Orphans of policeman killed by Evans cry out for help
The morning of August 27, 2013 started out like any other one for the family of Corporal Chijiokwu Solomon Ngozi; there was nothing unusual to show what the day held in store for the family of four, husband, wife, Purity Ogadimma, and daughters Divine, 5, and Treasure, 3.
Ngozi, with Force Number 401728 was attached to ‘B’ Department, Operations of the Lagos State Police Command, went to work after bidding his family goodbye that morning. Sadly, he never returned alive.
As Purity waited for her husband to come back in vain, she grew more and more agitated. By the following day with still no sight of him, she called a few relatives to alert them.
On August 28, a Police wireless message from O/C Patrol and Guard to COMPOL ‘B’ OPS, Ikeja, Lagos read: “Incident report on 27/08/2013 at about 2200hrs at 3rd Avenue, Festac Town, Lagos.
“A team of policemen from Patrol and Guard, AP/NO. 1144217, Inspr. Ogbushi Simon F/NO. 355745, Cpl Adebayo Olaposi and F/NO. 401728, Cpl Chijoke Ngozi, attached to the Young Shall Grow Transport Service (YSGTS), Satellite Town, while escorting the company’s chairman to Festac Town, at 3rd Avenue, were attacked by robbers. In the process, one F/NO. 401728, Cpl Chijoke Ngozi was killed, as well as Nweke Peter, the driver of the escort vehicle. Two of the suspects were killed and their rifles recovered”.
“Meanwhile, the chairman of YSGTS and Cpl Adebayo Olaposi, sustained injury and were hospitalised at an undisclosed hospital within Festac. The corpse of the late corporal has been deposited at the General Hospital Mortuary, Badagry, for autopsy”.
Recent revelations show that Umunede, Delta State-born Ngozi and his colleague died at the hands of Chukwudi Onuamadike, alias Evans and his gang of kidnappers during their failed attempt to abduct the Chairman of YSG Motors, Chief Vincent Obianodo.
Evans has since admitted being among the members who attempted to kidnap Obianodo. A cousin, John Chijiokwu, recalled that one of Ngozi’s colleagues called him, after calling his wife earlier, to say they had just lost him. John would later learn that Ngozi, 41, was shot in the head, dying instantly, and his body was deposited at the mortuary before his family got there.
It was gathered that following Ngozi’s death, Obianodo assisted Purity with some money for immediate needs. Her trips to the Police headquarters in Ikeja regarding her husband’s entitlements yielded no fruit, as she was directed from one office to another, without a kobo being given to her. Due to this unfortunate series of events, she fell ill shortly, with her blood pressure rising to dangerous levels, according to Mrs. Rosemary Afambu, Ngozi’s elder sister. The money Obianodo gave her was sadly expended on her treatment.
Purity never recovered from the shock and illness, passing away in 2015, leaving behind their Divine and Treasure. As a result of the death of both parents, Mrs. Afambu, whose husband abandoned her years ago, assumed their care, along with her own four children, leaving her with a burden too great for her to bear.
Divine, now nine and a Primary 3 pupil of Community Primary School, Amikole in Agbado area of Lagos, and Treasure, seven, in Nursery 1 in the same school were full of tears when they spoke to The Guardian. Seeing them in that state drew tears from the reporter as well.
Divine misses her father dearly, especially as “he used to buy something for me and take care of me.”
It was their mother that told them that their father had died before she followed shortly after. “My mummy told me that he is dead, after some time, my mummy died too. She was sick and she died and I am feeling sad,” she said. In school, she is occasionally asked about her parents, and: “I tell them that my mummy and my daddy are dead.”
Treasure, too, is not oblivious of that fact. Like Divine, she recalled that her late parents used to buy her things, luxuries she can no longer get.
Asked what they would want done to those who killed their father, the children looked at each other, then at their aunt. They were short of words, their eyes filled with tears.
Afambu recalled how she was informed of her brother’s death. “I was at home and my senior brother and my brother’s wife called me to say that my younger brother had not come home since the previous day when he left for work. I rushed to his place and then his place of work. We were told that he was shot by some people who wanted to kill or kidnap Obianodo but killed my brother in the process. Because of the shock, my brother’s wife took ill, she developed high blood pressure. She was sick for a long period until she died in 2015.
“Since then, I have been taking care of their two daughters, in addition to my own four children. Things have been hard for us. The situation in the country has made things even more difficult for me. I have a piece of land I rent in Otta, Ogun State, where I farm. I also buy cassava and make fufu from it and all the children would sell them in the neighbourhood in the evening when they return from school, after taking their lunch.
“In the evenings, I go to the nearest bus-top and sell petty things till 10 or 11p.m. everyday. This is how we have been sustaining ourselves. But things are now getting very tough for us.
“My husband abandoned us, he went to marry another woman and I am the one taking care of all of us. I have to put them in a government-owned school to be able to cope and make sure they are happy, especially my brother’s children, I have to treat them like my own, so that they would not feel the absence of their parents.”
She admitted that Divine and Treasure sometimes feel lonely, “but I will draw them closer, especially as they are younger than my own children and pet them.”
On what the Police have done regarding the death of Ngozi and his death benefits, Mrs. Afambu said as far as she knows, they have not done anything, more so as her late brother’s wife who was pursuing the benefits died in the process.
“When she was sick, she managed to tell us that the chairman of YSG gave her some money. She did not mention the amount he gave her and we used it for her medication and other things because it was not long after his death that she became sick.
“As for Obianodo, we learnt he traveled abroad after the incident, but we have not gone to see him since then. Since that time, I don’t know how to follow up with the Police about my brother’s entitlements, since he died in active duty. I have not gone to the Police, because I don’t know the process.”
She is pained at how some people are calling on government to set Evans and his gang members free, “What of those they killed, like my brother? Will they be brought back to life?” she said bitterly. Afambu appealed for assistance from the government, Police and the public to enable her take care of the young orphans as she is struggling to make ends meet.