‘I faked my death to stop my mother, uncle from bothering me financially’

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By Eugene Agha, Lagos

A teenage housemaid, Margaret Adiya Ikumu, who posted fake pictures of her purported death on Facebook, yesterday told the police that she was compelled to take such a decision to keep her mother and uncle away from putting financial pressure on her. Nineteen-year-old Ikumu, who was a maid in an estate in Ajah, said both her mother and uncle abandoned her when her father died but later turned around to be demanding money from her.

“I was just tired of the financial pressure they kept mounting on me. That was why I faked my death as the only way out,” she said. The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said that on May 15, 2020, the Command received a petition signed by one Tony Iji, on behalf of the Ikumu family members, who hail from Oni, Oju Local Government, Benue State.
Elkana said the petitioners stated that their attention had been drawn to a post on Facebook stating that the said Margaret Adiya Ikumu had died a few days ago and was secretly buried by her two friends, Marvelous Mary and Nneka Buddy, in Ajah. The family members further stated that they were able to establish contact with the said friends, who confirmed to them that their daughter had died.

The police spokesman said, “The friends said they had been instructed by Margaret not to allow members of her family know anything about her death, and that they were authorised by the deceased person to secretly bury her. To make them believe that the girl was truly dead, they sent WhatsApp chats to a member of the girl’s family, with picture of a casket showing that the girl had been buried. “The known phone number of the girl was permanently switched off. The family also got in touch with a man on phone, who claimed to be her boyfriend. He corroborated the claim that she was dead. “The girl was eventually found by the police to be alive and working as a housemaid in an estate at Ajah. When her employer saw the report of her purported death, they quickly informed the police and she was brought to the Ajah police station.

“In her statement, she confessed to have created the Facebook account and posted her obituary with intent to keep her family away from her. She said her mother was putting financial pressure on her, constantly demanding that she sends money to her. The girl is apparently bitter with her mother and uncles over their inability to sponsor her education after the death of her father. Her sojourn to Lagos is to work, save some money and return to school. “She admitted using the photograph of her employer’s daughter, Dr Nimechi Ugorji, without her knowledge, as her profile photo in the fictitious Facebook account she created. But her uncle, on seeing the obituary, downloaded the profile picture and reposted it, calling on members of the public who knew the person on the photograph to report to the nearest police station. Investigation is ongoing.”

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