By Michael Matthew
Mrs. Mary Dickson, whose boat operator husband, Mr. Dickson Dickson, and his friend, Mr. Godwin Onofi, were killed by youths from Effiat in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, has called on constituted authorities to ensure that justice is done.
The killing of the duo resulted in a reprisal in which the Transitional Chairman of the LGA, Mr. Okpo Ekere, was shot by youths from Ebughu during a protest. Ekere died in an Indian hospital last Tuesday.
Mary is alleging that there is a plot to play down the murder of her husband and his friend because of Ekere’s death.
She said the manner in which her husband and his friend were killed was too heinous for the crime to be swept under the carpet.
Both men were said to have been beheaded and buried.
Mary said, “If the government knows that it is actually working and is ready and willing to protect life and property, let it ask the police to produce those criminals.
“Saying they have been arrested is not good enough. The police might have arrested the wrong people. I want justice for my husband and Onofi. We are poor, we don’t have money to go to court, that is why we have resorted to calling on God for help.”
She said while the death of her husband and his friend was painful, it was more painful that their corpses could not be recovered for proper burial.
Mary said before her husband was killed, he had obtained an N8m loan to buy a boat and boat engine, adding that he could only repay N3m before his death.
She explained that the boat, which was left ashore had been stolen with the engine, saying she could not raise the N5m debt her husband left.
Mary added that life had been tough for her and her children except for the support she had been getting from her husband’s brother.
Dickson’s brother, Mr. Simon Dickson, said he was privy to the incident that led to his death.
Simon said, “There were two 75hp outboard engines in the boat. When Effiat youths waylaid us, they removed one of the engines, we traced them to Inua Abasi, with the remaining outboard engine. The boys are Effiat boys; we know them, especially their leader, who is usually called Ikuma.
“The two engines were new; that was the first day they were put on water. When they removed one of the engines, they asked for N500, 000 before they could release it. We pleaded with them and offered N200, 000. We told them that the boat was new and we did not have enough money with us.
“But they took the engine away in their boat. We had to follow them with the remaining 75hp outboard engine. Later, we were able to raise N100, 000 which my brother (Dickson) took to them in addition with the N200, 000 we had earlier offered. They took the money but refused to give us the engine, insisting that we should pay the balance of N200, 000 before we could get the engine.”
He added that when the matter was reported to the head of the youth, he instructed them to release the engine but they were adamant.
He said, “While we were waiting at Effiat’s shore, we did not know that Onofi and my brother who took the money to them had been killed until after three days.
“Precisely, we got to know they had been killed on May 17, 2012 and up till now we have not seen their corpses. The two engines and the boat were acquired from loan. The two engines cost N3m while the boat costs N5m.
Where are we going to get the money to repay the loan? He was only able to repay N3m out of the N8m. Since the day of the incident, nobody from Ebughu has gone to Ute or Effiat for fishing or to carry passengers.
A fisherman, Okon Okpo, urged the police to ensure that those who perpetrated the act were arrested and brought to book.
He said, “They are criminals. Criminals can come from anywhere; it does not mean it is only in Effiat they exist. It is duty of the police to rid of the society of bad elements.”
Earlier, a senior police officer, who craved anonymity, said three persons had been arrested in connection with the murder of Dickson and Onofi