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Alleged murder: Widow pleads with Buhari, Macron to set son free

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President Muhammadu Buhari with French President, Emmanuel Macron 

…Tasks them to unleash Interpol to get to roots of matter

…Says my son is innocent

By Chris Ochayi

A widow, Madam Joy Anthony, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to interface with his French counterpart, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, to release her son, Mr. Rufus Anthony, currently languishing in French prison custody.

Madam Anthony, who made the appeal while speaking with Vanguard on the circumstances which led to the imprisonment of Rufus, said her son was wrongly convicted for offence he never committed.

She therefore, called on both countries to carry out judicial review of the case with a view to setting her son, Rufus free from incarceration.

Mr. Rufus is currently serving a jail term in a prison at Saint-Etienne, France over the death of his estranged wife, Rhoda, who reportedly died sometime in February 2015 in France.

Rhoda separated from her husband, Rufus, abandoning her son, Michel with her husband.

“This happened on February 14, 2014, that Rhoda left my son’s house only for police to storm his residence, where he was living with his ex-wife; whom he begged to reunite with on December 15, 2015, one year and half later to arrest him for the murder of Rhoda.

She lamented that “The police arrested her son, charged him and the court in France convicted him for been the one who saw Rhoda last and now Rufus is languishing in prison custody.”

“Even though, no prove of evidence linking him to her murder, my son was sent to prison, because they insisted he was the last person that saw her.”

While further appealing for her son’s freedom, she said, “My son alerted me immediately Rhoda packed out of his house and police came after him one year and half after to arrest him for the murder doesn’t stand.

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

“If Rhoda has separated and excommunicated my son Rufus for that period of 18 months, who and who was she communicating with within that period under review would be a nut to be cracked by intelligent communities of both Nigeria and France, while deploying technically.”

Madam Anthony, who alleged conspiracy by the family of her late son’s wife, Rhoda to nail him at all cost, submitted that the truth must be known if search is made into call logs of all parties, including Rhoda’s family and my son.

Sobering, she said Rufus has been telling her that Rhoda told him she was no longer interested in the union and that she was going out of the marriage. “This continued for sometimes and on February 14, 2014, she finally left my son’s house, though, without her son, Michel because my son insisted she won’t go with him.”

Madam Anthony recalled further that, when that happened, she made frantic efforts to reach out to Rhoda’s mother, Mrs. Francisca Chucks to inform her about the development to no avail because she stopped me from calling her.

She said all efforts to resolve the issue were not successful, due to alleged influence of the mother-in-law on her daughter, Rhoda, which she described as overbearing.  She described Rhoda as a very nice lady, loving, but who was unfortunately hindered by external influence.

“My son too called to inform me that at that moment, he called her mother-in-law to inform her about what was happening, she refused to pick his calls including her daughter Rita.

“Both of them avoided Rufus’ phone calls to them like plague even as he couldn’t reach his wife Rhoda either on phone again,” she added. She alleged that she was informed that it was her mother-in-law that petitioned the France authorities that her son, Rufus killed her daughter.

She recalled the petition got to France authorities in August 2016 after her 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 mother-in-law but she shunned me. And she went to police to make report against my son about April or May of 2016. My in-law who was supposed to reach out to me to ask of her daughter but reverse was the case.”

“After the traditional marriage, my son moved into his home located at Ikoton with his wife, Rhoda, who was at the time about four months pregnant.  They had their traditional wedding on April 23, 2011 and on October 14, 2011; she put to bed a baby boy, whom my son christened Michel.

“Rhoda got pregnant before the traditional marriage held, making it impossible for my son to go back to France with her immediately. So, she stayed with me and delivered her son while her husband was away in France,” she explained.

She said the crisis in her son’s life which rendered her a hypertensive patient which brought her life close to destruction started around October or November of 2012, when her son left Nigeria for France with his wife Rhoda.

She recalled that, Rhoda was not her son’s first wife. “My son’s first wife is Omorwori Victory, who is in France. He separated from her to marry Rhoda,” she noted.

She further stated that Rhoda started making a lot of troubles with her husband when she discovered that Rufus had children from another woman.  When she discovered this, she started threatening Rufus to cause troubles for him before she left his house.

She said, but when Rhoda left, “my son went back to his ex-wife to plead with her to accept him back including Rhoda’s son.  It was from the house that police came to arrest him.”

“My son (referring the reporter) as I speak with you, Michel, Rhoda’s son is still living with that woman. If not for her, Michel would have been taken to orphanage home now that his father is in prison.

Appealing to the Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammdu Buhari, on Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, Mrs. Abike Dabiri to intervene, Madam Anthony says “My son is not a criminal; he does his legitimate jobs to earn a living.”

“Rufus’ life symbolises love, a very kind and easy going person. He doesn’t hurt even a fly. Whenever he comes to Nigeria, he mixes up with everybody freely. He is loved by people. He lives a life of philanthropist.

“Rufus is the bread winner of the family. I am a widow, but now down with high blood pressure, I am in and out of hospitals. My life is almost destroyed. It is only God that is keeping me, it is not a small journey, I am now a sad woman.”

“As a mother, I am pleading with Mrs. Abike Dabiri to intervene and save my son.  I am pleading with the France authorities, Nigerian government to ensure the review of the case to release my son.

“They have put me in bondage.  If not God, Michel would have been in orphanage home.  Please release Rufus so that he can go and take care of Michel,” she pleads.

But when Vanguard inquired feelings of Rhoda’s mother, Mrs. Francisca Chucks on the issue, she said, she was devastated by the death of her daughter.

“I think you are a father, you have children I think? Tell me how you would feel if any of your children is running temperature, she queried.

Mrs. Chucks, who also queried how the Vanguard correspondent got her phone numbers, when the issue of her daughter’s demise was yet to be made public knowledge. She declined further inquiry  from the reporter on the issue.

Vanguard

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