By Gift Jonah
The remains of Deaconess Elizabeth Akpan Johnny, one of the almost daily victims of violence against women, was on April 1,2016, committed to mother earth amidst tears and heavy curses on her killer. The burial took place in her marital home.
Death came unexpectedly and from what should have been an unimaginable source. Late Deaconess Elizabeth Akpan Johnny would not in any way have believed that evil was laying ambush for her on the day she was forcefully sent off mother earth.
According to community sources, the devout Christian was coming back from a church programme on October 9, 2015 at about 10 pm filled with life, hale and healthy. Her church, Christ Apostolic Church, Ikot Ebidang, Onna in akwa Ibom State had a programme. On her way to the church she called on one of her members who was not willing to attend and succeeded in persuading her to join her.
While the programme was going on and people were dancing and rejoicing, this lady was not able to dance as she was feeling weak inside of her not knowing why it should be so. Deaconess Elizabeth in her happy mode tried to cajole the woman to dance and rejoice but she could not succeed in making her shake off the feeling that had gripped her spirit. Unknown to both women, it was a premonition that evil was lurking in the dark.
According to sources, a young man popularly called Udo Ibono, a relative of sorts to the deaconess’s husband’s family who sometimes went on errands for her and was regarded almost as a son by the villagers, had other plans.
No one could say for sure if there was any rift between him and the deaconess that warranted his evil intentions against her.
When Elizabeth went to church that evening according to neighbours, Udo came looking for her in her house, but he was told she was not around and knowing that there is no where this woman could have been to that time than the church as church lover, he went straight to Christ Apostolic Church, Ikot Ebidang, peeped from the outside, confirmed her presence in God’s house and without the fear of God in him, went and hid by the road side waiting to eliminate Mma Elizabeth.
When Deaconess Elizabeth thus was coming home from the programme with her maid, a girl from another community who lives with her to assist in house chores, Udo sprang out brandishing his weapons (knives). First, he chased the little girl to kill her but fortunately for the girl she ran to a distant spot and later returned to watch what was happening to her madam.
Community members said when Udo missed the girl, he returned to her madam, his main target (Deaconess Elizabeth), dragged her down and started butchering her with his knife. As she struggled against the attack, the woman might have shouted for help but no one at that time came to her rescue, giving the assassin a free-hand to fulfill his sinister plan.
Evidence of her struggle was the indentation at the spot of her massacre where her blood clogged.
Udo tried to escape after the killing but the hand of the law caught up with him. he was apprehended and detained in police custody, Ikot Akpan Abia in Akwa Ibom State while the police is still under investigation.
At the burial community members and family still relieved the gory death wondering why it happened especially to a woman they described as a mother to all, and enterprising woman.
Community sources however said Udo had lost some knots, a possibility taht helped numb the pain.
Deaconess Elizabeth 56, was from another community, Odio town, born to late Chief Umoren Inyang Udo of Ekpuk Afaha Uqua in Odio town, Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
She was married in her tender age to Late Captain Akpan Johnny Akpan of Ekpuk Mande in Ikot Ebidang, Onna L.G.A. Akwa Ibom State and the marriage was blessed with five lovely children, one male and four females.
Deaconess Elizabeth was a versatile woman and she was an experienced trader who dealt mostly on food stuffs. She was a socialite, a good mixer, hospitable and a caring mother who after the death of her husband, mustered courage to train her children to a desired goal.
A frontliner in her domain, she was popular.
A devout member of Christ Apostolic Church, Nigeria, she contributed immensely to the growth of the church and welfare of the ministers of God in the area.
Her wake keep held on March 31, 2016 while she was laid to rest on April 1, 2016 in her husband’s home town Ikot Ebidang by members of Christ Apostolic Church, Nigeria and Solid Rock Kingdom Church.
The pain of her death is still heavy in the heart of her family members. In a tribute to the deceased signed on behalf of her Umoren family by Mr Aniefiok, wrote, “Death is a cruel and heartless enemy. My sister I remember the day you left for a foreign land to meet with the Lord, and I cried all night how I was missing you then I know you had just wanted to start life a new.
Even now when I think of you, it breaks my heart and it is in those silent moments when my heart pains. My sister I still not understand, but what can I do, it is all God plans. I pray someday we will meet again where there will be no more pains and sorrows of heart but rather joy and laughter, what a day that would be to see you again.”
“Mummy, I will be the last person to believe your dead is not ordinary when you have not even achieved 10 percent of your labour, it shall never be well with those that conspired, planned and executed your dead, those people will never go unpunished,” wrote the last daughter, Victoria.
“Oh what a dangerous world we are? The world of hatred, that took my beloved mother away from me without any notice. It is a tragedy, very painful and devastated death to us because our umbrella has been forcefully folded. The Iroko tree has fallen and birds no longer have a nesting place, leaving us only to the Almighty God. Mama, you tried to fight and I watched your strong spirit fighting for life because you did not want to leave us but God knows why,” wrote the only son Comrade Promise A. Johnny,
They are all still trying to adjust to the shock of the dastardly killing of their mother, sis