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WIDOW’S AGONY:Her husband was killed by bandits and she’s finding it difficult to convince kids that they won’t see their daddy again

Posted by By Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia on 2005/10/14 | Views: 494 |

WIDOW’S AGONY:Her husband was killed by bandits and she’s finding it difficult to convince kids that they won’t see their daddy again


Almost three months after a gang of armed robbers shot dead a permanent secretary in Abia State, the heart of his widow is still bleeding.

Almost three months after a gang of armed robbers shot dead a permanent secretary in Abia State, the heart of his widow is still bleeding.
And Mrs. Carol Atuonwu has called on the police to track down those who killed her husband in cold blood.

Nelson Atuonwu was having a nice time with friends on July 16 when some bandits emerged and asked for the owner of a Jeep parked outside the place. He told them that he was the owner. And when they asked for the key, he handed it over.

The bandits later returned in anger, when they could not start the car. One of them shot Atuonwu in the thigh. Then he ordered him to go and start the car, but the man could not, as his leg had been shattered.

When the bandits saw how badly he was bleeding, they left him and fled the scene.
Atuonwu was rushed to the Orthopeadic Hospital in Enugu, but doctors could not save his life.
Sharing fond memories with Daily Sun of her husband who would have been 49 on Saturday, Mrs. Atuonwu, who works with the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State said: "We met precisely in 1989. He happened to be working with my father on one of UNICEF’s projects because my father was working there too. He met my father first. It was one of the days he came to our house.

I didn’t really get to know what he had in mind. I wasn’t too ready for marriage then so I didn’t really take it seriously. Somehow, my father liked him. He said he was a hard working young man. I think he floated this idea to my father because they had this good working relationship. He was in Geology then, my father was in the Admin Department. They had a good working relationship. My father liked him. I can say I didn’t really take it seriously. But ours wasn’t what you call love at first sight. It was cultivated. That is why it was able to last. We kept on learning about each other. We kept on respecting each other. We were close to God in that relationship. He was always confiding in me.
His death
"It is the most horrible experience one could have in life. It all happened within so short a time, our lives were turned upside down.

"I did not have any premonition that he was going to die because he was a young man. You wouldn’t expect a man that young to die at that age. You can only start thinking about death when someone is old or probably the person was ill. If somebody is ill, there are two ways to it. It is either you survive or you die. But in this, one can see, none of the above was the case. He was young, he was not ill. He died prematurely. He was shot here in Umuahia, inside the town.

"My husband was a kind man. He was generous, he didn’t joke with his family. He was just a wonderful man. I will miss his discipline, protection and love. He had the habit of spoiling us. He was always telling me things that most men cannot tell their wives. We were always discussing things. He would have been 49 years on the 15th of October.
"I am pleading with the law enforcement agents to help track down those who killed him before they cause more havoc.

"His children are quite young. I know the barrage of questions I have been having since he passed on. The last one would be five on October 31. She keeps asking and I tried to explain to her that daddy has gone to heaven. But somehow, she did not believe that he was dead. That particular one said that he would wake up and come back in October for her birthday. Her name is Oluomachi.

My son is a small boy but he feels it. He keeps sending me messages. Sometimes he would say mummy, be strong, daddy is in heaven. At other times, he would say other encouraging words. In the tribute they said he should write for the burial, he said, "those that killed daddy will not live long to tell the story."

Atuonwu had just been posted to the Ministry of Public Utilities before the tragedy struck. He was to resume duty there on Monday and on Friday he was shot. He had been a permanent secretary but there was an internal posting. So they were all moved round. He was posted from Ministry of Finance to Ministry of Public Utilities. And he was to take over from the person that was there who had also been posted to another ministry.

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