Yusuf Owodun, the husband of a tailor in Ijegun, Lagos, Busayo Owodun, killed by a stray police bullet on Eid-el-Kabir eve says the tragic death of his wife has redefined the essence of the festive period for him.
To millions of Muslim faithful across the world, Eid-el-Kabir signifies thanksgiving, charity and show of love, but the father of two now sees it as a time to reflect on what has become his saddest day on earth.
Painfully, Busayo’s mother, Mrs Abosede Taiwo, 53, may live the rest of her life barren aside from a heart problem she has been battling with for seven years.
Busayo, 30, was in front of her shop last Saturday when some policemen attached to the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Area Command, Idimu, shot at some suspected Internet fraudsters (Yahoo boys) they were trailing.
The stray bullet hit Busayo, who was two months pregnant, in the chest and she bled to death.
The state police command claimed that the cops tracked some suspected kidnappers to the area, adding that the hoodlums together with some cult members attacked them, living three policemen injured.
Yusuf, also a tailor in the same shop, told City Round on Wednesday that his wife was cutting some pieces of cloths outside the shop when the tragedy struck.
He explained that Busayo, a native of Eruwa in Oyo State, was a kind wife whose death would affect the upkeep of the family and her ailing mother.
She is survived by three children, Fuad, 15; Qoyum, nine, and four-year-old Kowam. “The children were in the shop when she was shot,” Yusuf said.
He added, “That day, I was inside the shop sewing cloths while she was cutting some pieces of cloths outside the shop. The policemen wanted to collect money from some Yahoo boys.An argument ensued and those boys tried to flee. One of the policemen fired a shot and a stray bullet hit my wife in the chest.
“They continued shooting and everybody ran to safety. I called the policemen for help, but they did not answer me. While I was carrying her and trying to get a tricycle to take her to hospital, I fell down. She was two months pregnant.
“We were in a hurry to finish our Muslim customers’ dresses being the eve of Sallah. But at the end of the day, we disappointed them. Even those whose dresses are ready could not come to collect them.
“She was the one taking care of her mother as the only child. The woman has a heart problem and she was the one paying for the treatment. She bought drugs for her every month. Who will be buying the drugs for her now? She was also the one taking care of her maternal grandmother.”
Busayo’s death was a huge loss to family members, who looked up to her as a rallying force. Last Sallah was one of those times her relatives looked forward to bonding and all was set to make it memorable.
“We were expecting to host her relations to celebrate Sallah with us because she was friendly. Unfortunately, we could not slaughter the ram we bought. The incident just destroyed our plans. None of our family members could celebrate Sallah.
“I can’t explain how I feel about her death. We related like siblings and you would not believe that we were a couple. We never fought. She was so caring and helpful. Her killing is a wound that I can never forget.
“Anytime I witness Sallah, I will remember it as the saddest day in my life. The responsibilities we used to share have become only mine. I am appealing to government to come to our aid,” the widower added.
Yusuf said policemen from the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department visited the scene of the incident on Tuesday, adding that he was told the policemen who chased the Yahoo boys had been arrested.
Our correspondent met the deceased’s mother, Taiwo, on Wednesday at her Ijegun home. The distraught woman clutched a Bible to her chest, heaving heavy sighs intermittently. “Oluwabusayo was my only child,” she said after a long silence.
“Since I gave birth to her, I was unable to have another child. She was the one taking care of my needs. I was a hard-working mother too. I was working with a company. She told me to resign seven years ago because of my heart problem.
“She said she didn’t want to lose me. She bought drugs for me every month and gave me anything I needed. She never allowed me to lack. She also paid my rent.”
Recalling her last conversations with Busayo, Taiwo said the deceased had told her she wanted to visit somebody at Sango, Ogun State, on the day the incident happened.
“We spoke on Thursday and she told me she wanted to go to Sango on Saturday morning. I called her around 8am on Saturday to know if she had gone there, but she said she was busy sewing cloths at the shop. She said she would go there later in the day.
“I went to take a nap one hour later. Around 11 am, her eldest son ran to my room and said his mother had been shot. I didn’t know how I jumped from the bed. On getting to her shop, I saw a large crowd gathering.
“With the death of my daughter, police have stripped me naked. They have snatched away my light. Who will take care of me now? Who will take of her children? I don’t want their education to stop,” she said amid tears.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, said the Commissioner of Police, Muazu Zubairu, had ordered investigation into the incident.
He had said, “A stray bullet hit one Busayo Owodun. The gang with the support of some notorious cultists in the area, attacked the police team and injured the leader, ASP Victor Ugbegun, and two others who are currently in critical conditions at the intensive care unit of a hospital.
“With reinforcements from Operations Department, Rapid Response Squad, Task Force, and neighbouring divisions, we were able to contain the situation and take the injured officers to hospital.
“The command has launched a manhunt for the assailants with a view to bringing them to justice. The corpse of the victim of the stray bullet was taken to hospital for autopsy. The Commissioner of Police has ordered a full investigation into the case.”