It has been 12 years since the accident that happened involving Nollywood actress, Ibinabo Fiberesima and a medical doctor, Dr. Suraj Giwa.
In 2006, Ibinabo ran into Dr. Giwa’s car which led to his death. She was also arrested and charged to court, but she never shared the story on social media until now.
In a letter addressed to a journalist, Azuka Jebose, which was also shared on her Instagram page, Ibinabo told how the event happened, reiterating her stance that she didn’t drive under the influence of alcohol.
The letter, titled, “MY STORY. DEAR NIGERIA, I AM SORRY,” was prompted by the criticism she has been going through and its effect on her life.
“I need to tell my story. I stayed silent for so long and watched as my life, character and person were being ruined in published reports, including social media. This is my story, told for the first time on social media platform,” she wrote.
Sober about the death of the medical doctor, whose life was lost in the accident, Ibinabo pleaded for the pains she caused the family.
“I am sorry for the pains caused. I have also been maligned and disparaged in the media: I am a monster. I am a killer and a murderer, I am a drunk… No. Azuka. I am none of these. I am just another human being that was in a deadly accident and the accident caused the death of Dr. Suraj Giwa.”
As a result of this incidence, Ibinabo said she had been through 12 years of heartache, pain and depression.
“Some days I feel like killing myself. Life has no meaning to me. I think about Dr. Giwa every day. I pray for his soul and I pray and seek forgiveness from his family for the pain and agony.”
On that fateful day, Ibinabo said she was driving along Lekki road, returning home after picking up a friend’s daughter from a church fellowship when the accident happened.
“Suddenly, a red car overtook the SUV in front of me. The SUV was travelling slowly, so I shifted to its front, too. The red vehicle was being driven by a young man and had his friends with him…I drove past the red car. I think that might have angered the young chap because he swiftly sped from behind, drove past me and made a sudden stop in my front.I tried to avoid hitting those boys in the red car. I swerved and lost control, in that moment, the impact dived my vehicle into inbound lane.. Dr. Giwa was inbound, thus he drove into my car and both cars collided. I collapsed and passed out..”
Three days later, she woke up on a hospital bed, having been sedated for three days. Meanwhile, the police had been informed that she was in that hospital, so, they visited to take her statement, arrested and charged her to court.
During her first court hearing, Ibinabo said the judge had to send her back to the hospital when he saw her injuries and how ‘sick, weak, incoherent and disoriented’ she was.
While she was in the hospital, Ibinabo’s family contacted the family of Late Dr. Giwa and also attended his funeral. However, everytime she wanted to get close to them to tell them how sorry she was, she was always rebuffed.
“I understood all these: the pain and distress they felt as a result of the accident. I felt their pain. I wanted to tell them how sorry and remorseful I was…”
Even while attending her court sessions, Ibinabo revealed she always approached them and other people to help her beg the Giwa family.
“I had gone to so many good people and friends to assist me in pleading for forgiveness from the family. One of such friends is late Iyalode of Lagos. She assisted me in begging the Giwa family: when I became well and able to walk, she took me to The former Imam of Lagos and the Present Oba of Lagos: these traditional and religious leaders begged on my behalf, pleading with the family for forgiveness and showed how sorry and remorseful I was that the accident happened,” she explained
Charged for reckless and dangerous driving, Ibinabo said the Giwa family believed that she was drunk on the night of the accident.
According to her, she decided to keep quiet because she understood that the Giwa family was mourning but she had been falsely represented in the media.
“I have just been wrongly represented and maligned in the media. The story has several versions that make me a heartless beautiful beast and monster. I have not said much because the family is bereaved. It hurts. I need to respect their sorrows and what they are going through:trying to explain myself, I thought, would sound arrogant. So I kept quiet. I have been sorry from the moment I learnt the accident took a dear life.”
According to her, the perception of people about her broke her so much that she now lives her life in fear.
“I keep praying to God to release me from this miserable bondage…I am broken! My life is uncomfortable.. I do not go out. I hardly socialize. I am afraid. I do not know what to do….I don’t know….. I have been rubbished as a heartless, careless, monster, inhuman party girl and jail bird: I am none of these…”
She also revealed that she almost took her life as the incidence was too much for her to take.
“I wanted to end my life. I wanted to commit suicide because I was tired of reading things I never knew about: false stories that dehumanized me. So I thought suicide was the best option to end all these and find peace for my family and Dr. Giwa’s family. I lost myself. I was no longer Ibinabo. I didn’t know who I was. I became a stranger to myself and my family, afraid of life and living, scarred by and scared of human beings. I withdrew and became clinically depressed.”
When she was sent to Kirikiri female Prison, Ibinabo revealed she felt like dying there but for the timely intervention of a preacher, whose words of encouragement gave her hope.
During that time, Ibinabo said she didn’t want to see any lawyer again, she had no money but her family bailed her out after three months and three days. She decided to pursue an appeal but lost it and she was taken back to Kirikiri maximum Female prison in 2016.
While at Kirikiri, Ibinabo discovered a lump in her breast and had to do surgery…….
Revealing that the Giwa family sued her to the sum of N200Million, Ibinabo said, she pleaded with the family to settle out of court.
“Where will I get that money from?. So we have been negotiating to see where we can get to, so I can begin making payment by installment. We have agree to settle out of court… we are not there yet. It’s a process… Though I have appealed this case to the Supreme Court, what is important to me now is making peace with the family: that is more important because it will heal me… his family and I would have peace.”
On running for a political office, Ibinabo said it was a group of youths in her village who begged her to contest, printed posters and placed it on social media, so, she endorsed it.
Most importantly, Ibinabo said she has found God through the experience.
“But I still need help. I am receiving therapy for my depression and suicidal thoughts… I am able to share these with you.. I am healing… one moment at a time.. I have had periods of feeling miserable in the last 12years as a result of this accident. I need to find peace. I seek forgiveness. I am sorry… Thank you.”