Mr Samuel Ezeh is the father of a five-year-old boy, Chinwike, who was allegedly killed in Amokwe Community in the Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State. He tells RAPHAEL EDE how his son’s corpse was discovered in a pit
How did you hear about the death of your son?
I returned home from work around 6pm on that fateful day. I’m a painter. I didn’t see my wife and children; this made me feel uncomfortable. I wondered where they might be at that time as my family hardly stays out beyond 6pm.
I decided to go look for them at the family house and I met my wife and my four-year-old boy on my way there. When I asked where they were coming from, she said she could not find Chinwike and went out to search for him. But she said she could not find him. My wife narrated to me how she returned home and could not find him.
So I told her to return home to prepare supper while I continued to search for him. I went from house to house, searching for him. I went to places I knew he used to go but at every compound I visited, they told me they didn’t see him.
When you could not find him, what did you do?
I returned home and asked my wife about the children he went out with. She told me the two boys he went out with were about 10 years old. I went to them and they told me that while they were at their house with my son, he told them he was hungry, so they decided to come with him to our house to eat. They said they saw one of my nephews, (name withheld), working on his farm.
They said he stopped them and asked for their names and about their families, especially from one of them who is not from our community. The boy told him his parents are from Ebonyi State. They said after they answered his questions, he told them to go. When they got to a mango tree, they stopped to get some fruits. They didn’t know that after asking them those questions, the nephew changed his clothes and trailed them. Meanwhile, he should be around 37 or 38 years old.
The children said he came and asked them to get down from the mango tree. I was told my son was the one picking the mangoes that were dropping on the ground. When they got down, he asked one of them to get him a cane and it was brought to him. He asked whether they wanted him to give them some training and they begged him not to give them any training. So, he told them to run, including my little child. After running some distance, they stopped and looked back but couldn’t find Chinwike.
Then they returned to the mango tree and could not find either my nephew or Chinwike. So, they came to my house thinking that he might have decided to come home since he was coming to eat before they stopped to get some mangoes. When they got to our house, they didn’t see him and they didn’t also see my nephew who pursued them. From there, they returned to their houses.
After listening to their story, I went home and alerted the entire neighbourhood that my boy was missing. We formed a search party and searched for this boy all through the night. They called my nephew around 11pm and asked him where he was. He told them he was in Enugu. He was told that one of the children he chased after had not been seen but he dismissed it. Later that night, I called him on the phone but he did not pick up.
What happened when he was not found that night?
The people retired to their homes with the aim of continuing with the search the following morning. I wanted to go to the police station to report that my son was missing but people around said it was still early to go to the police station. Instead, they suggested we form another search party to look for him and that if he was not found by 8am, then I should go to the police. So we divided ourselves into various search groups and embarked on the search again. Eventually, we found him in a pit in an area that was covered during our search the previous night. The rest of us ran to the place to see him and people started crying. When I saw him, my guess was that his killer put him there so it would appear as if he drowned because if it had rained that night, the pit would have been flooded and his body would have been washed down the village.
But it did not rain that night and blood was coming out of his nose. I told the people around not to touch his body until when I returned. I went to the police station in Udi and reported the incident. They came with me and took the body away.
Why do you think he was killed?
By looking at him, you would know he was killed. So I don’t think he was killed, I know he was killed. my nephew said he did nothing to him. But he had been misbehaving since his father died. I had even complained about him to his maternal relations and they said they were tired of him. His parents have died. They had two children, a boy and a girl.
He was about 11 or 12 years old when his parents died. I took him like my son when he was young. I didn’t allow him to do any strenuous work because I didn’t want people to say it was because his parents were dead.
Since your son died, how hard has it been for you?
My dear, it is not easy. I am dumbfounded. My son was somebody that didn’t want to see me angry. Whenever I came home, he would come and play with me. If he noticed that I was moody, he would persistently ask me ‘daddy, what is it?’ He would do things to make me happy. I remember him every morning because when he was alive, he would come to my room to wake me up.
How would you describe your son?
He always said he would become a pastor or a doctor after completing his education if God so wished. When I remember him, I feel sad. I feel like this life has no meaning again, but what can I do? Everything that was created will pass away; it is only God that we look up to. If I had listened to people when the incident happened, I would have done something terrible, but I thank God for His mercies.
Are you able to sleep at night?
Every time I sleep, I dream about my boy. I also keep imagining how someone could kill an innocent child like that.
Is there any update on the police investigation?
On May 22, 2020, when I visited the homicide department at the police headquarters in Enugu, I was told that an autopsy would be done since my nephew is saying he didn’t kill my son. I want my boy to be buried; I don’t want him to continue to be in the morgue.
What plans did you have for him?
I had hoped to train him to achieve his dream of becoming a pastor.
Source: Sunday PUNCH