Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Omodele Ayo Audifferen 1964-2011 R.I.P

‘She was an angel who devoted her life to family’
…‘Whatever she craved that eluded her in this life, may she achieve it in the next incarnation’
This report is aimed at setting the records straight as regards Nigerian woman who died years ago, dies again in Benin Republic; which was published on October 3, 2011.

The young Audifferen family in 1965, whilest resident at 1 Odo Ogun Close;  six years before the father left home. L-R: Margaret Ekanem Audifferen, Juyin Audifferen, Dayo Audifferen, Eng. Solomon Bankole Audifferen and Omodele (on her daddy's knee).

It has emerged that the story, Nigerian woman who died years ago dies again in Benin Republic, actually involved two women; a mother and her only daughter. As was hinted through our reference to the title of a thriller by James Hadley Chase, Figure it out for yourself; in my report, published in Daily Sun of October 3, 2011; one could not really be sure who was who because of the convoluted nature of the then unfolding saga.

Albeit, we had filed the report with the hope of locating a relative since the deceased’s remains were still in a mortuary five months after her death. Cheeringly, my report achieved this purpose and even more. As regards Mrs. Margaret Ekanem Audifferen (nee Utip) and Omodele Ayo Audifferen, the names of both women mentioned in the report; we hit the nail on the head.

The former is the mother who died and was buried in Nigeria in 2004, while the latter is the person that passed on in Benin Republic on May 2, 2011. Our unreserved apologies to her immediate family and blood relatives for any inaccuracies and distress caused by earlier reports; this was wholly unintended.

Despite some inaccuracies in the report, we have been commended; for, the story helped to locate a relative of the late Omodele Ayo Audifferen; and, consequently facilitated the burial of her body, which otherwise would still have been lying in the morgue by now. So, finally, on October 29, 2011; almost six months since Omodele Ayo Audifferen passed on, her burial took place in a Porto Novo cemetery.

It is worth noting that the deceased was never married and died childless due to health complications. She never really got over the death of her mother in 2004 and probably, coupled with her medical condition, succumbed to depression and sought solace in drinking because of her medical record and matrimonial status. These are among the facts we must now put right following additional information made available to us.

In deed, US-based Dr. Ekundayo Audifferen, immediate elder brother of the deceased, was in Benin Republic recently to identify the body and facilitate the interment of his late sister’s remains. Although he pointed out some inaccuracies in our report, Dr. Audifferen, nonetheless, admitted that the story yielded positive outcome in helping to locate him and finally laying the matter to rest.

Report yielded positive result
In fact, it was only by a stroke of sheer luck that the eye-catching headline of Maurice Archibong caught the attention of a relative who, out of curiosity, clicked on his story and in her words ‘almost had a heart attack’. I was then contacted immediately and proceeded to deal with the situation. Mr Archibong's story, distressing and negative as it may seem, especially to my blood relatives, who also stumbled upon the story; (we) are at least agreed on the fact that the eye-catching nature of the headline itself had a positive outcome in locating me in the final analysis”, wrote Dr. Audifferen in a statement on the incident.

Reacting to perceived prevarication on the part of Nigerian Embassy Cotonou, which culminated in Omodele’s body lying for so long in the morgue; as alluded to in our report, the bereaved’s take, as gleaned from his statement, is: “The inability of the Nigerian Embassy officials to locate her true sibling during this period of time may be explained by the uniqueness of the case in hand and the lack of the necessary manpower, skills and personnel trained to conduct painstaking extensive searches of this nature”.

Dayo’s guess at this point is that “this case in point is not strictly day-to-day conventional diplomatic business, which most of our embassies are accustomed to”. Adding that, “Whether valuable lessons have been learnt in this instance is beyond the scope of this statement; he subsequently went on “to thank the Nigerian Embassy in Cotonou for their cooperation, the moment I came forward and presented myself with proof as next-of-kin”.

Dayo also expressed gratitude to Alhaji Yusuf Salami, President, Porto Novo Chapter of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), who rose to the occasion and contributed invaluably toward resolving the issues on ground. “I can only describe (Alhaji Salami) as a God-sent in assisting to bring this situation to its logical conclusion”, Dayo said.

