… Accuses daughter of seizing documents of properties
… It’s not true -Daughter
By Sunday Ani ([email protected])
Seventy-eight-year-old Pa Jacob Olalekan Sobaki, from Aiyedi village in Obafemi/Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State, is facing one of the toughest battles of his life.
Pa Sobaki retired from the employ of First Bank of Nigeria Plc in 1990, after meritorious service. He has six children, three males and three females, who are all married, except one. He also acquired a couple of properties before his retirement.
With the afore-mentioned modest achievements, one expects that Pa Sobaki should be enjoying his old age, but that has not happened. He has been going through a series of physical and psychological abuses, allegedly from his own daughter.
Pa Sobaki’s case is made worse by the fact that he is visually impaired, which has allegedly given his daughter ample opportunity to take advantage of her father.
The septuagenarian lost his wife in March 2015, after about 53 years of marriage. Consequently, he felt that his condition required that he should, as a matter of urgency, marry another wife who would nurse him in his old age. That was the genesis of his nightmares, as his decision did not go down well with his first daughter.
In the beginning
Pa Sobaki tells his story: “I lost my wife on March 15, 2015. We were so close that both of us used one handset until her death. After her death, I was alone but, later, I got a house-help to stay with me. I also had a steward that was brought to me by my first daughter, Mrs. Olubukola Fafunmi, popularly called Bukky.
“One day, since I cannot see due to my visual impairment, but I can hear, I heard the house-help shouting, ‘Fire, fire.’ She said smoke was coming from the store, which was very close to my sitting room.
“She was afraid of the smoke, but I asked her to take me to the control switch, so I could switch off the change-over box. When we got there, I asked her to direct my hand to the switch, but she could not. Luckily, a visitor walked in and helped us to switch off the change-over box and saved the situation.
“So, after the incident, I thought about what could have happened, if the girl was not in the sitting room at that moment. And that was how I resolved to get married again, so that there could always be someone by my side, who could see for me.”
Search for new wife
Having resolved to get another wife, due to his loss of sight, he claimed that his spirit directed him to one of his tenants’ cousins.
“There was this tenant in my house, whose cousin visited, but since I don’t see, I didn’t notice her presence. One day, I was going downstairs to take fresh air outside when somebody greeted me. I later asked my steward who the person that greeted me was and she told me. I asked her how long the woman had stayed and she told me. Meanwhile, the moment she greeted me, I had a strong spiritual connection with her. So, there and then, I resolved that she was the one that God had chosen for me.
“One thing led to another and, in December 2016, we agreed to get married in January 2017. She asked me to inform my children because she wanted to know their opinion. But, I told her about my eldest daughter, who is very difficult, uncompromising and very hard to convince. She is also my third child.”
Genesis of his troubles
Pa Sobaki alleged that his troubles started the moment he informed his children of his intention to get married to another woman. He said Bukky, the first daughter, took it upon herself to ensure that the marriage never worked out.
“I told my children that I had found somebody who met my criteria for a wife. I know that Bukky has a domineering influence on all my children. She was not on speaking terms with me at the time all these things were happening but, as soon as she got the information, she said the woman would never be allowed to stay in my house. That was when I got angry because I didn’t know where her powers were coming from.
“This is a house I built when she was nine years old, and she grew up here before she got married. The same house I built with my money is the one she said that my wife-to-be would not stay in,” he said.
With the battle line drawn between father and children, Sobaki alleged that Bukky connived with her immediate younger sister, Funmilayo, to steal all the documents relating to his property.
“She believes that the woman wants to marry me because of my property. My second daughter, acting on Bukky’s instructions, came to my house one day and told me that she went to hospital to run some tests but her money was not complete. I asked her how much she needed and she said N3,500. I gave her the money, not knowing that she came for a different thing. Since, I don’t see, she went to where I kept the documents and collected all of them,” he alleged.
He said that his first son, who lives in London, United Kingdom, supported his plan to marry the woman of his choice but wanted the tenant, a cousin to his proposed wife, to leave his house.
“I told them that it is not possible. I told them that, instead of evicting the woman, they should be thanking her because it was through her that I found somebody that I now want to marry.
