I know who killed Dr. Hestianna Thomas – Peju Akande

I know who killed Dr. Hestianna Thomas – Peju Akande

I read about the death of a certain Dr. Hestianna Thomas. She was until her demise, a surgeon at the Lagos University teaching Hospital. I never met the doctor but as I read her story online, I quickly scrolled down to see her picture, as if that would tell me why she died such a brutal death. Her picture didn’t tell me anything. What I saw was a man, a woman and two adorable children; picture perfect family.

Days after the story broke, there were agitated calls for her husband’s head. Many claimed Dr. Hestianna Thomas was a victim of spousal abuse. I looked for the family picture again for answers. The man looked years older than his wife. Uh huh. Does that mean he beat her to death? However, the noise for the husband’s head soon began to eerily subside because; the doctor’s family came out to dispute the story saying instead that she committed suicide.  I looked again at the picture. There’s a baby there. Could the Doctor have become depressed after child birth, post-partum depression they call it. Is that why she jumped to her death?

Did she even jump?


A typical Fela Anikulapo’s response would be- oro pe si je. The matter at hand has swallowed every reasonable answer.

The picture hasn’t told me anything and I’m not interested in the forensic findings, let the police worry about that. I know who killed Dr. Hestianna Thomas. It’s you and you and you too. Yes, all of us killed her. Every one of us who encourages this culture of silence is guilty.

“Don’t talk about your problems, just trust God”

“He’s beating you? Pray he doesn’t divorce you because that is worse, just bear it.”

“You are feeling suicidal after child birth? The devil is a liar, rebuke it.” How many times did Dr. Hestianna call for help one way or another and met with shushing up as these?

I know a woman, thankfully she’s alive to tell her own story but let me tell you because like the late Odimegwu Ojukwu told us …I’m Involved. This woman was always the chief bridesmaid but never the bride. She was way into her mid-thirties with a dozen nephews and nieces from her much younger siblings and the butt of jokes at family gatherings.

“Marry nah, it doesn’t matter who, just marry.”

Shuo! As if it marriage is a button you just press.

Her mother would be  at the background, wiping imaginary tears and looking heavenwards whispering, “Who have I offended?”

So one day, she met this vagrant and married him.

The first thing I told her was, “You can’t go feeding in the dustbin just because you are hungry”. But she wanted to get married badly. You see, she told me things would work out for him, that I should be positive. Ok, o.

She practically wedded herself as she bought all her bridal requirements by herself. The long list of traditional bridal items were bought by her.

EHEN and on top of that, she made her family pay for the wedding and reception because you see, the vagrant, like I choose to call him,  as he will never qualify to take the name husband, had no job, not even a roof over his sorry head.

They moved into the woman’s father’s house and lived well…the woman’s family was sponsoring their upkeep, I know for a fact that when this woman had her children, her family paid the hospital bills and school fees for a long time.

Then the vagrant got a hard on, he began to beat her to ejaculate. He said she was getting too proud. The beatings continued over every excuse. She called out to her family but was told she brought this on herself. So, she took the beatings and remained silent. Her friends asked her if she wanted to be single again, she said no, they said, bear it. “No marriage is a bed of roses.”

Then one day, she called me, she was bleeding she told me. The vagrant she called a husband had descended on her again over something she said about his mother. And as she had just been discharged from the hospital after giving birth through a CS, I did the first thing that came to me, got my car keys and went straight to get her out of the house.

“It is only a bad woman who will go and carry another woman’s load from her husband’s house.” One woman told me later. I got a lot of reprimand for my rash action.

“She was bleeding, he beat her so badly. If I didn’t take her away, he would have killed her,” I tried to defend myself.

“It doesn’t matter; you shouldn’t have gone to carry her away. It’s not your business. You want her children to be fatherless?” She charged at me. None of our friends defended my action.

I became contrite and did nothing when she moved back.

Then I heard, a few years later, the same woman had died from injuries she sustained from her husband’s battery.

Somebody dropped the ball.

Dr. Hestianna’s troubles did not start on the day she died by whatever means. She must have confided in a few people. What help did they render?

Did they tell her that she would be shamed at the hospital if she walked away?

Did they tell her depression is not an African ailment?

Or did they point her to the nearest church for deliverance?

Who knows? What we know is that Dr. Hestianna Thomas is dead and we killed her.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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  1. Tom

    I am totally confused by your write up.
    For someone you do not know, you seem to have very strong opinions as to her marriage. For some reason you have also concluded that the family is Christian, and took her to church rather than the hospital.
    Well, I know Hestia and I know each member of her family, including both her parents. They are decent people.
    Decent enough to save the innocent husband from being crucified just to “save the family name from shame”.
    Very few families can do this.
    The sad example of your battered friend was not a proper comparison here. Hestia’s case was totally different.
    No parent will train a child to post graduate level in Medicine and blindly support her “killer”… Think about that.
    Please let us speak of what we have Actual Knowledge of, and let us allow such a beautiful soul rest in peace.
    Thank you.

