Tears as mother recounts how her children suffocated, died in husband’s borrowed car

The mother of the three children who suffocated to death last Sunday in the capital of Kwara State, Ilorin, Shade Silifat Abdulkadir, has spoken out about the horrific event.

During a press conference discussing the final moments of the departed kids, Shade, 37, pleaded for Nigerians to support her.

The first child, Maryam, was 10 years old; the second child, Nudrah, was 8 years old; and the third, Mohammed, was 2.

All three children died after suffocating in the car parked in their residence.

It was gathered that the vehicle was borrowed by their father from his elder brother.

Speaking at her family house, Ile Magaji, Taiwo Isale, in Ilorin, Shade pleaded with all mothers to come to her aid.

Narrating the incident, Shade said, “It happened on Sunday around some minutes to 2:00 pm, shortly after I finished cooking rice for them. It was my second daughter, Nudrah, who told me that she would not eat rice in school the next day (Monday) and that she would prefer spaghetti.

“I have money in the shop and N700 in my Opay account but was left with cash of N200 only. I live at No 8 Boluke area in the Zango-Kulende area of Ilorin and operate a shop at Oke-Andi, Zango, where I sell provisions and other items.

“It would only cost me N200 to go and come back home. So I told my children that if at all, what I have is not up to buying what you want, I have people I can collect money from till I get to shop on Monday and I left. This is not the first time I would leave them and go to buy something.

“Sometimes, I would leave them and go and fetch water and they would be playing inside. At times, if I get a job from churches, mosques or from any celebrant to help make doughnuts or snacks, because I am also a caterer, I go and deliver it to the customers and leave the children at home.

“My husband married another wife which I didn’t get to know on time. I faced a lot of issues in my marriage which is now 11 years and there has never been peace.

“My husband has been moving with the lady called Kafayat from Oke-Ode for quite some time and I was told to be patient and my family and his are aware of the development.

“Sometimes he comes home around 11:00 pm and leaves home very early in the morning. All my children were not gotten in peace, it was from one trouble to another. Sometimes, if we had a quarrel, he would drive me outside in the middle of the night. His name is Jimoh Abdulkadir from Babanloma in Kwara South.

“It happened that he impregnated the girl but the child died after birth. On the day of marriage, he introduced the wife to me. But penultimate Saturday, the lady gave birth again. I am not his first wife. A lady had given birth to a child for him before but I met him as a single father and he was not like this before I married him.

“So after his second wife had her second child, my husband informed me and I went to greet him.

“When I woke up on Sunday, I saw the voice note of my husband that Kafayat has relocated from her previous apartment in case I still want to come and greet her. They have been married not even up to a year and they had a societal wedding unlike mine which was only Nikkah.

“On Thursday and Saturday, I went to greet her in the new location described by my husband. And it was after I went to greet Kafayat at home that he suddenly changed his attitude towards me. If I sleep in the bedroom, he would sleep in the parlour and if I sleep in the parlour, he would go to the bedroom. But all my family and friends advised me to be patient for the sake of the children whenever I complained.

“They didn’t tell me anything about the naming ceremony except people that called me to ask why I was not present,” Shade declared.

She said it was on Saturday, after they finished the naming, that her husband brought the car owned by his elder brother home which they used to do all the running around and packing of items during the event.

“Although before we got married, his brother had been using the car and this is not his first time he would borrow it.

“If we were talking during the period or I had a premonition of what would happen, I would have told him to return the car to the owner who will need it to go to work on Monday. He didn’t return the car and didn’t park it at the venue of the event. Why is it that he had to park it here where I am staying?

“Now the car was there from that Saturday till Sunday when the incident happened.

“After the children requested noodles to take to school the next day, I went to the shop to get the indomie noodles for them. Before I went, my last born, Mohammed, was crying but I said the sun was much and I would not want to take him outside because of the heat. I called Maryam who is the eldest to take care of her siblings.

“But when I came back, I noticed that the children had scattered the entire room and met the door open. I also saw their shoes and envisaged they would not be out of the premises because they would put on their shoes if they were going outside the gate. I never thought of the vehicle even for a second.

“From my house to the shop is just a N100 bike. I called out for them when I came and couldn’t find them. Initially I thought they were playing hide and seek with me. I checked everywhere but to no avail. My landlady had gone to work because she was on morning duty.

“The flat next to us was occupied by aged couples and my children don’t usually go inside their house except on a few occasions.

“When I couldn’t find them, I checked inside the domestic well but nothing was there, I took Okada to the junction crying that I couldn’t find my children.

“When I came back, I went to knock at the door of the next flat to tell them that I couldn’t find my children, the woman’s husband was already asleep.

“She told me she heard their cries about 10 minutes ago, when she was even calling Maryam, asking why she was beating her siblings. Later something just told me to check inside the vehicle and I saw them inside.

“I managed to open one of the doors and met them just lying down but the remaining three doors did not open. I was asking them why they went inside the car, which they don’t usually do. But their posture and the way I saw them made me terrified, I called them but no answer and I started shouting for help.

“It was the woman’s husband that came to force the other doors open and dragged Mohammed out, his hand got injured in the process.

“So my shout later attracted some boys and other people outside, some of whom jumped our security fence and we started pouring water on them to revive them but to no avail. It was those people that rushed them to Olutayo hospital, I didn’t see them after that.

“Me and my husband were still not in talking terms up till that Sunday morning, though he slept in the house that day but people would hardly know that we have issues or are quarrelling because he still used to take us to the shop and drop us at home and the children were even appreciating him. Even if he wants to communicate with me, it’s through the children.

“Earlier before that day, he sent Maryam to go and ask a nearby vulcanizer, Jamiu, how much it will cost to repair one of the tyres of the vehicle,” she stated.

The distraught mother added: “Since the incident I have not set my eyes on their dad but I was told he came here at our family house.

“He has also called me twice since the incident saying thrash for all I care, asking when am I coming home or what do I feel.

“The police came and I also narrated this to them. They said the Inspector General of Police was interested and was the one who called the Commissioner of Police to inquire what was going on in Kwara State before they later sent officers here.

“But I have strengthened my faith in Almighty Allah coupled with the people that God surrounded me with. That is just what is keeping me going.”

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