A lecturer at the Lagos State University, Gbenga Oyeniyi, says his insistence that his daughter must live with him was not what caused the death of the two-year-old, as alleged by the wife, Adenike.
Gbenga said Racheal’s death on the same day he took her from her mother was accidental, adding that she died a natural death.
It had been reported that Rachael had been living with her mother, Adenike, in the Abeokuta area of Ogun State.
However, after a disagreement between the couple, Gbenga forcibly took her on Monday, April 18, to his rented apartment on Jezza Street, in the Egbeda area of Lagos.
A few hours after, Rachael reportedly fell into an abandoned well in the house and was recovered dead.
Her mother, however, called on the police to investigate the matter, saying the death was suspicious.
But Gbenga, who initially said he would not talk about the incident, said he did not kill his daughter.
He said, “I have been married to my wife for four years now. Since we got married, we have been living separately. I live in Egbeda, Lagos, while my wife had been living in Abeokuta, Ogun State, because she is a civil servant.
“I asked her to ask for a transfer to a place that is close, like Sango Ota, but she said she would not be due for transfer until December 2015.
“But for six weeks, she did not bring my daughter to me in Lagos because my father-in-law instructed her not to. So, on Monday, April 18, I decided to take my daughter to Lagos.
“When I got home, my daughter’s friends were very happy to see her. She started playing with them. I instructed my younger sister to monitor her. I later went out of my room to stay outside in order to also monitor her.
“She was playing with her friends on the premises. Not long after, some of her mates came running to me, saying she had fallen inside an abandoned well in the compound.”
Gbenga said he ran to the scene and mobilised some people to enter the well to bring out his child.
After several failed attempts, he said the state fire service was invited, adding that the agency could not bring Rachael out due to “ineffectual equipment.”
“One Egun man was invited by a sympathiser, and he brought her out. People said she was dead, but I took her to the Igando General Hospital where the doctors tried to revive her. After some efforts, the leader of the team announced that she was dead.
“I immediately reported at the Gowon Estate Police Station. But by 6.30am on Tuesday, some policemen from Alagbado followed my father-in-law to arrest me. Later, when they saw the matter was not under their jurisdiction, they handed it over to the Divisional Police Officer in Gowon Estate, who then mediated and advised the parties to maintain the peace,” he added.