Olawale Elisha, husband of Eunice Elisha, who was killed while preaching early Saturday in Abuja, has shared more details of how his wife of 16 years and mother of seven children was brutally hacked to death in our nation’s capital.
Forty-two-year-old Eunice, an indigene of Ekiti State and a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Kubwa, was murdered by suspected Muslim fanatics, residents of where they live say. Her megaphone and mobile phone were found close to her body.
“It was about 6: 30 to 7am. I was in bed, but I had woken up, from sleep. My children approached me and said that some footballers were discussing about a woman who was killed while she was preaching,” Mr. Elisha told PREMIUM TIMES in their family house on Monday.
He said he began to call his wife’s phone, but discovered it had been switched off.
“We strolled down to the place, about two or three hundred meters away from our house and we saw people gathered. We passed through the place where she had been murdered, but we did not know.
“We came back again and saw a police man. The officer confirmed what we had been told but said we should go to the Phase 4 police station.
“At that time, my daughter whose name is Jessica was already crying, but I tried to cheer her up and told her that the murdered preacher could not have been my wife.
“As we were entering the station gate, we saw a police van coming out of the station. My daughter looked back and saw something at the back of the police van and suddenly she cried. I then turned back and saw that part of my wife’s body was covered; from the chest upward. So we began to cry, I even fell and they carried me into the station.”
Mr. Elisha, who drove to the police station accompanied by his daughter, said the trauma of seeing his wife’s lifeless body deprived him of the strength to drive back home.
The two met nearly two decades ago when they were members of a Christian students’ fellowship of the Christ Apostolic Church in Kubwa.
While the man served as the youth president, Eunice was the group’s welfare officer.
Mr. Elisha said after years of receiving spiritual revelations about their future marriage, they wedded in July 2000 – the delay in part because he did not have a job early.
The couple remained together since, blessed with seven children. Mr. Elisha said his wife had become the family’s “lifeline, a great giver and a benefactor to everyone around her”.
The family said Eunice spent most mornings preaching around their home at Gbazango, a backwater area of Kubwa where mostly a civil service population live alongside motor cycle riders, vendors and kiosk operators from the northern part of the country, who set up shacks there.
When it seemed nothing had gone wrong early Saturday, Eunice’s sister, Bola Fatuase, said she called her phone to condole with her over the death of Mr. Elisha’s father – who passed away recently.
The line was dead.
Mrs. Fatuase told PREMIUM TIMES she called one of their younger siblings, who also lives in Abuja.
“When I called him, I asked about our sister and he quickly said he would call me back,” she recalled.
“When he returned the call about 25 minutes later, he was sounding like one who was panicking. He told me that our sister was dead.”
Mrs. Fatuashe said she quickly ended the call because she did not want to accept the shocking news. She would soon face the reality of the death of Mrs. Elisha.
The crime scene continued to draw attention on Monday when PREMIUM TIMES visited, with people stopping by to ask questions.
A resident, Blessed Adams, who said he saw the body of the deceased, said her killers used machetes on various parts of her body, including leg, thumb, stomach and neck.
Mr. Adams said since he moved to Gbazango over a year ago, he never heard the late pastor quarrel with anybody.
Another resident, Olaitan Ogunleye, who coordinates security in the community, lamented the increasing cases of killings in that part of Kubwa.
He said it became prevalent following the growing number of shanty dwellers in their community.
He said many of such shanty buildings sprang up in a place not far from the home of the Elishas.
“It all started with some of them coming to ask for small portion of land to use for something like a kiosk to sell provisions,” he said.
“But the moment you give it to them, you will find that they start increasing. And when the place can no longer accommodate them, they I’ll construct a similar structure where they will stay.”
Mr. Ogunleye appealed to the government to respond quickly to the development by relocating those dwelling in the shanties.