Shocking: a Catholic Reverend father, Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Stephen Ogheneovo supported the drinking of corpse’s bath water in Emervo, Delta State.
A widow, Mrs. Stella Ogheneovo, who was said to have been forced to drink the water used to wash her dead husband’s body by his family members just to prove her innocence concerning the sudden death, has decided to alert the police over her situation, Captain Johnbull Ogheneovo, this is the alleged name of her husband
According to her the incidence happened at Emervo in Isoko North Local government area of Delta state after her husband died on May 9, 2017 at Warri, in the same state. The bereaved widow said that she had brought this to the notice of the Assistant Inspector -General of Police, Zone 5, Benin, Mr. Muhammed Abubakar, through her counsel, Mr Olayiwola Afolabi.
In the complain, Mrs. Stella claimed that when her husband died, she was asked by her husband’s relatives to come to their family house at Emervo village. On reaching there she was forced to disclose her husband’s assets, properties, bank details including information about the company where her husband worked before his untimely death, and also collecting her mobile phone from her.
According to her, she was married legally to her late husband and the marriage gave rise to five(5) children, Stella narrated that on the day of her husband’s death, she received a call from her husband’s company that he was rushed to the hospital due to the fact that he just slumped all of a sudden.
According to her during the funeral rites which started with service of songs on the 29/ 06/ 2017, a family member of her husband’s side, a Reverend Father with the Roman Catholic Church (name been withheld) came with hoodlums to rough handle and maltreat her and her children including the fact that she was flogged over 30 times with a cane,. She also said that the said Catholic reverend father also admonished threats to her that if she doesn’t make known the assets and other valuables of her late husband to the family, he would deal with her.
Deceased had his hands and legs cut off before the burial.
According to her counsel, “My client (Mrs Stella) was forced by the same Reverend Father in the presence of the rest family members (names withheld) to drink a strange water claiming to be the water used to wash the corpse of her late husband to prove that she has no hand in the death of her father. My client forcibly drank the water under duress, she was later taken to the hospital due to complications caused by poisoning leading to severe stomach pain. The same Reverend father threatened her to desist from further intruding in their family matter and not to also attend the burial. It is also good to note that My client’s late husband was buried with his hands and legs been cut off based on the instructions of the reverend father.”
The bereaved widow told the Assistant inspector general that it was through her first son, Master Shedrack Ogheneovo who attended the burial, saw his father being buried without his legs in place, that is when she got to know that her late husband was amputated and the unimaginable thought and sight had continued to have a bad effect on her and also on her health
However, she said that despite several attempts to curtail the excesses of the said Priest who now posed as the next of kin to her husband, he (the priest) has sworn to take over all her late husband’s property and assets despite the intervention of a monarch from the area who had pleaded for settlement.
She said that appeals were made to the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Warri, the first Lady of Delta State and the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) over the inhuman treatment meted on her and her children.”As of today, our client and her children have been chased out of the solace of their home by the Rev. Father, who is acting in connivance with other family members. Our client has suffered serious molestation and gross maltreatment in the hands of the said Rev Father who is bent on making life miserable to our client and her children and frustrates all her attempts to expose his selfish evil acts.”
Legal action to the case
Mrs. Stella said that several legal actions has initiated against her by the family members with the purpose of keeping her mouth shut and also keeping her and her children from having a say in the sharing of her husband’s estate. She, therefore, called on the police, government authorities, Civil Societies, organizations and human rights personnels to intervene in this case to ensure that she and her children get help and justice they deserve.
Counsel to the reverend father replies.
In his defense, the priest who was accused of pioneering the widow’s plight wrote through his counsel, Jonathan Ekperusi to Mrs. Ogheneovo’s counsel, Olayiwola Afolabi that, “Contrary to the heart breaking, devastating and false accusations created in your publications under reference, none of our clients rough handled, intimidated, assaulted and threatened your client, Mrs. Stella
“The continuous attacks by your client on our clients, especially against Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Stephen Ogheneovo is facilitated by greed directed towards hoodwinking our clients to allow your client allocate to herself alone all the properties of the deceased, to the exclusion of Mrs. Best Oghale Walter (nee Ogheneovo), the eldest child of the deceased, was not born out of wedlock, but was already a child of the deceased long before he met and subsequently married Mrs. Stella Ogheneovo.
“The accusations of witchcraft and being born out of wedlock are directed against Mrs. Best Oghale Walter by your client to, ridicule, humiliate Mrs. Best from asserting her rights as an heir and lawful beneficiary to the estate of the deceased. In order to legally redress the serial injustice, Mrs Best has commenced proceedings in court in Suit No. EHC/162/2017: Mrs. Best Oghale Walter & Anor vs. Mrs. Stella Ogheneovo, over the properties consisting of the estate of the deceased, which your client has been seeking to dissipate to the exclusion of Mrs. Best. Our Clients are wealthy, and have no interest in their late son/brother’s properties, except the fact that the Eldest child gets her share.
“Our Clients believe that it is in a bid to cover up the real cause of the death of the deceased that is why Mrs Stella is throwing all manner of accusations against our clients especially against Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Stephen Ogheneovo. The Reverend is not the head of the Ogheneovo family and cannot and did not preside over the burial arrangements of the deceased.
“Therefore, he could not have done any of the things stated against him by, Mrs. Stella Ogheneovo. The widow has been changing her story from being forced to take in the water used in bathing the corpse as contained in some publications. To further distract our clients, Mrs. Stella Ogheneovo has gone further to wickedly and violently allege against our clients, that they cut the legs and hands of the deceased before he was buried.
A Police officer at Zone 5, Benin City, just advised the priest, as younger brother of the deceased, to ensure that the widow was not maltreated by members of the family. The bereaved widow complaint against the priest to the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Benin Branch; Catholic Bishop of Warri; the Odion (King) of Emevor; among others, has been duly answered by the priest. Whilst openly fighting our clients, Mrs. Stella Ogheneovo has been sending emissaries behind the scene to beg our clients.
“For the records, our clients told us that they did not give, the water used in bathing the corpse of the deceased, and that the entire story was misplacements of facts, calculated to embarrass, our clients as part of the plan by the widow and her cohorts to drive her husband’s family members in order to effectively disinherit her husband’s eldest child, Mrs. Best Oghale Walter.
“Our Clients are not after any of the properties left behind by the deceased. Our Clients’ interest is to ensure that the properties left behind by the deceased are fairly, justly shared among the rightful beneficiaries. Our Clients are aggrieved that the deceased, who was doing very well as a businessman and maritime captain died suddenly on 9/05/2017 exactly two (2) days after he visited his sick mother at the Central Hospital, Warri where he even contributed money towards the her treatment and recovery.”
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Zone 5 of the Nigeria Police, Benin, Mr. Emeka Iheanacho (DSP) confirmed that the zone has received a plea by Mrs Stella through her counsel. He disclosed that the priest in question was invited by the Zonal Investigation Bureau and made his statement adding that the Zonal Investigation Bureau has commenced investigation and findings into the allegations placed against the clergyman.
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