Naomi was a Senior Management Staff with Shell Petroleum, Port Harcourt and Bartholomew Olikagbue was a trader in Computer Village, who deals on computer accessories in Lagos.
They met aboard a flight from PH to Lagos. Theirs was the case of “love at first sight”.
They struck up friendship. One thing led to another; they became married.
Prior to the marriage, the inequality in financial status was evident and very glaring. Naomi was earning mega money in Shell Petroleum while Bartholomew was a struggling trader.
He moved in with her after the marriage. She supported his business financially and did everything to make him feel at home. Initially, it looked like a perfect scrip from a Nollywood movie.
After a year, she had a son for him. By this time Bartholomew was fairly settled in.
He, all of a sudden became unsure, insecure and perpetually suspicious of her. His self-confidence dipped as a result.
She did everything to assure him. He insisted she quits her job and join him in business as her work was taking her away too much from him. By this time, she had bought a property in PH where they were living together as husband and wife.
Somehow and somewhat, he convinced her and she resigned her job. She was paid 37 Million Naira as severance pay. It was the year GSM was introduced into Nigeria and a sim card was sold for 34 thousand Naira!
She advised her husband to diversify into GSM handsets importation. She sold the house in PH and together with the 37M, they both travelled to China and imported phones and phone accessories to the country.
They made a fortune and wealth came in as they became one of the biggest importers of GSM handsets and accessories. But so also came in troubles for Naomi.
She withdrew from the running of the business at his promptings to take care of the home front. She became a full-time house wife especially when the business had blossomed into branches all over the country.
Bartholomew ensured she was actually busy at home. They had 7 children within a space of 12 years. And suddenly the fairy tale ended.
Bartholomew gradually became unapproachable, hot tempered and evasive. He removed Naomi from signatory to all the company accounts. He stopped discussing the business with her and would leave instructions to all the Branch Managers not to listen or allow her access to company books.
Naomi found out that he has fathered two children with two different women outside wedlock within same year. She was heartbroken and confronted him. He did not deny and told her it was a “mistake”.
Curiously, she would blame herself for all his misdeed and sought to win him over by acts of love.
Events came to a head when Bartholomew impregnated Naomi ‘s 21-year-old cousin living with them. It was a big blow to her. She tried to confront him and he assaulted her and battered her in the most vicious act of domestic violence one could ever think of.
He threw her out of the house broke, empty handed and penniless. Worse still, he denied her access to the children. Even her personal car, she was not allowed to take out of the home she built with her efforts and money. She was devastated and broken.
She became sickly and was in and out of hospital. Disappointment has a way of becoming malignant inside the body when you do not air it out. Naomi was diagnosed of cancer of the breast. Without money, she was dying slowly.
Their church leaders, elders, and friends could not prevail on Bartholomew to change his mind. Naomi brought Police into the matter. Bartholomew is a billionaire. Police do not arrest billionaire in Nigeria. Yet she had no money to hire a lawyer.
He told her in mockery to go and “tell the President”. She did not go to the President. She came to Joint Legal Action Aids (JLAA), a Human Right group with Chapters all over the country and with over 30,000 members, ably led by Barrister Kingsley Ughe.
As she narrates her story to Barrister Kingsley who listened with tears welled up his eyes. She backed it up with documents. Opeyemi Baderu, a member of JLAA’s Legal Team was there when she narrated her ordeals and tears were streaming down his face.
They consoled her and promised to stepped into the matter. And they did.
They initially approached Bartholomew Olikagbue. He scorned and dared JLAA to go to court.
Left with no choice, JLAA went to court and applied for divorce on her behalf and demanded for equal sharing of the assets, properties, monies and fortunes accumulated during the subsistence of the marriage. JLAA filed applications for full disclosures and production of company books and account statements in 6 banks including overseas.
It was a hostile litigation. He hired a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and fought back with the ferocity of a caged animal.
JLAA won at the High Court and the court ordered that the assets, properties, monies and fortunes accumulated during the subsistence of the marriage, inclusive of monies in 6 banks including overseas be shared equally between Bartholomew and Naomi Olikagbue.
He appealed and went to Court of Appeal. JLAA also won on appeal.
Yesterday, just yesterday, JLAA levied execution of the judgement of court. Naomi is now the owner of 4 houses in Lekki, 2 in Abuja and a plaza in Port Harcourt.
Bartholomew connived with auditors, accountants and lawyers to “bury” monies in the different company accounts. Naomi still got a paltry 25M at the end of the day
Naomi travelled to India to treat cancer and was not available to celebrate the victory with JLAA.
According to Barrister Kingsley: “She called me and in a weak voice told me these words I will never forget in my life;
” I WILL REFUSE TO DIE SO THAT I CAN TELL THE WORLD ABOUT YOU AND JLAA. PLEASE WAIT FOR ME. I WILL BE BACK”
The surgery was successful, but sadly, she died in her sleep exactly a year after the surgery.
If had had access to funds on time, maybe she would have survived the cancer.
May her soul rest in perfect peace!
And may the wicked never see peace in their wicked and wretched lives!
Long Live JLAA.