‘I wish I was there to protect him’ – 14-year-old daughter of slain father

A 14-year-old girl, whose father was shot dead by suspected kidnappers, believed she could have saved her father if she was with him the day he was brutally murdered.
“He treasured me so much and always did his best to protect and shield me. But I wish I was there that day to protect him,” Emem Ukpong, an SS1 student wrote, in a tribute to her slain father.
The remains of her late father, Sylvanus Ukpong, an Akwa Ibom State entrepreneur was buried on Friday at Iko Eko Ibon in Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

Mr Ukpong was until his death, the CEO of Emem and Sons Ltd, a construction company and Emem Farm Ltd in Akwa Ibom.

He was the elder brother of Cletus Ukpong, an assistant managing editor and head, southern operations, PREMIUM TIMES.

Sylvanus was shot dead on 6 April around 7 p.m. at Ifa Atai, along Oron Road by gunmen who attempted to abduct him while he was heading to his poultry farm along airport road.
The farm manager, a woman, who was in the car with the slain entrepreneur, was abducted but was later released after spending days in captivity.

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The police in the state said they are investigating the killing.
The state governor, Umo Eno, during a condolence visit to the family vowed to track the killers of the entrepreneur.
‘I want God to avenge his death’ – daughter
In her tribute, the emotional daughter who read his father’s biography, said she never expected to lose her father this way.

“He loved me and I loved him as well,” she wrote in her tribute to her slain father.
“I pray God to avenge his death and punish those who killed him without thinking.
“I wish I could bring him back to life,” she wrote but acknowledged that her “wish was impossible as the dead cannot be brought back to life.”
Her mother, Blessing, in her tribute described her husband as her “dearest”
“I will never forget our trips, how you always protected me and showed me unconditional love. Like they said, you are truly a hero. You will always be a cherished part of my story,” she wrote.
At the funeral
The funeral held on Friday at the QIC Group School in the community was attended by former and serving government officials, journalists, friends and captains of industry.
The bereaved family dressed in black attires were seated on a platform. Opposite them were the officiating ministers from Insight Bible Church, Uyo, and a white casket containing the remains of the slain entrepreneur.

The family members were surrounded by sympathisers who had thronged the QIC Group School in the community to bid farewell to the entrepreneur.
In his homily, Kufre Josiah of Insight Bible Church said one of the blessings any human being can get from God is the opportunity to see Jesus as the messiah in his lifetime.
Citing Luke 2: 25 – 30, the pastor said the scripture teaches about the life of Simeon, who he said encountered Jesus before he died.
“Our brother before us this morning, I am sure, saw Jesus. He had encountered Jesus,” he said and prayed for the deceased to depart in peace for he had seen Jesus.
The casket was later taken in a motorcade to the family compound where he was laid to rest.
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