*Late Okeduisi & widow Omotayo
By Angela Okpe
Two years ago, the trio of Divisional Police Officer, DPO; Divisional Crime Officer, DCO and the Operational Officer of Badagry police division, Lagos were murdered in cold blood by people suspected to be soldiers at the Recce Battalion Barrack, Bereko, Badagry, Lagos while on their way to honour alleged official invitation by the Commanding officer.
In spite of the dust raised by the killing which many considered uncalled for, nothing has been heard again about the ugly incident. Worse still, widows of the slain officers have been left to bear their agonizing pains all alone while those that perpetrated the heinous crime are yet to be tried.
Wife of one of the dead officers, DCO, Sampson Okeduisi who was still in mourning mood spoke with Crime Guard at Magbon, near Badagry. The widow, Omotayo Okeduisi decried government’s alleged insincerity and failure to investigate and prosecute killers of the superior cops.
“My name is Omotayo Okeduisi, widow of the late Divisional Crime Officer of Badagry Police Division who was killed while on active duty.
How he was killed.
My husband was among the three police officers that were murdered by soldiers at the Recce Battalion, Barrack, Bereko, two years ago, precisely on May 24, 2011 while on official duty. He went along side with his late DPO, Mr. Samuel Salusi and Officer in charge of Operation, Mr. Taofeek Afolabi, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, to the Barrack to negotiate for peace as well as lasting mutual co-existence between the police and their Army counterparts.
I was told that there was an earlier misunderstanding between the soldiers and the Police over alleged killing of a soldier by Lagos State Rapid Response Squad, RRS, for a yet–to-be disclosed issue. The RRS men were taken hostage to the barrack and purportedly detained. The soldiers, apparently, in what appeared to be a revenge mission, decided to attack any policeman on sight, thereby causing commotion and panic in the state. My husband and the two others went to the barrack on the invitation of the General Officer, Commanding, GOC, but they never returned.
Life without bread winner.
Since my husband died, the family has been subjected to untold hardship as a result of the killing of the bread winner. We have been living from hand to mouth because we do not receive any assistance from any body, including the police, where he spent his active years, the Army that killed him or the government.
Gratuity and other benefits
My husband had only six months to retire before he met his untimely death. We have gone to all places for his gratuity and filled several forms with witnesses but nothing has happened. I even learnt from his colleagues that some have been paid but nothing has been paid to us .It was as a result of these hardships that my husband’s aged mother died recently. We have been surviving on charity. I don’t know whether it is a crime to be a police man or marry one because the police are suffering. If our husbands die, no one cares about the widow, children and families. This kind of treatment do not happen in sister agencies such as the Navy, Army or Air force.
Why?I think police hate themselves. Could you believe that even those that worked with my husband in same office before the incident have not come to see us, talk of his colleagues from other stations. Even the D.P.O that took over the station, same day, my husband was buried, has never find time to come and ask us how far. Police are outdated in all things. They don’t have plans for themselves. My husband did not die a natural death or killed by armed robbery suspects but died in active service while negotiating for peace for the unity and corporate existence of this country and yet, he was abandoned and neglected by his immediate constituency.
Contact with the authorities?
No. I have not met any of them because when the incident occurred, both the Commissioner of Police in charge of Lagos and the Army Commander came here to console us. The State government gave N1million each to the deceased families but you and I know that one million naira was not enough to bury him. We borrowed money to add to the amount to give him a befitting burial. But we have been writing several letters to the police, Army and government but there has not been any reply. It is unfortunate that despite our letters and appeals to the authorities over the brutal killing of my husband and Federal Government’s assurance to look into the matter when it happened, two years now, nothing has been done to fish out the killers.
Content of the letters?
I want justice for my late husband. The soldiers that killed him are not above the law and therefore, they should be investigated and brought to face the law. Also, I want government to come to our aid by compensating us adequately. I have four graduates but there is no job for them. It is not too much for the police or government to employ his children to help the family. Again, I want the government to establish a hall of fame to honour my husband and others as a mark of respect for them as done by their Army counterparts.
Relationship with late husband
I am his only wife, married legally in court. He has other women that had children for him, but I am the real wife. He even wrote it in his police form. In the morning of the day he died, I bathed with him. I prepared tea for him in the morning of that fateful day but he did not drink the tea because he was in a hurry. I had to pour the tea inside his office flask but he didn’t take the tea before he died.
In fact, he died on empty stomach because after the incident, I discovered that he did not drink it before his demise and I poured the tea away. I served him amala and ewedu the night before he died. He was my daddy, husband, friend and child. We never carried over any quarrel to the next day. We were role models to many couples and many brought their marital problems for us to settle. We courted for five years before we got married for 18 years, which, if added together, make a total of 23 years. No man can be like Sam. No man can replace him in my life.
Other wives/concubines, children and relations
I have not been seeing any of them. No body has been asking after us or how I do cope with my children. Even his children, from other women, have not been showing concern. They argued that the man lived and died with me and willed all his properties to me so I should be the one to bear his loss. But they are waiting to grab his compensation and gratuity and that was why I‘ve stopped processing the gratuity. Let them go for it so that my children and I would live in peace.
Police has never done anything good before. They neglected and abandoned us. They don’t care for themselves. Even the friends of my husband have not cared for us. They are supposed to show love to us. I think, police should change their method of administration to enable them give their best in the discharge of their duties. If a police man knows that, even in death, he would be honoured, he/her must put his/her best. Perhaps, that is why most of them misbehave. Could you imagine that after two years, we are yet to get any of his rights?
Advise to police /wives
Police men should first and foremost, establish their wives in any business, trade or craft of choice so that they would have something to rely on, in the case of eventualities. This is necessary, because, if not for the business I am managing, my children would have dropped out of schools and my family would have been a laughing stock. It is difficult for dead policemen to be treated with respect as one that had served the country faithfully. I advise their wives not to totally rely on their husband’s income but lay their hands on something.
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.