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Mysterious story of a Woman who was married to a dead man for five years (photos)



several years, she searched unsuccessfully for a man to call her own
amid pressure from her mother to get married because age was not on her
side. Her desperation heightened when her bosom friend, Veronica, kissed
goodbye to spinsterhood in an elaborate ceremony that remained fresh in
her memory.

On a business trip sometime in February
2011, she encountered an alluring young man with whom she later fell in
love. A reserved, handsome stranger who exuded a romantic charm that was
shrouded in mystery swept her off her feet.
Beginning of trouble
Expectedly, her parents were full of joy
when she arrived her village on a Saturday evening to commence the
traditional marriage rites, but payment of the bride price was defered
because she was already pregnant and the tradition forbade such.
Notwithstanding, they returned to Lafia, where they settled down and
cohabited as a couple for over five years.
A few months after presenting her
heartthrob to her parents at Lokobo village in Keana Local Government
Area of Nasarawa State where she hails from, she was delivered of a baby
boy, a development that further lifted her soul and strengthened their
bond. Within a period of five years, she also had two miscarriages,
which she believed, was an act of God.
Unraveling the mystery man
Suddenly, in March, this year, she
discovered that for almost six years, she had been living with a dead
man who she called her husband, the father of her child. It sounds like a
fairy tale, but it’s true. This is the story of 39-year-old Angela
Tyoor Agber, a boisterous woman of Tiv extraction resident in Lafia,
until the macabre encounter turned around her life.
She is yet to recover from the shock,
after an unscheduled visit by two guests to their home on Obi road, on
the outskirts of Lafia, blew the veil off her ghost marriage. He
disappeared since that day with her four-year- old son, Joseph Jnr., to a
world unknown, leaving her in sorrow and fear.
The bubble burst when Angela, who sells
oranges, wanted to rent a shop at a plaza located close to the
Lafia-Makurdi Roundabout to expand her business. As part of the
conditions, the property owner, Alhaji Musa Usman, requested to meet her
husband ostensibly to ensure she was a responsible woman.
Unfortunately, her supposed 42-year-old
husband, “Barrister” Tyopenda Joseph, was too busy to meet Usman, who
decided to visit the couple at home on the fateful day. He was
accompanied by a mason, Mr.Targba Iortim, whom Usman had contracted for a
building project. Iortim, also a Tiv from Taraba State, had joined
Usman in Lafia for a trip to Abuja. But Usman decided to meet Angela’s
husband before embarking on the journey.
He drove to the couple’s home without
prior notice in company with the mason, unknown to him that Iortim was
acquainted with Angela’s husband at Andole village in Kashak Local
Government Area of Taraba State, a Tiv community where he hailed from.
Angela had barely ushered the visitors into the sitting room when the
unexpected happened.
Iortim was jolted when her husband
emerged from the bedroom to meet his guests. There was pin-drop silence
as Joseph, popularly known as Big Joe while alive, seemed to have frozen
on seeing one of his visitors. Moments later, Iortim reportedly
summoned courage and hailed him by his nickname, and then, added a
shocker: “Big Joe, but you are no more, why are you here”? The response
was a thunderous sound; when Angela and her guests recovered from the
shock, her husband and child had vanished.
Shock and disbelief
She collapsed and went blank. After being
revived, she was told her husband had died over 11 years ago, precisely
December 2005, in an auto crash on Takum road in Taraba State. His
body, which was badly mangled, was buried same month in his village.
Four months after, members of his family were wiped out during a clash
between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in the state when his village was
completely razed. Iortim, who said he attended Joseph’s burial, gave
horrendous details of the event.
Angela eventually pulled herself together
and briskly packed her belongings out of her “matrimonial home”.
Consumed by fear, she has relocated to Lokobo, her village, far away
from Lafia where she had toiled since 2007 and barely savoured her
blossoming trade in oranges. She has now realized why everything about
Joseph was enigmatic; why she neither saw nor heard about members of his
family and friends, why he rarely spoke of his past, beyond the fact
that he hailed from Kashak Local Government in Taraba State, and his
family perished during an invasion of his village by suspected Fulani
Strange behaviour
Though they lived in a secluded area on
the outskirts of Lafia, Angela never suspected anything about her
husband who told her he was a legal practitioner and relocated from
Taraba State as a result of communal crises. Strangely, he vehemently
opposed to enrolling Joseph Jnr., their only child in school even when
he was aged four. While her son whom she described as a lively and
gentle boy did not exhibit any strange behaviour, her husband was
withdrawn and often spoke about death, which unsettled her.
“Each time I complained about his
quietness, he tells me that he was thinking about his people who died
back home, and that he would join them someday. Most times, he talked
about his terrible dreams, how water surrounded him while he was going
to a farm. There was a day he asked me how I would feel if he slept one
day and didn’t wake up; there was a day he told me he had a dream that
Joseph Jnr., our son, died and was buried. In all the years we spent
together, he never attended a church service even for once; he had no
friends. On the day he went to my village for our introduction, two
young men and a woman accompanied us; he told me one of the men was his
uncle who came from Kaduna, while the other was his friend from Makurdi.
