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Family petitions Buhari over Nigerian cremated in Poland



Allege foul play, want Polish authorities to probe death

shola and Kuba Gaska

By Vicky Bricks


The Adefolalu family has requested Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to step in and help them determine the circumstances leading to the death of their daughter, Mrs Shola Gaska, who was hurriedly cremated late last year in Krakow, Poland.

Shola, who was married to Jakub Gaska, a Pole, is said to have died of complications

In a petition addressed to the president, the family is asking the Nigerian President to take up the matter with the Polish authorities.

This was disclosed at a press conference in Lagos yesterday that had in attendance Dr. Akinroye, Mr. Henry Essien-Nelson and Mrs. Bola Essien-Nelson, the elder sister of the deceased.

The event also had in attendance the civil society activists, Dr. Joe Odumakin and Betty Abah.

Titled ‘ PETITION AGAINST MR. JAKUB GASKA FOR THE MURDER; UNLAWFUL CREMATION AND BURIAL OF OLUWASHOLA ATUNRAYO GASKA (NEE ADEFOLALU) IN KRAKOW, POLAND ON THE 28TH OF DECEMBER 2016, and signed by Bola Essien, the petition requests the president’s ‘intervention in unravelling the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of Mrs. Oluwashola Atunrayo GASKA and the hurried cremation of her remains by her husband, Jakub Gaska (A.K.A. Qba) without the authorisation of the Adefolalu family.

Stating the facts of matter, the family noted that Shola, who was born on September 25, 1980 had in 2000, travelled to Poland to study Architecture where after graduating and working in Poland for some years, she had met and married Jakub Gaska on August 15, 2010.

In her lifetime, Shola taught English Language as a Foreign Language and also owned a photography business. Part of the challenge, the family outlined was that Shola and Jakub lived a communal lifestyle as she had to share the matrimonial home with her mother-in-law even at a time that the husband was in and out of employment.

In the testimony of her sister, Abimbola, whose last verbal discussion with the deceased was four days before her death,  ‘I constantly received reports the deceased that there was constant friction in the marriage due to the over-bearing and meddling stance of her mother-inlaw. As a matter of fact, the deceased had informed me of their plans to relocate to a separate house for the privacy of herself and her husband as there was no privacy whatsoever in the matrimonial home.’

It is within this frame of events that ‘at about 11.28a.m on Wednesday, 28th December 2016, I received a telephone call from the husband that “there had been an accident, Shola had fallen unconscious and had died”. As expected, this information was devastating for me and my family. The husband did not tell me the nature of the so called “accident”. I was still conversing with the husband when the telephone was disconnected.

The husband later called me back on the same 28th December 2016 now stating that Shola had been feeling sick on Tuesday evening, and that he and his Sister had taken her to the hospital [the name of the hospital was not provided]. Tests were said to have been conducted which showed she had anaemia and low haemoglobin level. She was admitted and treated but eventually passed away at about 3a.m. on Wednesday, the 28th of December 2016.

Still in shock, I informed my family members and we began to make plans to travel to Krakow to give the deceased a befitting burial when the husband informed us that the remains of the deceased would be cremated in line with what he termed the agreed mode of burial between him and the deceased.

It is important to note that there is no history of cremation in both the Gaska and Adefolalu families. This fact was revealed to the team of Nigerians in Krakow who visited the house after the death of my Sister.

We thereafter requested that the husband should suspend all issues pertaining to the funeral arrangements until the representatives of the Adefolalu Family arrived Krakow in early January 2017 to partake in the funeral rites.

We also made it clear to him that because of the sudden nature of her death, the family insisted on seeing her corpse.   We sent several sets of representatives from the Nigerian community to him in this regard but he refused to allow anyone access to the corpse. His response was that Shola said that only I and no other person should see her corpse. Strange indeed!

We went further to purchase Air tickets for 3 of our blood relatives to fly in from Ireland to see the body and participate in the burial arrangements and requested that he should suspend all arrangements for the burial/cremation until their arrival but he defiantly proceeded to cremate the remains a day before the arrival of the representatives of the Adefolalu family.

