|the deceased, Mr. Udofa Ekpo|
When Mr. Udofa Ekpo, a 62-year-old loader with the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Mile 2, Lagos branch, returned from work on April 18, 2012, he had no idea that death was lurking around him.
When he got home at 8pm, he settled down to watch the European Champions League match between Barcelona and Chelsea on the fateful day.
When the match ended around 10.30pm, there was power outage at Ajangbadi, a Lagos suburb. Worried by the excessive heat in the house, he decided to spend some time at his wife’s restaurant in the neighbourhood.
While he was there, his daughter, Ididiong, ran towards him, panting and screaming that some boys vowed to kill her because she refused their friend’s friendship request.
PUNCH Metro learnt that as Ekpo was listening to Ididiong, the boys, whose names were given simply as Oghene, Henry and Macaulay emerged, raging with anger.
It was further learnt that before Ekpo could utter a word, Macaulay allegedly beat him up, resulting in his collapse and then death.
Sensing that Ekpo had died, the boys attempted to run away but eyewitnesses overpowered them and handed them over to the Police Division at Ajangbadi.
The division later transferred the suspects to State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba.
Ididiong said Macaulay had been asking her to date him but she refused.
She said, “On the fateful day, the three boys saw me in our area. They said I was always bluffing and that Macaulay had been asking me out and I had been ignoring him.
“That day was not the first day they had been disturbing me. As I told them that I was not interested, they started manhandling me but I escaped and headed for my mother’s shop. I met my father there and he inquired what the problem was.
“Suddenly, the boys came around and Macaulay started beating him up. Before anything could be done, my father slumped. We attempted to rush him to the hospital but he died on the spot.”
She said because many people were attracted to the area during the scuffle, the suspects could not escape.
Ididiong said few days after the suspects were arrested, they were released by the police and had been walking freely since then.
“We are appealing to the relevant authorities not to allow our father’s killers to go scot-free. We want justice in this matter,” she said.
An eyewitness, who craved anonymity, said, “One of the boys, I think Macaulay, had been trying to woo Ididiong but she rebuffed his moves. He later enlisted the support of two of his friends to deal with the girl.
The source said in the last two weeks, fear had gripped the area as the suspects who were arrested on the fateful day had been released by the police.
“This is a source of concern to us. We are worried that the suspects did not stay up to two weeks before they were let off the hook. I wonder because I learnt that murder cases are not bail-able,” she said.
Meanwhile, the lawyer to the family, Mr. Silas Udoh, has sent a petition to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba, requesting that the suspects should be charged to court.
The petition reads in part, “We were informed that though the matter was transferred to your state Command from Ajangbadi Police Station since two weeks ago, the accused have not been charged to court. Rather, they were all released from police custody, an action which you know can cause a breakdown of peace in the area and encourage self-help.
“Further to the above, we have the instruction of our client to the effect that they are greatly embarrassed by your action and unless proper legal action is carried out on the murderers immediately, we shall petition the IG as well as National Human Rights Commission.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Command, Mr. Joseph Jaiyeola, confirmed the story but said the matter had been charged to court.
“The matter has been charged to Yaba Magistrate’s Court about two weeks ago,” Jaiyeola said.