From contacts with Dayo Audi
After filing my report, I had continued investigation of the story even before my exclusive was published on October 3. And, as I made progress toward a follow-up, I had received an e-mail on October 8 from the deceased’s brother.

It has taken me a while to locate your e-mail address, but I am glad I may have finally succeeded.” stated Dr. Audifferen in the e-mail.

Dayo’s letter added: “I can categorically confirm that the photograph which accompanied your aricle of Thursday October 6, 2011 is my sister Omodele Audifferen (taken in 1980). I am Ekundayo her elder brother. The name, ‘Ekanem’ referred to in the photograph, is that of our mother; late Chief (Mrs.) Margaret Ekanem Audifferen (nee Utip), who died on November 1, 2004”.

Dayo also confirmed that his sister had no children, thus: “My sister also had no children of her own”, and was visibly moved by the large crowd that accompanied the deceased on her final journey on earth. In the three or four years that Omodele lived in Djeregbe near Porto Novo, she had garnered a sizeable number of well-wishers and was fondly called Mummy by everyone in the neighbourhood.

And, every month; from the rent collection, Mummy bought presents for her tenants’ children and other kids in surrounding homes.  She was a responsible, warm, trusting and loving individual who tried all her life to make things right for her family. It would seem that she bore her cross stoically, in spite of her depression and health challenges, without wanting to load her burden on anyone else.

However, after our October 3 report; which led to Dr Audifferen’s homecoming, a coffin was bought, the late lady’s body was collected, and burial arrangements were about to be completed. And, as the funerary cortege was heading toward the cemetery, Viola! Suddenly, the few persons that initially set out with the coffin had swollen into a large crowd! The human throng got thicker as the body progressed toward the sepulchre, for many people abandoned whatever they were doing to bid this Mummy their last respects.

So sincere was the locals’ affection and how spontaneous their reaction that Dayo was moved to tears. As he said, “These were people I had never seen or met in my life til now.” “In the final analysis, the burial means that her soul has now been released. She has gone to be with the Lord; and, I am happy that we finally laid this matter to rest”, was Dayo’s muse as we discussed this matter severally on telephone.

Hear him: “I had to hurriedly come down, when I realised what had happened. I owed it to my sister. If I didn’t come down and sort things out, it would haunt my conscience for the rest of my life. I was able to pursue my post-graduate education because Omodele was there to take care of the home-front for me. She was the angel of our family. She made sacrifices in her life, so that we could make progress in ours. She put her life on hold to look after our mother”.

Mrs. Margaret Audifferen had died in 2004. After the burial of her mother, Omodele felt that her duty was done; and, it was about this time she started talking of moving on to start a new life somewhere, perhaps in Cotonou; where she said she had developed personal and business contacts.  She had a thriving business that spanned a number of countries in West Africa, we gathered.

Some time in 2006, Omodele had informed Dayo, her big brother, that; finally, she was relocating to Cotonou. Part of her reason for leaving can also be explained by wanting to put her past behind her, especially the stress of her parents’ separation and the consequences of a very bitter divorce which left serious emotional scars.  Being the youngest sibling, and the only female, it must have affected her deeper than imagined, although she bottled in a lot of emotions. 

She had promised to keep in touch since she had his contacts; phone numbers, postal address and all. However, months had morphed into a year and no word came from her. After two years of silence, Dayo was seriously hurting: how could his baby sister ignore him so?

If he had Omodele’s current contacts, Dayo would have tried to reconnect with her; but, he had none. She had his, yet she would not call. Initially, he was angry at his sister for the breakdown in communication. But, as the years waxed from two to three, then to four; his anger gave way to anxiety. Dayo was now truly disturbed, no phone call or card on his birthday? No phone call or greeting card for Christmas?

This was strange, very much unlike his baby sister: never, since their childhood days, had they gone without communicating for so long. His anger having now evaporated in the face of apprehension; Dayo started making frantic efforts to locate his beloved sister. Sadly, all the calls and letters to her old contacts drew blank. Then, on October 3, 2011; a friend sent him a text message drawing his attention to a story written by Maurice Archibong, which confirmed his worst fears: Omodele had gone home.

