By Bose Adelaja
Muridia and Yaqub Ganiyu have been living peacefully as a couple for 17 years. They are blessed with four children.
Sadly, the union is on the verge of complete collapse, owing to a startling revelation by Muridia that Yaqub is not the biological father of their 14-year-old daughter.
Yaqub, a commercial motorcyclist who is yet to come to terms with the reality of his wife’s confession, told Vanguard Metro that he fainted twice out of shock when his wife broke the news.
During a visit to his one-room apartment on Matomi Street, Alagbado, a border town between Lagos and Ogun states, the father of four said the issue had affected the teenager in question, emotionally and had also truncated the peaceful atmosphere in his home.
At the moment, the husband and wife are living apart, an action Yaqub is displeased with, as he alleged that he was mandated by So-Safe Corps, a vigilante group, to be giving his wife N5,000 weekly for the upkeep of the children.
The rosy beginning
In this interview with him, he recalled: “I met Muridia 17 years ago when she was an apprentice. I assisted her financially until she mastered the skill. Thereafter, we started dating and living together. I brought her to Lagos, from Otu Village, Oyo State, to set up a business for her.
“ We are blessed with four children, a daughter and three sons – aged 14, 8 and 4 years and three months respectively.
“Initially, things went smoothly in the family while I was working as a truck operator. At a point, I lost that job. I started riding a motorcycle in order to put food on the table.
Things fall apart
“Recently, I noticed that my wife started behaving strangely. I kept calm to allow peace reign until she brought a Tecno-5 Phone home. When I asked where she got it from, she gave a flimsy reason. I also noticed she had been communicating with a man whose identity I did not know. I had to seize the phone.
“About a month ago, she woke me up at midnight and told me that I was not the biological father of our 14-year-old daughter. She said her former boyfriend who lives in Germany is the biological father of the child. You won’t believe that this same man and I were once neighbours before he travelled abroad.
“I fainted out of shock and disbelief, twice. It was neighbours that resuscitated me. What baffled me was that the man she claimed to be the biological father is a relative and an old friend of mine. His father has two wives, one of them is my aunt.
“I later got to know that things were not going smoothly with him. When they enquired to know the cause spiritually, it was revealed that he had a child somewhere and that until he accepts the paternity of the child, there won’t be any solution to his issue.
“Initially, I thought my wife was out of her senses. I contacted her family members to pray for her so that she could get well but I didn’t know she had other plans.
Two weeks ago, she reported the matter with So-Safe Corps at Abule-Iroko, Ogun State. I was arrested and detained by the Corps. Its officials ordered me to pick up my belongings and leave our one-room apartment.
‘’It did not end there, they ordered me to return the phone I seized to her and pay N5,000 weekly, for the family upkeep. I have been homeless since then. The attention of both families have been drawn to the matter but from all indications, Muridia’s family members are in support of her action.
“I have an aged mother and an elder brother who are not medically fit to intervene.
‘’The man my wife claimed is the father of my daughter said I should stay far away from her or face the consequences, boasting that he has the financial muscle to deal with me.
“I used to have three motorcycles but sold them to enable me to fend for my family. The one I am currently using was bought on hire purchase.”
But when Vanguard Metro met Muridia, she clarified that she was already pregnant for another man who she identified as Teslim, when she met her husband.
She said: “When I discovered I was six weeks pregnant, I told Teslim about it but he sent me away and asked me to terminate it.
“Luckily for me, Yaqub walked into my life and slept with me. A few weeks later, I told him I was pregnant for him, he accepted paternity and we pulled resources together to rent an apartment. Teslim and I were in the village while Yaqub was visiting from Lagos.
“I am a hairdresser but our stay together had been hellish as Yaqub has no tangible source of income to fend for the family.
“Several attempts to walk away from the marriage were unsuccessful as he tactically tied me down with pregnancy. This is the fourth rented apartment I have paid for but he always disrupts my chances of staying alone.
“One day, I got a call from Teslim’s friend, who requested to know what happened to the pregnancy of 15 years ago, I did not give him any response.
“I was in church one day when Teslim’s relative sent a Tecno-5 phone to me because mine was faulty. Teslim called me to say he was in Germany but that settling down maritally had been difficult. He told me that upon divination, he was told to go and claim the paternity of the baby he abandoned in order to have a settled life.
“Two weeks ago, Yaqub and I had a quarrel in my shop. Neighbours intervened by contacting the So Safe Corps which effected his arrest.
“My uncle and other members of my family are aware of this matter. There are moves to conduct a DNA test to ascertain the biological father of my daughter, Zainab,” she said.
In a chat with Zainab, she innocently told Vanguard Metro: “My mummy and daddy are fighting because of me. They said something happened when I was young,”
Investigations revealed that the So Safe Corps personnel who handled the matter had opened a communication channel between Teslim and Zainab. The personnel was quoted to have threatened to re-arrest Yaqub and seized his motorcycle which is his only means of income.
When Vanguard Metro contacted the Commander, So -Safe Corps, Soji Gonzalo, on phone, he said he was at an official function in Abeokuta and would be unable to respond to her inquiry.
However, it was learnt that through the effort of a human rights activist, Comrade Adewale Ojo, the National Coordinator, Human Rights Advocacy & Monitoring Group (HURAMG), the So Safe Corps personnel has been summoned to the Corps headquarters in Abeokuta, Ogun State where he is being interrogated.
Efforts to reach the supposed father of the teenager failed as calls and text messages sent to his mobile phone were not attended to.