•How they killed my wife, shouting GYB 4+4
•All I want is to bury her peacefully
•Banks on God for justice
Popularly known as SBS in his community, Elder Simeon Babani Seidu Abuh is the Widower of Mrs Salome Acheju Abuh, the slain Woman Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP in Ochadamu, Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi state.
Mrs Abuh was burnt alive in her house on Monday, November 18, 2019, two days after the Governorship Election in the state. In this interview with OMEIZA AJAYI, the Widower who is now left with the task of taking care of their four children said the family would be a bit comforted to see that those who murdered his wife are brought to book. Speaking amidst sobs, Elder SBS said his family can never be the same again because their light has been put off. Excerpts:
How has life been with you since this incident happened?
Painful, traumatic, devastating, heavy heart, sorrowful, full of pains. I lack words to describe the situation. The same feeling pervades the family. Fear. Our own lives can never be the same again. The peace, the joy. Our light has been put off, because she was light. Her presence was electrification. When she appeared, the house would come alive. Now she has disappeared. They have killed her. It is like NEPA has taken our light. It is painful. We have four children. As Christians, we leave this to God. We feel bad. We feel insecure. We feel that we will not get justice. I continue to ask why, why, why?
Were you having issues with anyone before now, whether political or otherwise?
No, we are community people. She was a grassroots politician and I am a community man. My family is a peaceful one. We have no bad record anywhere. No.
There are several conspiracy theories regarding this issue. Some have said it was a reprisal attack. To the best of your knowledge, what are the issues?
I will tell you what I was told. The story would be clearer when I start from what happened on Saturday, the day of the election. On Saturday, I was at home with her for the election. On our way to the Polling Unit, one man (name withheld) with members of his group, and a number of others told me that they were going to kill my younger brother.
One of them said “GYB 4+4”, and that they have a community leader(name withheld) behind them, so Ochadamu, our community belongs to them and nothing will happen to them. The man he said would protect them is a title holder of the Attah of Igala. They said if not for the type of person I was in this land, they would have delivered the title holder’s message to me there and then. There is what the Igalas call “Ofor”. I did not make any comment, so I swallowed some things because in my mind I was like, what I came home to do was to vote and that if they had any message for me from the title holder, they should give it to me after the election.
The man told me that they were on GYB’s pay book. The other one told me that they have the title holder behind them. . I do not have any of them. I thought these were the type of comments passed around by boys sometimes, because these were the boys that we had been eating together, boys who ordinarily would respect us. I said “whatever happens, we are here for elections.
We are for peace. When we come back for Christmas, let us settle everything, whatever my younger brother has done to you. I said let us settle it at Christmas because anything that happens now, they will say it is political”. We went to the Polling Unit. I voted and I told my wife I was going and she said she wanted to stay back to watch the processes because she was a leader. Not quiet long after I left, that my younger brother, Gowon, ran to the house and said ‘sister was being beaten’ and that he tried to save her. I asked who was beating her, and he said it was the man who was telling me about my brother and two other boys.
That one or two of them attempted to use something like a knife or dagger on him but that God delivered him and he had to run to the house. Moments after, Elder Salami Abali brought my wife to my house on his motorcycle and he advised me to take my wife to the hospital because what he saw was not good. I took my wife to the Ochadamu Medical Centre where she was treated and the doctor gave her some drugs and asked her to go and rest.
So, because I had another engagement in Abuja on Sunday, we left. When we saw that vehicles were moving, the people I travelled with agreed we should go back to Abuja. We got to Abuja at about 7pm and I was still talking with my wife. All I knew was that she was not well as a result of the beating by the group. I had asked that she followed me to Abuja but she complained about the bad roads and that the doctor said she should rest. You know, when your hands are clean, you will fear no one around you.
So, I left, only to be told on Monday that our houses were on fire. I called my wife to know what was happening and the last thing I heard from her was that she was already going out of the house. About five minutes later, I called the number, it was no longer going. I called several other people and they said all of them had run to the bushes, only to be told in the evening that my wife had been burnt alive. We have five houses in the compound. Everywhere was vandalized. Four of them (houses) were burnt to ashes.
