Teachers of Benue pupils killed by their mum (Photo)


Some teachers at the Nativity Private School, Makurdi, Benue State, where the three children of the Adetsavs attended could not hold back tears when our correspondent visited the school on Friday.

Recall that 35-year-old Rachael Adetsav caused confusion recently when she allegedly killed her 42-year- old husband, Nicholas Adetsav, and their three children before killing herself.

The family lived in a house located opposite NKST Vandeikya Street, High Level, Makurdi. The deceased couple were said to have met at Makurdi Local Government Area secretariat where the husband worked in the finance department while the wife worked in the agriculture department.

Before their tragic end last penultimate week, it was gathered that the couple usually fought and the neighbours couldn’t intervene because the husband asked them to stay out of their disagreements.

The school’s Assistant Headmistress, Mrs. Agatha Yawah, described the death of the three pupils as shocking, adding that the circumstance surrounding their death was pathetic and horrible.

She said, “When I first heard about the incident, I didn’t know that the children were from the school because I don’t know much about their mother because it was their father that usually brought them to school.

“The youngest one, Joshua, was in kindergarten. He was in crèche before he was promoted and the record in our schools shows that he was born in December, 2015. The three children attended the school. One was in primary two and the other one was in pre-primary. I will find out the class of the third one. When the one in primary two was in primary one, the teacher complained that the child was always restless. The small one was very friendly and he never misbehaved.

“This is beyond us because we have never heard of a thing like this. I kept wondering why it was only the father that was always coming to bring and pick up the children during school days.

“We pray for the family. We intend to visit the family members. On the day of their burial, the school will open half day,” Yaweh stated.

Mr. Adzenda Titus is the teacher of Blessing Nyivanger (Adetsav) who was seven. He said Blessing bore Nyivanger as her surname and as her class teacher, he taught her for a whole session, saying during the period, she was restless at a time but that the teachers were able to tackle the situation.

He described Blessing’s father as a good man who cared for his children.  Titus said, “The father was a good person who was always interested in knowing the progress of his children. He made sure he saw me before taking his child. His wife came with him on the last open day and she spoke well to me. I felt shocked the pupil could be killed in that gruesome manner. I feel so sad about it.”

Also, Mrs. Udoh Agnes, who is the teacher of Joshua Nyivanger, said the kindergarten pupil would be three on December 9.

Agnes said Joshua was a very lovely child. She stated, “Even when you scold him, he would just smile. He loved people close to him as well as those who took him around.

“Joshua never wanted to stay in one place. He was a good child. I didn’t notice anything bad about him. He came to school happy last Wednesday. He threw the cover of his water bottle outside and when the father came and asked me about it, I asked him where he put it and he ran out to bring it.

“When I came to school this morning, I saw where Joshua usually sat down. I ran out of the class for more than three times until one of my colleagues noticed it and came to advise me to put myself together. I can’t believe Joshua is dead.”

Nicholas was peaceful, his wife reserved –NULGE secretary

Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employee, Makurdi Local Government Area branch, Emmanuel Igber, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the late Nicholas was a peace-loving man who interacted well with everyone.

He, however, noted that Nicholas’s wife not well-known even though she also worked at the council.  Igber explained that he didn’t know what happened before the wife decided to kill the entire family, noting that their neighbours might not be able to tell anyone what exactly caused the tragedy.

He added, “I left him at the council at 6pm last Friday. He was supposed to go with me to Ikpayongo but his car developed a fault and I decided to go with one of our friends. It was 30 minutes later that someone called me to inform me that Nick was dead. He left around 7pm and between 7.30pm and 8pm, the tragedy happened.

“When we got to their house, the only thing the neighbours told us was that they saw the wife with a big iron breaking the windscreen of her husband’s car. They said before they could decipher what was happening, she ran inside the room and after a little while, she locked the door.

“They couldn’t open the door until they drew the attention of a vigilance group who later alerted the police. That is the only information we were able to get from the people staying with them in the compound. Many people were his friends. He interacted but his wife was reserved. Most of the staff didn’t know his wife. Nicholas also never complained about his wife to us.”

