When Paschal Chukwuemeka Nnorom, a staff of Union Bank of Nigeria and his wife, Priscilla, woke from sleep on Saturday, May 13, 2017, they were full of life.
With zest, they prayed, had breakfast and got ready to attend the wedding ceremony of Pascal’s colleague in Elelewon area of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. Then they drove off from their Origwe, Elingbu Road residence in a Honda CRV SUV, (Sport Utility Vehicle).
Not even in her widest imagination did Priscilla think that her young husband she served breakfast earlier in the day was embarking on a journey of no return. No premonition, no dream.
Neither was it revealed during their early morning prayer that the angel of death had laid ambush for him on the way to the venue of the wedding ceremony. And suddenly, fate dealt her a deadly blow. While she went back home heartbroken, without the usually warm company of her 28-year-old handsome husband she married in 2015, his body was being wheeled to the mortuary.
Pascal’s journey to his untimely grave began when a Toyota Camry car, driven by one Joseph Udoh, from Anang in Akwa Ibom State, hit his vehicle in Oil Mill area of the city, near the Eleme bridge.
The deceased, who hailed from Eziudo Mbaise, Imo State, was said to have alighted from his vehicle and walked over to meet the driver of the Camry. Sunday Sun gathered that he placed his hand on the door of the Camry, when Udoh allegedly refused to alight from his own car for them to resolve the matter.
Rather, Udoh quickly wound up the glass, trapping Pascal’s hand and then sped off.
Distraught and grieving Priscilla, who confirmed the incident to Sunday Sun poured out her heart, as she narrated how the tragic incident happened, resulting in the killing of her husband in her presence.
Her words: “After driving off from our home, we passed through Rumukrushi and turned at the Shell gate, before joining the MTN link Road where we saw the car trying to link the Oil Mill road.
“The Camry hit and dented my husband’s Honda CRV and both of them stopped and my husband alighted from his vehicle and went to meet him. But Udoh refused to alight from his own car. My husband’s hand was still in the door of Udoh’s car and he quickly wound up the glass with my husband’s hand trapped between the glass and the door frame. Then he sped off and dragged him several poles before he stopped.”
In the process of draging the victim, his body hit the hard pavement severally.
Satisfied, Udoh stopped the car, came down, opened the door and pulled the near lifeless body of the victim away and attempted to drive off. But luck ran out on him, as he was stopped by eyewitnesses, who stormed the scene and held him. The mob was said to have tortured the suspect and was about to give him jungle justice before he was rescued by policemen from Elelewon police station, where he was being detained as at the time of filing this report.
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Priscilla told Sunday Sun how the murder of her loving and caring husband had caused her world to collapse. She also described the husband as her best friend. “He was everything to me,” she added, sobbing profusely.
According to her, it was when her husband was being dragged on the express road by Udoh’s car that his spinal cord and legs were broken and he became immediately unconscious.
Continuing the heart-rending tale, she said: “Firstly, I rushed my husband to Saint Jude Hospital, Elelewon, Pano Hospital, and later, Saint Martin’s Hospital at Stadium Road. He was later referred to Braithwaite Memorial Hospital (BMH) and later, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) where he died.
According to the widow, one of the most painful aspects of the death was that her marriage to Paschal, the fourth son and the last of his parents’ nine children, was yet to produce a child before his death.
“When the mob was beating Udoh, he told them he was ready to die, as far as he had done what he wanted to do,” Priscilla said.
Sunday Sun gathered that soon after her husband was confirmed dead, Mrs. Nnorom fainted and had to be revived. Meanwhile, she has appealed to the government and the security agencies to bring her husband’s killer to book.
“I want justice, I want the government to intervene, to bring the killer of my husband to justice,” she said, wailing.
The elder brother of the deceased, Mr. Julius Nnamdi Nnorom, 50, told Sunday Sun that he had doubted the news of his brother’s death, when he was contacted on phone and only believed after he got to the mortuary.
The Lagos-based freight forwarder said he boarded a night bus and arrived Owerri about 4am. The same Sunday, May 14, 2017, he came to Port Harcourt to see things for himself.
“We went to the mortuary to ascertain, if what I was told on the phone was true, only to find my brother stone dead and cold,” he said.
He disclosed that another problem confronting the family now is how to console their 70-year-old mother who lost her husband in 1997.
He said: “My mother is in a terrible condition now because, my late brother, being the last born, was very close to her. The shock is severe, the damage on her is unquantifiable, is like when her husband died in 1997.”
Julius also appealed to the security agencies and the government, to help the family to get justice.
Efforts by Sunday Sun reporter to get the views of the Nigeria Police on the issue were unsuccessful as the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, could not respond to the text message sent to him.
And when a call was put through to him, he aborted it and later sent a message to the reporter which read: “I’m in a meeting.”