I Cannot Forgive My Husband's Killer.... 28 Year Widow Of INEC Staff


Chioma is the wife of an employee of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Duruoha Joel, who went missing in September and was later found dead after allegedly being killed by a gang of armed robbers in the Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State. She narrates her ordeals to Punch 

Tell us more about yourself.

I am 28 years old. I am from Umuchu in the Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. I am an applicant and an apprentice. I am married to Joel Duruoha, but unfortunately, he is late now. Before the sad incident of the death of my husband, we were living together at Ifite Awka in Anambra State.

How old was your late husband?

He was 43 years old. I was shocked to hear the sad news of my husband’s death and right now, I have still not recovered from the shock and I don’t think I will be able to recover from it. I wish I can wake up from this nightmare one day.

Can you recall the day he went missing?

I can’t remember the particular day, but it was late in September. On that fateful day, he left the house for work and he did not come back home. A few days before I got the sad news of his death, I informed his colleagues and the office (INEC) that he did not return home since he left for work and he was subsequently declared missing. After some days, around midnight on that fateful day, somebody called me on the phone and informed me that she saw the picture of my husband on social media and that his corpse was found on a road. I told her to send me the picture for me to be sure, and when she did, it was truly my husband’s picture. I just could not describe the way I felt at that moment. That night was the most terrible moment of my life; I started making calls here and there, running up and down.

Was that the first moment you heard about the news?

Yes, it was the first moment.

Who was the woman who informed you?

She is an old friend. It had been a long time since we communicated, but on that particular night, she said immediately after she saw the post and the picture of my husband flying on social media, she quickly recognised that it was him and decided to call me to verify.

When he was initially announced missing, what was happening to you in that period?

Yes, when he was announced missing, every one of us, including his colleagues, started looking for him. His phone line was switched off; no one was able to communicate with him until the news of his death got to me that night. That was a few days after he was declared missing.

How many days after?

I cannot remember how many days precisely because a lot was running through my mind and I was not in the right frame of mind; the trauma was too much.

What was the last moment you had together?

That morning before he left for work, as he normally did, he hugged and kissed me and told me to try and be back home on time to prepare his favourite meal that he was going to be very busy at work that day; it was during the continuous voter registration and he was always really busy at work during those periods.

How was his corpse discovered?

It was found by the roadside in Isuaniocha community in the Awka North Local Government Area. The police found it. According to what they said, a woman who was going to her farm that morning saw the corpse by the roadside and started screaming; the people in the area alerted the police in the community, who took the corpse to the mortuary. It was at the mortuary that one of the attendants recognised him and told them that he was an INEC employee. So, the police immediately contacted the INEC office in Awka and the people there contacted my brother-in-law. Nobody was happy about it. We were all very sad at that moment. It was very unfortunate.

Last Friday, the police arrested and paraded his alleged killers and you were also present when the suspects narrated how he was killed. How did you feel seeing them confessing to the crime?

I could not believe that such young people would take the life of a human being just because they wanted to snatch his vehicle. It was a rude shock to me to see the faces of those boys, who are in their 20s. They could have just snatched the vehicle and kept him alive for his family. It is so terrible and pathetic. They said they hired him to use his shuttle bus to take them to Urum from Ifite, but that their intention was to steal his bus, and that later along the Urum/Isuaniocha Road, they strangled him, dumped his corpse in a nearby bush and took the bus. Thereafter, they drove the vehicle to Enugu. where they wanted to sell it. But detectives from the state Criminal and Investigative Department were able to arrest the suspects in Enugu and the bus was recovered.

Was the stolen vehicle your husband’s?

He bought it in February this year to ease his movement to and from work and for other movements.

Did he also use it for commercial purposes?

It was not actually for commercial transportation but basically for ease of movement.

Has the vehicle been recovered?

The police found the vehicle in Enugu but they said the engine was damaged.

How do you want his suspected killers to be dealt with or can you muster the courage to forgive them?

