How a Nigeria Policeman killed my husband over N200 – Widow

How a Nigeria Policeman killed my husband over N200 - Widow

Evelyn Asiayei, widow of Bayelsa driver, Banalayefa Asiayei, speaks to VICTORIA EDEME on the circumstances surrounding her husband’s death


How did you hear of your husband’s death?

My name is Evelyn Onome Asiayei. My husband was from Bayelsa State, but I am from Delta State. I married Banalayefa Mark Asiayei on 25 March 2017, and we have three children. I am 33, and my husband would have been 40 by August. I was at home when my neighbour from the market called around 8 pm on Monday, 27 May 2024. She told me that she had received a call from her customer, who patronises our Point-of-Sale business, saying that my husband had been shot.


Upon hearing this, I called for the help of my neighbours as it was already late. We contacted my neighbour’s customer to ask if my husband was still at the scene, but we were informed that he had been taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa. As we were on our way, we met one of my husband’s friends who lives on our street. He took us to FMC in his vehicle.


When I arrived at FMC, we asked at the gate, and they confirmed that someone had been rushed into the emergency ward. I immediately alighted from the car and ran towards the emergency ward, where I saw my husband’s brother. I asked him where my husband was because I had already called his elder sister to inform her. My husband’s brother told me that my husband was in the car.

When he told me this, I didn’t know how to feel. I went to the car and saw my husband inside. I asked if he had been attended to, but I was told that there was no need, as my husband was already dead. This was someone I had seen around 6 pm that day. I couldn’t understand what had happened. He couldn’t be dead just like that. That was how I received the news.


What were your last moments with your husband?

I was with him around 6 o’clock that evening when we were closing the market. He gave me money to go and cook, as he was supposed to drop us off before picking up passengers that evening. Since he was discussing with someone, he told us to go ahead so as not to keep us waiting, as I needed to cook. So, I took my children and went home. I left while he was still talking with the person in the shop. I sell attachments, soap, cream, clothes, bags, shoes, and other fashion items. I also sell pure water and drinks. It’s just a small shop I manage. I sell a variety of things so that if I don’t get patronage for one product, I might for another.


What was the next line of action after your husband was declared dead?

My husband’s brothers were angry. From the hospital, they took him to the Government House, since it was a policeman who shot him. According to my in-laws, one of the passengers was still in the vehicle when the policeman shot my husband. The eyewitness told them everything that happened, and they became angry. They took the body to the gate of the Government House. They had to. At first, the policemen there asked them how they were so sure that it was an officer attached to the state security outfit, Operation Doo Akpo, who shot him, as many people were patrolling Azikoro Road where my husband was killed. My husband’s family told them an eyewitness had given them the van number. According to the eyewitness, after shooting my husband, the policeman got out, looked at him, then got back into their vehicle and drove off. As they were driving, the eyewitness quickly wrote down the van number. So, my husband’s family gave the van number to the officers at the gate, and they made a call.


When your husband’s family carried his corpse to the Government House, who received them?

They met with the police people there. They were saying they wanted to speak to the governor. About six or seven police vans came to the premises. They were the ones that took my husband’s corpse to the mortuary. The policemen were speaking to my husband’s family. I didn’t know what they were saying. I’m just there crying and begging my husband to wake up. I called my pastor and when we were praying, I laid my phone on his chest. I didn’t even know who took the phone from his chest. They stole my phone and I had to retrieve my number again. The phone I’m using right now is his phone.


Based on what you heard, what led to the shooting of your husband?

From an eyewitness account, I was told that the policemen stopped him. Let me add that when we were going to the market that morning, my husband’s Toyota Sienna vehicle stopped opposite Okaka because it was having issues. According to the passenger, the policemen stopped my husband because they wanted to collect N200. Before they even shot him, he was already driving past them to park. He had already stopped and was trying to park the car. Before he could park the car, they shot him. That’s when all the passengers fled from the vehicle. One of the passengers at the front is someone who comes to the market and knows my husband. After shooting him, the policemen got out of their van to check on him. They did not even carry him to the hospital. Even if the shot was a mistake, why not rush the person to the hospital immediately? They left him, got back into their van, and drove away.


How did the family receive the news of your husband’s death?

The passengers there shouted for help. Many people were around, and they were scared, seeing that a policeman had shot someone. One of my in-laws was coming from work and saw people gathered. He asked what was going on. He then saw the Sienna and noted that it looked like the car of someone he knew. He ran to the vehicle. The horn was still on because my husband’s head was on the steering wheel. He lifted his head and saw that it was my husband. He was shocked. He ran to my husband’s sister to call her. It was my sister-in-law who then called their brother. Their brother drove from INEC Samphino to that place to carry my husband to FMC. When they got to FMC, I guess they didn’t even bring him out of the car because I got there later. It’s like they checked him in the car and said he was dead.


