Wife Of Brave Soldier Killed In Zenith Bank Robbery Says 5-Year-Old Son Dies At Father’s Burial

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Jun 11, 2017 1:15 PM

Mrs. Rose Iboko, wife of the late gallant Sergeant Chukwudi Iboko who lost his life after a gun duel with armed robbers at a Zenith Bank branch in Owerri, the Imo State Capital in an interview with PUNCH shared how life has not been the same since the untimely death of her 37-year-old husband.

Recall a CCTV footage of the gun duel went viral during the week, showing the officer was able to kill one of the robbers. The bank robbery happened February, 22, 2017.

The widow who resides at Amakohia in the Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of the state, with her seven children broke down in tears when the incident leading to the death of her husband was brought up.

It was gathered that her children not only skip meals, but are out of school as a result of the inability of their mother to pay their tuition fees.

Her first son, Favour, who is 16, cried profusely when asked the last time he spoke with his father before his death.

He said amid sobs, “I spoke with daddy two days before his death. He died on Thursday, but had promised to come home for the weekend. He promised to give me money for some textbooks I needed once he arrived. But he couldn’t fulfill his promise as he died two days to the day he promised to come home.’’

The 32-year-old widow said one of her triplets slumped, died when he saw his father’s corpse

Her words below;

My late husband was from the same community with me. I am a housewife, while my husband was the breadwinner. I was only taking care of the home and our kids.

When did he die?

He died the next day after the incident on Thursday. Before I could arrive in Mopol 18 office in Owerri, my husband was already dead. It was in the office of the officer in charge of the unit that I was told that my husband was dead. I was, however, not allowed to see his corpse. I was only able to see his corpse for the first time during his burial in the village when his remains were laid to rest. That was almost one month after his death. He was 37 years old.

What did you do when you learnt of his demise?

It was one of his colleagues who called me on a Thursday morning to tell me that my husband was shot by armed robbers the previous day. I don’t know the person but he spoke to me in a manner that suggested that all was not well. He didn’t tell me that my husband was dead. He only informed me that my husband was shot by armed robbers a day before that day. It was when I arrived in Mopol 18 that I was told that my husband, whom I spoke with on the phone on Tuesday prior to that day, was dead. I couldn’t believe it. I told them to stop the joke but they insisted that he was dead. It was as if my world had crumbled. Several thoughts came to my mind within a few minutes: “Where do I begin? How do I explain what happened to him to his children, especially our last child, Success, who was fond of him? Where do I go from here?”

What do you tell the children anytime they ask after their father?

I have eight children for him; seven boys and a girl, Success, who I earlier said is the last born. We have triplets; all boys, but sadly, one of them, Chukwuebuka slumped and died the day their father’s remains were to be interred. He slumped immediately he saw his dad’s corpse during his lying-in-state and died.

It was a double tragedy for my family that day. He was very close to his father.

Despite being just five years, he couldn’t bear the loss of his loving father. Most of my children know that their father is dead, only the young ones are yet to comprehend what happened. I keep telling those ones anytime they ask after him that he is on a special assignment and would be back soon. But each time I lie to them, I would go into the room and weep profusely because when they ask for his whereabouts, I also recall the great moments we shared.

How have you been coping with the kids without their father?

It has been hell for me since he died. The children dropped out of school because I could no longer pay their school fees. I don’t work, I am a house wife. His sudden death was an agonising loss to my family. To eat is now a problem. Most times, we don’t eat and when we eat, it is half food. Last night (Friday), we took groundnuts as dinner. It has been very difficult for us. We now live from hand to mouth. We always go to bed hungry without knowing where the next meal will come from.

Has the Nigeria Police Force reached out to you to support your family?

Not at all. They only came for his burial in the village on Friday, March 17, 2017. I am now left with my children alone.

What assistance has the bank rendered to you knowing that your husband died in the course of protecting its assets and customers?

The bank only assisted me in making sure that he was buried. After that, no help has come from the bank.

Credit Punch

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