Blood on royal stool: ‘Forced abortion’ and the burden of proof

Blood on royal stool: ‘Forced abortion’ and the burden of proof

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By Osaigbovomwan Iguobaro

The sudden death of a young Lady, Faith Aigbe, whose body was found inside the car of the Duke (Enogie) of Uroho Village in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State, HRH Friday Iguodala Ogieriakhi, at the premises of Edo Specialist hospital, Benin City, is indeed a rib-cracking and pointless experiments with many impulses.

HRH FRIDAY IGUODALA OGIERIAKHI, FAITH AIGBE, HER BODY INSIDE THE AT THE EDO STATE SPECIALIST HOSPITAL

Tempers that have been flared by Nigerians are enough to wake the dead, to sound hyperbolic. But the burden of proof lies on he who alleges. Sentiments are being expressed by Nigerians, especially though the sewage of the social media space. Due diligence is an important priceless resource and is, therefore, required to bridge the gaps in the missing link in the investigation.

It is also important not to complicate issues for the grieving family and avert a situation whereby the hunter becomes the hunted that could plea for allocutus (a plea made in criminal trials in order to mitigate the sentence or punishment on an accused person. It is made after the conviction of the accused) in Nigerian Criminal Law.

Expectedly, the homicide Department of the Nigeria police, Edo State police Command headquarters have rolled up their sleeves for investigation to unravel the cause of the death of a Benin-based school teacher as Nigerians keep vigil not to destroy the furniture in a bid to kill a rat dwelling in a sitting room with an iron rod.

What seems to be of utmost concern to many is that will justice ever be served to calm the frayed nerves of her bereaved family due to the personality interest tussle? Whose testimony is valid? These are some of the pertinent questions that are begging for answers.

Already, Nigerians who are eager to see report of the autopsy to ascertain the cause of Faith Aigbe’s death, which seems to have allegedly desecrated the over a century royal stool of Iye N’Uroho, a heroine from village who helped a famous Oba of Benin several years ago, according to oral tradition.

Circumstances surrounding the abortion induced pregnancy of Faith Aigbe, who, where and how it was procured? who was actually responsible for the pregnancy, the hospital the section was conducted, how the scenes were stage managed before the bubble burst on Thursday, September 9, 2021, are contradictions that are difficult to wish away with the stroke of a pen dye to the intrinsic nature of the crime.

Faith Aigbe was brought into Edo Specialist hospital in Benin City by unidentified persons, but allegedly left to die inside a metallic Lexus Spot Utility Vehicle, SUV, belonging to the traditional ruler on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old induced woman’s body was discovered the following day by curious family members and angry sympathizers broke into the tinted glass of the vehicle to identify her body.

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Police personnel from Aideyan Division arrived and towed the vehicle with the deceased to the police station for the commencement of investigation driven by curiosity for breakthrough.

The Law enforcement agents, Litigants and Lawyers, forensic Scientists are upbeat on the murder case. Members of CSO’s seem not to be in haste to walk in the street to demand for justice on the divisive issue in their usual way, with high risk of maneuvering.

Journalists have equally weighed the pros and cons in order to arrive at a valid syllogism in their various arguments surrounding the knotty issues for the sake of public interest. Amid the raging controversy over who bells the cat, a social media user, Imafidon Imadeyogie Sylvester, on Saturday September 11, 2021, called the the arrest of a Benin-based popular broadcast journalist for allegedly misinforming the public in reporting Faith Aigbe’s murder.

Espousing the burden of proof

Actors named in the murder scandal make last minute ditch to either make imaginable face-saving phone calls and depose to statements on oath and formulate evidences that will either not be injurious to them or counterproductive to the investigation when the case is eventually charged to court.

Rights to safe abortion

Under Nigerian law, abortion means the bringing to an end of a pregnancy by any means before the foetus is sufficiently viable to survive on its own outside the womb. Abortion is illegal in the country except when performed to save a woman’s life.

According to a study by Guttmscher Institute, In Nigeria, abortions are common, and most are unsafe because they are done clandestinely, by unskilled providers or both. It is a major contributor to the country’s high levels of maternal death, ill health and disability as well as a major contributor to the country’s high levels of maternal death, ill health and disability.

The report underscores that contraceptive use remain low in Nigeria. In 2013, only 16% of all women of reproductive age (15–49) were using any contraceptive method, and only 11% were using a modern method—levels that remain virtually unchanged since 2008.

Is the call for Mrs. Gladys Aigbe for allege conspiracy justified?