“But Bukky insisted that not only the tenant but also my wife-to-be should leave. I told them that neither of the two would go, and that was how the battle line was drawn,” he said.
Pa Sobaki said he was surprised when Bukky went ahead to issue a quit notice to the tenant. He added that he collected the quit notice and asked the woman not to go anywhere.
He lamented that Bukky would leave her matrimonial home and come to his house to foment trouble: “She lives at 4, Lucas Close, Ajuwon Akute, but she would come to my house to beat the woman I want to marry. She would insult and curse me, her father. She would abuse me with the most unprintable words you can ever imagine. At a point, she even told me that when I die, what they would do is to buy three yards of the lowest quality of cotton clothes to wrap my body and call a digger to dig my grave and forget about me. She said a lot of things.”
Pa Sobaki has also accused his daughter of controlling his steward.
“Her control over the steward, whom I pay, supersedes mine. She is a very aggressive person. I would tell the woman what to do for me and she would tell me that Aunty Bukky asked her not to do it and she would not do it,” he said.
The old man also claimed that his daughter’s torture has impacted negatively on his health: “Before the problem, I was a healthy man but, since her madness towards me started, I have been having high blood pressure.”
Saboki has dragged his daughter to a mediation centre in Lagos to see if the matter could be settled but all efforts have failed.
“At the mediation centre, they advised that my wife should leave my house for a while but I said no because my daughter cannot dictate for me how to run my life,” he said.
Through the help of a non-governmental organisation, Age Nigeria Foundation (ANF), he has also dragged her to the Area ‘G’ Police Division, Ogba, Lagos, but the matter could still not be settled. He alleged that her daughter’s influence on the police was so overwhelming that the officers did her bidding.
He lamented that Bukky had cut off his means of livelihood, not only by seizing the documents to his properties but also by going ahead to collect rent from his tenants. He stressed that, having educated five of his children to the university level, they should take care of him in his old age, rather than cause him pain.
“The shops are seven and a church building. She started collecting the rent on the shops from May 30 and, since then, I have not collected a penny. She has collected her own share of the annual rent from the church but she is also threatening to evict the pastor, if he fails to pay my own part to her,” he said.
Pa Sobaki is calling on Nigerians and the authorities to prevail on his daughter to return all the documents to his properties to him. He also wants her to stop further collection of rents on his properties, since he is still alive and of sound mind.
“I want to be allowed some peace with the new woman in my life. I don’t want any of my children around me in my house. I have tried by training all of them to the university level, except the last man who refused to help himself.
“I want Bukky to stop coming to my house to cause trouble. She should remain in her husband’s house and she should return my documents,” he said.
Corroborating his claims, the president of ANF, Mrs. Oluwole Oluwayemisi, said their efforts to resolve the matter at Area ‘G’ Police Division, Ogba, failed because the police supported the complainant’s daughter.
She said: “Bukky gave two options. First, her father would have to rent a house where he would live with his new wife and his properties would be taken away from him and taken care of by his children. They will be giving their father money to run his life. Her second option was for them to recommend who their father should marry.
“For us at ANF, this is abuse. Pa Sobaki has the right to make a choice. The fact that he is old does not mean that his rights have diminished, because he is still the same person, and of a sound mind.”
She promised that her foundation would ensure that he reclaimed all his property from his daughter.
Also speaking, Pa Sobakiís wife-to-be, 58-year-old Funke Faleye, who has been chased out of the house, narrated her ordeal in the hands of her proposed husband’s daughter. She insisted that she did not agree to marry Sobaki because of his properties, as his daughter alleged.
“It was even his daughter that made me to know that he has other properties apart from the house where my cousin lived as a tenant,” she said.
On her part, Bukky denied that she seized her father’s properties, saying the documents have been with her even before the death of their mother in March 2015.
She said: “Documents of the properties have been in my possession since 2014, when we started processing the C of O. Besides, our mum has been the custodian of all vital documents in our house, including our credentials. So, saying that we stole the documents without our father’s knowledge is not true because he has never been in possession of any document, however trivial, at any time till date. Even rent receipts were only recently evacuated from our mum’s room.”
