• How herders slaughtered my husband in his farm, dropped his corpse under a tree – Benue widow
Linus Oota, Lafia
Anyone who has not heard the full story will consider Doosur Blessing Igbana, 37, a lucky survivor of the recent herdsmen attack in Nasarawa State that led to the killing of 25 people. A full account shows that her situation is as tragic as that of the dead. Her husband and father of her four children was killed two days earlier before their village was overran by rampaging herdsmen. Widowed and now a refugee, the 37-year-old is condemned to continuing life’s journey alone saddled with the onerous task of bringing up four children all of whom are under 10 years.
Saturday Sun located the widow in South Primary School Keana, one of the IDPs camp created by the Nasarawa State Government.
In an atmosphere tensed with sorrow, Doosur Blessing Igbana obliged Saturday Sun with an emotional account of how her husband, Apuur Igbana, left their house on January 3, 2018 with his bicycle and went to his farm to uproot cassava without a premonition that his path would cross those of killer herdsmen that would murder him in cold blood.
Apuur, 42, had lived his entire life from birth to death in Iorna village of Keana Local Government Area.
The tragic irony is that the deceased had many friends among the indigenous herdsmen around the village.
Day of death
After some efforts, Doosur was sufficiently calm to reconstruct the events of the tragic day.
“On the evening of January 3,” she began, “he left for his farm at about 4 pm with his bicycle to get some cassava so that we can mill akpu since we had exhausted the food in the house during Christmas and New Year celebrations. He didn’t want us to follow him because it was in the evening and he promised not to waste time. He was a man of his words. We became worried when he didn’t return by 7 pm. We were afraid to trace him to the farm because of the security report circulating.
“Early the next morning, myself and my first son, as well as a relation, went to the farm. At the farm, we saw his bicycle. Tied to it was a sack of cassava. My son first saw his father’s lifeless body a distance away from the bicycle and he screamed ‘daddy, daddy.’
“I couldn’t believe that I was seeing my husband’s body. We saw machete and axe cuts on his neck and stomach. In fact, they butchered him anyhow and dropped his body under a tree. We rushed back home to tell other villagers who went back to the farm to pick his body. We buried him the next day because his corpse was already decaying.”
Two days later, a gang of armed herdsmen invaded the entire village and displaced the villagers.
Difficult days ahead
Before setting out for his farm, the late Apuur Igbana had asked his wife to prepare food for him.
The poignant recollection brought tears to the widow’s eyes, who broke down again, wailing: “Little did I know he would not eat again and that will be the last time I would see him.”
Doosur cried: “Losing your partner in his prime is a lifetime scar that can never be healed. It is traumatic.”
Her husband’s death is like a bad dream she wished she could wake up from. “There is no day I don’t feel loneliness inside me. Life has not been the same without him around. Before death came knocking on January 3, we were inseparable,” she lamented. “My husband gave me a life that can best be describe as a fairy tale. I am mentally tortured when I realise he is no more.”
Her trauma is compounded by the gloomy prospect of raising four children alone.
“I am a poor village woman whose only livelihood is farming. How I will cater for four children now I don’t know. Life will be very tough for me and my children. I cannot cater for them alone. I don’t know where to run to now. I don’t know what to do. People should help me,” she wailed in a voice laden with grief and fear.
The attack on their village further increased the family’s vulnerability. “The worst part of it is that we are now in an IDP camp where everything is insufficient. With four children, I am not finding it easy taking care of the family my husband left behind, especially in camp here.”
Despite her woes, Doosur Blessing Igbana is determined to make the best of whatever opportunity comes her way. She, however, ruled out the idea of re-marrying another husband.
“All I want is that the security agencies should help me find the killers of my husband,” she said.