They call him Osama, probably because of his reputation in the cult world in the Garden City, but his real name is Lawrence Ododo. Osama was believed to be hiding from hit men from a rival cult gang in the raging cult wars in Diobu, a bustling part of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
On October 16, 2018, luck seemed to run out on him. He went to a drinking saloon located in Ikoku spare parts zone, owned by one Lucky Udom, a mother of two, who was six months pregnant, according to the husband who spoke to BDSUNDAY later.
According to eye witnesses, Osama settled that morning for some sticks of cigarette and as he asked the pregnant woman for lighter, two figures appeared along the street. He immediately recognised them as hit-men from a rival group but they had blocked the exit. He ran to the woman and held her firmly and put her forward as a shield.
BDSUNDAY investigations revealed that the hit-men asked him to leave the woman alone, but Osama was said to have even held her tighter. Then, the guns boomed.
This is the story of the assassination of both Ododo (Osama) and Lucky Udom. The rest is a journey in tears and sorrow with confusion in the Udom family on a day luck ran out on Lucky Udom.
Lucky was mother of member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and a daughter about to graduate from secondary school. She read Banking and Finance but settled for business. She was eager to add at least one more child and God answered her prayer six months back only for her to die with a suspected cultist.
Diobu has been in the news for the wrong reasons in recent times due to ceaseless killings and robberies. Some said it was due to the disbandment of the Diobu vigilantes who had held the peace of the area together, but the authorities dismissed this line of thought. What is true is that no day or night passes these days without brazen robberies or shootouts, though the Rivers State police command led by Zaki Ahmed said he has mapped out a new containment strategy.
For now, many say the Diobu area has witnessed series of crimes and that this has got to a climax especially since the shooting to death Lucky Udom. A native of Bayelsa State married to Ufon Udon from Akwa Ibom State, Lucky was six months pregnant before the tragic incident that occurred on the said Tuesday morning.
In an interview with newsmen, a motor spare parts trader in the area, ThankGod Orlu, said the deceased sells alcoholic drinks and cigarettes which were highly patronised by the men in the area.
He admitted that Lucky was not frequent in her shop prior to the tragic day due to her pregnancy, but that it was her husband that was often coming to keep the place running.
Unfortunately, the day she found strength to show up so as not to lose most of her customers, death came to claim her. Sources said she was still arranging her wares and sweeping the shop when a known cult leader believed to be wanted by the police came calling, asking for cigarette which she was said to have obliged him and continued what she was doing.
It was told that Osama’s cult group is in opposition to another cult group which has been in search of him. As he was still smoking the other cult group traced him at Lucky’s shop with their arms. After warning him to leave the woman alone, they allegedly suddenly opened fire and when they saw that they had hit the women, they took their time to shoot both of them to death, eye witnessed stated.
They then allegedly fled the area as people ran in different directions. News soon got to the husband.
In an interview, the aggrieved husband said when he came to the scene, his wife was long dead. He said he then notified the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Mile One station, and also the Mayor of Port Harcourt, Victor Ihunwo. He said they both responded to his call and promised to do something about the situation.
Udom said together with his son and daughter, he would miss his wife forever especially as he said Lucky was pillar of his home who also helped him to manage his finances. He described her as a loving and caring woman.
He said: “She is a good wife and wonderful mother to her children.” He said she studied Banking and Finance at the Rivers State University but resorted to selling drinks due to absence of jobs in the country.
Ufon Udom cried out for justice, urging the authorities to apprehend the killers. Often, however, cult killers are hardly apprehended or put on trial.
The bereaved husband appealed to public-spirited citizens and the leaders to come to his help especially in the education of the children. He said the economic hardship has made it difficult to fend for the family, only for his pillar of support to meet untimely death.
Udom revealed that his wife had survived a terrible sickness that would have taken her life, only to succumb to the bullets of assassins. “I even sold my car just to see she was treated”, he lamented as he appealed to the local council and the state government to assist the family in this tragic situation.
Favour Ichemati, Port Harcourt