He said the woman was with us to represent his mother and was a
relation from Makurdi.
Since then, I had not seen any of them
after they accompanied him to my village, but we sometimes talk only on
his mobile phone. When I was delivered of my son, my mother visited and
spent some days with us, but none of those people came. Whenever I
raised the issue, he gave excuses. There was a time he promised taking
me to his village in Taraba, but he later reneged on the grounds that
herdsmen had taken over their community and I became afraid. About two
years before my shocking find, he kept travelling and hardly stayed
around. All along, he gave me the impression that his village had been
razed completely by the herdsmen and because of the stories we hear from
there, I was convinced. I never knew I was married to a dead man”, she
Spiritual help
It’s a cruel fate for Angela which
members of her family had resolved not to make public, as they seek
spiritual help to cleanse her of any evil spell. Following a tip off by a
relation of an arrangement for her to take sanctuary in a church led by
a female prayer warrior at Otukpo, Benue State, our correspondent laid
siege to a spot popularly known as Obi Bus Stop situated a few
kilometers away from Lafia, from where they were to transit to their
destination on the scheduled day for the trip.
On Wednesday, last week, the effort paid off as Saturday Sun
met Angela in company with her uncle, Anodohumba Adzor, as they
embarked on the journey en route Otukpo. It was a horrifying encounter
as she narrated how she got hooked to a ghost marriage, and a dark cloud
of uncertainty that has enveloped her. She told Saturday Sun her story in detail.
How we met

“In 2007, I relocated from my village to
Lafia with the assistance of Veronica, a close friend who sold oranges.
Since I wasn’t educated and couldn’t farm, my late father raised a sum
of N6000 for me and encouraged me to set up a business. I joined my
friend in the orange business which made me travel frequently to
purchase the fruit at interior villages in Konshisha, Ushongo and Gboko
areas of Benue State where they are cultivated in large quantity and
“My mother did not give her blessing to
the business I was doing; she felt since I couldn’t engage in farming, I
should marry and settle down for whatever business I wanted to do in my
husband’s house. My father didn’t send me to school, because he was
opposed to sponsoring the education of a female child. So, my mother was
against my stay in Lafia alone; she wanted me get married and
complained about it each time I went to the village. Though, I had
several boyfriends in Lafia, none was ready to marry me. They were only
interested in having sex, but my mother kept pressurizing me, more so,
when my friend, Veronica got married. Due to the pressure, I also became
desperate to marry, but could not find the right man.
“In February, 2011, I was returning from a
business trip to Konshisha via Makurdi en route Lafia. On that fateful
day, I boarded a taxi at Makurdi to Lafia with about six sacks of
oranges which filled up the back seats. The driver charged N2, 500 as my
fare and my load and as I pleaded with him to collect N2000, a young
man in black suit who was seated at the front, offered to make up the
balance of N500 so that we could move immediately; he said he was in a
hurry for an appointment in Lafia.
“As we commenced the journey, he started a
conversation with me; he probed into my life and when he realized that
both of us were of the Tiv ethnic group, he changed to our language so
that the driver, who was Hausa, would not understand our discussion. He
identified himself as Barrister Tyopenda Joseph, hailed from Taraba
State, and said he had just relocated to Lafia after being displaced by
herdsmen/farmers clashes in Taraba which consumed his entire family. He
said he was starting life afresh in Lafia, and we exchanged contacts.
Eventually, we started an affair which led to marriage within a short
Before then, he lived in a lonely area on
Obi road; he told me how all his family members were killed in an
attack on his village. It was sympathetic and based on the kind of
stories he told me, I didn’t bother anymore to probe into his roots in
Taraba, though he told me he hailed from Kashak. At this point, we were
deeply in love. He proposed marriage so that he could settle down
properly, and that was the first time a man would propose to marry me.
Since that was what I had long awaited, I did not give it a second
thought to investigate him further, at least, within Lafia. I was
already spending most of my nights in his house. I leave home early in
the morning for my business and return late in the evening. Whenever I
returned, he would tell me he had also just arrived home, and I believed
everything he told me. He regularly assisted me with money for my
business; really showed me love, and I loved him passionately. I was
ready to do everything to please him, and one thing that made me give
him my heart was that he satisfied me sexually, the way no man had done
since I lost my virginity.
Seven months into our relationship, I
became pregnant and he gladly accepted to shoulder the responsibility.
All along, I had wanted to marry because my only friend had married and I
had gone an extra mile to make my dream a reality. He was about 42
years. I took him to my parents who were happy, particularly my mother. A
forum of family members and elders of the village was convened, where
he was introduced as my husband. He bought drinks and performed some
traditional marriage rites, but the bride price was not paid instantly
because I was pregnant and our tradition forbade collecting bride price
for a pregnant woman. This was in November, 2011. He promised to pay the
bride price after I was delivered of the baby. We returned to Lafia and
lived in peaceful matrimony. He was reserved and had no friend. Daily,
he left home by 6am and returned at about weekdays; he doesn’t go
out on weekends.
