Godwin AJOM, Calabar
Mrs. Josephine Etim, widow of the slain APC youth leader, Emmanuel Joseph who was killed by a trigger happy policeman in Calabar during the primary election conducted by the party for the Akpabuyo/ Bakassi/Calabar South Federal Constituency is crying for justice.
This is coming even as the pregnant woman believed to be in her 7th month, is also asking the Cross River State government and the Nigeria Police Force not to abandon her and her 3-year old daughter.
The widow told TNN in an interview in Calabar that her slain husband was merely into politics to contribute to the good of society and insisted that the man was not a cultist and had never been seen with a gun.
She said: “I was with him at home before he left me along with his two friends to the election venue. It was later around 3 o’clock, I had a call from his friend that he was shot. It has been a real shock to me since then. I don’t even believe because up till now, I have not seen his corpse. He left me around 12 pm.
“He is close to the persons that were contesting because he is the present youth leader of ward 7 in Calabar South. I have never noticed any rivalry between him and political opponents. We have been together for over seven years now; we have a 3- year old daughter, and I am seven months pregnant.
“So I have never for once seen him with anything suspicious of him being in a confraternity. I have never seen him with a gun. Since Friday 27 May, the police have not reached out to us and I have not seen his corpse.
“My late husband’s friends have reported the issue to a lawyer. With my condition, I cannot do much. I believe that the government should give me justice; he was the only source, and I am not doing anything presently (sic). So I don’t have anywhere to fall back to.
When asked what kind of justice the family needed from the government, she said “throwing the perpetrators into jail has no use to me because he was our care-giver. Our 3- year old child and even our unborn child, what I want from the government is to take care of me, my 3-year old baby and the unborn child.
“Due to my condition, I have not been allowed to go out or meet with the police since the incident. This thing that has happened to me can happen to anybody. So, the police should be checked. I see no reason shooting guns where there was no fight.”
The family’s lawyer, Eyor Duke also spoke on the issue, insisting on justice for the slain young politician. “The victim’s family is asking for justice through legal means. They want justice. So we are waiting for the response from the government. The law states in Section 3 of the 1999 constitution (as amended), that everybody has the right to live.
“You cannot kill somebody like that; that is extra judicial killing. If someone has committed any offence, get him or her arrested and let him or her follow the legal processes. From there, the law would take its course. You cannot just pick up a gun and kill somebody and claim it was this and that; it’s impossible and illegal, even the police knows. Even the police Act did not say you should kill somebody like that. We are of the opinion that justice must defiantly be done,” the lawyer said.
Mr Orok Efa who said he witnessed the killing told TNN in a separate interview that “Emmanuel is (sic) my friend. We were at cultural centre together to witness a house of representative primary election. When we got there, people were there. We joined them.
“We sat there for a long time and we were told that elections had already been done. At some point, we started hearing gun shots and we were told to leave the place. So as we were walking towards the gate. The late Emmanuel Joseph Ufot drove in my car. So he was about to go and pick my car where he parked it earlier.
“What I saw clearly was that as he walked towards the car, one of the officers of the anti- cultism and kidnapping squad asked him ‘where are you going’ and he responded and said ‘I’m going to pick my car.’ So, without saying anything, or having any problem, the officer shot him and at a close range. I cannot identify the exact officer that shot him.
“Immediately after the incident, the police started shooting sporadically to scare everyone away. I also saw when they took his corpse away. I was there when they even tried to hide the blood stains on the ground; they used sand to cover the blood stains on the ground, but unfortunately for them, they could not hide it completely.”
Also, Emmanuel Etim, a friend to the deceased explained that “Emmanuel lived with me, he is my friend, we stay at number 24 Ewa Ekeng Street for close to a year now. Emma was working at a car wash facility at Ewa Ekeng Street. Everybody knows him as a good person. You can go and make your findings; he has been there for over 15 years.
“So all the statements from the police are pure allegations, everyone at the scene of that incident affirmed that it was the commander of the anti- cultism and kidnapping squad that shot him. There was no interface with the police around that environment, so the police deliberately shot Emmanuel to death because they know he is helpless. Any gun that the police are saying he was seen with was from the police. Emmanuel is not a violent person. He is not a member of any confraternity. He has never had any issue with the police before, neither has he been arrested. We went there as party men.
“After the police took his corpse away, we went and searched for the car key and took our car away. We found the car key on the ground.”