US Based Nigerian Woman Cries Out Over Husband's Missing Corpse


A United States-based woman from Ike Mgboko, Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State, Lady Blessing Ben Nwamkpa, narrates how her stepson stormed the burial of her husband, Sir Benjamin, exhumed his corpse and escaped with it in December 2022

You claimed that your stepson stormed your husband’s burial and exhumed his corpse. When did it happen?

My husband, Sir Benjamin Nwankpa, died on July 23, 2022, and was laid to rest on December 28, 2022. I want to also mention that the service of songs that was held on December 2, 2022, in the United States of America was also stained with violence. My stepson came with armed thugs to disrupt the process. We had to call the police before they ran away. I have the videos and pictures of everything.

Why do you think your husband’s son will do such a thing at the burial of his father?

I don’t know. To be very honest, I don’t know.

For how long were you married to your husband before he died?

We were married for more than 32 years. We first met in 1989 although it was unofficial. He had always known me since I was 12 or 13 years and had told me that he would make sure he married me. I thought it was a joke, but he stood his ground. Around June 1989, we reconnected and that same year, he did the first and second wine carrying there in Osisioma Local Government Area of Abia State.

Then, we were scheduled to do the traditional marriage in December but because of some unforeseen circumstances, we had our marriage in January 1990. That was our traditional marriage. He was based in the United States and didn’t want me to come to the States with a visiting visa because of the experiences his friends had. He wanted me to wait patiently and get my permanent residency before I travelled. So, he travelled before me. We planned to wed in the US, but I got pregnant for him along the way, and we couldn’t do it. So, the church wedding was held on May 18, 1991. I gave birth to my first child in July of the same year.

Were you aware he had a son?

Three weeks before the wedding, my husband then told me that he had a son from someone. I was mad because of my own childhood experience. My mom was married to my stepfather who had two children ahead. Even though she made all the money and provided for those kids, at the death of my stepfather, they rose up and chased my mother away from the house. My mother had to move into her maternity home. It was an awful experience for all of us. She didn’t want to speak up. She wanted to protect the family’s image. She didn’t want her name out there. She endured all the torture, but at the end of everything, she died as a result of the trauma.

As a result of this, as a child, I made a vow not to marry any man with any baggage. So, when he told me three weeks before our wedding after we had sent out invites and I was already seven months pregnant, I had to make the sacrifice. He told me that the mother rejected the young boy and that I would be the only person the boy would know. It was discomforting but I accepted it and welcomed him into my home. Being a mother myself, I took care of him. How can he now rise up against the only woman he has ever known as a mother since his own biological mother allegedly abandoned him in America? The mother is a black American, not even a Nigerian. That young man was the ring bearer during our wedding. I accepted him as my own child. At that age, when he was brought to me, he was not circumcised. I was the one who took him to my mother who circumcised him.

How old was he when he was brought to you?

He was four years and a few months old. He was born on December 26, 1986.

How old was your husband before he died?

He was 71 years old.

What was your relationship like with this young boy as he grew into adulthood?

This young man has been on a mission, looking for his ‘real’ family outside. He never, for one day, despite all I did for him, accepted me as his mother. He didn’t even accept my family. If you look at what is happening, you will see that he never accepted us. The way the immigrants treat black American women here is to use them as free access to getting a green card, and once that is done, they take off. It seems that was the kind of relationship that my husband shared with his mother. What my stepson did was an abomination. For him to go and exhume the corpse of his own father is not just abominable; it is a suicidal mission.

Was your stepson at his father’s burial?

No, he was not there at the burial in Mgboko Okpulor, Obingwa LG of Abia State. He was not there when the ceremony began. However, he came in when we dug the grave and the body was being lowered into the grave and exhumed the corpse.

He came with hired thugs who are from another community and exhumed the corpse amid the shooting from the police and the thugs.   Together with the youths, he was able to exhume the corpse. This was as they were beginning to cover up the grave. He just stormed the place with gunmen, and they started shooting. He beat up the pastor who came to officiate the burial of his own father. I have video evidence of everything I am saying here and will provide them if the need arises.

Where were you at this time?

I was around and I was hurt. I never expected that the young man I raised would disrespect me publicly in such a manner. I never expected him to desecrate the grave of his own father. I was shocked as I watched. What marvelled me most was that I had massive security there – the army, the Rapid Response Team, the police, the vigilante – but nobody did anything. They didn’t even ask them to stop the sacrilege. My security details were so relaxed as though they were acting on someone else’s order. If you ask me who? I don’t know.

Do you think your stepson’s action was influenced by anybody?

I believe that there are a lot of key players in this, but I don’t know who they are. I have not been able to identify them. Someone must have relaxed the security. Before I came in for the burial, I wrote the state Commissioner of Police to help me secure my children because I felt there was a threat to life. I also wrote to the state Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department and all my applications were approved. How then can you explain why these men who are supposed to be protecting me were so relaxed?

