By Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Caleb Ayansina, Abuja
Deaconess Eunice MojisolaElisha Olawale was hale andhearty penultimate morning when she woke up to carry out her daily evangelistic assignment. Besides, July is a month that has brought a lot of good things in her life. It was on July 1 she celebrated her 16th marriage anniversary and was waiting for July 24 to mark her 42nd birthday.
But did the mother of seven prepare for the journey of no return she embarked on that fateful day? It appeared she was ready as she had as the title of a Christian tract she printed recently, “Final Destination.”
However, revelations from the husband suggested that there were strange things that happened before her murder last weekend. The first, according to the husband, was the late wife’s encounter with an Iman.
Narrating how he heard the death of his wife, Pastor Elisha Olawale, who is the resident pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Divine Touch Parish, NEPA Line, Kubwa, stated. “My wife always went for morning cry. That Saturday, she left home around 5am and anytime she went for the morning cry, she will come back around 6am. So by 6:30am, when she was not in, two of my sons, who are footballers, were in the field playing ball and some footballers came and said that there was a woman preaching who had been killed, her megaphone was on the ground.
“They quickly left the field and came home to ask whether their mummy had come back. I said no. They told me what they heard on the field. We rushed down, traced the road she used to pass to preach. I saw a crowd and the crowd was looking at us. I didn’t say anything. I saw a policeman and asked him, ‘please, I was told that a woman was killed here’. He said yes. I said my wife went out to preach. He said I should go to Kubwa Police Station, Phase 4 to make enquiries.
“I came home with my children, we now drove down. As we were entering the police station, we saw one of their pick-ups coming out. I saw the body of my wife in the pick-up and we began to cry. They took us in to condole with us. After about 20 minutes, they told us to go home.
“Somebody drove my car because I drove when we were going, but when we were coming back, I couldn’t drive; somebody brought us home.
What Imam told my wife during morning cry
“Meanwhile, about three weeks ago, when she went out to preach, there was one mosque at the back of our house here. When the Imam, who was also preaching saw her preaching, he stopped and, after some time, he told his members, ‘Listen to that woman, she is saying the truth about God’. When my wife returned home and told me, I said ‘I was a Muslim before, be careful over what the Imam said’.
“There is this road we take to get to our own parish. I called the pastor of that parish, Pastor Adegbomi, when we observed that on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they had not been holding programmes as they should have been and he said they stopped because in the evenings of both days, some Hausa Fulani boys usually put their praying mats and their kettles there. Consequently, they had been having morning programmes and closing early.
“So, when I called the pastor to mention my wife’s encounter with the Imam, he said he will do something about it. He even said I could meet the Chief of Kubwa to complain.”
Last discussion with wife
“That particular morning she died, we did night vigil and she slept earlier than me because she had to attend a Women National Conference at Utaka. She even wanted me to help her take some of the women she wanted to attend the conference in my car. It was after the vigil that she went for the morning cry and we later found her hacked to death.
“But before the Imam talked about her, I think about two weeks ago, a Mallam came to our house and said he needed help; that he was coming from Nyanya, and that my wife should help him. My wife sent John, one of my people there, to look at who was the person.
“The man said he had an Islamic school around our house and that he needed money to take care of the pupils because they were fasting. My wife said that if she had money, she would have given him. So, the man just banged our gates and left”.
Nobody understands how
I feel -15-yr-old daughter
Also speaking to Sunday Vanguard, the eldest child of the late deaceness, Jesica, 15, while crying uncontrollably, said, “Everybody is just saying it is well, nobody can understand how I feel. She is innocent, she didn’t do anything to anybody. Harmless, with her megaphone and her phone, just preaching; they killed her like a chicken and left her there.”
The house help of the preacher, John, said to have been around when the strange visitor came to the house, told Sunday Vanguard that it was after the departure of the unknown visitor that the late Eunice took ill.
The wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, during a visit to the bereaved family, expressed shock over the demise of the deaconess. The wife of the General Overseer, RCCG, Pastor (Mrs) Folu Adeboye, and even the General Overseer, Pastor E.A Adeboye, also came to commiserate with the family.
The Eunice incident is among the gory killings linked to religious intolerance as chronicled by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
“About a month ago in Kano, Mrs. Bridget Agbaheme, a 74-year-old Christian, was murdered at Wambai Market due to an altercation with a Muslim man who came to the front of her shop to perform ablution. Her offence was that she objected to the Islamic washing rite in front of her shop”, CAN said in a document.
“Just last week, a clergyman of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Reverend Zakariya, was killed by attackers suspected to be herdsmen in Obi LGA of Nasarawa State. They attacked him on his farm, cut off his arms and legs, then, they chopped-off his head with a machete.”
Signing the condolence register opined at the family house of the deceased, Pastor Adeboye, popularly called Daddy GO, wrote; “Glory to God, divine warrior has gone to glory.”
The General Overseer noted that the church was not interested in justice for the slain member, but in the salvation of the souls of the killers.
Before departing the residence, Daddy GO prayed for the family of the deceased, saying: “Lord, we just want to say thank you. We pray that you will keep this family in your hand, and that you will be with them. We pray you will comfort and defend them. They too will finish well.
“We are praying that all the perpetrators of this crime will be found. We are not asking for justice, we are only praying that you will save their souls. It will be glorious if they can come and testify that ‘before we were murderers, but now, we are pastors.’
“As for these little children, give them wisdom; let them succeed and excel. As for the church, you will comfort us. As a result of what had happened, instead of decrease, increase your Church. Stand by them and keep away evil from them.”
This act of forgiveness was also demonstrated by the bereaved husband. “As a pastor, we have been called to the ministry of reconciliation. If they arrest them (perpetrators), killing them won’t help; we are just helping the devil more,”Pastor Olawole said.
“What I will suggest is that if they should preach to them, they should accept Christ; heaven has more gain, as long as my wife has gone to heaven, if they accept Christ that will be my joy.”
CAN, which has on several occasions condemned attacks on Christians in Nigeria, described them as a spot on the symbol of the county’s unity that must be urgently addressed.
The Chairman, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter of CAN, Rev. Israel Akanji, called on all Christians in the FCT to put on hold proposed peaceful protest on the killing of Deaconess Olawale.
“Although we are yet to see the FCT Minister on this matter, I wish to assure all aggrieved people, particularly Christians, to put on hold any action,”Akanji said.
“We wish to appeal for calmness to all our Christian faithful on this matter. Several zones of CAN have called to seek permission for protests against what happened.”
Akanbi, who stated this while reacting to the killing during a press conference, in Abuja, also called on government and all security agencies to act appropriately to prevent its escalation.