In this interview with CHUKWUDI AKASIKE, 55-year-old Jonathan Ala-Binte narrates how his wife and son, Awontongha and Tarilate respectively, were murdered by kidnappers after they were abducted from their Port Harcourt residence in Rivers State.
How would you describe the events of May 10, 2019 that led to the death of your wife and son?
Normally, I leave the house early in the morning with my son. On that black Friday, my wife, who was a trader, went to Aba, Abia State and my son and I picked her up around 6.30pm on her return to Port Harcourt.
She prepared dinner for us and gave my son his food. He took it to the shop where he and his friend, who is almost like an adopted child of the family, would eat together.
Then my wife brought the food for us to eat. A neighbour who had come over to our house for a discussion was with us. The neighbour and I had stayed together for 16 years in my house. He had grown from a tenant to more or less a family member. Then I heard a big bang.
Was the sound from outside?
No, it came from right inside; where we were seated. We saw some men wielding guns. I didn’t know them, but from what I heard, people should not have face-to-face contacts with such armed men. Immediately, I told my wife, son and others to lie face down, to make sure that we didn’t make eye contact with them. The armed men asked us for money and I said I would give them the money in the house. They took my two phones and two of them followed me. I brought out the money inside and they grabbed it.
How much was it?
It was about N92,000. As they left, I was shocked and confused. I had heard about armed robbery incidents, but I never experienced anything like that. When I came out of my room, I didn’t see my wife, neighbour, and his wife. I began to wonder what was going on. I was about to go down when I heard sporadic gunfire so I lay on my balcony.
After a short while, another man with a gun came and told me to get up and move down. I got up and as I was moving down, he made all sorts of comments.