•Gives birth in prison; begs Nigerians to help begin a new life
By Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
For 35-year-old petty trader, Bose Abiodun, resident of Ijebu Jesa, Osun State, life was good, as almost all basic necessities to make living enjoyable were within the reach.
The mother of three male children was actually not rich, but she was not poor and the funds coming from groceries she was dealing in, the support from Femi Abiodun, her hardworking husband, as well as tailoring job she was doing by the side, were enough to meet the needs of the family.
In preparation for the time her children would go into secondary school, when there would certainly be more demand, Bose and her husband were already planning on how to expand her business in the hope of better earnings.
Femi, who had been married to Bose for five years was a farmer, which he combined with hunting.
While the family of five looked up to a beautiful future with dreams of better life, tragedy struck. The head of the household during a hunting expedition had mistaken a human being for an animal and shot the person dead.
The incident which happened sometime in January, 2014, disrupted all plans already mapped out by the couple and all the beautiful promises that life had offered them immediately disappeared and they were replaced with regrets and gnashing of teeth.
After his arraignment before court, Femi was remanded in Ilesha Custodial Centre, where he spent over one year before bail could be secured for him.
His wife, Bose and Femi’s elder brother, Dele Abiodun, stood as sureties. From his house, he was attending the trial before an Osun State High Court Six, sitting in Osogbo, but the case progressed rather slowly owing to plethora of reasons.
Unknown to Bose, her husband had stopped attending to his trial before the court and in December 2017, Femi moved out of the house where he lived with his family in Ijebu Jesa and headed for an undisclosed destination.
Femi, with the connivance of his elder brother, Dele, had decided to jump bail. He had stopped attending court sessions and on April, 2018, Bose, his wife who was one of the two sureties for him, was arrested, arraigned and subsequently remanded in Ilesha Custodial Centre pending when her husband would show up.
Until Wednesday, May 27, when luck smiled on Bose and she regained her freedom, Femi never showed up and search for him had not yielded expected result.
Few days after arriving the Custodial centre, Bose said she discovered she was few months pregnant.
Narrating her experience having to carry pregnancy and deliver the baby while still held by the law for standing surety for the father of her children, Bose said, “I started feeling sick few days after I was taken to Ilesha Custodial Centre.
“ I didn’t know I was pregnant. I was arrested in the presence of my three children in April, 2018 and was taken to Ilesha. The lawyer handling the matter for my husband had come to our house and on the day he visited, I was at home. My husband had packed out of the house before then. The lawyer told me when he visited that Femi was no longer coming to court.
“Because he jumped bail, I became an inmate at Ilesha Custodial Centre. I stood surety for my husband, Femi Abiodun, who was on trial after he mistook a man for an animal while hunting.
“Our travails started sometime in January 2014 and after he was arraigned, the court remanded him and he was there for over one year. Our lawyer later secured bail for him. Myself and Femi’s elder brother, Dele Abiodun stood as sureties.
“When he regained freedom, I remember I followed him to court about three times. The matter was before High Court 6 in Osogbo. Suddenly in December, 2017, my husband without telling anyone just packed his belongings and left house. Initially, anytime I called him, he would pick and promise to come home after he had raised enough money. Later, he stopped picking my calls.
“I was in our house in Ijebu Jesa, with my three kids, and so policemen came in and arrested me. I was taken to Osogbo, where I was arraigned and immediately remanded in Ilesha Custodial Centre. I arrived the premises on April 11, 2018.
Life behind the walls
“It was the most harrowing experience anyone could have,” Bose said amidst amidsts tears, adding that having to carry pregnancy for a man that had abandoned her after she had to stake her life to ensure he regained freedom had negative implications on her health.
Bose explained that few weeks after she arrived the Custodial Centre, she was hopeful of quick return back to her family but as the days rolled by, the reality was dawn on her that unless her husband, who was on the run, submitted to the police, or forfeit the sum on the bail bond, which was N5 million, she would not be released.
“I was sick in prison and was taken to the clinic where I was told that I was three months pregnant. I told my mother and brother who were always coming to check on me. I was delivered of the baby on a Sunday, September 2, 2018. I had been in labour since Saturday night around 8pm but to the glory of God, I put to bed on Sunday about 3:30pm without any complications. I was happy that I delivered safely but was sad it was in the prison. She was named Oyinkasola and luckily we got supplies from gifts by churches and mosques, as well as the little my brother was bringing from home. While she was growing up, she was fine of singing songs of praise and most times, I was always embittered with the way my husband abandoned me in prison, especially when I thought about my three boys at home.
On the fateful Wednesday, May 27, 2020 Bose’s name was not listed among the inmates deem fit for pardon by the prison officials. As all the names on the list before the committee were male and after their cases had been dispensed. The Chief state officer of the Legal Aid Council, Mrs Julie Olorunyomi alerted their lordships of the gender inequality in the process. According to Bose, “On the said day, my daughter woke me up and packed her clothes and said, “Mummy let’s leave this place and go home. But I was not even listed among those to be pardoned. Then suddenly, prison officials came for me saying the judges wanted to meet me. I knelt down before them and told my story and behold I was freed”.
While Bose was still basking in the euphoria of her freedom from incarceration, little did she know that few months after putting to bed, her mother had died after she was told her daughter could not be released. The mother fell ill and died on December 30, 2018 and was said to be calling Bose’s name till her very last moment.
“My life was shattered when I got home and learnt my mother, who had been taking care of my children since April 2018 had died from illness while my in-laws abandoned me in prison. I had inquired from my brother when mum stopped visiting what was wrong but I was told she only needed to rest and that she needed to stop coming to the prison in order to avoid her from getting depressed”.
The mother of four however said she was done with marriage as she needed to concentrate on raising her children and ensure they get the best of education. She added that she would never forgive her former husband nor his relatives for the way she was treated. “I will never forgive my husband or his relatives for the way I was treated. I don’t need a man in my life anymore, if I get help and start my business again my priority would be to raise my children decently and ensure they get educated properly. Presently, I am living with my aged father, who had sold everything in an effort to secure my release from prison. I am pleading with Nigerians to help put my life together again”, she pleaded.