Mr Segun Adepegba, the father of the three children abandoned in a boarding school for eight years in Abule-Iroko in Ado-Odo OtaLocal Government Area of Ogun State, Mr Segun Adepegba, on Wednesday, reached out to PUNCH Metro.
Adepegba said hardship pushed him to the wall and that was why he could not take care of his children. He, however, promised to visit them before the end of the week.
The father of three, in a telephone interview with PUNCH Metro, recounted his ordeal, saying, “life has been very tough for me.” He said he left the children because he was jobless and had no house to accommodate them.
PUNCH Metro had on Tuesday reported that Adepegba’s children-Seun, 14, Titilola 13, and Seyi, 10, had been abandoned since 2007 at Solid Rock Model College in Abule-Iroko. The children, who had been eager to meet their parents, said the absence of their parents was affecting their studies.
For many years, the school authorities had been trying to reach Adepegba to no avail. The proprietor of the school, Mr Samuel Ayegbusi, had told our correspondent that any time he called Adepegba and he realised it was him, he would switch off his phones.
Adepegba, however, bowed to pressure on Tuesday after reading the report by PUNCH Metro. He told our correspondent that abandoning his children was inevitable, promising that he would visit the school.
While narrating his ordeal to our correspondent, he said, “In 2007, my wife and I had a misunderstanding and she told me she was leaving me. I was frustrated and the children were little. Seyi, the youngest was just two years while Titilola was just five.
“There was no way I could give them motherly care. I had no job. As a man, I needed someone to help me take care of them and that was why my sister suggested that we enrol them in a boarding school.”
Adepegba told PUNCH Metro that when the children’s bills kept accumulating and he had no means of paying, he was afraid that if he came to the school, the proprietor would get him arrested.
He said, “I feared that if I suddenly appeared at the school, the proprietor would get the police to arrest me. I really appreciate the proprietor of Solid Rock Model College, for coming to my rescue and accepting the responsibility to help me take care of my children. The truth is this: I was pushed to the wall. I didn’t want my children to be beggars on the street.
“All these years, I have been jobless. I had no house to live in. I was putting up with someone. I just rented a one-room apartment and just got a job. I am not a wicked father. I really miss them but I am gradually overcoming the challenges I have been facing. I did not abandon them in that sense. I can assure you that before the week runs out, I will visit them.”
Asked whether his wife had called him about how the children were doing, Adepegba said since she left him in 2007, he had not heard from her.
“The last time we saw each other was probably in 2007 when she left me. I have been trying to reach her but my search has not been fruitful. I heard that she is somewhere in the northern part of the country,” he said.
However, the school proprietor told PUNCH Metro that the school authorities had no intention of getting Adepegba arrested for his debt .He said he reported the matter to the Ogun State Police Command because he was fed up.
He said, “I have nothing against Mr Adepegba and I understand his plight. My grievance was that he kept on rejecting my calls and abandoned his children. How could he as a father leave his children for this long? It is not a good thing.”
Our correspondent learnt that the news of their father’s return had lifted the heart of the children. The children were all smiles when they were told that their father had promised to return before the end of the week.
Speaking with PUNCH Metro on the telephone on Wednesday, Seun, the eldest of the trio said, “I am very happy that daddy has promised to come back. It means I would not have to spend my holidays in the school again.”
Titilola added, “I hope this is not another promise that will fail. I am really looking forward to seeing him because it will make me very happy.”