Why I Didn’t Remarry – Martha Bagauda-Kaltho

Why I Didn’t Remarry – Martha Bagauda-Kaltho

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 4:43 pm

Mrs. Martha Bagauda-Kaltho, wife of ace journalist, Bagauda Kaltho, who disappeared in mysterious circumstances in 1997 under the late General Sani Abacha regime, tells BAYO ADETU how she has been coping as a single mother and why she refuses to remarry

Congratulations, you just won N1 million from the hot seat of Who Deserves To Be A Millionaire.

Thank you.

How are you feeling now?

I must confess, since we arrived Lagos with my two daughters, officials of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, WWTBAM, have been taking good care of us. They have been doing many good things to make my daughters and I feel at home and loved. The whole thing is still like a dream to me.


It was heavily raining when my daughters and I arrived Lagos, and as at the time we were looking for shelter, one Mr. Olu Akinlabi, who had been speaking with me from Ultima Limited (the producers of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire) just appeared, identified himself and drove us down to our hotel. It was a great relief. He later detailed another officer – Mr. Niyi – to be handling whatever we need, from food and familiarisation around Lagos. In fact, they pampered us. When we finally appeared for the show, the treatment the Ultima team gave us was wonderful.

•Martha Bagauda-Kaltho

•Martha Bagauda-Kaltho

On the hot seat, they had arranged for a Hausa man [Malam Umaru Angibi], who had won a big prize on the show before, to play for me. The man told me they arranged for his transport, accommodation and feeding, the same way they had done for me. Isn’t that enough a dream, at least for hopeless people like us, who have no person to run to?
Can you shed more light on what happened to your husband, Mr. James Bagauda Kaltho?

Mr. Bagauda-Kaltho is my husband; we married on 29 September 1990. When we got married, he was working with The NEWS magazine. Throughout our stay, we were happy. We stayed peacefully and we enjoyed our togetherness. God blessed us with two children, both females. The first one is Anne James Bagauda, the second one, Lessi James Bagauda. When we got married, because of his work, he was mostly staying in Kaduna, while I resided in Biliri, working with the National Orientation Agency. We usually met whenever he was chanced, once in a month or twice. He came home from Kaduna in the year 1996 for Christmas and told me while departing that he would be coming back around February 1997.

Before then, some of his friends had told me that the government wanted him dead or alive, so with that information, I was afraid. I was scared and I told him to be very careful. That was during the Abacha regime. So after the Christmas celebration in December 1996, he went back to Kaduna.

By February, I waited for him, he did not come. I was afraid as I knew there was this information about him being wanted by the government. When I did not see him, I decided to ask some of his friends, who could not tell me his whereabouts either. Some of his friends asked me to wait until April during Easter, that they would come home and furnish me with whatever information they had. Unfortunately, when they came there was no one who knew his whereabouts, so I went to his office in Kaduna, but there was no positive response.

In fact, the people in Kaduna gave me the impression that I was the one that alerted them because all along they believed he was in a hideout. My complaint now came to be a sort of revelation. They went searching for him. I was also searching for him. Whenever I heard news that some of the detainees were released, I would always be there to check for him; without success.

•Mrs. Bagauda-Kaltho at the session

•Mrs. Bagauda-Kaltho at the session

So, when the Human Rights Violations Commission set up by the government gave us the opportunity to complain, we narrated what happened and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance. The then government representative said they didn’t know anything about it; instead they told me he died in Durbar Hotel, Kaduna. They said there was a bomb blast there and that he was the one that died there. I was surprised to hear that because, since they knew he was dead, what was preventing them from telling his relations, especially me his wife or his parents? We were not informed and it was surprising. Since that time till date, there has been no news again about it. Is he alive? Did they kill him? We don’t know. That was how I continued staying and praying with my two children.

What about his parents?

Before his disappearance, they were both alive but later the father died, it’s only his mother that is still alive.

What about your parents?

My parents are both alive.

How have the children been reacting to the unknown whereabouts of their father?

From the outset, they have known that they don’t have a father because he left the older one around the age of three or four; the other one was still sucking, about one year and one month. But the older one at times tells me she has little knowledge of him.

•First daughter, Anne

•First daughter, Anne

Do you believe that your husband, Mr. Bagauda Kaltho, is dead?
It was at the Human Rights Violations Commission that [Major Hamza] al-Mustapha said precisely that when they were travelling with Abacha, that there was a picture that was brought out and that throughout their journey, they were discussing it; it was Bagauda’s picture. So they implied Bagauda was killed in the bomb blast, but since the corpse was not brought to us – because the corpse will serve as evidence that he’s dead – we cannot tell till today what really happened to my husband.

Why did you refuse to remarry since then?

I have forgone marriage. What is it all about? I have been alone for a long time now. I don’t think there is any more gain in marriage as far as I am concerned. I am no longer interested in remarrying. What if James appears tomorrow? Why must I share his love with another person? Would another man love me the way he did? Would he love my children the way they should have been loved? Let’s leave marriage out of it, I beg!

Is there any project that you are working on, that you may want to seek support for?

Yes. He was still a young man of about 35 years when he got missing. He had not achieved much, and we have been staying in a rented house. I have started a small building which is at the roofing level; that is what this N1 million is going into and I hope it would go far.



What are your daughters doing now?

They have both completed their secondary school education and have gained admission to the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi. But because the school is on strike, they are still at home now. In addition, Anne has just written her JAMB. I can see some potential in her, so I would prefer she go directly to the university. She has agreed.

Do you have any words for Ultima Limited – producers of WWTBAM?

Firstly, I want to appreciate them for inviting people who are less privileged like me for assistance. God cannot come down to be helping people directly. He has to use people like them. I pray that God will give them more strength to continue helping people and may He prosper the organisation. Then, the government should do something in this direction as well. Government’s recognition and privileges should not be limited to the high and mighty. They should extend it to commoners as well.

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