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Sad Story: Tears for a daughter’s murder

SINCE her husband’s death, Mrs. Catherine Asuquo Udo of No. 5, David Iyah Street, Mbiabong Anyanya, on the outskirt of Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, had held her family together by dint of hardwork and the grace of God.
A petty trader, she managed to train her children in school, among them, her beautiful daughter, 26- year- old Mbotidem, a graduate of College of Education, Afaha Nsit.
As 2010 began to end, Mrs. Udo was already making plans for the future.
Already, her first son had got married a few months earlier in May and she had such high hopes for her pretty daughter.
That was until December 21, 2010, when Mbotidem’s battered, lifeless body was discovered in another village by the police, killed by a suspected ritual killer.
Narrating her ordeal to The Guardian, her story frequently interrupted by with intermittent sobbing, Mrs. Udo said Mbotidem had told her two nights before that fateful December 21, 2010, that she would be going to her school to finalize her screening as a final-year student.
“That morning, and as a mother, I had some uneasy feelings that my daughter should not make the journey and I told her so.
“But since she insisted, I allowed her to go”.
According to Mrs. Udo, she later left for church and came back about 5.00p.m. only to discover on enquiry, that Mbotidem had not come back home.  
When she brought out her handset to call her daughter and ask her whereabouts, she saw some missed calls from a family friend, a lawyer called Otuekong.
“ On calling to find out why he was calling, the lawyer invited me to come to his house where he asked me of my daughter.
“Even at that point, I did not know that my daughter was dead because the Barrister refused to break the news.”
On getting to her house, however, he told her the police found Mboditem dead in a village called Ikot Nya in Nsit Ibom Local Council of the state.
“ The lawyer’s telephone number was in one of the documents the police found on her and through which the police reached and informed him.
“That was how the police called him”, she lamented.
She says she strongly believes her daughter must have been tricked by a man she could only identify as Yusuf, who had been pestering her for many years for marriage, which, she as the girl’s mother had rejected.
“This man called Yusuf has been pestering my daughter for many years about marriage, but I wouldn’t accept.
“On that fateful day, as I came out of my house, I saw Yusuf that early morning and I asked him what he was looking for in my house.
“He told me that he wanted to take my daughter to school.
“At that point, I couldn’t do anything again but to advice my daughter to be careful.
“ I had embarrassed him secretly and openly, but he kept coming, not knowing that, he had planned to kill
my daughter for rituals.
“ I don’t know whether he gave my daughter love portion”.
Her suspicions on Yusuf were further strengthened when women working in a farm allegedly heard a girl screaming and ran to the scene only to see Yusuf rushing into his Mercedes 190 car, the same car he used in picking up the late Mbotidem from her mother’s house.
According to her, it was the description by the farmers of Yusuf and the car he drove that gave the lead to the police in tracing the suspect and arresting him.
“The women, who gave the eye-witness testimony, confirmed Yusuf’s identification on seeing him at the police station after he was arrested and kept in police custody at the state police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia.”
Lamenting that she has toiled, using her meagre resources from petty trading for the training and upkeep of her children after the death of their father, Mrs. Udo  expressed shock that someone who claimed to be her daughter’s friend could have it in his mind to kill her in cold blood.
“Just in May 2010, during the wedding of my first son, I saw Yusuf and told him to leave the venue.”
According to her, before the incident, Yusuf had allegedly been parading himself as military intelligence officer wearing military camouflage, cap and hand-band.
This, she said, made the said Yusuf quite well -known among the security agencies in the state even as she worried that such a possible connection might lead to his being released without the case being looked into critically.
Her fears had been further heightened by the death of the Investigating Police Officer that initially handled the case.
She also wondered if it was proper for her to be asked to pay for the autopsy of her daughter.
Besides, a frightening dimension emerged as she has been receiving series of threats on the telephone by unknown persons.
They are threatening her with elimination unless she drops the matter of her daughter’s killing.
A visibly disturbed Mrs. Udoh lamented that the case was dragging on for too long without the suspect being charged to court.
She is now calling on the police authorities to do something or release her daughter’s body to the family for burial.
Speaking with The Guardian, the family lawyer, Mr. Mfon Ben, said he was guiding the family on the steps to be taken to ensure that the proper thing was done so as to get justice.
“After the incident, the police told us that they had taken some statements and that they were carrying out investigations.
“We are advising the family on the proper thing to be done”.
Sources at the police headquarters at Ikot Akpan Abia told The Guardian that the case was receiving the necessary attention and that Mrs. Umoh should not worry.
According to the source, the suspect was still in custody.
The source further said that the new State Police Commissioner, Mr. Sani Magaji has zero tolerance for crime, reminding The Guardian of the alleged murder case involving some highly placed lawmakers in Mkpat Enin  Local Council in the state, which the police boss was vigorously investigating.

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