The Audifferens up close
As aforesaid in our previous report, the story of Mrs. Margaret Ekanem Audifferen and her daughter, Omodele, is both touching and gripping. Decades ago, love had brought the then Miss Margaret Ekanem Utip and Mr. Solomon Bankole Audifferen together. After a period of courtship, the couple had gone on to tie the proverbial nuptial knot.

While their union held, Margaret and Solomon were blessed with three children: the first two were boys, followed by a girl. The baby of the family was Omodele, and her immediate older sibling was Ekundayo (Dayo). The family certainly belonged to the upper class or upper middle-class, given that their House Number 1, Odo Ogun Close residence stood in the south-western parts of the elite Lagos neighbourhood of Ikoyi.

However, in December 1971, while the children were barely in their teens, their father left the matrimonial home to start a new life, ironically with a lady, a close family friend who the children called ‘Aunty’.

Presumably, before their parent’s unofficial separation, the atmosphere was always tense at home. Apparently, there were frequent fussing and shouting; and, perhaps, the occasional fighting. Unable to endure the rancour any more, the eldest of the Audifferen kids left his parents in search of another home where he could find peace.

Interestingly, as the distance between their parents grew longer, the bond between Dayo and Omodele waxed stronger. This brother and sister were always there for each other, and their mother never let them down. Their now single-parent family remained in Ikoyi and the children made steady progress in education. In 1982, Dayo left for the United Kingdom for post-graduate studies. He would remain in the UK, where he later bagged a PhD.  He now resides in the USA.

Back home, Omodele was pursuing her Advanced Levels in Physics, Chemistry and Biology at the Federal School of Arts and Science (FSAS) in Victoria Island, Lagos by 1980. With her only two siblings away, Omodele naturally had to stand by her mom. Amid caring for her mom, Omodele also made good in the academic arena graduating as a medical doctor.

To make matters worse, at some point, she was diagnosed with an ailment that required hysterectomy.  It was complications resulting from this ailment that led to her passing. 

Sadly, after relocating to Benin; the new life she hoped to begin never really took off. If anything, that phase turned out to be the twilight of her sojourn on earth. But, she lived a good life, nonetheless. Interestingly, Omodele was born on May 2; and, her passage on May 2 deserves some interpreting here. In the ancient West African Akan culture, it is believed that anyone that died on the anniversary of that person’s birth has automatically made heaven. So, we have reason to believe she lived a worthy life.

Any child deserted by a parent would naturally despise such a one. Understandably, Dayo stopped seeing any hero in his father; who abandoned him and his sibling, when they needed him most. He admittedly held a grudge against his father, not so much for the divorce of his mother, but for her ill-treatment and what he described as “attempting (though unsuccessfully) by thought, word and deed to replace his natural mother with an unnatural one”.

However, during the requiem mass preceding Omodele’s interment; the officiating priest, a complete stranger Dayo had never met; took his hand and, this is how the bereaved summarised the cleric’s advice to him: “He told me that, now was the time to let go of the grudge I had nurtured for almost 40 years so that I can be free. He asked me personally to do this in memory of my sister and in order to equip myself with the moral fibre to be able to ask God for forgiveness as we are all sinners”.

And, how did that suggestion go down with Dayo? It went down well: “I have done so”, he declared. Evidently, Omodele has given others a new life through her death: her passage has washed away family grudges.

O Lord, Almighty God; please, grant the soul of our departed dear sister eternal peace. Amen. Omodele, Omo rele Ayo, sun re o

NB: Following is:
Statement by Dr Ekundayo Audifferen - brother of the deceased
Re: Nigerian woman who died years ago, dies again in Benin Republic on 3rd and 7th October 2011

Since this story is now in the public domain, I feel it is absolutely necessary to correct the inaccuracies and distortions that appeared in the Daily Sun newspaper articles of both the 3rd and 7th October 2011.

Having left Nigeria for 30 years, and with the passing away of my mother in 2004, coupled with my sister deciding on a new life in Cotonou (Benin Republic), I have lost touch with events in my home country.

Admittedly, I have not been a follower of Nigerian news stories on television or the Internet. However, I always kept touch with my junior sister until after 2006, when she suddenly stopped writing to or phoning me. In fact, it was only by a stroke of sheer luck that the eye-catching headline of Maurice Archibong caught the attention of a relative who, out of curiosity, clicked on his story and in her words "almost had a heart attack". I was then contacted immediately and proceeded to deal with the situation.

