That is the burning question on everyone’s mind. In fact a blog reader buzzed me on Saturday, to ask if Juliet Aiyedogbon went ahead to get married with her mother still missing and I said, ‘no idea.’
Barrister Emeka Ugwuonye wondered same and went ahead to tell us a bit about his encounter with the eldest daughter of Charity ‘Chacha’ Aiyedogbon during his brief detention in Abuja.
Ugwuonye wrote on the Facebook Page of the The Due Process Advocates (DPA):
“It did not occur to me to verify if Juliet, the daughter of Chacha, went ahead with the celebration of her marriage last Saturday as she had planned. So, I cannot say for sure. However, I feel that if she did, we would have read about it in the social media, and pictures of that wedding would have been everywhere by now. She probably didn’t go ahead with the wedding.
I doubt that she and her family would have gone ahead with that wedding after what I told them during my meeting with them on the 2nd of July. An aspect of my meeting with the police, which I did not dwell upon has to do with my meeting with Juliet and two of her siblings in Abuja at the police station.
You may not know that part of the reasons I was arrested was because David Aiyedogbon petitioned the police against me. So, once I was arrested, David and the children of Chacha began to celebrate. It was for them a victory. They had gotten the lawyer into a cage. In their minds, the lawyer had been silenced. But that was a miscalculation, obviously. The police told me their goal was different.
I arrived Abuja Friday night. Saturday morning, the family of David Aiyedogbon came to the police station to inspect the suspect, probably hoping to see me in handcuffs chained to a stake and they would mock me. But no, things don’t always go as planned. I was in my suit, seated and addressed as “The Barrister”. The family members gathered for the meeting. David was not there. It was only three men (big and responsible men who speak for the family) and Juliet and a sister and a brother – the first child, a male, was not there.
I smiled when I found myself meeting with the family of David. It was a perfect stage for them to grill me and hope to get me to recant my statements. But you know it would never happen that way. I made it clear that I was doing them a favor by speaking in their presence. Otherwise, I could refuse to even meet them. I said I would give the kids the chance to ask me how I was so sure that their mother was killed. I felt that these children had been under heavy brainwashing, and maybe listening to me might help them have an alternative perspective of things. I wanted to show them I did not hate their father and that I was following an investigation as the facts and my analysis led me.
Apparently the kids were under all manner of impressions about me. They had been told that I was just another of their mother’s lovers or one of those hiding her with a view to extorting money from their Dad. I used the opportunity of the meeting to disabuse their minds, to some extent. I allowed them to ask me questions. The only question I did not want to answer there and then was how I was able to identify the body in the picture as their mother’s body. I didn’t want to give them that information because the identification we had was through people very very familiar with their mother’s body and who could identify it without a head. I will only give out such information when I am sure that it is secure.
The kids were so interested in the fact that I had not done any DNA test. Yes, DNA test is useful. But what if the body could not be located anymore? What if the body was disposed of in such a manner that it could not be located anymore? If somebody believes that the body could not be located, then the person would be very interested in DNA because if the body could not be located, then there will never be a DNA test. I think that all sides, including me, were of the view that the body might have been disposed of in a non-traceable manner. So, it was important for me to pursue identification in a manner that would not require us to explain what happened to the body after the pictures were taken. I knew we could track the body. But I was just being on the safer side, being double sure that even if the government refused to cooperate in retrieving the body, we would go ahead without the body (DNA). So, when the children of Chacha showed so much interest in DNA test, I wondered if someone put them to it. I smiled.
I then asked them my own question: “Since you insist that your mum is still alive, what is your evidence that she is still alive”? I was stunned by the answer I received. I still go to bed thinking of what I heard. They told me that Chacha must still be alive because all the information I was giving out about their family could only have come from Chacha, and so they believed that I must have been speaking with her on daily basis. I had to ask them to repeat this because I wasn’t sure that was what they meant to tell me – that my posts on Facebook were their evidence that Chacha was alive.
It is important that you do not read any adverse meaning into the children’s behavior. I hate it when I see people calling Juliet and her siblings names. These are kids. They are probably confused and traumatized. Chacha could not have been an ideal mother really. But that is beside the point. The fact is that I see the actions and behaviors of Chacha’s children in a different light from most people. If I were 26 years old or less and you come and tell me that my vibrant mum is dead, I will possibly punch you and try to hang onto every straw of hope that she is alive. And it is not illogical if they begin to act as if she is alive, like carrying on with their wedding plans believing that the night before the wedding, she would come out from wherever she is.
I directly asked Juliet why she could not postpone the weeding she schedule for the 9th of July. She smiled and told me that the wedding had nothing to do with it. I told her it had everything to do with it. Since she believed her mother was only missing, it would be reasonable to postpone the wedding so you can focus energy on finding your mum. I was advised by a member of their party that weeding dates and weeding arrangements were fixed by families, not just the bride. I then explained to the party that it was absolutely necessary for them to postpone the wedding to least out of respect for the people’s sensibilities, if not for Chacha. In the end, I got the impression that they understood my point and that they would postpone the wedding.
If indeed, the wedding was postponed, then I would urge people to reconsider the way they view Juliet. She may not be that insensitive callous person that she has appeared to be. She may just be confused and overwhelmed.”