Even after over a decade, It has been pretty difficult for the mother and siblings of late Dr Suraj Giwa, dealing with the death of their son and brother who was killed on February 26, 2005, in an auto-crash caused by jailed actress, Ibinabo Fiberesima’s reckless driving.
Until that fateful day, Giwa was the Head of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department at the General Hospital, Lagos. He was heading home from Ajah with two of his relations, when an SUV driven by the actress smashed into his vehicle across the median and killed him instantly. Biola, his younger sister granted Punch Newspaper an extensive interview.
Excerpts from the interview revealed that contrary to perceptions, the Giwa family has forgiven Ibinabo, but they believe she is in jail today because of the way she conducted herself after the accident and the lies she told against the family, because nobody sets out with the mindset of killing anybody.
Biola, an accountant, who has been living in the US for the past 33 years explained that When the accident happened, Ibinabo fled the scene of the accident. In her words, “She (Ibinabo) doesn’t have good advisers. The state government had to find out who the owner of the car she was driving was. That was when it was found out that the car belonged to Daniel Wilson.”
When asked if she knew Ibinabo before the accident, She said, “My first time of hearing that name was the day of the accident. I had been in the US for over 20 years then and there was no way I would have known anything about her then.”
Reacting to eyewitness reports that said Ibinabo didn’t flee but was rushed to the hospital, she recounted , “I had another brother who was also in the car when that accident happened. You can imagine two people of the same mother and father in that car. They didn’t try to help them out, they all ran and left the scene of the accident. If some other people were in the car with her, what about those people? How come they didn’t try to help? Somebody should have stayed at that scene to say he or she was with Ibinabo. But nobody said anything. And how come the eyewitness is coming out now to talk?”
Late Giwa’s sister refuted rumours that she had said she would never forgive Ibinabo and would make sure she was sent to jail saying “Why would I want to say that? Is it not God that forgives? I don’t even know her, so why would I say I wasn’t going to forgive her? I didn’t know who she was. We weren’t even bothered about her. My mother had two kids in that car. My brother’s wife came from England and we were having a prayer session. That was when I saw Ibinabo. Would I say anything like that during a prayer session? We were all crying. One of them went to my husband and somehow, it was arranged that they meet me.”
Ibinabo claimed to have gone to plead with late Giwa’s family after the accident and has been visiting the family,but his sister rebuffed those claims saying “I asked her what she wanted and she said she had come to plead so that the charges would be dropped. I told her it wasn’t between us and her but between the state government and her. But I told her I would rather give her an advice that would work for her. I told her if I were in her shoes, I would apologise publicly to the masses and also to the family. I advised her to throw herself to the mercy of the court. If she had done that, people would know she was remorseful and they would know she had indeed apologised. But she said she wasn’t going to do that. She said it would damage her career.” Biola went on, “Believe me, if not that so many eyes were on us, I would have kicked her for saying that. My husband was beside me when she said that. He even looked at me. I couldn’t believe it. What? Dr. Giwa was the head of physical rehabilitation medicine in LASUTH. He was the only one that had that credential then in Lagos State. Dr. Giwa was valuable to the state. He had helped a lot of people out. Ibinabo has never visited my mother! My mother does not even remember her name.”
Refuting claims that the family was offered money as a form of compensation, Biola firmly stated, “What money? We don’t need her money! We are all good! Dr. Giwa wasn’t the only breadwinner. Every one of us is doing very well.”
She also set the records straight that she never threatened to kill Ibinabo as against rumours that made the rounds, and that she never rejoiced over the fact that Ibinabo was jailed because she believes that accidents happen, but people’s attitudes towards it is what matters most, the level of remorse they show. While She was thankful to the justice system, she maintained that justice can’t be tampered with even If Ibinabo makes a public apology now and it will be impossible for her to go to the government and ask them to drop the case.
The late doctor’s sister also revealed that their mother developed high blood pressure for the first time as a result of the unfortunate incident and she has been managing it since then.