In the interest of correct reporting, and moreover, to avoid the indictment of posterity, herewith the facts:

1. The deceased, Dr Omodele Audifferen (herein after referred to as Omodele), is the only daughter of Margaret Ekanem Audifferen (mother) and Solomon Bankole Audifferen (father). She survived by myself, her elder brother and another brother senior to myself. Her mother, Margaret Ekanem Audifferen, passed away in 2004 in Lagos and has since been laid to rest in her home town in Cross River State.*

2. We all lived together, father, mother, daughter, myself and elder brother as a family at 1 Odo Ogun Close, Lagos for many years. Even after my father departed the family home in December 1971, to start a new life with another woman - ironically a close family friend and confidante of my mother and someone who we fondly referred to as 'Auntie'- we continued to live at the same address.

3. Following my mother's passing in 2004, Omodele said she was going to start a new life in Cotonou (Benin Republic) where she said she had developed personal and business contacts. She told me she would contact me the moment she was settled in Cotonou and that since she had all my contacts, it was needless my writing to her as she was in transit between Lagos and Cotonou. During this period, she telephoned regularly and never forgot to send me a card on my birthday and Christmas. However, by the end of 2006, that was the last I heard from her, despite various attempts to write to her at her last known location in Lagos. I never heard from her again until Archibong's story hit the headlines.

4. The inability of the Nigerian Embassy officials to locate her true sibling during this period of time may be explained by the uniqueness of the case in hand and the lack of the necessary manpower, skills and personnel trained to conduct painstaking extensive searches of this nature. One can conjecture that this case in point is not strictly day-to-day conventional diplomatic business which most of our embassies are accustomed to. Whether valuable lessons have been learnt in this instance is beyond the scope of this statement.

5. Mr Archibong's story, distressing and negative as it may seem, especially to my blood relatives, who also stumbled upon the story, are at least agreed on the fact that the eye-catching spectacular nature of the headline itself had a positive outcome in locating me in the final analysis.

I wish to thank the Nigerian Embassy in Cotonou for their cooperation the moment I came forward and presented myself with proof as next-of-kin. They introduced me to the head of the Nigerian Organisation in Diaspora (Porto-Novo Chapter), Alhaji Yusuf Salami, who I can only describe as a Godsend in assisting to bring this situation to its logical conclusion. May I take this opportunity also to thank my blood relatives from both sides of the family for their messages of condolence and support. May the Lord bless you all.

My sister Omodele in many ways was the guardian of our little family, who put her life on hold to support her Mother and mentor during those very difficult years. My prayer to Almighty God is that your efforts here on earth and the sacrifices you made for family, and the things you missed out on on earth, may not be forgotten by the Creator.

Ironically, it was as a result of this incident, that I found out from a relative, that my father had been very desperate to make things up with me in the final years of his life and apologise for what he described as "the mistakes in his life". Also, I heard he wanted to discuss with me something he said that had weighed heavily on his soul and conscience. Although I have not been privileged to hear what he had to say, in a bizarre twist of fate, the priest who officiated at Omodele's burial ceremony, and whom I had never met in my life, took my hand and told me that now was the time to let go of the grudge I had nurtured for almost 40 years so that I can be free.

He asked me personally to do this in memory of my sister and in order to equip myself with the moral fibre to be able to ask God himself for forgiveness as we are all sinners. I have done so. And may the soul of my sister (deceased May 2nd 2011) and that of my father (deceased March 2010) and indeed the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in perfect peace.
Dr Ekundayo Audifferen

NB: Below, is the original copy of the story published in Daily Sun of October 3, 2011.

Nigerian woman who died yrs ago, dies again in Benin Republic
Body of late landlady lying unclaimed in Porto Novo morgue since May
… Children say they want nothing to do with her despite wealthy estates she left behind at home and abroad

Her story reads like a thriller: the type only a great novelist could spin, however; the somewhat grace-to-grass context and the many twists and turns of her life’s tale could make some of the classic tragedies spun by ancient Greece’s dramatist extraordinaire Sophocles appear less calamitous.

