased’s brother, the committee members and especially, the widow and her son,” he explained.