To Mrs. Peace Onyekweli, life has suddenly become a strange journey, where she would have to cater for the children alone without her hard working husband, Mr. Cletus Onyekweli, 49, whose sudden death is still a mystery to his family.
Cletus Onyekweli was alleged to have been murdered on the premises of the Shell Industrial Area office in Rumuamasi area of Rivers State where he was a contract employee for about 14 years.
The deceased, who recently earned an award for himself for his dedication to work, was found dead in his office in a pool of his own blood, an incident that suggested to the widow that her husband was murdered.
The incident, which happened on Thursday, April 13, 2017 has left the deceased’s family, including his three children in shock.
Cletus had before leaving for work on the fateful day, promised to teach his 15-year-old daughter Chemistry after work. But Cletus never came back home.
Narrating how the news of her husband’s death came to her, Mrs. Peace Onyekweli, said she became worried when she put a call across to her husband and his two phones indicated that they were switched off. The widow explained that she kept calling her husband’s colleagues, to ascertain the whereabouts of Cletus, who hailed from Aboh, Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State.
“I waited till about 8pm for him to come back to no avail. So, I suspected he might have been stuck in traffic. I called him again at 9pm when he was not back. I called his office mobile line, the response indicated it was switched off; I called his own personal two lines, they were switched off.
“I repeated the calls at 11pm and at about 12 midnight. It was the same. When it was 12, I prayed till about 1am. When it was after 1am, I woke the children up and told them that daddy was not back. Then we all held hands together and prayed that wherever he was, God should bring him back home.
“At 2am, I decided to call one of his subordinates and complained to him. Immediately I requested for one of his colleagues’ phone number and I gave him a call. The colleague told me they attended the training together and after a training programme, they held a meeting and he returned to his office. My husband’s colleague is in RA (Shell Residential Area) while my husband is in IA (Shell Industrial Area).
“He said he communicated with my husband with the office intercom at about 4pm and at about 6.30 to 7pm, he still communicated with him through their intercom, which suggested he was still in the office.
“My husband’s friend asked me to hold on and that he would speak with other colleagues to see what they could do to trace my husband’s whereabouts. At 3am, I called him again and he urged me to be patient and that they were already in Shell, but they had not been granted access into the place. I waited till about 6am and called him and he said no access yet,” Mrs. Onyekweli further narrated.
She expressed shock when she was later told that her husband was found dead in his office inside Shell Industrial Area, adding that the Division Police Officer at Elekahia Police Station told her that her husband’s corpse had been taken to a morgue in Shell Petroleum Development Company, Rivers State.
Insisting that justice must be allowed to prevail, Mrs. Onyekweli pointed out that her husband’s death has left a big vacuum, adding that her three children would not be able to cope with life without their father.
She said, “My husband was murdered in cold blood. From all understanding, I know there is nothing we can do to bring my husband back to life. But at the same time, I still want justice to prevail. It is like we are dealing with a masquerade now; we don’t really know who carried out the act. I don’t have the power to do that single-handedly. If government wants justice, let them go ahead; if the Old Boys want justice, let them also go ahead.
“My husband’s death has created a very big vacuum. I have to step in as a father and as a mother now. I am yet to comprehend how I am going to continue on this journey alone because it is now a journey of only one person. So, I just ask for God’s grace to carry on.
“As it stands now, I suspect everybody. I cannot hold concretely to one person that this is the person who murdered my husband, I suspect everybody.”
Late Cletus Onyekweli was before his demise, a member of the 1986 set of Immaculate Conception College, Benin, (Old Boys) and some members of the association are already crying foul over the death of their colleague.
One of the lawyers, who represent Mrs. Onyekweli and Old Boys of Immaculate Conception College, Port Harcourt Branch, Mr. William Arebamen, told our correspondent that they would not allow Shell Producing Development Company to sweep the matter under the carpet.
Arabamen said, “I coordinate a team of lawyers who represent Mrs. Peace Onyekweli, widow of late Engr Cletus Onyekweli, his family and Old Boys of Immaculate Conception College, Port Harcourt branch; of which the late Onyekweli was an active and committed member.
“He was discovered in a pool of blood, right in his office at SPDC industrial area, under circumstances that indicate that he was murdered.
“I and my team have been retained to represent his wife, family and association to unravel the mystery surrounding his death and we are committed to leave no stone unturned until we get justice for late Onyekweli and those he left behind.
“Letters have been written to SPDC and other stakeholders with respect to his unfortunate demise. The response received in the coming days shall decide our next line of action.”
Responding to Onyekweli’s death, SPDC spokesman, Mr. Joseph Obari, said, “A contract staff was found dead in his office at the industrial area of The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd in Port Harcourt on April 13.
“We are shocked and saddened at this incident and our thoughts are with the bereaved family. The family of the deceased has been informed, while the incident is being investigated.”
However, the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. NnamdiOmoni, told our correspondent in a telephone interview that the police were making progress in an ongoing investigation on the matter.
“I am aware of the incident. Investigation is on and we are making significant progress; we are closing up on the perpetrators. It is not necessary for us to begin to disclose our findings on the pages of newspapers. We are doing our best and in no time, the perpetrators will be rounded up and charged to court,” Omoni added.
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