In this interview with The PUNCH, a slain pastor's wife tells of how the police took money from her to start investigating the murder.
Mrs Abimbola Oladimeji, wife of the Pastor of Solution Baptist Church, Ikere Ekiti, Rev. Johnson Oladimeji, who was killed in his car by unknown gunmen in Ekiti State, tells ABIODUN NEJO she is still at sea as to the motivation behind her husband’s gruesome murder and who was responsible
When did you meet your husband?
We met at a Cherubim and Seraphim church in Ondo and we agreed to get married. We got married in 1994. Then, I was a prophetess in the church while he was the secretary of the church. He told me that he liked the accuracy of my prophecies. When he proposed to me, I said we should pray about it and we got married after the breakthrough prayer.
How many children do you have?
We have four children.
How will you describe your husband?
My husband, Rev. Johnson Oladimeji, was from Iragbiji, Osun State. He was a month older than me. He was a kind person, accommodating, forgiving and a cheerful giver. He saw other people’s problems as his. He took the work of God as a priority, with all seriousness and he was a great believer. He always taught me and the children that we should be prepared. There was a day I slept on the three-seater here, I was deeply asleep, he struck a matchstick and put it on my leg, when I screamed ‘yeeh’ from the sleep, he told me ‘dear wife, that is mere fire of life, but that of hell is more ferocious than this. That is why we have to be prepared and be diligent to avoid being candidates for hell’. He took God’s assignment with all seriousness. He believed in breakthrough and logical conclusion in whatever he did. Even when we were farmers, he would accomplish whatever task he set out to do. Whenever he heard that someone had any form of spiritual challenge, he would ask the person, ‘Do you want victory over it?’ And if that person answered in the affirmative, he would take it to the Lord in prayers and there would be victory for such person. He was a husband, father and friend one could be proud of. He was a good one. A good man is gone (sobs).
How do you feel that someone like that could die like that?
I believe in the words of God. The Bible says, ‘It is appointed unto a man to die once. After death is judgment’. Everybody owes the debt of death. He told us most of the time, for instance, whenever I cautioned him on speed while driving, saying even if one would die, it would be better to die peacefully, his response would be, ‘Which is not peaceful death? Look at how the martyrs died. Whether somebody is beheaded or dies in other manner, what matters is for that person not to miss the kingdom of God’. God can take away anybody at any time.
Initially, I was devastated by his death, but I flashed back to what he had said, that death was a necessary end which could come sooner or later than one thinks.
What does his death mean to you?
(Sobs) I have not started seeing the implications now. I am yet to comprehend his death now, because he laboured and did not wait to reap the harvest. He trained the children – his biological and spiritual children – I must tell you, I am at a loss. I have yet to come to terms with his death.
You are a prophetess and he was a cleric, did you have any premonition of his death?
No. But about four days to when the incident happened, I sat here, I have a health challenge, I know how to control myself whenever it (the health challenge) wants to worry me. That day, I was massaging my leg with ointment, it was around 12 noon. While doing that, I saw a vision; it came like a screen; I saw a goat in a battle with an elephant, and in the process, the goat brought down the elephant. In the vision, I was amazed that a goat could defeat an elephant. As I wanted to lift the elephant, the vision closed. I opened the curtain to our room, I checked everywhere, I did not see anything. My husband was in his office upstairs, he was meditating. I drew his attention to what I saw. I jokingly said it was not ‘Gbeke’ our goat, because the goat that I saw was black colour. We joined hands and prayed. We even made it a three-day prayer.
By way of interpretation, what could the vision have meant?
It was only when he died that I understood the vision. I did not understand it before his death. I knew it was impossible for a goat to defeat an elephant in battle. But it was after his death that I thought about it that an elephant was a powerful and mighty creature, I now interpreted it as the death of a powerful person.
How did the incident happen?
He woke up on Thursday morning, he slept in his office upstairs, I slept in the church, because of my health challenge. After the morning devotion at 5am, he said we should go to visit his mother at Dagbaja, but I said I could not go because I was not feeling well. Meanwhile, since we got married, we had always gone on the visit to his mother together and at times with our children and church members. But I could not go that day. I called our third child, who was even reluctant and did not go. So, my husband left for the visit. I called him at about 11am, we spoke. But at about 5pm, when he ought to have returned, I called him again, but his number did not go through. When I raised the issue, one of our children said he had tried his phone number about 30 times and that perhaps it was poor network. We expected him in vain that night. I contemplated whether he went to the mountain top to pray because he used to put off his phone on the mountain. We could not sleep. So, on Friday morning, we organised a search party to look for him. We went to Ogotun Ekiti, Ipetu Ijesa in Osun State; it was in the process of the tortuous search that some of the search party members on a bike discovered his body on Igbara-Ikere Road and called on phone to inform us. When we went there, I saw the body of my husband in the car.
