•Lecturer dumps wife of 17 years in Kano after losing newborn twin babies in auto crash, impregnates young village girl in Lafia
From LINUS OOTA, Lafia
After 17 years of childlessness before receiving what seemed a divine intervention, the couple who lost a set of twins in an auto crash on Lafia-Makurdi road in Nasarawa State, on April 17, 2017 barely five months after their birth, is confronted with another twist of fate.
Saturday Sun had on July 1, exclusively reported how Shedrack Audu, a lecturer at the Nasarawa State Polytechnic, and his 42-year-old wife, Mercy, lost their babies on a trip to Makurdi, Benue State, on the invitation of a bosom friend, Fidelis Mbaka, to show him their bundles of joy.
The accident occurred when a 911 lorry loaded with yams travelling on the opposite direction rammed into their vehicle while maneouvering off a crater, killing seven persons on the spot including the five-month old twin babies. Among the dead were the driver and four other passengers aboard the Toyota car in which Shedrack was travelling with his family.
However, the couple who miraculously survived the crash, were rescued and rushed to the General Hospital, Daudu, where they were revived and placed on intensive care for one week, before being transferred to the Dalhatu Specialist Hospital, Lafia, Nasarawa State capital, from where they were later discharged.
Unable to cope with the trauma occasioned by the incident, Mercy relocated to Kano to live with an unnamed relation of her husband’s to recover from the agony and pains, is yet to return to her matrimonial home in Lafia, till date. She might no longer be able to do so.
Her husband, whom she met in 1998 at the University of Jos, had expressed frustration and hopelessness in a chat with our correspondent, and has dealt a shocking, heavy blow on her. “From that time till 2016, we were in and out of the hospital trying to see how she could conceive to no avail. We were initially afraid that once she reached menopause, it would be a big problem; she suggested we go for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF-test tube) where the eggs and sperm are fertilised outside the womb into test tube, but I disagreed. We remained faithful to God until February 2016, when she conceived naturally and delivered through caesarian section. We were extremely happy, but God has taken them away. Life is worthless and meaningless to me now; I have surrendered my life to God. I am 50 years old while my wife is 42; we have allowed God to do His wish”, he had remarked then.
Faced with a grim prospect of not bearing a child from his first wife, Shedrack has discreetly married a 23-year-old woman barely three months after losing the twin babies, unknown to his distraught wife, Mercy, who is still mourning the death of her children in far away Kano.
His marriage to Christiana Ugban, the new wife who hails from Doma, Nasarawa State, was consummated a few weeks ago with a traditional ceremony at her parents’ home and capped with a low-keyed reception in Obi Local Government Area, also in the state, where the new couple is on honeymoon.
Saturday Sun uncovered the secret marriage following a deluge of telephone calls from sympathetic, well-meaning members of the public, who requested a link to the couple to offer them support and consolation, after the story on the death of the twin babies was published.
But tracking Shedrack became a Herculean task; more so, as public servants in the state were on indefinite strike.
For more than three weeks, our correspondent visited his residence in Lafia, but always met his door shut. He, however, kept tabs until a curious female neighbour queried the motive behind the regular visits. When our correspondent explained his mission, the woman inadvertently dropped a bombshell: “Shedrack has taken a new wife and now lives at Yelwata”, a border town between Benue and Nasarawa states, 62 kilometres away from Lafia. She also gave a guide on how he could be traced.
On a visit to Yelwata, where Shedrack’s mother, Mama Mbasuun resides, our correspondent got a pointer to the veracity of the story, but was told the man was at Tse-Gbor, a village in Doma, nine kilometres away from Lafia, where his new wife hails from, even as he paid frequent visits to Yelwata. On three occasions, our correspondent embarked on trips to Yelwata in search of him, but was unsuccessful. Efforts made on five visits to track him at Doma also drew blank. Though our correspondent was able to reach him on the fifth trip to Doma, he declined comments on the issue, but fixed an appointment for Obi, in another local council 14 kilometres away from the state capital.
However, on Tuesday, August 1, the mission to unravel Shedrack’s long absence from home and his aloofness to offer help after the calamity that befell his family came to an end, when Saturday Sun eventually met him at Imon village, headquarters of the Tiv in Obi Local Government Area of the state, where he and his new wife were being hosted to a low-keyed party in a friend’s home. The following conversation ensued:
Congratulations sir on your traditional wedding. Why did you decide to take another wife barely three months after the death of your twin babies?
Yes, I have been married for about 17 to 18 years now without a child and was really worried, my friends were worried, my family members were worried; it was really worrisome before God answered our prayers last year but the whole thing ended on a sad note. My wife is no longer young as she is almost getting to her menopause; so, I’m afraid because I don’t want to take a risk, so I decided to take another wife.
What is the fate of your first wife, because she is still in Kano, unaware of this development back home?
Yes, she is still in Kano with my younger brother; I didn’t want her to know because that could cause her some psychological problem but my brother is fully aware of what is happening and I’m hoping that by September or October when I’m expecting her back home, I will look for a good time to tell her that a girl is pregnant for me and we will start from there, before I finally reveal it to her. If I break the news to her directly, she may collapse; it is not her fault, I love her as a wife, but my hands are tied. One thing I will want her to understand is that a lot of Christians marry more than one wife though it is against Biblical injunctions. People do unlike in my case which is special. I believe God will understand me; I also believe that I will convince my wife to stay, and would not want third party interference. It was the two of us who met and decided to get married, and only the two of us will resolve our differences no matter the level of provocation.
What if she doesn’t accept?
She has no choice but if she is not comfortable with the development, she can go to her father’s house because I’m already an old man; I don’t want to die without a child. It is painful but I have to take this bold step before it is too late, that is why I kept my new marriage low-keyed; many people even in my place are not aware that I have taken a new wife.
How did you meet your new wife within a short period?
Sometime in 2015 when I did not understand what was happening to my efforts at childbearing, a friend linked me up with her, though she is not properly schooled because she completed just her secondary education. I was actually going out with her but when my wife eventually conceived, I relaxed the relationship until the ugly incident of April 17, 2017 took place. Look, the chances of my wife getting pregnant again are not there and I have to do something quickly. So I immediately revived the relationship with my new wife and the bride price was paid; everything expected of me for a proper marriage has been done.
So what happens to sympathetic members of the public who had been calling us to render help or intervene possibly, on how your first wife could have a baby?
Forget about that. When you published the first story on the calamity that befell us, I knew it will get to this point; people who knew me in Jos and read it called me, in fact, some of my friends in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Enugu called to sympathise with me and with the wide publicity the matter generated, I knew some good Nigerians will make efforts to reach me. That is why I changed my contact and my base, because I was not prepared for any process that will prolong the matter and later end in vain.
You have been looking for me and I know; my neighbours told me you kept visiting my house in Lafia. They directed you to Yelwata where you came severally but I was not ready to see or talk to you because I had made up my mind to take another wife. It is not my fault, neither is it the fault of my first wife; I can’t drive her away except if she wants to go on account of my taking a second wife, then she can go. Already, as I speak with you, my new wife has missed her menstrual period and we are praying seriously and hoping that it should be pregnancy. Any moment from now, we will be returning to Lafia where we intend to go for pregnancy test; I’m looking for an apartment to rent and as soon as that is done, she will relocate to Lafia.