To be candid, ruminating on this woman’s chequered sojourn on earth invoked Figure it out for yourself, the title of one of scores of crime thrillers by James Hardly Chase; for, at the end of series of fragmetary sequences; you are still left wondering, if you got this one right.
Such was the variegated nature of this subject’s life that at some point, she served in the officer cadre of one of the nation’s armed forces only to die unloved and abadoned, and her corpse unwanted. This was a woman that actually lived overseas at some point; she apparently enjoyed the famed good, good life as a spinter; and, at the domestic level was married and had children.
Sadly, however, everything eventually went so kaputt that she died a lonely and forsaken woman. So unwanted was she, that her children and practically every other family member did not only shun her in the twilight of her life but denied her outright, when informed she had passed on and that her body was waiting to be claimed in a morgue in a neighbouring foreign country.
The deceased gave up the ghost a few minutes after midnight on May 2, 2011; and, her remains were immediately deposited at Morgue Le Pardon, the only funerarium in Djeregbe. Djeregbe stands roughly 10 minutes’ drive to Porto Novo, capital of Benin Republic; and, coming from Seme-Krake, near Nigeria’s extreme south-western frontier; Djeregbe is barely five minutes’ drive after turning right at Porto Novo roundabout.
The fees for leaving a corpse at this morgue is CFA2,000 (N700) per day, but after the first 10 days; the cost rises to CFA3,000 (N1,050) daily. Counting from May 2, the mortuary bills hit CFA20,000 by May 12. With CFA3,000 daily subsequently, by June 30 the bills had climbed another CFA147,000; bringing the total to CFA167,000 or N58,450 at the current exchange rate of N350 to CFA1,000. Furthermore, by July 20, the bill had risen by another CFA60,000 (N20,000 approximately), thus bringing the total to N78,450. Add CFA33,000 (about N12,000) for another 11 days to July 31; and, we were talking of over N90,000. By August 10, the figure had exceeded N100,000.
However, it must be pointed out that the woman’s offspring have not abandoned the body due to financial implication. The deceased was a very wealthy person, and the sale of a fraction of her belongings will easily raise the money to pay off any bill accruing from her death and funeral.
It would therefore seem that the offspring’s rejection of any relationship with the dead woman arises from fear of exposure of kinship to one who was sick or worse still, for other reasons which; as some are wont to conjectutre, could even be considered sinister. If the contents of a video, we shall soon refer to, are anything to go by; the woman was initiated into a secret society sometime in 2005 by some juju worshippers in Akesan Town, Lagos.
It is hard to say, whether or not she was conscious of what she was walking into at the time; for, even on film she seemed hypnotised and barely lively whereas she was supposed to be jubilant since she was being celebrated as a landlady/house-owner. In deed, the initiation was embedded in a house-warming ceremony. However, any one watching the recording of that event would immediately notice the absence of guests during the Lagos celebration; which contrasts sharply with what transpired, when she had a similar occasion in Djeregbe near Porto Novo in Benin Republic.
Truly, there are many twists and turns to this convoluted tale. Could a woman that died years ago in Nigeria die again in Benin Republic, where her body is currently lying in a local morgue? Could someone or some people have done her in, in order to inherit her wealth? It is believed that apart from the house she owned near Porto Novo, the woman also had some landed properties in Lagos; receipts and building plans of such estates were found among her belongings. Interestingly, too; a receipt was found confirming she had secured a sepulchre for her burial in London.
If documents reportedly found among her possessions are to be believed; there was hefty life insurance dividend to be picked by her heir in the event of her death. Is it possible that such dividend had since been claimed, while the woman was languishing in pain, misery and loneliness; whereas a funeral had been held for her?
If so, who collected such benefits; and, who signed her death certificate, and where was it issued? Where and when was she buried? Also, who organised a bogus feneral party to mark her departure from planet earth; when the woman was still alive? Many questions…few answers but in time all secrets will be revealed.
Her health had deteriorated drastically over the week preceding her transition, but she wouldn’t stand any talk of going to see a doctor. However, late in the night of 1 May, her condition was so bad and the woman so weak she couldn’t even protest, when one Isideen and another of her tenants put her atop a Zemidjan, a motorbike, to take her for urgent medical attention.
