A widow, Lucy Mtsor, tells how her husband, Nicholas, was killed by suspected Junkun militia at Byepi in the Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State a year ago
How was your husband killed?
I wasn’t with him when he was removed from the vehicle and killed, but one of the occupants of the vehicle who was with my husband, Mr. Ezekiel Ajai, told us that he was kidnapped by Junkun militia. My husband and Ajai were among the 11 people that boarded a vehicle from Zaki/Biam in Benue State to Jalingo, in Taraba State.
According to Ajai, who was the only passenger in the vehicle that was not Tiv, the militia abducted all of them in the vehicle, including the driver. They took them to a forest, killed all the others and told him to go and break the news to thw public.
What was your last conversation with your husband?
We spoke that fateful morning and I discouraged him from embarking on the journey to Iware near Jalingo, where we used to farm because of the crisis in Wukari. My husband eventually embarked on the journey from Ugba in the Logo Local Government Area of Benue State to Iware, a village near Jalingo in Taraba State where we used to farm. Knowing that there was a crisis in Wukari, I kept talking to him on the phone, especially when he got to Wukari area. At a point, when I called, he told me to continue to pray for him. I asked him what was wrong but he could not talk again.
At that point, I became restless because I knew something was wrong. His voice was shaky when he said I should continue to pray for him. I could hear people wailing in the background and I did not end the call. After about three minutes, he told me to take good care of our children. The phone fell from my hand. I became so confused. I picked up the phone and insisted that he should tell me what the problem was; that was when someone took the phone from him and told me my husband would not be returning to me. He said I should forget about him. They returned the phone to him and forced him to talk to me. My husband then said with the situation, even if he was allowed to go, he could not make it on his own. He repeated, “Please take care of our only son and the other children!” Hours later, a man called with my husband’s line and I quickly answered, expecting to hear from my husband that God had saved him as I was praying fervently at that time. But the man on the line told me in Hausa that my husband was dead. He said if I had people who were brave enough, they should go into Byepi forest along Wukari-Jalingo Road and evacuate the remains of my husband.
So, was his body eventually recovered and buried?
No. Nobody could dare the killer-militia. It is painful that I cannot show our children their father’s grave but everything that happened was beyond my power, so I have left everything to God.
How difficult has it been to cope after your husband was killed?
It has been really difficult and challenging. June 4, 2020 made it exactly one year after the incident and the past one year has been very challenging, especially as I have been taking care of our children alone. I will appreciate if the government or individuals can assist me in training my children.