BY OLA AJAYI, Ibadan
Considering the horrific manner of her death, it is inconceivable that the ghost of Mrs. Kemi Bankole, a business centre operator at the University College Hospital, Ibadan who was allegedly killed by her husband last Friday, is presently resting in peace. It would most probably be wandering about and crying for justice.
Unfortunately, Mr. Anthony Bankole somehow contrived to escape the long arms of the law and requisite justice as after allegedly committing the heinous crime of strangulating his wife of many years to death, he chose the option of hanging himself in their uncompleted building at Olodo area of Ibadan and left their four children at the mercy of others.
The quarrel that reportedly led to the death of Mrs. Bankole started like one of several between the couple. Many of neighbours who spoke with Vanguard Metro, VM, confirmed that the late Bankole always beat his wife at the slightest provocation. According to them, many a time, he reportedly beat her until she fainted and would then proceed to pour water on her to resuscitate her.
When VM visited the Abayomi, Iwo Road area of Ibadan, where the incident happened, many sympathisers described the woman as an easy-going person who would hardly hurt a housefly.
Two years ago, a serious quarrel ensued between the couple and the husband reportedly stripped his wife stark naked and locked her outside. It was gathered that some church members who got hint of it rushed to her and covered her up. This was reported at the Iyana Offa Police Station. Mrs. Bankole was said to have refused bluntly, despite entreaties, to remain with her husband. After making statements, they were sternly warned by the DPO and asked to go back home. Despite the police intervention, the woman who was afraid for her life refused to return to her husband.
The matter was later settled by her elder sister who reportedly invited the couple to Ilesa. There were reported constant accusations by the man that his wife was a flirt. They still decided to move on.
The latest brawl that resulted in Mrs. Bankole’s tragic death was said to have started on February 14, the Valentine day. The wife was said to have gone to her office and returned home around 8pm. On getting home, the husband, who was allegedly drunk, started accusing the wife of having gone out with another man, an allegation which the neighbours said he could not substantiate.
Around 1.30am, the husband reportedly raised alarm that his wife was dying. He ran to a nearby house to beg a car owner to help them to the University College Hospital. But by this time, the woman was said to be foaming at the mouth. Moments later, she was confirmed dead.
Before her death, she was said to have called a doctor around 11pm on that Friday, saying her husband “had started again”. The doctor reportedly told her to run out and find somewhere to spend the night.
How my sister died: Speaking with VM, Mrs. Funke Bolanle, the younger sister of Mrs. Bankole, said she saw her sister about a fortnight ago and spoke with her on phone about three days to her sad end.
Narrating how the incident happened, she said: “I was told that around one O’ clock in the morning, my husband’s sister started inviting neighbours to come and help him rush my sister to the hospital. But she died on the way. The doctors only tried to bring her back to life”.
Conduct of post-morterm
Wondering what could have led to the death of Mrs Bankole who did not complain of any sickness on Friday, her co-workers were said to have requested that a post-mortem be conducted on the corpse to know the cause of her death. The husband was said to have resisted, saying, as the husband, he did not want it done. Not satisfied, the co-workers raised some money to do the post-mortem.
“When I was told about my sister’s death, I asked him what killed her. He told me that she shouted in her dream calling names of her children and used her two hands to strangle herself. I knew this was not true”.
Mr. Bankole was said to have gone back home and mopped the floor, washed a mattress and some clothes believed to have been stained with blood. The mattress and the clothes were spread on the line at the back of the house.
On Sunday morning, family members of the wife were said to have stormed the storey building where the incident happened demanding to know the cause of their daughter’s death.
They were said to have said they would use traditional means to know who murdered the woman. But that was the last time they would see Mr. Bankole alive.
On Monday, Mr. Bankole, sensing that there was no hiding place, collected N200 from a neighbour, telling him he wanted to go and withdraw some money. But instead he went to their uncompleted building to hang himself.
Suicide message: Before he killed himself, he sent a text message to his brother. The message was written in Yoruba. When translated, it read: “My dear brother, I thank you for all your support from my youth up till today. Conscience fights more than charm. I have decided to do like a man at my site. Bye. I urge you to take heart. Bury me and Kemi in the garage at the entrance. Don’t bury me outside. Take care of my children. Let them be together. Bye”.
Speaking further, the Kemi’s younger sister said: “My sister was silent to death. The axiom, ‘for better, for worse’ will not apply again. It killed my sister. She suffered till death. If she had moved away from this man, she would have been alive today. Some people who saw her remains in the mortuary said she was bitten on the nose. Now, where would her four children go? We even heard that one of the family members of the man had taken them to Oyo town where they would be living with a woman who is a farmer. How can she take care of these children?”.
Some of the children were said to be there in the flat with them when the father was allegedly beating the woman.
While arrangement was being made to bury the couple, it was learnt that some members of the husband’s family had suggested that they should sell the uncompleted building which the woman’s family did not subscribe to. They said the money would be squandered while the innocent children would wallow in poverty.
Though, the results of the post mortem had not been released officially, VM gathered that blood stains were found in the brain of the woman and one of her clavicles, the bone that joins the neck and the shoulder together had broken.
VM gathered that the eldest child was yet to learn of the death of her father because she still asked her aunty the whereabouts of her father not knowing he, too, had passed on.