Brave policeman’s son, 5, slumps, dies at dad’s burial
Cop spent only three days at bank before attack …Bank, police abandoned my seven kids and I –Wife
Dad promised to come home — Children of gallant cop in viral robbery video
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. She and her children talk about life after the demise of her husband with CHIDIEBUBE OKEOMA
Her grief is palpable. One only needs to cast a glance at Mrs. Rose Iboko to decipher that the anguish of losing her husband has taken a toll on her. This is unmistakable in her gait, talks and looks.
Iboko is the wife of Sergeant Chukwudi Iboko, the brave policeman, who died after engaging a gang of four robbers who trailed a customer to the Wetheral Road branch of Zenith Bank in Owerri, Imo State, on February 22, 2017, in a shootout.
Though the incident happened four months ago, the video of the encounter, captured by the bank’s CCTV, has gone viral, with many saluting the rare valour displayed by the cop to the detriment of his life.
Our reporter went to Amakohia in the Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of the state, where the widow resides with her seven children.
She broke down in tears when the incident leading to the death of her husband became the discourse.
The 32-year-old mother could not take her eyes off the portrait of her late husband in police uniform placed at a strategic point in the living room surrounded by walls whose painting had seen better days.
She tenderly held a copy of Saturday PUNCH which used a screenshot of the robbery, with her husband’s unclear face showing him in action as he boldly killed one of the robbers before his (robber’s) colleagues shot at him.
As she 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.
SUNDAY PUNCH noticed that her children not only skip meals, but are out of school as a result of the inability of their mother to pay their tuition fees.
Her first son, Favour, who is 16, cried profusely when asked the last time he spoke with his father before his death.
He said amid sobs, “I spoke with daddy two days before his death. He died on Thursday, but had promised to come home for the weekend. He promised to give me money for some textbooks I needed once he arrived. But he couldn’t fulfill his promise as he died two days to the day he promised to come home.’’
Asked if he would like to be a police officer, Favour said his dream was to be a medical doctor and that his father promised to help him realise his dream. But his immediate younger brother said he would follow in his father’s career path.
The teenager told SUNDAY PUNCH that he loved the way his father worked as a cop which made him fall in love with the profession.
Our correspondent, who on Friday visited the Zenith Bank branch where the robbery took place in February, saw a police officer in mufti with some security men patrolling the bank’s premises.
Commercial activities were in full force with no traces showing that it was on the bank’s premises that Iboko lost his life a few months ago. Banking activities were paralysed in Owerri in 2009 when robbers hit banks in the Imo State capital.
Two eyewitnesses told our correspondent that the February robbery was a swift one. According to Ike and Promise, who didn’t give their surnames, the gunmen, who arrived in a car, went straight to their target and robbed him of his money. They said nobody knew that they were criminals until gunshots rent the air.
They added that it was when the policemen in the bank started exchanging gunshots that they knew danger loomed and everybody ran for their lives.
One of the surviving police officers said he would have died if he had not moved to the back room from the security post a few minutes before the robbers arrived.
According to the police officer, Iboko and another policeman, identifed as Sunday Agbor, died as a result of the gunshot injuries they sustained during the shootout.
He added that another police oficer, Otu Itan, lost an eye to the incident.
Meanwhile, two suspects — justice Ogbenna, aka jj, and Okechukwu Onwuamaegbu, were arrested in April in Aba, Abia State, by the police in connection with the robbery. Two AK-47 rifles, seven magazines and 127 pieces of live ammunition were recovered from them. Ogbenna, said to be the gang leader, was arrested on the day he was to bury his late father.