I was delivered of a baby boy in June,
2012, and thereafter, had two miscarriages. Throughout the period of our
marriage, he did not go back to the village to pay the bride price as
he earlier promised. He kept giving excuses, but my family exercised
patience with him because he catered for them; he solved every problem
to which his attention was drawn. Our son behaved normal; he was a
gentle boy always comfortable wherever you kept him. But one strange
thing his father did was that he never allowed me to enroll him in
school; he warned me not to enroll him in Lafia as he was planning to
relocate to Abuja where he would attend a good school. My son was four
years old at that time. I felt bad and reported the matter to my mother,
but she told me I should allow my husband do what he desired for his
“Sometime in March, 2017, I wanted to
rent a shop at a plaza along Lafia/Makurdi Roundabout to expand my
business. The property is owned by one Alhaji Musa Usman who requested
to see my husband before letting the shop to me. I told him how busy my
husband was, but he insisted and instead, offered to visit our home on a
Saturday. He said he was travelling to Abuja same day for a business
trip that would take him a month. I forgot to tell my husband about
Alhaji’s visit and the man came with a mason, a Tiv man who relocated
from Taraba State to Makurdi who knew my husband while he was alive and
attended his funeral when he died. That was when my world crashed like a
pack of cards. I had no inkling my husband had died before, but I later
believed because if it wasn’t true, he wouldn’t vanish with his son;
it’s true. I’m short of words to express how I feel, but have to accept
my fate as an act of God. It is shocking, because we had come a long way
and now, the man has gone”.
Family speaks
Anodohumba Adzor, Angela’s uncle who
accompanied her to seek divine intervention at Otukpo, Benue State, said
the family was concerned with how to manage the attendant
stigmatization, following the incident. “When she packed her belongings
and returned to the village, people thought she had misbehaved and was
divorced by her husband. The truth is that except for few persons, most
people are not aware of what happened. We want to manage the incident
carefully so that her future will not be ruined; so that she can live
her life in the future. Since the incident happened, we have approached
several spiritualists who confirmed that the man was a ghost; he wasn’t a
human being and the woman need to undergo some traditional rites for
living with a ghost for years. But we shall do our best for her to
return to her normal life; that is why we are keeping her away from
people. We have been directed to a woman at Otukpo for spiritual help
and we are going there”, he told Saturday Sun.
I attended Joseph’s funeral –Iortim
Targba Iortim, also a Tiv who hails from
Taraba State, is the mason who unmasked Angela’s ghost marriage. He
spoke about her husband’s lifetime in an interview with our
correspondent, during which he revealed Joseph’s true identity and
members of his family. He gave his father’s name as Mr. Gbamwuam
Tyopenda, and his mother, Mrs. Oladi Tyopenda. He also mentioned Iorna
Sunday Tyopenda and Akem Humphrey Tyopenda, as Joseph’s younger
siblings. Unfortunately, suspected Fulani herdsmen killed all in an
attack on their village. That was however, after Joseph had died in an
auto crash in 2005.
“I knew him very well; he wasn’t a
lawyer. He did a diploma in Law at the Benue State University sometime
in 2002. We used to live together in Taraba State. He was into politics,
had two motorcycles and a Volkswagen Golf car, which he hired out for
commercial purpose. He was a boyfriend to my late elder sister; in fact,
he wanted to marry her before she took ill and died of cancer
infection. I still have photographs he took with my late sister, but I
don’t have them here with me. He was always in our house; I knew him
well. He died in an accident on Takum road in 2005, and I attended his
funeral. He was a neat, gentle and humble man whose aspiration was to be
a lawyer; he took the West African School Certificate Examination four
times without a credit in Literature, but he refused to study any other
course apart from Law.
“You could hardly predict him, but he was
in love with my sister. When she died, he left the village for an
unknown destination for more than a year. A few months before he died,
he travelled to Ibadan and spent about three months; when he returned,
he started practicing as a medical personnel. At a point, he wanted to
contest councillorship election, but later dropped his ambition. He
lived a lonely life at Andole village in Kashak Local Government Area of
Taraba State. He doesn’t talk much and his favorite food was pounded
yam as well as roasted yam served with palm oil, which my late sister
used to prepare for him. He loved watching football”.
Friend corroborates
Iortim was emphatic on his claims and
linked our correspondent with Mathew Kpeber, his (Joseph’s) close friend
in Taraba who had also relocated to Makurdi, for a confirmation. When
contacted on his mobile phone, he confirmed Joseph died over a decade
ago. “I used to ride one of his commercial motorcycles in Taraba, but we
fell apart after we had issues over remittance of proceeds. He died in
an accident on Takum road, though I didn’t attend his burial because I
had a surgery at that time and was on admission in a hospital. But I
know that Big Joe was dead”.