•Unemployed wife cries for justice
•Police keep mum
Mrs. Chidimma Elekwachi-Kalu sounded helpless and thoroughly heartbroken on Thursday evening. When she spoke with our correspondent on the phone, she tried to suppress the pain and agony, but she was overwhelmed.
Barely two months after their wedding, her husband, Kingsley, lost one of his legs to a stray bullet fired by one of two policemen engaged in fisticuffs in public at Wuse II area in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. One of the policemen was identified as Akpabio Daniel.
For this couple from Abia State, their experience in the hands of the same people paid to protect them was their worst nightmare coming to reality.
Recounting what happened on the day, Chidimma said, “It was Wednesday, October 18, 2017, less two months after our wedding. We got married on September 2, 2017 in Abuja.
“That Wednesday, in company with my elder brother and my husband’s friend, we went to Exclusive Store in Wuse II, Abuja. My husband’s friend is also a worker there.
“We did our shopping and then moved to a Shawarma spot close to the place to eat. We were having fun. Shortly after, we started hearing voices outside the spot, but still on the premises.
“We all stood up to see what was happening. Then, we saw some policemen arguing and pushing themselves. Other people were there. Immediately, we left the spot and tried to leave the premises because we didn’t know what could happen next. It was between 6:30pm and 7pm.”
Chidimma said as they made to leave, one of the policemen involved in the fisticuffs corked his gun and started shooting sporadically, perhaps aiming at his colleague, but one of the bullets hit Kingsley on the left leg.
“Within seconds, we heard about six gunshots and as I turned to make sure that we were all still together, I saw my husband on the floor,” she said in a barely audible voice. “I had to shout for help. We then rushed him to the hospital.
“When we got to the hospital, my husband’s friend and my brother rushed to report the incident at the Maitama Police Station, where the policemen came from. We learnt the policeman that fired the shot had been detained.
“That night, the divisional police officer in company with about three other people came to the hospital. They apologised and the DPO said they were already investigating the incident. But at the end of the day, my husband’s leg was amputated. They (police) gave us N150,000 for his treatment, whereas we have spent not less than N1.6m and we are still in the hospital. The bill is still running.”
Apart from Kingsley’s leg that was amputated, the couple would seem to have another round of issues to worry about, because Kingsley works with a private company, while Chidimma had just finished his Master’s degree and had yet to secure a job.
Till date, all the police have done was to detain the suspect and take several photographs of the victim.
“They have taken his photograph several times and they have taken his statement several times, but they keep telling us they are investigating. When we asked that they should foot the bill, they said they were still investigating, without considering the fact that we are spending money every day,” Chidimma noted.
Perhaps, it would be understating the obvious to say this is the most difficult periods in the life of this young couple, who had yet to start enjoying their union.
Asked how she had been coping, she said, “I’m alive to give thanks and I’m happy he’s alive too, but it has not been easy. It’s a big tribulation, but, we thank God he’s alive.”
“I can no longer look at his picture showing the wound and the bandage. I don’t have the picture on my phone because it’s too gory. I’m just looking for a way to get it off my mind, because if I look at it I would start crying again.”
The spokesperson for the FCT police command, Anjuguri Manzah, told our correspondent on the phone that the case was under investigation.
When asked the plan of the police for the victim and what had been done about the policeman who fired the shot, he said, “The case is currently undergoing investigation and the case has been transfered to the command’s criminal investigation department.”
Also, when asked about the time the investigation would likely be completed, he said he couldn’t say, but that “if the policeman is found guilty, he would be sanctioned appropriately.”
Meanwhile, the family of the victim had accused the police of deliberately maintaining a deafening silence on matter, saying they were being so treated because they were not influential members of the society.
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