A former Nigerian footballer with an Egyptian Division 1 team has asked his wife to explain the circumstances surrounding the death of one of their daughters, having denied him access to his children for about two years until his youngest daughter’s death a few days ago, reports KUNLE AKINRINADE.
The controversial death of a two-year-old girl has sparked a row between her estranged parents. The girl, Oluwanieremi Mirabel, was said to have died suddenly on February 2, 2024 in Abeokuta, where she lived with her mother, Omosalewa Ajayi (nee Sobowale)
The girl’s father, Samuel Ige Ajayi, said he had been denied access to the girl for almost two years until he was suddenly informed on the phone by one of his ex-wife’s relatives that his daughter had passed on.
The situation has stalemated the burial of the girl for days as Ajayi refused to take the body for burial, saying that something was strange about the death of his daughter.
Speaking with our correspondent, Ajayi explained that Omosalewa left his home in Lagos for her father’s home in Abeokuta, Ogun State with his two daughters in a controversial manner about two years ago.
He said that all pleas to make her return home fell on deaf ears as she insisted on separation from Ajayi and taking custody of the children.
Ajayi, a native of Igbaraodo, Ekiti State, and a former player with a top Egyptian football club, Waggi Degla FC, said he was deeply traumatised and that he suspected foul play in the sudden death of his daughter.
He said: “In October 2022, Omosalewa left our Lagos home for his father’s house in Abeokuta and lied to my father-in-law that I was not taking care of his daughter.
”I pleaded with my father–in–law in the presence of my wife to no avail. Despite my rebuttal of her lies, my father-in-law sent me out of his house. I left Abeokuta in tears as I drove back to my base in Lagos State
“Since then, she has refused to return to my house and has not allowed me access to our daughters.
“Whenever I called her on the phone to speak with our children, she would prevent me from talking to them.
“One day, she suddenly called me on the phone that our second daughter was convulsing and that she was being taken to the hospital somewhere in Abeokuta.
“She said that they had run a test on her and I insisted on having a video call with her to ascertain that she was actually in a hospital.
“She initially turned the request for a video call down but later reluctantly granted it, and I was able to confirm that they were in a hospital.
“To my surprise, she went to a mediation centre and later the Magistrate’s Court in Isabo, Abeokuta and I was summoned for allegedly refusing to take care of my daughter’s health.
“I explained to the court that she left my home and had refused to allow me access to my children for two years until she informed me on the phone that our youngest daughter was sick.
“She lied to the police that I assaulted her when she led court bailiffs to serve me with the summons
“The police however refused to detain me, citing the fact that the matter happened in Lagos and not Abeokuta.
“I spoke with my daughters in December 2023 after pressuring her and she prevented further conversations with my children until January 5, 2024 when I insisted on seeing my children, and she brought them to meet me at an eatery around Oke-Ilewo area of Abeokuta for a few minutes.
“On February 2, 2024, she called me on the phone that my daughter, who would have been three years old in March.
Since their birth and the last time I saw them, my daughters were hale and hearty. It was on February 2, 2024, that she told me on the phone that nothing must happen to Mirabel, our daughter and she hung up.
“A few minutes later, one of her cousins broke the news of my daughter’s death to me on the phone and I was devastated.
“My estranged wife must explain the circumstances surrounding my daughter’s death.
“Nothing was wrong with my daughters since they were born and up until I saw them about one month ago.”
It was gathered that after Ajayi refused to take the body of the girl for burial, the family members of his estranged wife sent emissaries to him and pleaded that he should reconsider his disapproval for the immediate burial of the child.
Omosalewa’s relatives were also said to have promised that Ajayi would henceforth have unrestricted access to his surviving daughter, who is still in the custody of Omosalewa.
It was for this reason that Ajayi agreed to bury his daughter on Thursday, February 8.
However, the former footballer said his wife has reneged on the agreement as he has been further denied access to his eldest daughter while no explanation is being offered about the circumstances surrounding the death of Mirabel.
He said: “Since the day I reluctantly buried my daughter following persuasions and pleadings from my wife’s family members, she had refused to honour the promise that I would have unhindered access to my surviving child living with her.
“I have not been told in clear terms how my daughter died or what led to her death.
“She (Omosalewa) must explain to me what led to my daughter’s death because the death was strange and no one has told me what led to it.
“She had them in the United States of America on my sponsorship, and I deserve an explanation about her death.
“Now, all I want is for me to see my eldest daughter, Oluwadamisi Mitchel.”
Contacted on the telephone, Omosalewa dropped the call when our reporter introduced himself and was trying to inform her about the purpose of the inquiry. Further attempts to reach her for comments were futile as she did not pick up the call again while an inquiry forwarded via a text message to her GSM number was unanswered at press time.