By Praise Necherem
A 28-year old widow, Mrs Ifunanya Onuora, has begged Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state, the inspector general of police, Mohammed Adamu and other top political and human rights leaders to help secure justice over the death of her husband, Mr Ikechukwu Onuora, under mysterious circumstances in police custody.
The widow, who hails from Isekke in Ihiala but resident at Okija, also begged the senator representing Anambra South at the National Assembly, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, and the member representing Ihiala Federal Constituency, Barr Ifeanyi Muomah, to intervene in the case.
The widow, clutching her 11-month-old baby girl, told newsmen in Nnewi that her husband traveled to Awka to finalise a business transaction but failed to return home alive.
She recalled: “My husband left for Awka at about 3.00pm on August 14, 2020 to conclude a transaction he was handling for one of his friends. I called him by 6.00pm and he told me that he was successful but that he was still in Awka. When I called him again at 8.00pm, he said he was already in Nnewi and was about to board another vehicle that would take him to Okija.
“By 8.28pm, I sent an SMS message to him that there was no soup in the house and he called after getting the message and asked me to cook rice. That was the last I heard from my husband. When I felt he should be home, I called again but his phone was switched off.”
When her husband failed to pick her calls subsequently, the widow stressed, she suspected that something was wrong. “I became anxious and kept calling. At 10.00pm, someone picked my call and demanded to know who I was to the owner of the phone. I told him that he was my husband. He then told me that my husband has been arrested by policemen at Okija and that I should come with my relations the following morning to bail him.”
Ifunanya, who recently concluded her degree programme in Optometry at Madonna University, Elele Campus, said she called her brother-in-law to accompany her to the police station to secure the release of her husband, but things took a tragic twist from there.
“The police officers began to dilly dally and, at the end of what looked like eternity, they told me that my husband, whom I was told was in their custody, had died. I had to rush to Isekke to bring other relatives and we were taken to a mortician where my husband was already embalmed without any autopsy. So, we reported the matter to police area command, Ihiala.
“The assistant commissioner of police (ACP) in charge of the command, recognised me because my husband had been having issues with another tenant who was not paying her levies and dues and had threatened to kill my husband when her utilities were disconnected. The ACP asked after my husband and I told him that he was dead. He shouted and asked me what happened and I explained. He later summoned the police officer in charge who told him that my husband was a victim of hit and run accident, ” she decried.
The visibly devastated widow further alleged that the police officers, in their wisdom, ordered the mortician to embalm her husband at 11.00 pm without allowing any of his relations to see him before embalmment.
Mrs. Onuora said that the case was later transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Awka but expressed dissatisfaction at the way the case was being handled.
The young widow, who said she was supposed to be preparing for her mandatory NYSC programme, said all she wanted was justice for her dead husband, whom she suspected was assassinated, and that the culprits and their collaborators be brought to book.
“I came to you so that all Nigerians will know what I am passing through and I pray those who are in the corridors of power to help me get justice, ” she pleaded.
She was accompanied by Comrade Chris Onuchukwu, a kinsman of the Onuoras.
When contacted, the police spokesperson, Haruna Muhammed, said the matter was not reported to the command.