How has this affected you knowing that your husband’s corpse has been exhumed?

I am restless. I know that my husband was a good man when he was alive. He helped many people. He put others first even before his own family. He did a lot for his community. So, for his corpse to be exhumed in such a manner is disgraceful. He has become a laughingstock and a centre of ridicule by gossips. How can I be happy knowing that his corpse is not at rest? How can the villagers watch while this young man desecrated his father’s corpse? How can the security agents whom I invited to watch as all these happened? I went through the right channel to get them. I got a court order.

Was there any disagreement before the burial?

When my stepson came to disrupt the wake on December 2, 2022, he warned us that the one in Nigeria would be worst. He was calling people and telling them not to attend the burial. He called the Anglican Church where my husband worshipped till his death and asked them not to attend the burial if they don’t want to die. He told them that anyone he could not kill, he will kidnap. So, the bishop refused to come. I had to get another pastor to bury my husband, but he came there to beat the pastor up.

What is your plea in this matter?

I am pleading to everybody – the government, the police, the judiciary, elders of the community and stakeholders of Abia State – to help my husband and retrieve his remains. I don’t know why this young man has refused to release the corpse. I don’t know if he has used it for ritual purposes. I want my husband to be laid to rest. Let him quietly return him to his grave.

How old is your eldest son?

My eldest son, Victor, will be 30 or 31, and he is the bonafide son of my husband. This one is ‘acquired’.

How do you mean?

This is because his mother abandoned him and was never there. She just dropped the boy with my husband and ran away. No DNA was done. When my husband requested DNA, she refused. My husband is the only son of his mother; so, he only just took the boy because he was unsure of whether I was going to be able to bear him a son, but I did. The boy had gone to prison for some crime and only came out in 2020. He had always been known to foment trouble. He refused to go to school and now he is on a mission to destroy everything his father has built over the years simply because he is jealous that my children are all grown up, educated and doing well for themselves.

I would love to state here that it was when he (stepson) came to change the cook who made food for my husband that he (my husband) died two weeks after. I am not saying anything else. Let us put two and two together.

Are you suspecting that your husband may have been poisoned to death?

I did an autopsy, and it did not reveal poisoning. But I am sure that whatever my stepson did is between him and God Almighty. All I am saying is that it was two weeks after he changed my domestic staff that my husband died.

From the way you sound, it appears that there was no cordial relationship between you and your stepson…

I didn’t say that. I have been a good mother to him. I have been good to him. I am the one that played the motherly role in his life. When he had his case in the US, I went to court and pleaded on his behalf. For the four years, he was in jail, I took my children to Birmingham every month to go and see him. From where I am to Birmingham is more than eight hours to and fro but I didn’t mind. I am the one who put money in his account every month. His father didn’t even send $50 to him for one day. I have been there for him every step of the way. I brought him to Georgia where I am based now because we used to live in Michigan. I have done so much for him, and I don’t know why he would do this.

What efforts have you made to reach out to him on how to resolve the matter amicably?

Before my husband died, I told you that my stepson began to cause problems in the house since the family has moved from being a simple family to a household name. Instead of him joining us on the train, he became envious and jealous of his siblings and hate set in. This caused a lot of problems in the family. I told my husband before he died that his son was causing a lot of conflict in our union and advised him to talk to his son. When he eventually died, I called a meeting in Georgia; he told me he was at a party in Texas. I told him to come back home. He did and we held hands and prayed and made a decision to come out together as one family. I thought he was part of the decision, but I didn’t know he was just pretending.

I left for Nigeria the next day to inform my husband’s people of his demise and before I would know what was going on, he began to make decisions that were contrary to our agreement. I called him and asked what was going on and he told me that he was the first son and that everything belonged to him. I thought he was joking because he couldn’t have been serious. After 32 years of marriage? When my husband was alive, I remember that he and some boys stormed our master’s bedroom and made away with my husband’s property documents, car papers and some other valuables.

Since you are based in the US, don’t you think distance may be a barrier to retrieving and re-burying your husband’s corpse?

No, I don’t think so. Distance is no barrier. The community needs to call him to bring his father’s remains wherever he kept him and appease the gods. This is an abomination. I have never heard of it in my life. Before the effect begins to affect others, the community needs to call him. He doesn’t even need me. He needs his community. We have buried. For him to exhume the corpse, he is looking for trouble from the gods.

Are you not considering involving the police in the matter or going to court?

I went to court and got an order that empowered me to bury my husband on December 28. What did the court do? I went to the police for security, but they watched him (stepson) exhume the corpse and take it away. So, what else am I expected to do? Am I to write to the United Nations or human rights organisations? Do I write to the International Court of Justice? Who else should I rely on?



Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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