My worst moment as father was carrying my son’s decomposing body – Says, Man whose child’s killing triggered Imo protest

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The killing of 22-year-old Leo Isaiah, popularly called Leo Wire, recently led to protests by youths in Owerri, Imo State. Leo was kidnapped by some men in military uniform and his decomposing body was found in a bush in Anambra State some days later. One of the suspected kidnappers and killers, a deserter, took Special Anti-Robbery Squad officers to the bush where Leo’s body was dumped. He confessed that they stole his car and emptied his account. Leo’s father, Yakubu Isaiah, tells CHIDIEBUBE OKEOMA about the pain of losing his son prematurely

Where are you from?

I am from Bauchi State. I have lived in Imo State for 35 years. Leo Isaiah, who was kidnapped in Imo State and murdered in Anambra State, was my son. He was only 22 years. He was my second son.

Do you know how he was kidnapped?

He was kidnapped on Saturday, May 2, 2020, few moments after he left the house to have a haircut ahead of his mother’s burial, which was to be held on May 9. We learnt he was kidnapped somewhere along Okigwe Road in Owerri.

How did you hear about it?

At first, we didn’t know that he had kidnapped. We were worried that we could not find him. We could not reach him on his mobile phone lines. We were more worried because he was involved in the planning of my wife’s (his mother’s) burial in Bauchi State on May 9. We were supposed to travel to Bauchi State together from Owerri for the burial. So when we didn’t see him on Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3, we reported at the police station that he was missing. We left for Bauchi State on Monday, which was May 4.

How did you learn that he had been killed?

It was on our way back to Imo State after my wife’s funeral in Bauchi that the police called to tell us that they found the decomposing body of my son in Oba, Anambra State.

How did you receive the news?

We quickly rushed back home and joined the Special Anti-Robbery Squad so we could go to the den of the kidnappers in Anambra State. His body was already decomposing. His killers made him die a painful death. They tied his hands to his back, used a piece of cloth to clock his mouth and hit him in the head with a stone. I was the one who bought the polythene bag that was used to bring his corpse to Imo State. That is the most disturbing moment I have had as a father – evacuating the decomposing body of your young son who told you he was going to have a haircut.

What did his abductors say was his offence?

Fortunately, his abductors confessed before me that they killed him after taking his car, phones, his other belongings in his car and withdrawing all the money in his bank account. Unfortunately, a serving soldier and a deserter were among those who kidnapped and killed my son, who was full of life and dreams. They confessed in my presence that they killed my son a day after kidnapping him. They said they killed him on Sunday, May 3, 2020.

What kind of person was your son?

He was a calm and easy-going person. He was not troublesome. He had a good relationship with his siblings and peers.

My relationship with him was cordial and rosy. He liked me and I liked him too because he was hard-working. He was industrious. He traded in clothes and fashion accessories. He was the light of my family.

What were his dreams?

He wanted to become an aeronautical engineer. He went into business so that he could raise some money for his university education. He knew I needed help because his older siblings were in tertiary institutions already. He died with his dreams. He was aiming big and was thinking big for his siblings.

What kind of justice do you want?

There is no demand I can make that will equate to the life of my son. All I ask for is justice for my son and for him to be given a befitting burial. It is only when these two things are done that he will rest in peace. This is the most tragic moment of my life. I lost my wife and son around the same time. What offence did I commit? Who did I offend? Look at me now; I’m a poor widower. The government and people of goodwill should come to my rescue. My heart is gradually failing me. How do I handle this?

What was your last conversation with your son?

My last moment with him was on a Saturday evening. He had finished putting final touches to his mother’s burial arrangement. The burial was scheduled for the following Friday. We were together in the compound and he told me he was going to a barbershop. That was all. How would I know it was the last time I was going to see my son alive? This is very tragic. What kind of life is this?

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