For the family of Mr and Mrs Odudu Monday, Tuesday, May 30, 2017 was like every other day. As Christians, they woke up at 5am in their Mbukpa police barracks apartment and had an early morning prayer.
According to the wife, Mrs Etido Odudu Monday, the prayer was a special one as it was the end of the month and they were expecting Odudu’s salary so they can pay the children’s school fees.
She said during the prayer session, the husband had reminded her that God has always been the Almighty who must be worshipped at all times and not just someone to be supplicated in times of trouble.
Shortly after the prayer, while Etido went about her daily business, Odudu briskly went out to discuss a few things with his colleagues within the barracks and came back to get ready for work.
While Odudu left for his duty post at the Area Command, without any premonition that that was the beginning of his journey to eternity, Etido was left in the house with their first daughter, Precious, who could not go to school because she had been driven out for not paying fees.
About 9:00pm that fateful day, the wife as usual was looking out to when her young husband would come back home and have his dinner so she can go to bed.
But he didn’t come back that night and when she asked his colleagues and neighbours, they first told her he was on special duty and later he was shot and was receiving treatment at a police clinic.
According to Mrs Odudu, each time his colleagues looked at her, they would start crying and be speaking in muffled tones, an indication that something was wrong. The following morning, Wednesday, May 31, they broke the news of her husband’s journey to eternity, and since then, the young woman with three kids has remained devastated.
Narrating her story in an emotion-laden tone to Saturday Sun, Mrs Odudu, 28, said: “We met at The Apostolic Messiah Church, Calabar and got married in 2003. We have three children – the first daughter, Precious, 7, and twins, Emmanuel and Naomi. The twins are with the elder sister at a boarding school at Afagabong in Akwa Ibom State.
“On the day, May 30, we woke up as usual and had our morning prayer, asking God to help us so that we can be alive to take care of our children. And after the prayer, we went about our daily routine and he later went to work while I stayed at home to take care of the house since I don’t have anything to do.
Around 9pm, when he had not come back, I asked his colleagues about his whereabouts. They didn’t want to tell me what happened.
“They only told me to go inside the house with my daughter and sleep. Later, they told me they shot my husband on the hand and he is at the hospital where they are trying to remove the bullet.
“But whenever they told me that, they would go back and start crying. It was the following morning they told me he is dead and had been taken to the mortuary. They further said they had misunderstanding with the Navy people who came into the Area Command police station, Akim, and shot him while on duty as a station guard.”
Looking crestfallen, she said: “Since Tuesday, my first daughter, Precious, has been asking me where is Daddy? Am I not taking her to school because she has been sent out of school for not paying school fees? I told the teachers to wait till the father receives May salary. For the twins, they have called for their fees too. So I am just confused and helpless.
“My father is late and my mother had relocated to Akwa Ibom. I am now squatting with my elder sister now at Ebka-Ebuka Street at Anatigha in Calabar South. It looks as if the whole world has collapsed on me.”
Lamenting, she said: “My greatest problems now are how to take care of my children, where we would stay and what I would do to earn a living. Before he died, he had promised me that before the end of the year he would set up a business for me.
“So, for now, I don’t have any hope because I lost my bread winner. I am helpless because very soon police would tell us to quit our apartment in the barracks. So, where do I go from here? I am using this opportunity to plead with police authorities and good spirited individuals to come to my aid and help me do business to help myself and these kids he left behind.”
On her regrets in life, the bereaved wife said: “I regret marrying a policeman, I don’t like that work. I think it was a big mistake and I am paying dearly for it. But I pray to God to send a helper.”
Also lamenting the sudden death of Odudu, a close family friend, Victor Emmanuel, said: “I and Odudu were together in Science Secondary along Mayne Avenue in Calabar South where we passed out in 2002. Since then, he has been struggling to eke out a living. For almost one year, he didn’t go to work because he was operated upon for hernia and resumed work two weeks ago only to meet his untimely death. We have really lost a friend.”