How was the situation like?
His body was riddled with bullets. The seat belt was still there fastened, but his body was riddled. He was killed there.
What do you think happened?
I do not understand. He was contented with what he had. He was not in contest for position or anything with anybody. He had no enemies because he did not keep grouses. I cannot say this was what happened, but all that I can say was that he was killed.
So, you have no idea of who was possibly behind the killing?
Since my husband was not in contest with anybody, I cannot say. Everybody in the church liked him. He was not in contest for positions. When he was the moderator of Ajumose in the Baptist Church and he was entitled to two terms; but he said he would do only one term and he backed it up with document that he was contented with his assignment in his local branch. He was a contented person.
Did the killers take away anything from the vehicle?
It was only his phone that was missing. The two SIMs that my husband used were in the phone. The phone contains vital information.
What was your last moment with your husband?
Had it been we slept in the same place that Wednesday night, perhaps we would have discussed.
What were his unfulfilled plans?
His first plan was that he would not acquire properties until all his children were through with higher studies. He had passion for education. He compelled me to go to school because I had only O’ Level result when I married him. I did my NCE reluctantly because I wondered how he could be going to school and sponsoring four children at the same time and asking me to go to school as well. He even had an adopted child. He said after the children’s education, the place he would love to build a house was Ogbomoso in Oyo State. He said all his trusted friends were from Ogbomoso. But he had yet to buy a piece of land in Ogbomoso.
How have the last few days without your husband been?
I submitted everything to Jesus because of my children and my health. If I had taken it as it should be, my health would have been worse for it and that would not have allowed me to take care of my children. It pained me to the marrows, but I stay strong for my children, I take heart and preach to myself.
How have your children been coping?
It is the Holy Spirit that can sustain them. They were very close to their father. They habitually played with him. He was their best friend. They always ensured they ate from his food.
What will you miss about him?
He was the father, mother and everything to me. I have nobody else. I will miss him for everything. But let me say, if there is delay in payment of my children’s school fees, I will miss him because that is one thing he never allowed to happen.
What have the police done since that Friday?
The police have not proved themselves. They could not be seen to have played any role. Those we met made us part with our money at Igbara Odo, Ekiti State here. It was surprising that the police at the state headquarters in Ado Ekiti told the Ogoga of Ikere Ekiti, Oba Adejimi Adu, that they did not see us. How could the police claim they were not aware of the incident? Those we met at Igbara Odo asked us to pay for the Okada that would take them round. It was a pastor in our church that gave them the money. They (two policemen) went with us to the scene of the incident. They were the ones who even gave us the go-ahead to remove the corpse from the scene after they claimed they had contacted police headquarters. They took video recording of the scene. While there, they hastened us to be quick because the spot was dangerous. Before we knew it, they left us there. Before they left, they told us that it was the ‘lastman’ of the bandits, who doesn’t miss his target that habitually took position where my husband was shot. But when kabiyesi called them, they said they were not aware.
What is on your mind now?
Now that the life of the breadwinner of the family has been cut down unexpectedly, I plead with government to assist me so that the education of my children will not suffer. Two of them are in tertiary institutions, one is in secondary school and the eldest, who had completed her studies, is stlil unemployed. We have accepted his death as our fate; God is the only one who can fight for anybody. I want my children to complete their education so that they can project the name of my husband. Education is necessary in this regard to keep the name of their father alive. I am not enjoying good health, government and well-meaning Nigerians should, for goodness sake, help me so that I can survive this incident. The family needs support. My husband had an aged mother who he was caring for. I had assured the aged mother that I would, by God’s grace, take over her son’s responsibilities to her.
What do you think government should do about the scene in the incident?
The government should do something about the forest where the incident happened. It is part of Ikere Ekiti and Igbara Odo. Before we left there on Friday, no fewer than three vehicles passed, okadas plied the road and some people were even seen walking along from their farms – do we know the next person that will be kidnapped or killed there? Do we have to wait for that to happen? Government should do something about the place. The government should think of converting the forest to something meaningful that will discourage it from being used as a hideout for criminals.
Source: The PUNCH