The Fehintola murder case in Osun

RECENTLY when Mrs Ifeoluwa Fehintola’s mother, Ruth Shodeya, 44, offered to spend some time with her daughter and grandchildren in their home in Owode Ede, Osun State, no one could have thought anything out of the ordinary would happen. Reports have it however that within the two weeks of Grandma Shodeya’s  stay with the Fehintolas, she had succeeded in nursing her son-in-law much more closely than she had her grandchildren. According to reports, Ruth seduced her son-in-law husband and they engaged in a sex romp. While they were still in the act, the daughter, who had been to the market, chanced upon them. She then took a kitchen knife and stabbed her. Ruth was said to have bled profusely; she was rushed to the hospital but before receiving any treatment, she was confirmed dead by the doctors and her corpse was deposited at the mortuary for autopsy report.

According to Mrs Fehintola, 28, her mother’s action was quite typical. She said that her mother had an extra large appetite for sex and had always been involved in extramarital affairs even when her legitimate sexual partner was alive. She added: “After my father’s death, she got so used to her wayward life that there was no man she couldn’t allow to sleep with her. I couldn’t imagine that she would stoop so low to the level of my husband. She only came to spend two weeks with us and she had already shattered my home for me. I went to the market to buy some food items but when I  got back home, I met my husband and my mother on our matrimonial bed. I was so furious that I went straight to the kitchen and reached for a knife. I had wanted to kill both of them; my husband managed to escape but my mother couldn’t as I stabbed her on the chest.”

Truth be told, the late Ruth’s alleged action was despicable. Indeed, if the act had taken place in bygone years, the quantum of sacrificial items that would have been demanded of her and her accomplice to cleanse the land that they had so callously desecrated would have been huge, and public censure so harsh that both, if they survived the ordeal, would have lived a life of regrets all the rest of their days. Then, the society had very strict rules prohibiting sexual contact among blood relations. The deceased apparently betrayed the trust her daughter reposed in her by allowing her to visit her matrimonial home despite being fully aware of her history as a nymphomaniac. Sadly, she not only indirectly terminated her own life by her indiscreet act but also negatively impacted the lives of her daughter and grandchildren who are now prematurely orphaned. Her son-in-law may not return home any time soon, while her daughter is being prosecuted by the police for murder, an offence which attracts the death penalty.

To be sure, the foregoing does not detract from the severity of the moral turpitude committed by Mr. Fehintola. After all, as the old saying goes, it takes two to tango. On current evidence, there is nothing to suggest that he is of a higher moral quality than his sadly deceased mother-in-law. If anything, the apparent ease with which he jumped into bed with her clearly demonstrates his character as a vicious opportunist. If it had been his sister-in-law rather than mother-in-law who offered the opportunity that he exploited, for instance, he would apparently have grabbed it with both hands regardless of the damning social consequences. It is quite a shame that as a son-in-law, he was not man enough to resist a wayward mother-in-law and possibly offer her an opportunity to rethink and perhaps mend her ways.

The foregoing notwithstanding, we believe that Mrs Fehintola’s reaction was overboard. No one, except government officials so designated after relevant pronouncement(s) by the court of law, has the right to take anybody’s life, no matter the gravity of the crime such a person has committed. This, we dare say, is a despicable resolution of a justifiable wrong.  Even if there are grounds to be offended, and there are several such grounds in this particular instance, nothing should justify taking the laws into one’s own hands by killing another person. Even though she must be feeling remorseful now, especially when she remembers that there may be no one currently taking care of her children, some of whom may be direly in need of motherly care judging by her own age, the evil deed has been done and justice must take its course.  The whole incident teaches about the need to control one’s emotions and not descend into arbitrary acts that would be regretted in the end.

In spite of the turning of tables where the person wronged is now the accused, the laws of the land should be made to apply fully, so that others can learn to refrain from engaging in self-help when wronged or angry. No matter how despicably the justice system has deteriorated in the country, anyone who is aggrieved should seek succour from the right quarters. Resorting to self help will only make monsters of the citizenry.




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