My wife was killed and all of them were shouting GYB 4+4, and with that kind of message, you do not need anybody or prophet to tell you that they were APC thugs. They had won the election, so why burn my house?
Nobody ran into the house. My wife’s door was locked. She was not well, she was in the house. So, nobody entered our house. If somebody entered our house, the person would have pulled her out. In any case, how many people were burnt in the house? Only my wife. She was lying down quietly in the house. So, if anyone said somebody ran into our house, it is a lie from the pit of hell. I do not have “GY Bello”, I do not have the title holder, I do not have the Police but I have God and I have the land that we march.
The people who killed my wife and others were seen at a beer Parlour close to our house and they said they tried to stab Gowon, my younger brother on that Saturday but that he escaped. They said that day was going to be his last as they were going to deal with him. But Gowon’s son, Solomon who is a teenager got to hear and he approached them begging, “whatever my father did to you, please forgive him”.
One of them(name withheld) stood up with a bottle and said “before I kill your father, I will kill you”. The boy fled while the man pursued him. So, it was in the process of chasing him that the man tripped and fell. He had a dagger tucked to his waist, so he fell on his own weapon. The God of the land fought for us. Those who saw it, if I had to stab someone with a dagger while standing, it would be from the chest upwards and not the waist or below it. So, he got injured where he hid his weapon. If anybody said Solomon stabbed anyone, it is a lie from the pit of hell. If any person ran into my house where my wife was resting, the person would have run away with her or they would have burnt the two of them alive in the house. So, for one Musa (surname withheld) to report that a PDP member, Gowon Simeon stabbed an APC supporter and ran into Simeon Abuh’s house which is my house and hid there and then the people of the community got annoyed and went and burnt down the house is a lie. The whole thing was premeditated.
Have you petitioned the Police as regards the threats made against your younger brother?
No. Why I did not want to petition is because I had thought when we go back home at Christmas, I would call all of them because they are all my children. And again, I do not want to petition the police after this incident because the comments of the Police, the comments being passed around, you know this is an APC Government, so whatever you say will never be correct because they have the whistle and they have the microphone. It is their own government and everyone hears and whatever you say, they will tell you that it is hate speech. No, my wife has gone, she has been burnt alive, let God do His justice for me. I am not petitioning anyone but I petition God, my father who I serve.
Are you aware whether any of her assailants have been arrested?
I am here, I do not know. I am nursing the pains with my children. I am not aware if anyone has been arrested. You can see my phone is off. My wife has gone, she has been burnt alive and we leave justice to God. All I am praying is that the clouds be cleared so that I can go and bury my wife. And when I go to bury her, let there be peace. I plead with President Muhammadu Buhari, I plead with the IGP, I plead with the powers that be in Kogi state to clear the clouds for me so that I can go and bury my wife in peace, give her a befitting burial. She has paid the price for the Igalas, she has paid the price for the land.
All I am asking for is justice, if there will ever be. Investigate. Who is this the title holder? Why were they mentioning his name and mentioning GYB 4+4? One thing that annoyed me is that I read online that one Musa reported the matter at the Police station in Ugwolawo and gave wrong information. Maybe at the appropriate time, we shall get to know how he got the information. When I further investigated, I discovered that the said Musa is the same as the title holder that they were referring to. He does not stay in Ochadamu, he has no business in Ochadamu for now.
For him to report a matter that happened in Ochadamu to the police with false information, giving wrong names, maybe at the appropriate time for investigation, we will get to hear more from him. I do not have GY Bello, I do not have the title holder, but I have God and I have the land. May God help me. My heart is heavy
Has anyone reached out to the family?
No, nobody has reached out to me. I have been alone, except for my family and church members. Then my lawmaker in the House of Representatives, the former Governor, Capt. Idris Wada and also the PDP candidate, Engr. Musa Wada.