The family of a Nigerian woman who died in Poland has raised suspicion over her death following the cremation of her remains at the instance of her Polish husband without the family’s permission.
The family of Oluwashola Atunrayo Gaska (nee Adefolalu), in a statement on Wednesday, condemned the decision of Jakub Gaska to cremate his wife despite their protest over her “sudden death” in circumstances they deem as suspicious.
“The news of the death of Oluwashola Atunrayo Gaska (nee Adefolalu), fondly known as ‘Sholly’, came as a rude shock to her family and friends back home in Nigeria,” said the family lawyer, Bunmi Omeke, a cousin of the deceased.
“More devastating was the effect of the report of her cremation by her husband, just a few days after her death, to the eldest sister of the deceased, Mrs. Bola ‘Salt Essien-Nelson.”
According to the statement, none of the family members (immediate or extended) was allowed to pay their last respects to ‘Sholly’, or sight her body.
“The only reason given by her husband was that he was fulfilling his wife’s ‘wishes.'”
According to the statement, the deceased’s elder sister, Mrs. Essien-Nelson, received a phone call about her sister’s death at about 11.00a.m. on December 28.
The sister said the call came just days after a chatty and lively phone conversation on December 24 with the deceased in Poland.
During the call, there was no suggestion of any serious ailment, Mrs. Essien-Nelson said.
“To date, the only proof of Sholly’s death is a scanned copy of the death certificate with the alleged cause of death being secondary anaemia and ‘tumour on the uterus.'”
According the statement, Mr. Gaska claimed that his wife fell ill on December 28. He reportedly said that he rushed her to a hospital and had his sister look after her while he went back to work from where he got the news of his wife’s death early on Wednesday morning.
Mrs. Essien-Nelson said she had commenced travel arrangements along with her husband to pay her last respects to her late sister when Mr. Gaska informed them that their late sister had requested that her body be cremated after her death and that Mrs. Essien-Nelson should be the only one to see her body before cremation.
“Yet, he refused to wait for her to travel to Poland to do so,” the family added.
The late woman’s family alleged that several calls were made to Mr. Gaska by the Adefolalu family and friends, Nigerians in Poland and even the Nigerian Embassy in Poland to no avail.
“His final words on the matter were that ‘the cremation will proceed as planned and there is nothing anyone can do about it,” the family stated.
“In spite of these several pleas, he went ahead to cremate his dead wife on January 2, 2017. Not only that, he held a burial service to bury the ashes on January 7, 2017 without officially informing any member of her Nigerian family.”
The deceased’s family said it suspected foul play in the death of their daughter.
“We understand Jakub has the final say over the funeral rites for late Sholly and as shocking as the cremation request was, we were willing to honour her ‘supposed’ wishes,” the family said.
“What we could not understand was why her husband has deprived our family of the opportunity of paying our last respects to our daughter, sister, niece, cousin and aunt. We want to know why Jakub was in such a hurry to cremate our sister.
“We want to know how he came about Sholly’s death wish since he was not with her at the time of passing. We want to know if death certificate is enough evidence of the cause of Sholly’s death. Where is the autopsy report? We want to know exactly what caused Sholly’s death.”
The deceased, 36, traveled to Poland to study Architecture in 2000 where she met Mr. Gaska.
They got married in 2010.
The family is calling on the Polish authorities as well as the Nigerian Embassy in Poland, the Federal Government and relevant agencies to investigate the sudden and suspicious death of their daughter and circumstances surrounding the handling of her corpse.