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Nigerian Refugee Leaves Behind Devastated Family

By Chloe Riley | January 8, 2013 12:49am
 Homicide victim Olufemi Abdulai
Homicide victim Olufemi Abdulai
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Mosun Abdulai

WEST GARFIELD PARK — Olufemi Abdulai came to America over a decade ago seeking asylum from the corruption in his homeland of Nigeria.

But on January 6, the 43-year-old devoutly religious man was robbed and shot multiple times at the 4400 block of West Monroe Street, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Desmond Young, 20, was charged in Abdulai’s death and has pled not guilty. Young has a history of drug possession charges, according to court records.

Abdulai’s wife was in Nigeria visiting family the day her husband was killed.

She said she left him a voicemail message just six minutes after he died.

“I couldn’t even believe it,” said Mosun Abdulai, 38. “It’s the biggest shock of my life.”

The Abdulais lived in Skokie at the time of Olufemi Abdulai’s death. However, Abdulai owned several properties on the west side of Chicago and on the day he died, he had gone to collect rent at one of them.

While she said knows Desmond Young has been charged in her husband’s death, Mosun Abdulai suspects that another person — who owed her husband money — may have also been involved in his death.

“I say to my husband, ‘Why would you trust him so much and give him that kind of money? This man is one lie to another, one lie to another,'” she said.

Mosun Abdulai stressed that her husband was not a drug user. She said she is suspicious about the case because her husband had owned the West Side property for four years and had never had any trouble.

“They want me to believe [Young] robbed him? No, I know that it’s more than that. If it’s only my husband’s case I understand, but [Young] has done this to several people,” she said.

She said Desmond Young does not strike her as someone who needed to rob for money or food.

“He doesn’t look hungry. Somebody who’s hungry, maybe you can understand why he rob someone,” Abdulai said.

Mosun Abdulai and her husband met at Kwara State Polytechnic in Nigeria. He was a statistics major; she was getting her masters in public administration.

In the spring of 1998, Olufemi Abdulai came to New York seeking asylum, according to court records.

But in January of 2000, the court denied his application, saying he had failed to offer proof of his political persecution.

Eventually, Abdulai won the case and became a United States resident.

“He came to start a new life. He never knew he was going to end up here,” Mosun Abdulai said.

Two weeks before he died, Olufemi Abdulai had a dream he was shot, according to his wife.  She remembers the dream bothered her husband.

“He said, ‘Don’t worry, dream is not a reality. It’s not going to happen.’ And so we prayed over it,” Mosun Abdulai said.

Abdulai said their two young children, ages nine and three, talk about their father every day.

“He was so humble, a caring and a loving man,” she said. “Everybody loved him. He was a father, he was a husband. He was everything.”

Mosun Abdulai is currently unemployed and said she will eventually have to move from Skokie into a place she can afford.

“When I was in shock, I forgot a lot of things,” she said. “Now I’m getting better. I need to secure a home. I have nobody helping me. All I have now is God.”