Oluchi Orji, 35, is yet to be able to wrap her head around the death of her husband. While other wives celebrated their husbands on Sunday, June 21, the day earmarked as Fathers’ Day, Oluchi mourned her husband.
When she left her family in Enugu to attend the burial of a friend, it did not occur to her that it would be the last time she would see and talk to the man she loves.
She and her husband, Orji Ndubuisi, and their children, had plans for the Father’s Day celebration which was the next day, Sunday, June 21.
“We were all happy when I left that Saturday,” she said.
But after the burial, Oluchi got a call on Sunday morning to return to Enugu as her husband had been killed by a police officer in front of their home.
“Immediately, I travelled back. When I got to Enugu at 2:00 p.m, it was true. People had gathered. My husband is dead,” a teary eyed Oluchi said.
Since her husband died, Oluchi has had to always explain to her children that their father travelled and would return again. “They say he is dead. But I tell them he is coming back,” the distraught mother of four said.
Sunday morning’s shooting
On that Sunday morning, Ndubuisi was washing his clothes inside his compound at Chukwuemeka Ujam street, Gulf Estate, Enugu, when he heard several gunshots. His first daughter, 12-year-old Orji Angel, had gone to church.
He was at home with two of his children. His wife travelled with the last of their four children.
After some time, when the shots died down, Ndubuisi decided to go and find out what was happening. When he came outside and saw a police officer, whose name has been withheld by the police but popularly known in the area as Oyibo Mopol, they both greeted and he (Ndubuisi) asked the officer what the matter was.
“That was when he pushed my husband and shot him severally,” Oluchi said.
Ndubuisi had invited his friends who saw him that morning to come to his house for father’s day celebration. But he did not live to celebrate again.
Ndubuisi wanted to live
As soon as Ndubuisi was shot, he ran with the bullet wounds towards the main road and fell down, calling for help. But nobody was willing to help. People were afraid as they ran past him.
“It was only one bus driver that stopped after he saw my husband lying helplessly on the ground and asked some passersby to help carry him to the hospital,” Oluchi said as tears rolled down her face.
“They took him to three hospitals. But he was rejected by the authorities who demanded police reports to attend to him, thinking it was a case of armed robbery. They quickly rushed him to the Enugu State University of Science and Technology Teaching Hospital (ESUTH), Parklane. But before they got there, he had died. He had lost a lot of blood,” Oluchi narrated.
“My husband wanted to live for me and my children. He told those who walked and ran past him that he had a family to live for but they were afraid of helping him out, “she explained.
Oluchi said they (her and her husband) and other people around usually had discussions with the police officer anytime he was not on duty.
“He was our neighbour. We always discussed and I did not know him as someone who drinks or smokes. We never had issues all these years. I wonder what really happened,” she said.
Oluchi said the memories of that black Sunday will remain eternally etched on her mind.
“My husband was a good man who loved his family. He took very good care of us and made sure we did not lack anything we needed. He was my best friend.”
Local sources informed HumAngle that the police officer had resorted to shooting indiscriminately inside the home of a Lebanese manager of a Lottery Company where he was on special protection duty.
The sources who did not want their name captured for security reasons, said the policeman first shot the domestic cook of the house and proceeded to shooting other domestic staff who had run into one of the rooms in the compound for safety. Unknown to him, the domestic cook was not dead.
According to them, after shooting the workers who had run into one of the rooms through the window, the beserked officer called each of them by their name to confirm whether or not they were dead. When no one responded, he ran towards the gate and shot two private security guards in the compound.
It was at this point that Ndubuisi, who lived in the next compound ran out to know what was happening, and was shot by the officer, they revealed.
The officer was said to have immediately called the office of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to report that his compound had been attacked by unknown gunmen.
But when they got to the building, the cook whom the officer first shot and thought was dead, came out from where he was hiding and exposed the police inspector as the mastermind of the killings.
They further explained that the killer inspector shot more people because he did not want anybody to know he was responsible. “Assuming the cook did not come out, nobody would have known he was responsible,” they said.
A statement by the spokesperson of the Enugu Police Command, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, after the attack, showed that the killer officer was “attached to the Special Protection Unit (SPU) Base 9, Umuahia, Abia State, and was on duty at RC Lotto, a lottery company located within the Gulf Estate.”
According to Ndukwe, “five persons were killed in the aftermath of the shooting while four persons, who are currently receiving treatment at Parklane, suffered gunshot wounds.”
“The officer has been arrested and taken into custody while Commissioner of Police in the state, Mohammed Ndatsu Aliyu has ordered the Deputy CP in charge of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (State CIID), to carry out thorough investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the shooting incident” Ndukwe said.
“The officer will remain in custody pending the conclusion of the investigation,” he added.
When this reporter visited, there was graveyard silence around the vicinity as neighbours were yet to come to terms with what could cause the policeman to shoot, which according to Oluchi, was unprecedented.
A widow’s demand for help and justice
Ndubuisi’s wife wants justice to be served, demanding that the policeman who killed her husband should be tried in a court of law.
Oluchi said her late husband, a mechanic and an employee of Soars, an automobile company in Enugu, was responsible for the family’s upkeep.
Now that he is no more, his widow laments that life will be tough for her and the children. “My husband wanted a bright future for our children but now he is no more,” she said.
“It is going to be a difficult task for me to handle as I do not have a job. I am calling on the state government and the general public to come and help me take care of these children,” Oluchi cried.
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