The killing of a 60-year-old mother, Salome Achejuh Abuh, in Kogi State by suspected political thugs is barbaric, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Sunday
He described the murder as a “primitive behaviour” that has no place in a civilised society.
According to him, Mrs Abuh’s killing was an act of bestiality, for which those responsible must be brought to justice.
The late Mrs. Abuh, a former councillor, was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) women leader in Kogi State.
She was burnt to death in her home at Ochadamu in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State on November 18, two days after the governorship election.
The traumatised widower, Simeon, said she was pushed back to the house as she tried to escape.
Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina, said Buhari had directed “a scrupulous investigation into the heinous murder of Madam Achejuh Abuh”.
The statement reads: “The President decries whatever could spur anyone to take the life of another human being, particularly a woman, who was burnt to death in her home in the most gruesome manner.
“President Buhari charges all security agencies involved in the investigation to do a thorough and expeditious job on the matter so that justice could be served without fear or favour.
“We must learn to behave decently, whether during elections or at other times. No life should be taken wantonly under any guise, and the fact that this reprehensible act occurred two days after voting shows primitive behaviour, which should not be accepted in a decent society.”
The President sympathised with the deceased’s family, vowing that the law would catch up with those he called malefactors and that justice would be done.
“Any descent to barbarism, as was visited on the PDP Women Leader has gone out of the realm of politics, and is pure criminality and bestiality.
“Such evildoers must be brought to justice, irrespective of whatever allegiances they hold,” the President added.
The late Abuh, a 60-year-old mother of four, was billed to return to Abuja with her husband.
At her polling unit on the governorship election day, a suspected political thug was said to have marched to where she was seated, dealt her a heavy slap and kicked the chair from under her. Her husband rushed her to the hospital.
When she recovered, he asked that they return to their base. She refused.
As the PDP woman leader, she was said to have been optimistic that her party would upstage Governor Yahaya Bello.
But victory never came her party’s way and she was also ‘sacrificed’ by agents of death. Her home was set on fire and all escape routes were blocked.
A first cousin to the deceased, Mrs Ruth Acheme, said the sponsors of her killers were spreading rumours to cover up.
Mrs Acheme told The Nation that her cousin’s remains were burnt to near ashes and that they were only able to retrieve a part of her burnt skull, which they packed in readiness for her internment.
She said: “They claim that some of the touts were from Ibaji. The husband (also a retiree from the Presidency) pressured her that they should go to Abuja together on Sunday, but she persisted, saying PDP would win the election and she wanted to be on the ground.
“Even her younger sister called from Ajaka and said: ‘What are you doing there?’ But, she said, ‘If you people are afraid,’ she was not afraid of anything, and it was that day
Mr Abuh, in an interview (not with this paper) with Punch, said his wife’s death was a painful, traumatic, and devastating experience.
“We are down because our light has been put out. This woman was the light of the family. She was our pride. She was a goal-getter and peace-loving person. She was a devout Christian who loved nothing but peace,” he said.
Abuh said he received the sad news on the phone in Abuja.
“My younger brother called me from Lokoja, saying there was trouble at home. On the day of the election, some people accosted me and said they would deal with my younger brother, Gowon. I told them that there was no need to deal with anybody.
“They told me that they were in the good books of GYB 4+4 (Governor Yahaya Bello) and that nothing would make him lose the governorship election. One of them told me that whatever they wanted to do, they would do it.
“At that time, I told them that there was no need for any rancour as we are all from the same community. We should remain peaceful people.
“We voted at Ochada Primary School and I left. I told my wife to stay behind because as a party chieftain, she had to know what was happening. Not quite long after I left, one of those who accosted me started to beat my wife and my younger brother (Gowon), who was there, intervened.
“In the process, the man and his team attempted to stab my brother so he ran for his dear life.
“Later, my wife was brought to me at home on a motorcycle and I was advised to take her to Dr Ochadamu Memorial Hospital as she had been beaten up.
“I took her there and she was treated by Dr Agama. I was advised to get some rest. So, that Saturday evening, I went to Abuja. On Monday, my wife was resting at home, not knowing her life was in danger.
“The same people who beat her up and attempted to stab my brother came to a bar close to our house and boasted that they were not able to get my younger brother on Saturday but that he would not survive Monday.
“How can I sleep? If I close my eyes, I think of my wife. Each time I close my eyes to sleep, it dawns on me that my light has been put out. I ask whether I can get justice from the government. I have been having sleepless nights since the incident occurred.
“She was a peaceful person and a committed Christian. She was a mother and a grandmother. She clocked 60 years on November 17 and was killed on November 18. The last time I saw her alive was on Saturday, November 16, after we left the hospital. We held each other and prayed before I left (for Abuja).
“When I got information that those guys were moving towards our house, I called to inform my wife and she said, ‘Okay, I am going out now. Let me rush out now.’
“Those were the last words she said to me. I called her five minutes, 10 minutes and 20 minutes later, nobody picked up the phone.
“I was told that she was on her way out before the guys came, shot her and set her ablaze. Anybody that says they didn’t know there was someone in the house is lying.
“At her age, there was no way she could have overpowered the irate young men. My wife was burnt alive. It was not a mistake.”
Mr Abuh said no Kogi official called or visited to commiserate with him.