“I have no shelter over my head, my children hardly eat and they are not even in school like their peers,” the 48-year-old woman lamented.
Sullen and distraught, and her voice trembling, Hauwa Momoh, despite her affiliation with two royal families, appears to be experiencing hell. She believes the suffering had now intensified to a level she can no longer bear.
Besides being the daughter of a former senior traditional ruler in Edo State, the Otaru of Auchi, Ms. Momoh was also the mistress of the immediate past Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, for nearly three decades, in a lengthy but secret affair with one of Nigeria’s most influential traditional rulers.
With four wives already – maximum for a Muslim man – Mr. Bayero also maintained intimate relationship with a number of other women not married to him, Ms. Momoh told PREMIUM TIMES recently.
She said at least 16 of the women were known, and she was one of the lot.
Her affair, lasting 30 years, yielded two children, and the emir accepted and took care of them until his death in June, Ms. Momoh said.
Now she said she is prepared to end her life and her children’s after the emir’s family allegedly left her and her children homeless, and shut off all avenues of support she hitherto received for herself and children.
Ms. Momoh has been in touch with PREMIUM TIMES for weeks, asking this paper to help prevail on late Ado Bayero’s family to assist her children. She describes the family as very wealthy and spoke of the late emir as a kind, generous and pleasant man who provided all she needed and gave her family the best of treatments while he was alive.
She said since the Emir died, life has been hellish for her and her children. She begs to feed herself and children today, and has no support or shelter, she said.
After PREMIUM TIMES began investigating her claim, reaching out to the late emir’s family, Ms. Momoh told this paper she was sent N250, 000 from Kano with a request to stay off the media. The money lasted two days as it could not sustain the lifestyle set for her by the emir while alive, she said.
Ms. Momoh said she was promised another N2 million as settlement, but she has dismissed that as too meagre, given her current needs, taste and the family’s wealth.
Ms Momoh wouldn’t say why she has never worked to earn money, and why she depended entirely on the late Emir for handouts for three decades.
She also did not say why she did not return to school after she gave birth to her daughter.
She only said Emir Bayero kept promising to help her set up a business until he took ill and passed away.
Ado Bayero’s family declined to speak formally to PREMIUM TIMES on the case, despite repeated requests for comments and clarifications. Our reporters telephoned, and sent them text messages for weeks, but they did not respond. We also got high-level sources in the Kano Emirate to appeal to them to speak to this newspaper on the matter. At some points, they promised to get in touch, but failed to do so.
As the Emir of Kano for more than 50 years, Ado Bayero was only third to the Sultan of Sokoto and the Emir of Gwandu in prominence in the perking order of northern Nigeria’s traditional rulers. He was also one of Nigeria’s most influential personalities.
Beyond his royal and religious influence, Ado Bayero was also an astute businessman with investments spanning almost all sectors of the Nigerian economy and even beyond, his associates say. He is believed to have left behind a lot of wealth.
He left behind at least four wives, 60 children and at least 16 concubines, Ms. Momoh told PREMIUM TIMES.
Ms. Momoh’s relationship with Emir Bayero began in 1984. Her father, the late Otaru of Auchi, Ahmed Guruza Momoh, was Mr. Bayero’s friend, Ms. Momoh said.
She said the Kano Emir began to date her when her father requested the late Emir Bayero to help her secure admission into Bayero University Kano [BUK], named after the emir himself.
“The relationship started back as 1984 when my father referred me to him, to help me gain admission into BUK. I have always wanted to study in BUK,” Ms. Momoh told PREMIUM TIMES, her voice burdened.
But instead of an admission into BUK, Ms. Momoh became pregnant for the Emir in 1986.
“I found out I was pregnant when in 1986 I was in London, and as I got back I told him I was pregnant for him, he then said we will get married after I put to bed because Islamically it’s wrong to marry someone who is pregnant, ” she narrated.
Ms. Momoh travelled back to Auchi to break the news to her father. The shocked chief sent her back to the emir, and vowed she would not be allowed to have her baby in his house without marriage.
Fifteen years later, a second child, a boy, arrived. She did not return to school and appears never to have been in any gainful employment.
Ms. Momoh said at all times, they were all well taken care of by the late emir.
“I stayed in Kano for 32 years, the Emir was very nice to me while he was alive, he took care of me and our two children, and he gave us money, he was indeed a nice man before he died,” she said.
After the emir took ill, communication slowed between him and his mistress. Soon, Ms. Momoh’s children became sick and would not respond to treatment, forcing their mother to relocate to Lagos, she said.
“I was not able to see the Emir for one year as he fell ill, at the same time my children were also sick so I had to relocate to Lagos for further and better treatment. I and my children stayed in Lagos in my friends place till my children got better,” she explained.
Two weeks before Mr. Bayero died, Ms. Momoh travelled to see him in Kano. While there, she said she realized her home in Kano had been vandalized and all her properties were stolen, leaving the house empty.
When she eventually met the emir, the traditional ruler, she said, promised to take care of her and children, promised them shelter and directed one of his sons, Nasir, to ensure that was done.
“Nasir knew us very well. In fact, he used to come and give us money for upkeep when his father was alive,” Ms. Momoh explained.
That warm relationship between her and Nasir broke down after the emir’s death.
Now, Ms. Momoh blames Nasir and another of the late emir’s son, Aminu, for her troubles, saying they refused to carry out their father’s directive.
As her suffering and that of her children worsened, she said she met Nasir on several occassions, to convey to him how desperate she needed help. The two sons promised to get back to her, but never did.
Ms. Momoh said today her children are no longer in school, as they roam the country looking for shelter. She is currently in Abuja squatting with a friend and struggling to survive.
“I almost slept at the central Mosque in Abuja, I have no savings, I have no roof over my head, my first daughter is due for the university but she is with me, my second son has been out of school for over a year now. We find it very difficult to eat. And all this became worse after the Emir died,” She explained.
On Friday, after turning down the N2million she was offered, Ms. Momoh said she and her children had agreed to commit suicide if no help came by the weekend.
“Just in case we don’t make it to Monday, tell our story,” she urged PREMIUM TIMES.