Enefiok Jumbo, the wife of a cement dealer, whose husband, Otobong, was allegedly hacked to death by soldiers on duty at the Uta-Ewa Beach in the Ikot-Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, has called on the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to ensure that justice prevails in the matter.
Enefiok also called on the state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Zaki, to ensure that the perpetrators of the crime were brought to book.
Otobong, 46, was allegedly killed last Tuesday, 26 March 2019 by soldiers manning the Uta-Ewa Beach.
Speaking with our correspondent on Monday, the widow said, “I don’t know what will become of my three children. My husband did not do anything to the soldiers. They had a personal score to settle with him and decided to use that opportunity to kill him. I am in a fix.
“I want the authorities concerned, including the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; and the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Zaki, to look into the issues surrounding my husband’s death and ensure that justice is done.”
Narrating how her husband was murdered, Enefiok stated, “I went to the beach last week Tuesday in the night to ease myself; it is a place that all the community residents go to for convenience. A soldier on duty there accosted me and flashed a torchlight in my face and when I complained, he drew closer to where I was and pushed me into the water, but I managed to swim out of the water.
“While I was talking with the soldier, the leader of the soldiers at the beach sent for my husband, who got to the scene almost immediately. I don’t know what my husband said that got them angry, but what I know is that they had a personal score to settle with my husband.
“All of us in this community have been complaining about the excesses of the soldiers, who extort money from us, intimidate and harass us; so my husband had been having issues with the soldiers in the course of moving his goods across the water to Opobo.
“When my husband came, they swooped on him and hit him with gun butts until he became unconscious. They pushed him into the water and threatened to shoot anyone who dared to come to his rescue. He was taken first to the Foundation Clinic, then the Waterside Clinic and later to the Navy Clinic, where he later died.”
The spokesman for the Brigade, Nigerian Army, Ibawa, Abak Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Major Bashir Jajira, confirmed the incident but said the deceased was drunk.
He said, “Yes I can confirm that something like that happened on that day. A woman came to the beach at an abnormal time to defecate. There is a time we allow for normal activities at the beach.
“The husband went to the beach very drunk and could not control himself, so as the soldiers securing the place were shouting, he ran and fell into the water, and before he could be rescued, he was already dead.”
But the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Odiko Macdon, told PUNCH Metro that he had not been fully briefed on the matter.
Macdon promised that the command would investigate the matter as soon as it was brought to its knowledge.
“We are not in the know of this very particular case you have mentioned. However, the command will investigate it and ensure that justice is done,” he stated.
The youth leader in the community, Mr Segun Omoboye, condemned the actions of soldiers at the Uta-Ewa Beach and described the incident as unfortunate.