It was reported on july 18, about the gun clash between the police and some gunmen said to be robbers along the banking layout axis of Abak Road, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, in which a lady was killed.
However, the Spokesperson for the State Police Command, Mr Ikechukwu Chukwu, later dispensed a statement the following day claiming that the shooting was a clash between some unnamed rival cult group and not armed robbers as reported.
“To set the records straight and give a clear and correct picture of issues raised in the said online report, the Command wish to inform the public that there was no robbery attack on any commercial bank anywhere in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. The incident that was erroneously referred to was a clash between rival cult gangs along the road which was promptly contained by the swift response of our patrol teams.
The gun duel lasted for 30 minutes sending passersby, bank customers and commuters scampering for safety.
Sadly, a single mother of three and staff of Uyo Local Education Authority, Victoria Ibanga, who was on her way home from work was caught by a stray bullet.
The stray bullet hit her inside the bus she boarded and she died few hours later due to lack of immediate medical attention.
Her son, David Peter, 20, said his dream was to become an electrical engineer.
“Since I heard the news of my mum’s demise, I have not been myself. I feel very bad. Why would she die now that I need her most? I have sat for JAMB exams this year and I want to get to the university to study electrical engineering.
“Life was already a struggle while she was still alive because my father had left her many years ago and she had to fend for us all alone. Now that she has died, how will I and my younger sisters survive? I am praying that the government and well meaning Nigerians will come to our aid,” he said.
Recounting her story, the younger sister to the deceased, Ndukeabasi Usanga, said that the deceased who lived with her for about three years was her prayer partner. She said that nothing could be more hurting to her than her demise.
“My sister left home on Tuesday lively and sound to work. She was a single mother with three children. We were expecting her to come home to meet her children but up till 5pm, we did not see her. We thought she went somewhere. But before then, I spoke with her on phone earlier that day.” said Usanga.
“I called her to get drugs for her first daughter because she took ill. I waited for her to return but she did not. By 6:03pm, someone called with her number and asked if I knew the owner of the phone and I said ‘yes it is my sister’s phone.’ He said; ‘Ask the person to come to Apico House to pick her phone.”
“I asked the man why the phone was there and he said that there was an armed robbery attack and that the owner of the phone must have run away leaving the phone behind. Later the person called again around 6:30pm to tell me that the person was yet to come and get her phone and that he wanted to leave the place. He is actually a police officer around that place,” she said.
Usanga said she left to church hoping that the deceased might have gone somewhere that took her time. Her mother who is also leaving with her, called her at about 8pm to inform her that the sister was yet to return home. She left church immediately in search of her sister. She said that she had visited several hospitals to see if she could find Victoria but unfortunately could not find any trace of her that night.
“I was on the road up till 10pm and in the process of the search, someone told me that one woman was caught by a stray bullet and was dumped by a certain gas station where people gathered to watch and that she was later put inside the mini bus in which in which the stray bullet had hit her and taken away.
“I started the search as early as 6am the following morning. I went to hospitals I could not visit the previous day to continue the search. It was at one of the hospitals that someone who my sister had been chatting with on Facebook, told me that she was there at the scene of the incidence. She told me that I should go to Area Command to ask after for my sister,” she said.
According to her account, when she got to the police station that she was directed to, she was told by one of the policemen that her sister was however brought there and was still breathing, but was sent to C Division since the case was not within the command’s jurisdiction.
“I rushed to C Division that morning and I was showed the bus that brought her. I started searching the bus to see if I could find anything to identify that she was actually the one because up till then, I did not still believe that she was the one. When I saw her shoe, I said ‘this is the shoe that she actually wore to work”
“That’s when I knew it was my sister indeed. So I asked the policemen to show me to where my sister was and they told me she was dead. I requested to see her corpse and I was told it was taken to the morgue. They however gave me one police escort in the vehicle I went with to take me to the morgue where my sister’s body was dumped,” she said.
Usanga however pleaded with the government and well meaning Nigerians to assist her sister’s children through school.
“My challenge is the children that she is leaving behind. I pray that government should do what is necessary to ensure that the children are taken care of. They should continue their education,” she said.