By: AGBA Jalingo.
Gray Ekpezu, was a 34 year old final-year student of Genetics and Biotechnology at the University of Calabar and also worked in the Cross River State House of Assembly. On the evening of July 9, 2021, right in front of the house he lived, he was shot dead by a 13 Brigade soldier on guard at the Afokang medium security prison, in Calabar. The soldier was arrested and the matter is still lingering in court.
Gray was married to 30 year old Tracy Gray Ekpezu, and they had a 4 year old son at the time. Tracy has since the gruesome killing of her husband, moved on as a single mother trying her hands on buying and selling to support herself and her child.
On the 6th of December 2022, right on the same street where the young widow still lives, another soldier named simply as: Staff Sergeant Christopher, on guard at the same Afokang Medium Security Prison, encountered Tracy Gray, on a bike as she returned from where she sells. She was beaten and incurred bruises and a swollen face, while the soldier scrambled for his rifle in anger so he could send the widow “to go and meet her husband.” It was other soldiers who came to the rescue of the widow and cautioned their angry colleague.
I do not have details of what may have led to the altercation between the duo and the bike man who was carrying the woman home, but I cannot justify the use of force by a soldier on a widow that is not armed. Beating her and inflicting injuries. Threatening to use a weapon of war to kill a civilian by a trained personnel who has the actual capacity to fulfill that threat, constitutes a crime and makes that soldier a threat to public peace. Moreso, because that threat was thrown at a woman who is still nursing the direct wounds of a similar situation.
Mrs Tracy Gray is now asking for justice a second time. So, rather than just cautioning Staff Sergeant Christopher, the authorities at the 13 Brigade in Calabar should fish out the personnel and deal with him according to service rules. Such barbarism shouldn’t be tolerated in any disciplined organization and I know from experience that those soldiers posted to Afokang Prison are very notorious for atrocious acts both inside the prison and within the precincts of the prison.
Tracy’s husband was killed by a soldier. She hasn’t gotten justice. A threat by another solider to kill her too, should not be taken lightly and should not be swept under any carpet.
Citizen Agba Jalingo.