It is hard to forgive such. Let them face the full wrath of the law for having the mind to gruesomely take away the life of a fellow human being. This will also serve as a deterrent to others.

How did you know that the suspects would be paraded by the police?

The investigating police officer called me that morning and told me that the Commissioner of Police would be unveiling the suspected killers of my husband and that I should come over to the state CIID. So, that was how I got there.

Have there been any further developments since the suspects were paraded?

The police said they were going to charge them to court.

Can you recall the role his employer has played since your husband was killed?

After he was declared missing, his employer, INEC, sent a message from Abuja that they would have to start investigations on his case immediately. It was some days after that his corpse was found along the road.

Was he working with INEC before you met him and when did he start working there?

Yes. He was already working there before I met him. I don’t know the exact time he started the work, but I know he had been there for a very long time.

Has INEC reached out to you or contacted the family members in any way?

We have not heard from them, although they also played a key role in making sure that the killers were found. But they have yet to reach out to us in terms of any other thing.

Can you describe how life has been for you since your husband was murdered?

My life has been shattered. It has been so terrible. My late husband was everything to me. I have not been myself since the incident. I feel very sick inside of me, I have not been thinking normally. The pain is just too much for me to bear at the moment. My friend, who lives in Awka, had to come and pick me up so that she could monitor me and I am presently staying with her. She has been the one catering for me. I have five siblings – three girls and two boys. My parents are in our hometown; they are still in shock and disbelief.

How did you both meet and when did you get married?

We met at a friend’s wedding in Onitsha in 2019 and we got married in October 2020, but we did not have a child before his unfortunate death.

Where was he from?

He was from Isiala-Mbano in Imo State.

How will you describe your late husband?

He was a good and kind-hearted man. A complete family man, good to his people and everybody around him; everybody knew him to be a good man. I miss his tenderness, care and lovely character. He was a good man to the core.

What were the memorable moments you had together?

My heart bleeds as I am talking right now. The mirror of my life has been broken into pieces and cannot be mended. We shared a lot of fond memories. How do I start mentioning it and where do I start from? He did not only show me love but also showed it to every one of my family members. Please, as I talk, it feels like my heart is being pierced with a sword. This is the saddest moment of my life. The shock is just too much and I have not recovered from it. I don’t know how I will come out of this. It is very terrible. I also call on people not to abandon me during this trying period, because I don’t know what to do next.

Has your husband been buried?

No. We are still making arrangements. The police told us to do an autopsy, which they said would cost N300,000. We told them that we didn’t have such an amount and they said we should do a post-mortem, which they said would cost N50,000. The family members ran around, gathered the money, and had the post-mortem done, after which his corpse was released to us for transfer to his hometown on Saturday (November 26, 2022). I will go (to his hometown) when the burial has been fixed.

What is your next line of action?

I don’t know. I have no job. My husband is dead. I am just confused. Right now, I am not thinking right and at the moment, I can’t tell my next line of action after this. Only God knows.

You said you were an apprentice and applicant…

Yes, I am an applicant and also an apprentice. I studied Accounting Education at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and I graduated in 2017, completed my national youth service in 2019 and I have been searching for a job to no avail. When I got married, the job search continued and when none was forthcoming, about three months ago, my late husband decided to enrol me in a tailoring institute in Awka, where I became an apprentice, learning fashion design with the hope of making out a career in it as white collar jobs have become elusive.

But now, that effort has been truncated. Right now, I don’t even have the money to continue transporting myself to the institute. My friend, who has been accommodating me, has been helping me out with the little she can, and she is even tired. My friend picked me up to stay with her to monitor me, because staying at the residence where my late husband and I were staying, kept bringing memories that may lead me into doing something else. I am concerned about the burial arrangements of my late husband and also battling a lot of things at the moment. I can’t be alone at the moment.

So, it has not been easy since the unfortunate death of my husband and I don’t know what the future holds for me right now. I want to use this opportunity to call on individuals not to abandon me at this moment. I am just helpless; it looks like the world is crumbling on me. I just need help.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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