It would seem that workers at the first hospital the young men took the woman to refused to admit her and directed Isideen and co to take her elsewhere. All the while, the woman, sandwiched between the two men on the bike, to prevent her from falling; had been panting profusely.
As the men rode toward another clinic, the woman suddenly exuded a loud sigh: she had just breathed her last. Alarmed, Isideen and his co-tenant started shouting “Mummy, Mummy”, but no response came; for the woman had given up the ghost. Now, instead of depositing her at a hospital, the young men were compeled to take the body to the only morgue in town.
For roughly five years, the lady lived in her storey building with five tenants in Quartier Yekponawa, not too far from Djeregbe’s Quartier Zongo neighbourhood. She called her house, which stands roughly 200 metres off the highway linking Cotonou to Porto Novo, La Ville Romuero. The highest-paying of the woman’s tenants was charged CFA15,000 (about N5,000) monthly. Three other tenants paid CFA10,000 (N3,500) each, monthly; while the rental for the fifth occupant was CFA7,000 (N2,300) for the same period.
Strangely, this landlady occupied the uncompleted upper floor of her two-floor house. This top floor was mostly unroofed and many rooms lack windows and doors, yet she chose to live in this quarter, while giving out the finished rooms on the ground floor to tenants. Curiously, she kept none of her valuables upstairs, where she lived. Her belongings were divided between the rooms of two of her tenants, one of them called Isideen. She occasionally ate in the rooms of these two tenants. Her moveable property included five sealed boxes, a few bags and other boxes that were not locked. It was inside one of these unlocked boxes that a video recording of the woman’s funeral, purportedly after her death decades ago, was found.
Sources told Daily Sun the woman probably suffered phychological, if not psychiatric, challenges years before her transition. Once, she had a domestic called Samson; but, it would seem the woman sent him packing sometime before she died. Sadly, no one could locate Samson now; and, none was sure that even he had any clue as to the woman’s relations or friends. For all the years that she lived in the compound, the woman neither went visiting anyone nor did anyone ever came to visit her.
No one remembered ever seeing her cook. “Mummy rarely ate any food”, said one respondent. One of her tenants, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed she drank frequently: Guinness was her preferred brand, but when out of pocket; the woman settled for native gin. In fact, she showed signs of bloating a few weeks to her death, we were told.
Some respondents’ conjecture is that the late woman had at least two sons, whom; going by photographs taken decades ago must be above 40 years today. Among such people’s guess is that Mr. Percy Ademokun is the name of a man believed to be one of her children. From this man’s first name, Percy, it would seem she had him for a Christian; however, there is another man, Ahmed, believed to be her son as well. It seems likely Percy and Ahmed were sired by different men.
One respondent told us, “Mummy spoke excellent French, English and Yoruba”; however, another throw-up of some that spoke with Daily Sun in and around Djeregbe was that the woman hailed from Calabar. They hinged their guess on the lady’s abhorrence of filth.
Further probe into the woman’s origins led to the discovery that her maiden name sounded like one from “the Calabar area”. Alhaji Yusuf Salami, President of Nigerian community in Porto Novo, who had accompanied local police personnel to the late woman’s house and the morgue, where her body was deposited; confirmed her maiden name hinted at Calabar origins. Unfortunately, Alhaji Salami said he could not recall the name.
He said that after being contacted, he had done the best he could as leader of the local Nigerian community and had properly briefed the Nigerian embassy of his findings. Subsequently, he had washed his hands off the matter; which now lay with the Nigerian embassy and Beninese authorities. “If you want any information on this matter, please; go to the Nigerian embassy”: this was Alhaji Salami’s advise to us when we contacted him on phone.
After deeper probes, we were at some point told that the deceased was Miss Margaret Ekanem Utip. We were also told that her husband’s grandfather was a half-caste, and the man’s white grandfather, Mr. Audifferen (first name not known) died in 1933. However, the most baffling of all is the 2005 ceremony in Lagos, celebrated as Warming of late Margaret Ekanem’s House.
In 1979, one Miss Omodele Ayo Audifferen, who lived at Number 1, Odo Ogun Close in South West Ikoyi; was a student of Federal School of Arts and Science (FSAS), Victoria Island, Lagos. A student’s ID card, signed December 12, 1979, carries the portrait of a pretty young lady that probably morphed into a charming woman later ravaged by fate.