The husband’s final words on the matter were that ‘the cremation will proceed as planned and there is nothing anyone can do about it’.

So, in spite of our clear requests, the husband proceeded to cremate the remains of the deceased on January 2, 2017 (which neither he nor his family members attended). We learnt through third parties sympathetic to our cause that a burial service to inter the ashes on January 7, 2017 without officially informing me or any member of my family.

When I requested for photographs of the corpse of the deceased, the husband ignored my requests for several days and he eventually and reluctantly sent just 1 (one) picture which showed only a part of her face. No autopsy report and medical records were provided as well.

Prior to the cremation, we had notified the Nigerian Consular Offices in Krakow on the 30th of December 2016 to intercede and intercept the rollercoaster funeral arrangements being made by the husband and his family.

Unfortunately, the Nigerian Consular Office appears to have been powerless in stopping the cremation as the representative of the Nigerian Consular Office through Mr. Ogunsanya responded via SMS on 2nd January 2017 at 1a.m. (Nigerian time) as follows: ‘The lady will be cremated tomorrow. We are just comind (sic) from force headquarters where we were told that nothing could be down except we gat (sic) to krakow police headquarters. Even if we set out by road she would have been cremated before we get there. At this the embassy has nothing to do with her case at this stage”

On 2nd January 2017 at 12.20 p.m. (Nigerian time), Mr. Ogunsanya sent another SMS as follows: “…We discoursed on the issue last night with Pasor (sic) Oyeneye who followed us to the force headquarters where we met a stumbling block. We had expected them to take immediate action only for no action from them.’

Noting a whole lot of ostructions placed on their way in the entire saga, the family revealed that its best efforts to ensure an unearthing otf the truth were continuounsly frustrated.

‘We are informed by the Nigerian Consular Offices in Poland that the police had been contacted to commence an investigation into the questionable death of my Sister, but we have not received any feedback on the progress made (if any) in respect of the investigation or the efforts they are making to ensure that the rights of Nigerian Citizens are not trampled upon.

We want to understand why Shola’s husband could not wait for us. Why he has deprived our family of the opportunity of paying our last respects to our daughter, sister, niece, cousin and Aunty. Imagine how doubly painful this is?

We want to know why he was so adamant that no one would see her remains on my behalf when it was clear I couldn’t make it to Poland on time.

His refusal to send detailed photographs of the corpse is highly suspicious as we can even observe from the only photograph he sent that there were attempts to conceal the swelling on her lips and neck region. The head also has all the signs of trauma and bruises. This likely explains the reluctance of the husband to allow anyone access to the corpse and the rollercoaster speed with which the cremation was carried out.

Where is the autopsy report? All we have is a Death Card and a Death certificate. Are these documents enough evidence of the cause of Shola’s death?’

Coming to the crux of the matter, the family outlined that it has ‘reasonable reason to suspect that the death of the deceased was not natural and that the husband and/or conjunctively with his mother and sisters are presumed to be responsible for her death.’

Acording to them, ‘this explains their refusal to give us access to her body and the hurried cremation of the remains of the deceased.’ Also suspicious, they insisted is the fact that ‘the husband also hurriedly pulled down the deceased’s social media accounts and her business website to further make any form of investigations difficult.’

In closing, the family passionately appealed to the Federal Government ‘to assist our family in unravelling the mystery surrounding the death and the cremation of (late Shola) and to ensure that justice is done.

Signed by Abimbola Essien Nelson, the petition was copied to the Nigerian Senate President, the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, The Majority Leader, Federal House of Representatives, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs,  the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, the Head, Nigerian Consular Section, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Warsaw, Poland, the President, Republic of Poland, the Ambassador, Republic of Poland to Nigeria, the Mayor, City of Krakow, Republic of Poland, and the Policja General Commandant, Poland.


Shola and Kuba Gaska


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