Forty-two-year-old businessman, Mr. Paul Udeze was gruesomely murdered by Boko Haram in his residence at Potiskum, Yobe State, four days after he returned to Yobe from the village where he had brought home his family to ensure their safety.
Paul whose widow, Evangeline Ifeyinwa is five months pregnant with their fifth child was said to be the breadwinner of the large Udeze family had many uncompleted projects, including the family house.
The auto spare-parts dealer was said be in his residence in Potiskum when his assailants came and shot him.
Narrating how she lost her love, friend and husband, Ifeyinwa who was yet to recover from shock of the disaster that befall her said her husband only returned to Potiskum to see how he could bring back some of their things as he had returned in a hurry and empty-handed due to the fracas.
The 35-year-old teacher of Government Secondary School Mamudo, Yobe State, who could not be consoled as she cried throughout the interview said: “I am in the village now due to the crisis we are witnessing where we reside in Potiskum, Yobe State. That is why we are in the village now. The crisis started in December . I reside there with my husband and my children. The crisis became too much and my husband decided to bring us home. So, all of us came back to the village, but because we came back to the village empty-handed because we were running to save our lives, he decided to go back after a short while to get some of our things and then come back and settle in the village finally. He left and he was there when Boko Haram people came to our yard and started shooting. One of the bullets hit him and he became a dead person.
“This thing happened on April 12, 2012, being a Thursday. On that Thursday around 5p.m, I called him on the phone because we went to Onitsha that day from the village. I called him and after the greetings, he asked after the children, his mother and how we celebrated the Easter and I told him the celebration was okay. Around 9p.m, I had this feeling, I just had a feeling and I called him again, but the phone kept ringing and he didn’t pick it. I called him about six times and he didn’t pick, so I assumed he had slept.
I dropped the call and decided to call him during the midnight. Just about five minutes after I dropped my phone, his number called me back and I picked the call and asked him why he wasn’t picking his calls earlier, but I then heard another person’s voice and the person said that the owner of the phone is in the hospital. I asked him what is happening and he said that the person was admitted in the hospital. I told him to give my husband the phone so I can talk to him, but he said my husband is unconscious and can’t talk. I became worried and asked him for his identity and he said that he is an assistant in the general hospital, Potiskum and he dropped the call.
“I then called one of our neighbours there in Potiskum to know if I can get the details, I called the person and he then told me that Boko Haram people came to the house and were shooting and then the bullet hit my husband. That was how I got to hear and know what happened. The person I called did not however tell me that he died. He told me that my husband was unconscious, but I assumed that he is dead because I asked them to give the phone to him so I can talk to him and at least hear his voice, but they kept saying that he is unconscious. So within me, I assumed they are just trying to hide his true state to me.
“I then called someone else though the person was not in the yard when the people came. I called him and he told me the same thing and I asked him where he was and he said he was in the general hospital with my husband. I asked him if my husband is dead or alive and he said that he is alive; that I should go and sleep. After he told me that, I became apprehensive, so I called my husband’s sibling and told him what was happening, that Boko Haram people went to our yard and shot my husband; that I don’t know if he is alive or dead, but that they told me that he was in the hospital. I dropped and also called my husband’s sister and told her what was going on too. They said okay, that I should go to sleep, that when day breaks, we will know what else to do.
“They made contacts that night and they were told that my husband is dead. They didn’t however tell me that night, but in the morning, they asked me to come back to the village. I came back that morning and when I got to the village, one of our relatives who also live in Potiskum and others had made arrangements on how to bring my husband’s corpse down to the village. They were brining his corpse down to the village and I was asked to come down to the village too. They told me to come back to the village, but they didn’t tell me he was already dead. They told me that he was unconscious, that he will be treated in the hospitals here in the East. It was when I got here and saw the vehicle conveying his corpse that they then told me that he was dead and started consoling me. I went to the casket and saw his corpse and really confirmed that he is dead.”
Speaking further, Ifeyinwa disclosed that they got married in April 2002, but that her husband had been living and doing business in Potiskum since 1992.
“My husband was a good man. He was a peace-loving man. He doesn’t quarrel with anybody, he minds his own business. In the yard and even where he does his business, he is not the quarrelsome type. He doesn’t like trouble. For the time we lived together, we lived peacefully. So, I can say he was a good man.”
She, however, called on the government to assist her to get something doing.
“His death has deprived me of many things because concerning the children; I have four children and I cannot take care of them alone. I cannot cater for their education alone; I cannot take care of them alone to make them grow into useful adults. I used to work there in Potiskum, but since we returned, I am not doing anything now. I don’t work now; so, I don’t know how to fend for my children or even take care of my own self. I want the government to assist me so that I can train my children by giving me job. You know, I am a teacher. Secondly, my husband was building a house for us, but he did not finish it. If there is anyway we could be assisted to complete the building, so that we can move in there and have a home, I will be very happy,” she lamented.
Paul’s elder brother, Nze Edwin Udeze Nwandim who also narrated how he was told his brother’s death and the arrangements made to ensure that the corpse was brought home said:
“There was nothing else I could do than to plan on how to bring the corpse back. All our people that I called that are in that place were all telling me that the place was in disarray, that everybody was trying to save his head; some were in the hospital and that nobody could come out then, but as God would have it, the Ezeigbo of Potiskum is from our place and I called him and told him what happened and he said he has heard that Boko Haram struck in the night and that my brother was among those that were killed.
Meanwhile, the Akwaeze Town Union has in a letter addressed to Governor Peter Obi through the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Dubem Obaze, intimated the Governor of the incident.
The letter dated April 17, 2012 and signed by Sir. Austin Ezepue and Comrade Henry Uzochukwu, President-General and Secretary-General respectively also appealed to the governor for assistance to the family who they said are in terrible situation.
via Daily Sun