Mrs. Rose Iboko is the wife of the late valiant cop, Sergeant Chukwudi Iboko, who was captured in a viral video, showing him in a shootout with robbers at the Wetheral Road, Imo State branch of Zenith Bank, on February 22, 2017.
The 32-year-old mother of 7 narrated how life took a turn for the worst for her and her seven kids after the death of her husband, she constantly wiped her tears with the back of her hand so her kids would not notice her distraught state.
She spoke with with CHIDIEBUBE OKEOMA of SUNDAY PUNCH
On when he died
He died the next day after the incident on Thursday. Before I could arrive in Mopol 18 office in Owerri, my husband was already dead. It was in the office of the officer in charge of the unit that I was told that my husband was dead. I was, however, not allowed to see his corpse. I was only able to see his corpse for the first time during his burial in the village when his remains were laid to rest. That was almost one month after his death. He was 37 years old.
On when she last saw her husband
I saw my husband last, four days before his death. It was on February 19. He came home for the weekend to inform his children and I that he had got a new posting to work as a security officer in a bank. I never thought that it would be the last time we would see, talk and hold each other.
He also told his children that he would be visiting the next weekend to bring them foodstuff and money for the upkeep of the family, especially for their textbooks. He was just three days old in the bank before the robbery which claimed his life. He resumed at the bank on Monday, the bank robbery took place on Wednesday, and he died on Thursday before I could even arrive in Owerri.It was one of his colleagues who called me on a Thursday morning to tell me that my husband was shot by armed robbers the previous day. I don’t know the person but he spoke to me in a manner that suggested that all was not well. He didn’t tell me that my husband was dead. He only informed me that my husband was shot by armed robbers a day before that day. It was when I arrived in Mopol 18 that I was told that my husband, whom I spoke with on the phone on Tuesday prior to that day, was dead. I couldn’t believe it. I told them to stop the joke but they insisted that he was dead. It was as if my world had crumbled. Several thoughts came to my mind within a few minutes: “Where do I begin? How do I explain what happened to him to his children, especially our last child, Success, who was fond of him? Where do I go from here?”
On how one of her children slumped and died during the burial
I have eight children for him; seven boys and a girl, Success, who I earlier said is the last born. We have triplets; all boys, but sadly, one of them, Chukwuebuka slumped and died the day their father’s remains were to be interred. He slumped immediately he saw his dad’s corpse during his lying-in-state and died.
Despite being just five years, he couldn’t bear the loss of his loving father. Most of my children know that their father is dead, only the young ones are yet to comprehend what happened. I keep telling those ones anytime they ask after him that he is on a special assignment and would be back soon. But each time I lie to them, I would go into the room and weep profusely because when they ask for his whereabouts, I also recall the great moments we shared.
On coping with the kids without their father?
It has been hell for me since he died. The children dropped out of school because I could no longer pay their school fees. I don’t work, I am a house wife. His sudden death was an agonising loss to my family. To eat is now a problem. Most times, we don’t eat and when we eat, it is half food. Last night (Friday), we took groundnuts as dinner. It has been very difficult for us. We now live from hand to mouth. We always go to bed hungry without knowing where the next meal will come from.
Has the Nigeria Police Force reached out to you to support your family?
Not at all. They only came for his burial in the village on Friday, March 17, 2017. I am now left with my children alone.
What assistance has the bank rendered to you knowing that your husband died in the course of protecting its assets and customers?
The bank only assisted me in making sure that he was buried. After that, no help has come from the bank.