Also speaking, a Personnel Officer in the council, Mr. Jacob Kyaave, who worked in the agriculture department where the late Rachael worked, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the news of the incident came to him as a shock.

He wondered how Rachael, who he said was a senior employee in the department, could go to that extent. “I am confused. Though I have never witnessed her fighting her husband in the council, many of her colleagues told me she was troublesome,” he stated.

Kyaave said Rachael hardly mingled with her colleagues, adding that she didn’t come to work frequently and nobody queried her.

Another staff member in the agriculture department, Mr. Simon Shiwua, said the death of the family was tragic.

He said, “On Thursday night, a day before the incident, the late Nicolas was in my house at about 7.20pm. He came to see his project supervisor to make some corrections on his project work because he was also schooling.

“Nick was an undergraduate of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, and was in the final year. I can’t believe that he is gone and all his efforts wasted. His death is unfortunate, unwarranted and must be condemned. No one can tell what exactly transpired. I pray God will grant them eternal rest.”

We’ll conduct autopsies on the corpses –Police

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer for the Benue State Command, DSP Moses Yamu, said the bodies of the deceased had been deposited at St. Theresa’s Mortuary, Makurdi, where autopsy would be conducted on their bodies to know the cause of the deaths.

He said, “Yes, we are aware of the case and on top of the situation. Investigation has commenced in earnest because one cannot tell exactly what happened at the moment; although, people around are alleging that it was the woman that murdered the husband, their three children and possibly killed herself.

“According to them, before the incident, they saw her smashing the husband’s vehicle before she later moved into the room. The police came and forced the door open and saw the five corpses inside. The state Commissioner of Police, Ene Okoh, has ordered full investigation into the circumstances behind the incident.”

The Adetsavs fought regularly —Neighbours

A generator repairer, who worked directly opposite the couple’s residence, Peter Okpe, told our correspondent that the couple was known for frequent squabbles.

He said many residents around the area knew that the couple always fought, especially the wife, who he described as “a very tough woman and so temperamental to a point that on several occasions, she engaged many of her neighbours in a fight.

“There was an incident when she stabbed one of the neighbours because the man intervened when she was scolding one of her children. The case is still in court,” he said.

Okpe also alleged that the persistent quarrels between the couple forced the landlord and a spinster working with the Nigerian Immigration Service to leave the compound.

A 61-year-old retired teacher, Richard Orseer, living beside the Adetsavs, said he wasn’t bothered the night he heard of a noise from the family because it had become a regular occurrence.

Orseer added, “By the time the police came and forced the apartment door open, they found Nicholas, the three children and Rachael lying dead in a pool of their blood. It was a horrible experience and I have never witnessed such a thing in my life.’’

Two versions were given as to what led to the tragedy. One version said the husband received a message on his phone and the wife asked who sent the message, forcefully retrieved the phone and read the message. The action, they claimed, snowballed into a heated argument and a fight.

Another version said the husband was not at home when the wife became angry due to unresolved family issue; took a pestle to smash her husband’s car and a neighbour called the husband on the phone to tell him what his wife did to his car. The narrators of this version added that it was when the husband rushed home that he was clubbed by his wife who was already waiting for him in the house. Igber’s earlier said the deceased car was faulty as he set to leave the office.

Husband’s family rejects alleged killer wife’s body for burial

Meanwhile, SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that the family members of the slain Nicholas had rejected Rachael’s corpse, insisting that she would not be buried in her late husband’s compound in line with the tradition of the Tiv people.

A family source, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the family, said the decision was taken after consultation with the elders of the Mbavur community where the husband hailed from.

The late Nicholas’ friend who claimed to have known him for over 20 years, Paul Tion, said he knew Rachael as a troublesome person.

Tion stated, “I was the chairman of their wedding committee because Nick was my intimate friend. We did many things together. But at a point, his wife never allowed us to feel free with each other.  She had tattoos all over her body and we didn’t know how she got it.

“I can’t believe Nick is no more. Just two days before his demise, we were together planning how to celebrate the Christmas and now, he is dead.