A reported eyewitness account suggested that the policeman demanded money from your husband, but he refused, saying he didn’t have any. Is this something you have also heard?

I didn’t hear that. They said they stopped him, but I don’t know if he spoke to the policeman because I was not there. When things like this happen, we tend to hear different stories. What I know is that the vehicle was having issues that day. According to what was said, he was about to park and stop when they came and shot him.


What’s the update concerning the case?

They said that the policeman was in their custody. My husband’s family are the ones taking up the case.


What did your husband do for a living?

We have a Sienna car. So, when we close from the market, he uses it to pick up passengers since they banned keke at night. He picks up and drops off passengers before returning home at about 9 pm. My husband and I are always together in the market. We both manage the shop there. Whenever we close, he drops us off and then goes to pick up passengers. Besides that, he worked with the Bayelsa State sanitation team. He was involved in sanitation work. He also assisted me in the shop and did electrical and solar work.


Aside from your trade, what else do you do for a living?

I do part-time teaching. I teach in a private school. I’m a graduate of Music from Delta State University, Abraka. When I went out for part-time teaching, my husband used to assist me in the shop.


Has he been buried?

No, his family has not said anything about his burial. After the protest, they have not made any decisions.


What protest took place?

The market people protested because we sell in the market. People from our street also joined them. People were angry because my husband did not argue with the police and he was not seen with anything incriminating. He’s not a criminal. So why would they shoot him and leave him to die? They protested on the night he died on the express road.


Before your husband was shot, had there been any incidents like that in the area?

I heard of one that happened in the area where they shot a man whose wife was pregnant or had just given birth. That was a week or two before the incident.


Are burial plans ongoing?

No, because the government has not said anything. They are the ones who are supposed to give him a befitting burial.


It’s been over a month since your husband’s death. How has it been for you?

It has not been easy. He was a good father and husband. For the three children I gave birth to, I don’t know how much they sell diapers because he buys them. I’m a woman, but I’ve never gone to the market to purchase diapers any day. I don’t know how much they sell the toothpaste I use or the soap I use to bathe, because my husband buys everything. He just wanted me to tell him when it was about to finish, not when it was finished. For the one month that I’ve carried expenses, I know how expensive these things are. Right now, our rent is expired. Feeding, school fees, and shop rents are still there. A lot of things are just going through my mind right now. It was when my husband died that I realised how much we used to spend on food. My husband didn’t allow us to go hungry. With the little he had, he cared for his family. It has not been easy. I’m wondering where I will start with the fees. School is closing in two weeks, and the first term will resume again. I’ll be talking about N200,000 to N300,000 plus for school fees, books, and everything for three children. My head is full. Every day I think and calculate. Now I know why he always calculated and wrote down things he wanted to do. When he did them, he ticked them off. He didn’t like stressing himself or putting himself under pressure.


How old are your children? How are they coping with the death of their father?

The first is just six years old, the second is four, and the last is two. I have two girls and one boy. They have been asking for their father. A few days ago, they told me to ask Daddy to come and paint the house. They don’t know their father is dead. I tell them that he’s in Canada. So when they make requests concerning their father, I ask them to say it and assure them that he’d hear them in his Canada house. They asked me if he had a phone, and I told them I was using his phone but he was yet to buy a phone in Canada. That’s what I told them. So whenever they want to talk, I say, “Speak, Daddy will hear you.” On Father’s Day, they asked me to call their dad so they could wish him a happy Father’s Day. I just told them to say what they wanted to say and their daddy would hear them in Canada.


How have you been getting support?

My in-laws, family, and friends support me. That’s where I’ve been getting support from. It has not been easy.


What are your expectations from the government regarding your husband’s case?

I want the government to give my children a scholarship and offer us financial support. I need a government job. I work in a private school and they only pay you for the month you work. They don’t pay you for holidays. For the policeman who did this, justice should be served. He deserves his punishment. He should be punished for that. He cannot just go scot-free like that for taking someone’s life. The governor went on air to say that he would handle the issue and that people don’t need to protest.


Do you believe that the issue will be handled as the governor promised?

I believe so. We all agree that when you say something, you should be able to keep your word. That’s it. So I trust he would since he has come out to say it on air. So let’s wait for him to keep his word.

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