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When your husband is a criminal…

*Having been ‘conscripted’ by the Editor of Saturday Vanguard, Mr. Onochie Anibeze, to contribute a column to the publication, I have chosen to go with the title: Talking Point.
Aside from the obvious coverage of activities of government at various levels/political developments with a touch of human face to the stories, issues pertaining to gender, health, economy, business, family will be featured on Talking Point.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive, not when I am known to have opinions on things anytime and anywhere. As a matter of fact, and even as you read, I am forming opinions on issues that I will be sharing with you in due course, perhaps from very different points of view.
Naturally, some of the topics I will be writing about here will be serious. Some will not be. But in all, we will be looking at issues that generally touch our lives, either positively or otherwise, and how we choose to deal with them.
Follow me this week on Talking Point as we tackle the trending topic on how possible it is for a wife, whose husband is a notorious criminal, to convince the world that she did not know what business her husband was into…a la Mrs. Evans.

I used to live in a semi ‘face-me-I-face-you’ apartment somewhere in the Lagos metropolis so many years back. The landlady called it self-contained, indicated so on the receipt, and charged her rent as such.

The so-called self-contained flats were situated on the top floor of the one-storey building with no questions as to the ‘face-me-I-face-you’ status of the rooms on the ground floor.

On this last floor were four of such self-contained flats, demarcated into two sections made up of two flats each. The first two flats had their balcony facing the front of the building while the last two had theirs facing the backyard and each had a mini gate, or better still, a door separating them from each other.

Through these gates/doors the tenants could move in and out of any of the sections of blocks of apartments. And they did so, freely. Since we knew our neighbours, or so we thought, one particular individual I noticed walking through the connecting hallway a couple of times, wasn’t familiar to me so I asked my neighbour who he was. I was told he was husband to a lady at the other block of flats.

Mrs Evan

It turned out that the man I chose to call Biodun for the purpose of this write-up, was hardly around and hardly known to most of the tenants in that compound. That though was not a problem to some of us then.

But all that would change after a return from one of those long Christmas and New Year holiday trips to the village. On my return to Lagos after the Yuletide this particular year, my next door neighbour said she had what she termed, ‘juicy gist’ for me.

She narrated how men of the Nigeria Police from one of the southwest states outside Lagos had traced our neighbour, Biodun, that early January, to the compound where they arrested him. It would appear, she continued, that our neighbour, had been on police wanted list prior to the arrest.

Biodun got arrested following a tip off in connection with some deadly armed robbery cases in several southwestern states and beyond. He was handcuffed, leg-chained and bundled into a police van, weeping and pleading for mercy as they drove him away, my good neighbour, narrated.

It was hard to take in all she was saying. And while still bemused, I was suddenly jolted by her exclamation: ‘Can you believe we have been living with an armed robber next door for only God knows how long?’

It then dawned on me that the few times Biodun, who was hardly known by the tenants, was seen in the compound was probably when he was on break from robbing innocent people. For those few days he stayed in the compound, he was mostly indoors, keeping away from everyone.

And in the hustle and bustle of Lagos life, no one suspected nor bothered to know what business Biodun was into.

So, when I managed to ask my informant what the reaction of the wife, with whom Biodun allegedly had two or three kids was to the whole scenario, I was told the lady that was a complete housewife was also taken along by the police, weeping and swearing that she did not know her husband was an armed robber.

Now, that story  several years ago, sounds similar to the current story and song of mercy being sang by the wife of the recently nabbed notorious and richest kidnapper, Chikwudubem Onwuamadike, aka Evans.

Mrs. Onwuamadike or Evans, in a phone interview with Vanguard Newspapers, reportedly introduced herself to Nigerians from wherever she escaped to, or residing with her children, as Uchenna Precious Onwuamadike. While pleading for mercy on her husband, she claimed to be unaware of the fact that her husband, Mr. Evans is a criminal.

According to her, all she knew about her husband’s business, as he told her, was that he was into haulage, buying engine and spare parts for trucks and imports of exhaust pipes. She has not been receiving money from him and has never seen him as a rich man, she said.

“While with him, we made sure we had all we wanted to eat and that’s all. I can’t remember seeing any sign of affluence in him. He is not a proud man and he has been wearing one sandal and slippers for long now. He does not go for parties,” Mrs. Evans told Nigerians willing to listen.

Perhaps, we can agree with her that being rich is relative but affluence is exactly what the picture of the Magodo mansion said to belong to her family clearly portrays. A woman who lives in such house, partaking and enjoying all the pecks that naturally flow from therein is only being economical with the truth if she lays claim to poverty or just being comfortable. For the same woman to also claim ignorance of the kind of business her husband does to sustain such opulence  is most likely taking lies to the limit.

Though one can still look at such denial as a reflection of the tragedy of so many married women, whose husbands merely see as some fancy objects meant to serve certain purposes at certain times, Mrs. Evans narrative still does not add up.

Her story, to many, has not been convincing, more so when her husband, who for whatever reasons, seems to be in a hurry to tell the police some interesting stories, whether true of false, on his criminal activities, has contradicted her claims, saying his wife is actually in the know of the deadly business he is into. As a matter of fact, Mr. Evans has dismissed her story by revealing that Mrs. Evans had on some occasions, picked up ransom for him.

Much as it could be said that Mrs. Evans did not know what exactly the huge amount of money she was collecting for her husband was meant for, she needs to come join her husband to substantiate her claims.

Otherwise, most Nigerians will not be wrong in their call for Mrs. Evans to be treated as an accomplice in this matter.

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