While studying for her A Levels at FSAS, she was in the group MSD, which means she was of the Morning Session classes and that her subject combination was Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Given the subjects she studied, while pursuing her higher school certificate; the then Miss Audiferren could well be the one, whose body is lying in Porto Novo.
Successful products of FSAS SD groups usually went on to study medicine, pharmacy, biochemistry, life sciences and related courses. And, going by leads; which include epaulettes that show the wearer went through the rank of Mid-Shipman before being promoted a Sub-Lieutenant, found among the deceased’s belongings, the late woman belonged to one of these professions. Moreover, she probably served in the Medical Corps of the Nigerian Navy, going by some leads.
Interestingly, during a house-warming ceremony, dubbed House-warming ceremony of late Chief (Mrs.) Ekanem Audifferen; the woman was variously called Doctor and at least once addressed as Mrs. Abidu. In the same video, the said Mrs. Abidu was described as “the last child of late Chief (Mrs.) Audifferen”. This late Chief (Mrs.) Audifferen could well be one-time Miss Ekanem Utip, who hailed from Oku in Ikot Offiong, Calabar. Born in Beua, now known as Victoria, in Western Cameroon; the young Ekanem Utip had her primary education at Government Secondary School, Beua from 1933 to 1941.
The house in question probably stands at Number 10 Kassim Achiomu Street in Akesan Town, off LASU Road; going by the address found on the cartridge of a video recorded by SOAJ Video and Film Production, which in December 2005 gave its studio’s address as 220 Ijegun Road, Ile-Ibadan Bus stop in Ikotun, Lagos.
Curiously, a year after that purported posthumos housewarming took place, she turned up in Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin Republic. It remains unclear, where she resided in those days; for Samson, who might know; having served the woman for years, could not be located. In any case, in 2006, she bought a house, which was still under construction in Djeregbe and made home there.
The late Mrs. Abidu was probably sibling with one-time Master Ekundayo Essien Audifferen, who was baptised on August 5, 1961 at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos. Ekundayo Essien Audifferen subsequently had his Confirmation and First Communion at the same church on June 4, 1978, a year before Omodele Ayo enrolled for Sixth Form studies at FSAS, Lagos. The duo were probably related to one Mr. S.B. Audifferen, resident of House 18, Nevern Rd, SW London; going by address found on a letter sent by one Dr. Audifferen from Number 10 Boyle Street, Lagos.
On Nigerian Embassy Cotonou
The unfolding saga of Nee Audiferen’s life and eventual death in Benin Republic as well as the fact that her body is still lying in a local morgue has once again thrown up doubts about the efficiency and diligence on the part of officials of Nigeria’s foreign missions.
It could be recalled that Nigerian Embassy Cotonou had come under severe criticisms in the past for its staffers’ lackadaisal attidtude to work. In deed, during the days of Mr. Oladeji as Ambassador, Nigerian Embassy in Cotonou was virtually loathed by all; Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa alike.
However, all that changed after Mr. Lawrence Akindele assumed duty there. Sadly, the man passed on last February 3. And, once again, many Nigerians seem worried that the unwholesome attitude that characterised the conduct of many officials at this mission in the past may have returned.
The incident has also brought to the fore the dangers of leaving an important diplomatic post somewhat rudderless. Currently, Mr. Ajayi Ayoola is Charges d’Affaires
August 2 marked 90 days since the former Miss Audiferen died. Questions would be asked as to what the Nigerian Embassy Cotonou has done over the three-month period with regard to unveiling her identity and subsequently getting the dead woman’s relations to come and collect her body for burial. 
At least one official at Nigerian Embassy Cotonou had mooted the idea of selling the deceased’s woman’s house. The explanation for this seems to be to raise money to pay morgue fees and other bills, Daily Sun gathered from reliable sources.
However, perceived foot-dragging on the part of the local Nigerian mission in treating the matter has fuelled speculation that those contemplating the sale of the woman’s property had erected hedges to present access to information on the death woman.
That way, according to conspiracy theorists, those hoping to reap where they did not sow could then sell the woman’s belongings at give-away prices to themselves under the excuse that no relative of the deceased could be traced.

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