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Ripples over death of 3 siblings inside parked car

The death of three siblings at No 8 Boluke Line, Zango-Kulende quarters in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, recently has continued to generate tension and…

The death of three siblings at No 8 Boluke Line, Zango-Kulende quarters in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, recently has continued to generate tension and disquiet.

The victims—Maryam, 10; Nudrah, 8 and Mohammed, 2, all children of Mr Jimoh Abdulkadir and Silifat Folashade, reportedly suffocated inside a parked vehicle at their residence.

The incident has led to accusations and counter accusations between the parents of the deceased children, Jimoh Abdulkadir and his 37-year-old wife Silifat.

Their accounts of the incident many say underscore why the police must not leave any stone unturned to get to the root of the matter in getting justice for the children.

When Daily Trust on Sunday visited Silifat at her Magaji Okaka family compound, Taiwo Isale, Ilọrin, where she relocated to, she was still surrounded by friends and families who, it was learnt, have been with her more than three days after she passed out over the incident before she was revived at the hospital.

The family said the Kwara State commissioner of police, Victor Olaiya, had ordered a thorough investigation into the matter based on the directive of the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun.

According to her uncle, Mallam Abdulkareem Muhammed, the death of the children is suspicious.

Speaking with Daily Trust on Sunday, Mr Muhammed said: “The children died in less than twenty minutes after their mother left them. The distance from their house to the shop was less than ten minutes walk, yet she boarded an Okada only to come back and discovered the children locked inside the car. Part of their mouths had turned pale when they were discovered and we were told that the body of the last child had started peeling,” the uncle said.

Narrating her experience, Silifat, who accused her husband of lack of proper care, said she had been having marital issues since the latter married a second wife. She pleaded with Nigerians to come to her aid to unravel the mystery behind the incident. 

“That Sunday around 2pm, shortly after I finished cooking for them, Nadrah, my second daughter, said she would like to take spaghetti to school the next day (Monday). So, I took Okada to my provision shop at Zango to get it. This is not the first time I would leave them to go and buy something or fetch water. They would be playing inside till I return. Same thing if I go to deliver snacks to customers because I am also a caterer.

“Everything happened in less than 30 minutes. Before I left, Mohammed was crying but I insisted the sun was too much and I would not want to take him outside because of the heat. I called Maryam to take care of her siblings,” she submitted. 

Silifat said when she came back, she noticed that the children had scattered the entire room and met the door wide open. I also saw their shoes and envisaged they would not be out of the premises at most.

“I initially thought they were playing hide and seek with me. But after searching all available places without their traces, I became troubled and restless and took a bike to our junction to look for them. 

“My landlady had gone to work and so I went to inform an aged couple in the next flat. The wife said she heard their cries about 10 minutes ago and she was even calling Maryam, asking why she was beating her siblings. Later, I raced to the well inside the compound to check if they were inside before I decided to check the vehicle and saw them inside. I managed to open one of the doors and was asking why they went inside the car which was unlike them. 

“But they did not respond and that was when their postures became suspicious and I started shouting for help. It was my neighbour’s husband that came to force the other doors open, I think the car had a central lock system, and dragged Mohammed out, injuring his hand in the process. 

“Later, my cry for help attracted some boys outside who jumped the fence and we started pouring water to revive them before they were rushed to the Olutayo clinic where we were referred to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH). 

She said the car belonged to her husband’s elder brother and was used to transport people and things on the Saturday of the naming ceremony of her husband’s second wife, a week before the incident happened.

“My husband brought the car home on that Saturday after they finished the naming ceremony. Although this is not the first time he would borrow it, why didn’t he return the car or park it where they had the ceremony more than one week before the incident. 

“It was after my husband married his second wife that things changed,” she added.

She called on people of conscience not to allow her to suffer such devastation and heavy burden in vain as a young mother, adding that she has resigned her fate in the hands of Almighty Allah.

However, the husband, Mr Jimoh Abdulkadir, denied neglecting Silifat at any point in time, adding that since the issue of his second wife came up, his family had tried to plead with Silifat to cooperate with her but all to no avail.

Abdulkadir, who showed our reporter several transfers he made to Silifat for feeding and upkeep of the children whenever he slept at home, wondered “Why is she trying to paint me black in the eyes of the public?”

Giving his account of the incident, the former sunset worker said: “I share my time fortnightly between the two of them and it was Silifat’s turn after we finished the naming ceremony of my second wife’s baby.

“I borrowed the car (Mazda) from my elder brother to ease my movement and also cut transportation costs during the naming ceremony despite being told that one of the tires had issues. So, I parked it, rolled up and removed the battery. On Sunday morning when I was planning to return the car, I discovered a flat tire and phoned my brother about it who said I should take my time to fix it since it has not even been comfortable fuelling it recently.   

“So, I sent my eldest daughter, Maryam, to get the vulcanizer nearby to come and fix it that morning and she requested the three of them to go. My thought was that she wanted to sleep and didn’t want them to disturb her. At the time the vulcanizer came, I was already going out and only assisted him to remove the tire and told my children not to play around with it in order not to get trapped. This was around a few minutes to 12pm. That was the last I heard of my children,” Abdulkadir said.

He said it was while at his second wife’s place that he received Silifat’s call shouting “my three children, my three children.”

“I rushed down to the house but was told they had been taken to Olutayo Clinic. I rushed down there only to meet them dead. The car was parked very close to our entrance and you could hardly afford not to see it. The glasses were not tinted. My question is where did she go when all these happened?  

“Moreover, my wife did not initially tell me she went out of the house. She said she was inside the house and only came out when she didn’t hear their voices when I inquired where she was. It was at the Muslim cemetery that I learnt they saw her on a motorcycle at the junction shortly before the incident. 

“She told people that she went to buy noodles. Is it that there is no food in the house or what is the urgency in getting something she said the children will take to school on Monday that Sunday morning?

“That was how I lost my children in three hours; they were not sick before I left home. I should be the one talking about the issue of the police and not them,” he said.

He said it was the wife of his elder brother who owned the car that washed and shrouded the corpses of his two daughters and denied that their bodies were peeling or any issue of their mouth turning back.

“It was only Mohammed that I saw some wounds in his upper arm and my wife told me it was when our neighbour was trying to get him out of the car,” he said.

“But I know Almighty Allah will expose all the secrets behind this incident and give us justice. Though it was initially painful and difficult, I have to accept Allah’s decree on the matter and move on.  They said I have gone into hiding but you met me at our family house in Tanke.

“My wife’s people also accused me of not feeling remorse, that I dressed gorgeously when I came to them, nothing can be far from the truth. I am yet to get any police visitation or invitation on this matter,” he noted, adding that he is not thinking about divorcing their mother at all. 

The submission of Abdulkadir however, questions the discreet probe purportedly ordered by the CP in the matter as confirmed by the spokeswoman of the Kwara command, DSP Toun Ejire-Adeyemi.

According to her, although the families were looking to settle the matter internally, “the police commissioner had directed the SIB to go ahead with the discreet investigation in a bid to get to the root of the matter.”

 

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