    1. Nkem

      Please I totally disagree with you. I know of a lady that was killed by her husband after years of abuse. Guess what? She was a well educated lady from a wealthy Igbo home. The family helped to the extent that they sent them all abroad to start life after living apart for 3 years. That was when the beating started and the words of caution – marriage is not easy started. She ended up being bludgeoned to death on her head and tied to a car via a chain whilst being dragged around the streets of New York. It was that same mother that cautioned her to tolerate that saw the news on cable TV. Now the writer of this piece has not accused the husband of being the culprit. She has simply said that it’s apparent the victim didn’t receive the help she needed. The version of the story on the social media did not make her death look like a suicide for crying out loud. And I have news for you. Families of deceased have covered up similar deaths for the reason that they are concerned about who takes care of the children in these sorry stories. Please ask lawyers in this country 99% of the time the victims families ly refuse to press charges. That said I pray that the truth will finally come out. Unfortunately I cannot hold my breath because our investigative prowess in this country leaves much to be desired.

  2. Adebimpe

    Peju well done for this write up. Hum,really sad indeed. Most women are dead due to emotional blackmail from their husbands. You are very right in every sense of it..
    Mr Tom,I employ you to read what Peju wrote. She was not pointing any accusing fingers on the Doctor’s parents or her husband. But the society in which we are living in Africa does not give ears to people under depression either through marriage, family and profession.
    May God give us boldness to act when faced with life challenges.

  3. Tgold

    This is the best write up ive read this year, i left my man the very day he laid his hands on me, that was 5yrs ago… I dont regret it

  4. Kola Oladokun

    Comment…May her soul rest in peace. Either the content of Peju’s write-up is implied or not, do not let us jump into hasty, human and inaccurate conclusions. God knows best.

  5. folu

    @ Tom, im curious…since you knew her so well, who killed her? Was it really suicide? Or somone (not necessarily her husband) beat her Up?

  6. Fola

    Indeed our African society has become that of the deaf and dumb. Hear no evil, see no evil just keep smiling along. A lot of women are depressed, yet their so called loved ones are not aware. Many women are being physically, mentally and emotionally abused. Is it that people dont care anymore? Or simply a case of glitters. Whether her bubby did it or not, the fact remains that she was depressed and nobody cared enough to help. Life, hmm African life…

  7. Dr.T

    Thank you Tom,the writers analogy was faulty,biased and lopsided.People should learn to speak fairly,and in a just manner.The problem I noticed with many female writers is that they believe they are in a battle of the sexes,or is it,that they are trying to impress their reader with what they believe is a good command of English,or seeking relevance as a social crusader,or worse still trying to compensate for a personal inferiority complex.Think family,let’s build our homes and by extension the larger society,the evil in our culture is equally shared by both sexes,let us respect the memory of Hestia who was a personal friend,to demonstrate this,we should always remember to pray for the loved ones she left behind,especially her children,that is were the focus should be,as we awaits the forensic report on the cause of her death.Thank you.

  8. Concerned

    Dr T
    You are just what the story is about. While my heart goes out to the poor kids involved in this, and I quite agree they will need our prayers more than anything, is this going to prevent incidents like this from recurring? Is it not to prevent a recurrence that this story was written? The writer has written enough stories to prove her excellent command of english, she has nothing to prove anymore. Take the lessons to be learned and run with it, that’s my role and yours too.

  9. Ronke

    Obviously Tom and Dr. T missed the essence of the write up. Nowhere has she pointed accusing fingers at the husband or family, rather she has pointed accusing fingers at all of us individually and collectively. Depression is swept under the carpet, domestic abuse is hushed! Both are swept under the carpet and hushed by family and friends and that includes you Dr T, Tom, myself and everyone! Is it possible for you to take the message and disregard if it came from a man or woman so we can all save lives from being wasted?

  10. Moi

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong in keeping an open mind as to the possibilities and there’s nothing as misleading as circumstantial evidence. It could well be a homicide or a suicide. Are we saying a person with a suicidal tendency cannot be a murder victim and the crime scene staged? Not to mention the fact that the ‘crime/trauma scene’ was not witnessed by others with the body undisturbed. An individual is innocent until proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. Yet jumping to conclusion that there’s no foul play without thorough investigation is enabling as far as would be criminals are concerned. Knowing the society will ask questions and the law doesn’t make assumptions should be reassuring to the rest of us and cautionary to the evil minded individuals. Every commenter who starts with ‘I know Hestia’ has so far tried to shove the suicide theory down our throats without having been witnesses to the tragic event (if that is indeed the truth, let it be shown to be so and other possibilities ruled out). The truth remains that we don’t know what happened on that fateful day. Hope justice prevails and the investigation doesn’t get botched. May God be with her family (yes, her husband too). By the way, the writer of this piece is not biased (her example notwithstanding).


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