She exonerated her younger sister from allegations that she stole their father’s documents on her instructions, saying, “Funmi required urgent surgery in January 2017 and we asked her to approach our dad for the funds, since we believed that income from the property must have pooled into his account. Surprisingly, he told her that he had withdrawn all the money and given to his proposed wife, who wanted to start an export business. So, she never touched any documents as all documents have been in my possession long before our mother’s death.”
On the allegation that she gave a quit notice to the tenant in her father’s house, Bukky said she acted on the instructions of the eldest son in London.
She said: “Our eldest brother took a decision and instructed me to give a quit notice to the tenant. His reason was that, since the tenant has become an in-law, we do not need an occupant that will not pay rent on the property. I issued the quit notice and trouble started. My father started claiming ownership of the house; such claim never arose while we were renovating, furnishing and processing the house documentation, but as soon as the quit notice was issued to the tenant, such claims emerged.”
She stated that her father has been blind for the past 10 years and they have done all they could to restore his sight but that has not been possible. She said medical diagnosis confirmed that he has glaucoma, which is an incurable eye problem.
Bukky said the house in contention has always been a family house without any tenant: “It was after my younger sister’s wedding in October 2015 that an apartment she occupied downstairs became vacant and we decided to rent it out.”
She said they were surprised to hear that their father had concluded arrangements to remarry, without their knowledge: “The next information we got was that our father has decided to remarry on January 14, 2017. All arrangements, including aso-ebi and every item on the engagement list had been procured without our knowledge. We ran a check and found out that the bride-to-be was a guest of the new tenant in our house. We also learnt that our father met her in December 2016.”
Bukky also alleged that their father’s proposed wife was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, determined to ruin their father’s finances and corner his properties through the back door.
“Prior to the appearance of his supposed bride, our dad hardly had any need to withdraw money from his account because we handled all his expenses. But, suddenly, we realised that a stranger was permanently in possession of his ATM card and suddenly property/rent matters became things shrouded in secrecy. Apart from draining our father’s account, we also noticed that tenants were being harassed for payment even when their rents were yet to expire,” she alleged.
Bukky said all the proceeds of their parents’ property had always gone into their father’s account, but when they noticed what his proposed wife was determined to do, they decided to take full control of their mother’s part of the property.
She also alleged that their stand against their father’s decision made him to accuse them falsely, but insisted that they would not allow strangers to destroy their father, while they were still alive: “Our father is blind but he has chosen a bride whose background is not known. The woman has no known address and we do not even know her name, yet, in my father’s physical condition, he wants to be left alone with the two strange women, the tenant and the proposed wife, who cannot be traced in case of any eventuality.
“Because of our stand, our dad has been coming up with all manner of falsehood against us, specifically in search of authorities anywhere that can bar us forever from entering the compound.
“When we noticed what was happening, we decided to take over our mum’s property in June 2017 and the rhetoric of false allegation continued in earnest. Our dad has become so vulnerable that opportunists began to issue rent payment receipts to themselves without payment. No matter what happens, we still have blood connection with him and that makes him our full responsibility.
“No matter the discord sown in our family at any point, if anything untoward happens to our dad, everyone will suddenly and conveniently remember that it is our responsibility.”
On their resolve to protect their father, she said: “Our submission is that he is our only remaining parent and no one can claim to love him more than us. If the property or the income is our goal, we would have taken all under any guise immediately after our mother’s death. We will not permit strangers to infiltrate our home in any way. We will not permit strangers to wreak havoc and leave us to clear the mess. No one can destroy our family. Let the strangers state their interest in our family life, especially our parents’ properties.”
The Lagos State Police Command’s public relations officer, Olarinde Famous-Cole, confirmed that the matter was reported at Area ‘G’ Police Station, Ogba, but, after investigation, it turned out to be a civil matter: “It is purely a family matter. So, the police are trying to explore alternative dispute resolution mechanism to see how the two parties could be brought together to resolve the matter amicably. But, where the police fail to resolve the matter amicably, the parties would be referred to other agencies of Lagos State government that could resolve such minor civil matters. But, like I said, it is purely a civil matter and a family affair.”