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8 Oct 2017

Our five-year-old daughter keeps asking why her father was shot dead — Wife of policeman killed by Naval officers

Thirty-year-old Mrs. Etido Odudu is the wife of the late Corporal Odudu Davis shot on May 30, 2017 at the Akim Police Station in Calabar, Cross River State, by naval ratings after a dispute between the police and navy. The mother of one tells MUDIAGA AFFE about her husband’s last moments

How did you meet your husband?

I met him in Calabar. Our mothers are close friends, more like family friends. So, naturally, we became close. We started having an intimate affair in 2003 and we eventually got married in 2010.

How many children do you have for him?

I have one daughter for him. Her name is Precious. She was born in 2012.

How did you hear about your husband’s death?

On that particular day, I went to the market as usual for my trading activities. It was like a normal day. I did not know what had happened and nobody told me anything.

I left the market to the barracks to pick up something from the house in the evening and that was when I observed that people around were folding their hands and nobody was saying anything. I just went inside the house to pick what I came for and went out again. I didn’t suspect anything. At a point, I got a call from one of his colleagues asking me if I had called my husband that evening, I told him that I tried his mobile but it was not reachable.

I had to call another of his colleague to get in touch with him. The colleague called me back after 30 minutes to inform me that my husband was shot. I quickly closed my shop and dashed to the barracks. It was there that I was told that my husband was shot in his hand but that he was alive and being treated in a hospital. Unfortunately, I could not see him that day and by the next morning, I got another call that he was dead.

For me, it came like a rude shock because I could not immediately say what happened. I was not myself when I got the news. All through that day, I was in shock because I least expected what happened. I did not expect to hear that my husband was dead.

What happened the day he was killed?

I learnt that the whole thing started from a misunderstanding between a police traffic warden and some naval ratings around the stadium area of Calabar. From what I heard, they said the matter was settled immediately. My husband was on evening duty that day. He left for work at about 6pm. He called me around 7pm that day. I didn’t know it would be the last time I would hear from him. I learnt that the navy later regrouped and attacked the Akim Police Division, which was where my husband was serving before he was killed.

Do you know if the person responsible for his death has been arrested?

They have not been able to come out with the naval officer that killed him. That night, I learnt that there were up to 40 navy ratings that invaded the Akim Police Division to cause mayhem.

What was your last discussion with him before he left the house the day he was killed?

He requested for food, which of course, I prepared for him. We ate together after which he rushed to work. He left the house earlier than he normally would have done. But he said the instruction he got on that day was that he should resume early. The only thing we discussed was the retirement of his colleague who had put in 35 years in service.

I just told him that his colleague was lucky to have served for 35 years and was retiring alive. I said it called for a great celebration if someone was lucky to retire after 35 years considering the nature of their work.

Did you have any premonition about anything as he left the house that day?

There was nothing to suggest that. I never thought of not seeing him again not even in the near future. I never envisaged that he would die so soon.

Have the police authorities contacted you over his death?

Yes. They came to our house to inform me that he was dead. The team that came said it was the state commissioner of police that sent them to condole with me.

What assistance have they rendered to you so far?

There has been no assistance but they promised me that something would be done after the burial. I heard that Governor Ben Ayade also promised to support the families of the deceased policemen from that mayhem.

We are the one bearing the cost of his burial. He will be buried in Abak Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State on Saturday, October 14, 2017.

What arrangements have you made for his burial?

I have been able to do my bit as an individual with the assistance from close acquaintances.  The police have promised to offset the mortuary bill and pay for the ambulance that will convey the corpse to Akwa Ibom State for burial.

What about your husband’s colleagues and family?

They are the major contributors to the burial arrangements. They have been meeting to help fine-tune things. For the family, the situation is not too good because my husband’s father is a blind man while the mother is sick. The sisters are not too buoyant financially. I am relying on his friends to see me through this stage.

His mother has not been told about her son’s death. We felt that telling her might aggravate her health condition. The family members are careful not to do so now but they will tell her before the burial. But his father is aware of the incident. He heard it the day it happened on the radio.

Is your young daughter aware of the development?

She is just five years old. She is aware that the father was shot and she keeps asking me what the father did that made someone to shoot him. I normally tell her that the father has gone to rest with the Lord in heaven. She is always happy to hear that her father is in heaven.

How have you been faring since his death?

It is God that is helping me. We are just managing. Up till this moment, I have not been able to pay her school fees. It will be difficult coping but I believe that God will come to my rescue.

What would you want the police authorities to do for you?

I wish they could give me a job. I am a secondary school certificate holder. I need something that would enable me train my child in school. It is painful losing a husband at a tender age. I had looked forward to a very long relationship. I did not know this was how it would end. I cannot believe that my five-year-old daughter will not be seeing her father again.

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