…Bring killers of my son to justice, grieving widow tells President Jonathan
By Albert Akpor and Shantel Okafor
AT their sparsely furnished two bedroom apartment on Achapo street Ajegunle, a densely populated community in Lagos state, Mrs Otunere Bye Braye visibly portrayed the posture of one that is totally crestfallen and has resined to fate.
It was clear that a vacuum that may never been filled has been created in the family. Just few years after she lost her husband, her son Mr. Youngbo Braye; who of course, was the breadwinner of the family disappeared into thin air with all know efforts at locating his whereabout unsuccessful.
When Crime Alert visited for a chat, she declined and even refused her picture being taken. But as she stared into space looking at no particular object, all she could mutter amid tears was; “ Go and tell Mr. President to find the whereabout of my son if he is still alive and if dead, bring his killers to justice. What do you want to hear from me, that I will soon die of frustration and thinking?
Do you want to hear from me that the only person who gives me hope, who makes me smile, who filled the vacuum left by the death of my husband has equally left me over one year now.? Why can’t government show some measure of empathy if they cannot sympathize with me; a poor widow? That you people has taken away my joy and made me hopeless and you want me to talk to you? No way.!”
Mr. Braye’s ordeal started about eight years ago when he was reported to had joined one of militant groups in the Niger Delta regions. However, when the activities of some of the agitating groups in the regions assumed terrorism dimension, the federal government inaugurated the Joint Task Force (JTF) to cob the menace. It was discovered that the missing 41 year old father of two who incidentally hale from the country home of President Goodluck Jonathan belonged to a factional group.
Just last year, reports say Braye and several others were whisked away by unknown gun men who stormed their hotel rooms in Yenogua, the Bayelsa state capital to an unknown destination a day after a five star hotel belonging to an unnamed top politician in the state was bombed. And till date, his whereabout has remained a mystery.
But wife to the missing husband, Mrs Patience Nmgbor ToungboBraye was undecided on the fate of her loving husband. She could neither say whether her husband was dead nor alive. To her, her husband did not do anything that may have warranted instant death. If he was culpable in the bombing of the hotel, Mrs Braye said, “It is not possible that he should just be killed without trials.”
Continuing, Mrs. said, “Although I am not still convinced that he is dead but the fact that one year on, he is yet to surface is a source of agony to us. The children are missing him, his mother is brokenhearted, the entire family is missing him.
There are conflicting reports of how my husband disappeared since one year ago. Some say after a bomb exploded in one hotel belonging to a top politician based in Abuja, some security men came, arrested and took them to an unknown destination.
Another account said he belonged to a faction of the militant groups and that he was among those who was felled by the enemy bullets. So, with this conflicting reports, it is not just clear what has befallen my husband. We have searched every police custody in the state for him without success. We have gone to churches, gone to witch doctors, gone everywhere and nobody could discern what has befallen.
But a pastor of one of the Pentecostal churches told us during their crusade that he is not dead but that it may take time before we set our eyes on him again. With this revelation, my prayer is that wherever he is let God protect him; but if he is dead, we shall meet oneday to part no more.”
Admitting that the Bayelsa state government have been of immense assistance in the search for Youngbo through officials of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), she however, was quick to add that the matter has since been politicized. “When we started looking for him, we reported to the state government, the whole police stations and posts and even the local government areas. Later, some said we should take the matter to the Presidency through the NDDC and we did.
However, we later discovered that the matter was politicized and people were using the search for him for their selfish interest. We became frustrated and decided to leave everything to God. I believe that God is the ultimate and that there is nothing beyond his knowledge. And like I said, I am not convinced yet that he is dead. I know someday, wherever he is being detained, he will be released to us, to me, to his children and to his family.”