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Arrest not enough, I want to see picture of my husband’s killer, says wife of slain vendor

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
24 November 2020   |   4:08 am
Wife of the slain Abuja newspaper vendor, Mrs. Josephine Okereke, has demanded justice for the gruesome killing of her husband, Ifeanyi Okereke, by a security aide attached to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The widow and her two babies

Wife of the slain Abuja newspaper vendor, Mrs. Josephine Okereke, has demanded justice for the gruesome killing of her husband, Ifeanyi Okereke, by a security aide attached to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Okereke, 37, was shot in the head by an operative of the Department of State Services (DSS) on November 19. He was confirmed dead on arrival at the National Hospital, Abuja.

During a visit to her family house in Kwata village, Madalla-Suleja, Niger State, where she had been since the incident, the widow told The Guardian that arresting and publishing the name of the security aide who shot her husband was not enough.

“Let them show us his picture, not just publishing his name. It is very important for me to see the face of the man who shot my husband. Let the whole world also see him. I want the right thing to be done. I want justice”, she said as she wept intermittently.

The Guardian learnt the widow gave birth to a baby boy on November 12, a week before the shooting. She was discharged from hospital on November 14 after the baby was placed on oxygen for two days.

Narrating what happened the day of the incident, the widow, who had also worked as a vendor, said she last saw her husband on Sunday, November 15, a day after she was discharged from the hospital. Josephine said her husband had told her to stay at her mother’s place in Suleja to help take care of their newborn for sometime.

According to her, the deceased called her around 2:00p.m on the fateful day and asked her to prepare to return home in Dutse, Bwari area council of the Federal Capital Territory. “On Thursday, the day the incident happened, he called me asking that I arrange my luggage so he could pick me up on his way back from work to our house in Dutse.

“ I called him at 3:00p.m and his phone was switched off. At 5:00p.m, I called his phone again, it was still switched off. By then, I was worried because I know my husband’s phone doesn’t normally go off. Even if his phone goes off, he would still look for a means to call me to ask about his children. Meanwhile, I didn’t tell my parents about what was happening.

“On Friday morning, I called one of his friends to ask about my husband’s whereabouts, and he told me he went to charge his phone. I continued calling him but he kept giving me excuses. That was when I knew something was wrong.

“I waited until 2:00p.m when I called his friend that I would be coming to my husband’s place of work, but he insisted I should not come that he would come and see me. I then called a brother of mine to go to my husband’s workplace and check on him. I didn’t know my brother was also aware that my husband was dead. It was through my mother I knew my husband had died because she was the one they called”.

The widow said naming of the newborn had been scheduled for Saturday, November 21, and her husband had already invited his friends to the ceremony. Also, Okereke was slated to resume duties in January 2021 on Salary Grade Level 6 at the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

“He got the job before COVID-19 outbreak and was posted to Ebonyi State and had even done his documentation but came back to Abuja due to the pandemic. They were still waiting to be captured at that time so he was not paid any salary and that was why he went back to vendor job so he could feed his family.”

She said her husband was everything to her and they loved each other. “We were already talking of moving out of our current house in January because we are unable to renew our rent. Now that my husband is dead, how will I cope with the children? Where will I stay?”

An in-law to the deceased, identified as Favour, described the loss as heartbreaking. She called on authorities to bring the perpetrator to justice and help the family members left behind by the deceased.

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