Parents finger friends, peers as barber dies after Abuja trip 

By Isaac Job, Uyo

The family of Mr. and Mrs. Anietie Okokon Obot is in dilema over the mysterious death of their son, Ofonime, who was the breadwinner but suddenly died on Friday June 8, 2022 without any serious sickness.

The Trumpet gathered  that on the fateful day , Ofonime, a promising young barber aged 25, had returned from work late in the evening  complaining of chest pains and vomited  blood the previous day.

It gathered that before the  deceased finally gave up  the ghost  at around 12:15pm the following day, he  fell on the laps of his elder sister while his  tongue and mouth  turned black. Efforts to revive him by  his parents failed.

Although no doctor was able to ascertain the actual cause of his death before he was buried  on Saturday, July 16,2022, family sources said he died allegedly from food poisoning right inside his father’s rented house located at Atai- Idung street, Urua Ikpa, in Itu local government of Akwa Ibom State.

Akwa Ibom Barber

However, another family version of the story claimed that his death came after he visited one of his friends in Abuja. They claimed that he was no longer his usual self after his return from the journey ,as his mood and behaviour completely changed.

According to the deceased’s father: “July 8 was a sad day for the entire family . I was in the palace of a chief in another village over a land dispute case when I received a call from the house that my late son, Ofonime Okokon was vomiting blood

“I rushed back home and met my wife at the entrance to my compound and she told me that she had the same call and both of us went into the house together. We met my late son lying in arms of his elder sister still vomiting blood.

I saw the remaining meal he ate mainly two eggs and cooked indomie noodles, they prepared for him to eat before his health became worst, I even ate the remaining egg while the sister ate one full egg from the prepared meal.

“By this time he was lying on the arms of the sister , they have already sent for drugs from a nearby pharmacy store . But when she forced the mouth of the deceased to administer the drugs , we discovered that the tongue, teeth , gum and entire mouth had turned black indicating that he was poisoned.

“I called on his pet name I used to call him “Ikpa” and he turned his face, put his two hands into my my palm and breath his last  that was  around 12:15 pm on that day .

“But that morning when he wake up we greeted and food was prepared as he requested to eat egg and indomie noodles which he ate very little before we went out .He was not sick up to the point of death.

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“Then I asked the chief that followed me what could be the cause of the the black mouth  and he said if someone hates you, he can poisoned you and before you die, your mouth can turn black.

“I think this boy, in one way or the other went into a wrong way to help the family from poverty. That is my personal thinking. Friends must have told him this is the way you can enter and get fast luck. He travelled to Abuja to meet his friend and returned on 11th May to Uyo.”

Meanwhile, the deceased’s younger sister, Ruth Okokon, aged 22, told The Trumpet in Uyo  that the death of her brother is not unconnected with the recent journey he made  to Abuja, to see his friend .

Ruth who was constantly trying to hold back tears while narrating her story said  before his late brother travelled to Abuja, he promised that he was coming back with money and that the family fortunes will change automatically for better.

She observed that the way and manner her late brother came from Abuja, was suspicious as he became a changed person from his usual self.

She played  a video from her phone  showing  a scene of his deceased brother and his supposed friend and remarked: ” The way my  brother came from from Abuja, was not nice. He came back without some of his things. He looked worried and emaciated and  was lost in thought; he changed completely.

” He stopped talking to everybody. He will just stay on his own all alone without talking to anyone and when we try to ask him what was wrong, he will not say anything and when we asked him he will get angry and leave the place.”

Asked how she got the video, she replied that it was copied from the deceased’s phone.

The deceased mother, Mrs. Comfort Obot, who was psychologically broken when The Trumpet visited the family said the death of her son had shattered peace in the family.

“He was everything to me. The most painful thing is that there was no premonition of his death. There was a revelation from the church, that we should pray for the family which we have been doing but like a thief in the night death came. My son never said any last word before he died,” she said sobbing.

One of the deceased’s apprentices  identified as Elijah said all the workers were surprised by the unsual behaviours of their master after his return from Abuja, adding everything about him changed.

“Before he travelled to Abuja, he was talking to us and we used to crack jokes together,we sometimes eat together in the shop. But since he came from Abuja he became a different person entirely.

“One thing we noticed again with him was that  he was always on long phone calls during work hours and whenever he started receiving such calls he would not want anybody around him again,” Elijah disclosed.

However, a community source who pleaded anonymity said that his death may not be unconnected with the ‘unholy association ‘ the boy must have allegedly entered.

According to the source there was a ” candlelight procession of young guys numbering about 200 who stormed the venue of his wake ostensibly to pay their last respects to their friend.

But the deceased’s father had vowed that anyone directly or indirectly responsible will not go unpunished.

Cursing the perceived killers of his son, Mr. Obot said that they have only succeeded in shattering the peace of the almost 40-years old union. He affirmed that the God of Justice shall certainly avenge his death.

“I used to  call him Mbakara( meaning a white man) and I called him that name that morning before i went out and he assured me that nothing was wrong with him.The God that we served will certainly punished any one who has done this to me,” he sobbed.

The challenge before the family now is how to bear the irreparable loss  of their breadwinner, whose death they said will continue to impact negatively on their fortunes.

According to the deceased’s father, Ofonime was God-sent to the family. He emphasized that his son’s death will remain a blow to the family for a long time.

He said: “Whenever he comes back from the barbing shop, he always buy some foods for the family . Even, if we are asleep, he will wake us up and we will rush the food. A night before he died , he bought food for us in the house and all of us ate together. His death is a big  blow to the entire family.”

Elijah added: “He was a father to me and indeed to all of us under him because he sometimes buy food for us in the shop.”

On how far the police had gone in investigation of the matter, Mr. Obot said: “I have not reported the incident  to the police  because we don’t have money for the case,  I trust you ( journalists) more than the police. Police see white and call it black” he said adding that the family he was was born into don’t go to police for anything.

Obot added: ” I was working with the AKwa Ibom State Secondary School Board but my salary was stopped in 2009  for offence I didn’t commit and since then I don’t have confidence in the police. After that incident, i have been at home, growing water leave farm.”

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