Mrs. Gladys Aigbe, the distraught mother of the deceased, accused Ogieriakhi of been responsible for the death of her 27-year-old daughter, with eclipsed levity.

The Sexagenarian alleged that she warned her daughter who was said to become the third wife of Ogieriakhi against hanging out with the traditional ruler before her death.

“I removed her from the School where she was Teaching”

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“I removed her from Enogie’s house.

“At about 4p.m on Thursday September 9, 2021, I got a phone call that my late daughter has been found. Her father said she was rushed from Uroho Village to Specialist hospital. When we arrived, I found my late daughter locked up in his car”, late Faith Aigbe’s mother enthused.

She also alleged that her daughter must have died of torture over her refusal to marry Ogieriakhi after days of disappearance from home.

Much ado over blame game by embattled traditional ruler

Narrating his ordeal, HRH Friday Iguodala Ogieriakhi, the Duke (Enogie) of Uroho now in police custody, denied killing her lover, Faith Aigbe.

Ogieriakhi revealed that he knew Faith at the College of Education, Ekiadolor, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State where they were both students.

The Duke said they entered into a serious relationship in February 2020, which resulted into over Eight months pregnancy.

He alleged that weeping-Faith mother, Mrs. Gladys Aigbe, kicked against his proposed marriage to Faith.

He also alleged that Mrs. Aigbe took her daughter away from his house in Uroho Village without his consent to the Federal Capital Territory, FCT where the pregnancy was allegedly aborted.

Ogieriakhi explained that Faith came to his house when she returned from Abuja to ask him to forgive her and allow their relationship to continue, hinging her action in the pressure from her mother, Mrs. Aigbe.

“The pregnancy was over Eight months when her mother took her to Abuja for the abortion without my consent. I do not know anything about it. I was shocked. Even in my conversation with her, I told her that you have done the worst thing”.

Does that excuse him from responsibility?

Reacting to the claim that he abandoned Faith inside my vehicle at the hospital, Ogieriakhi said, “I never abandoned her inside the vehicle. She died inside my vehicle when I was taking her to hospital for medical attention”.

“When I got there (hospital), I started to call her family members on phone to come to take her body to mortuary. But they refused to come. I, thereafter, ran to the nearest police station to help me out. And my family members were present with me. Before I got there, news of Faith’s death was everywhere”, he said.

Ogieriakhi further alleged that he was yet to pay the dowry of Faith, but she was living with him at home and were already preparing to welcome their new baby before her death, a claim which had been described by the deceased family members as face-saving.

But a middle-aged man who claim to be Faith Aigbe lover in a camera interview, lamented the sudden death of his heart rob.

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The young man wept uncontrollably at Edo Specialist hospital where the body of Faith Aigbe was laid bare in the car.

Sharing responsibility

A member of Edo Civil society Organization, Leftist Osazee Edigin,
cautioned that due diligence should be followed in investigation instead of breeding intolerance that could erase basic rights.

He expressed reservations that “If care isn’t taken, the advocate will become the one pleading for leniency.

“Over the years, it has been observed that most complainants hide certain information that may make their complaints not taken seriously.

“I want to encourage all that hate Injustice to make efforts to painstakingly investigate any matter brought before them in order not to complicate issues for a supposed victim”, he said.

But the Speaker of a pressure group, Talakawa Parliament, Mr. Kola Edokpayi, has demanded for justice for the victim of murder.

“We demand justice for Faith Aigbe that was allegedly murdered by one HRH Friday Ogieriakhi… the Enogie of Uroho Community”, Edokpayi said.

Police in make or mar investigation

The spokesman of the Nigeria police, Edo State Command, SP Kotongs Bello who confirmed the report, said the traditional ruler, HRH Friday Iguodala Ogieriakhi, is in police custody in connection with the incident.

Kotongs said the suspect told police that the deceased complained of stomach ache when she visited him and took her to a private hospital which rejected her before he took her to Edo Specialist hospital, Benin City on Wednesday for medical attention.

But not everyone is convinced about police assurance giving their past reputation.

Specialist hospital source

A source at Edo Specialist hospital, hinted the traditional ruler might have beat security check at the hospital.

“From our preliminary investigation, somebody drove the car into the premises yesterday (Wednesday) and probably called her relatives to come to hospital, realising that she was dead.

“Somebody from the hospital called the traditional ruler, and he said that he is not in Nigeria.

“It was not the traditional ruler that brought the car to the hospital”, he said in anguish.

As residents eagerly await experts to unravel the cause of the young lady’s death and the outcome of the ongoing investigations by the security agency to distil the burden of proof which lies on both parties to substantiate their claims.

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