A Lagos-based businesswoman, Nnamdi Nwauzuo, has recalled how soldiers chasing EndSARS protesters in the Oyigbo area of Rivers State killed his younger sister, Queen Nwauzuo, who was a final-year student of the Abia State Polytechnic.
Nwauzuo, in an interview with Punch, added that she had been sponsoring her sister's education, adding that she was a student of Banking and Finance who recently had her Industrial Training in Lagos State.
Nwauzuo said, “Around February last year, she came back from Lagos to Oyigbo in Rivers State preparatory to her school resumption. But when she got back to Rivers State, there was lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. So, her school couldn’t open for resumption. As the lockdown lingered, Queen then decided to go to my elder sister’s place in Oyingbo to stay. That was where she was till October when the #EndSARS protests started.
“She was with my sister at Oyigbo waiting for her school to resume, but unfortunately the #EndSARS protests started. Queen did not join the protest; she was not even outside during the protest. She was in her friend’s shop in a barbing salon on October 22, 2020, when Nigerian security forces began to shoot sporadically and a bullet hit her directly on her neck and she died on the spot. We took her to one hospital but they could not rescue her. That was precisely what happened to Queen.
“Both army and the police were there together, shooting. They called me from the hospital she was taken to – Divine Life Hospital in Oyigbo. I was told that Queen had sustained a serious gunshot injury. I asked them to let me speak with her but they said she was already dead. Immediately they told me that, I wanted to travel down to Oyigbo, but I was told there was a curfew. I was told that there was a crisis and the place was not safe. So, I had to wait for one extra week before I could travel down to Oyigbo.
“It was her closest friend named Monday Bakor that took her to the hospital. Queen was in his shop when the bullet hit her. It was a very horrible experience because it wasn’t something I was expecting. This was a young girl who had been pursuing her education and we were hoping that she would be among those going for the National Youth Service Corps this year. But all of a sudden we lost her. Her death was a very painful one to my entire family and me.”
The distraught woman said the family was advised to file a petition before the judicial panel.
“The panel told us that our case is a military case and that we should take our petition to the military because they were only asked to hear petitions about police brutality and extrajudicial killings involving SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) and the police. But there was no judicial commission set up to listen to complaints against the military. When the judicial panel of inquiry dismissed our petition, we then decided to bury her. We buried her on December 4, 2020.
“We were disappointed that the judicial panel of inquiry declined to hear our petition to get justice for Queen. We have asked and we don’t know of any military panel to direct our petition to. We had hoped that the panel would help us to get justice for Queen. My sister was denied her right to live through the carelessness of the Nigerian security forces. That was why we were at the judicial panel of inquiry to get justice for her. As it is, we don’t know where to channel our complaint after the panel declined to hear us,” she added.