A woman, Mrs Juliet Ochogwu, a widow of late Mr Julius Ochogwu, has alleged that her husband’s family conspired and abducted her two children, Jason and Joanne, in their bid to seize the properties of her husband in Otukpo, Benue State.
Julius’ elder brother, Mr Paul Ochogwu, is a pastor of the Deeper Life Bible Church, Kanshio, Makurdi, the Benue State capital, and he alongside others, Joseph Ochogwu and Miss Martha Agatha, allegedly stormed The Holy Child Nursery and Primary School, Otukpo, on Monday, July 12, when they took the children away.
She alleged that her mother-in-law, Paulina Ochogwu, the immediate elder sister of a former Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, was also supporting the evil being meted out to her as well as the death threats sent by the family members so that she could let go of her children.
Juliet, who spoke to SaharaReporters on Friday, revealed that Paul and his siblings were in custody of her children and planned to inherit her husband’s estate.
Julius died on Thursday, April 1, 2021, after a serious battle with diabetes.
Ochogwu’s widow also disclosed that her brother-in-law, Paul, failed to remit over N1.5million condolence money raised by her husband’s friends for the upkeep of the four children, Jonathan, Jason, Joanne and Jasmine.
The woman said, “I was married to my husband for almost 13 years. So, we had a misunderstanding two years ago that led to our separation. I was pregnant with our fourth child. And he said he wasn’t ready for another child. Though we agreed on three children and when the fourth pregnancy came, even though I was on family planning, he said he wasn’t ready for another child that I should get rid of the pregnancy. But, I refused.
“When family intervened and all that, my husband got so furious and threw my things out of the house. So, from 2019 to 2021, we were separated. When he threw my things out, I went to live with my parents in Sokoto. But, my husband allowed me to always be in touch with the other three children by speaking with them on the phone. Three children with him were two boys and a girl. Their names were Jonathan, Jason and Joanne.
“So, within the process of this crisis, my husband sent me a divorce summons from High Court in Otukpo, Benue State. He didn’t take it seriously because we never had any court hearing. In January 2021, I was told that my husband was very sick. I called him that I would come and check on him and the children. The week I was supposed to travel and see him, he said he was referred to the General Hospital in Abuja. He had been seriously ill since I had left. He had diabetes which seriously affected his health. Unfortunately, the week I was supposed to visit him, he died on Thursday April 1, 2021.”
The widow noted that after her husband’s death, her father and relations attended the burial where her husband’s family asked her to take an oath to prove her innocence but her father prevented her, being a Christian family.
She continued that her husband’s family members were not on talking terms with her husband when he was alive but suddenly became so interested in his estate after his death.
She said, “They denied me access to my children only to discover that they were only after his properties and assets. They are aware that I had two male children for my husband; so whoever keeps the children automatically gets the assets. Funnily, these family members of my late husband that have been scrambling over his assets were people that were not talking with him when he was alive.
“His mother, Mrs Paulina Ochogwu, wasn’t on talking terms with my husband. His elder brother, Paul Ochogwu, was not talking to my husband for over 15 years. His younger sister, Martha Ochogwu, also was not talking to my husband even though both of them lived in the same town. For five years, she had not been talking to my husband. His elder brother also, Joseph Ochogwu also was not talking to my husband because my husband was a very blunt and truthful person. He didn’t hide anything. He told the truth openly. They were always against him because of his blunt principles. He never supported injustice.
“These people in their gang-up took my children away. My dad asked some Idoma people about these issues to see if we are doing the right thing. I’m from Edo, not Idoma so there are some things about their customs I don’t know.
Juliet revealed all the atrocities from her in-laws including death threats, adding that she was not asking for her husband’s estate but to let them have access to her children whom she did not know their whereabouts.
“They have unleashed injustice on me because I’ve not seen my children for two years. They are not taking care of the children. Rather, they squandered the condolence money raised for the upkeep of the children. They can keep my husband’s property but give me my children. The three children with them, Jonathan, a-12 year-old boy, Jason, a 10-year-old boy, and Joanne, a 5-year-old girl. They are holding them hostage and captive,” she said.