For Mrs. Nneka Nwokolo, who is a 39-year-old mother of two children, with the first child, Ozioma Grace, five years and the last child, Wisdom David Chijindu, under one year, her world was shattered on June 30, when her 39-year-old husband, Mr. Patrick Ndu Nwokolo, was allegedly murdered in broad daylight in Onitsha, Anambra State by a yet-to-be identified gang of criminals.
Despite the fact that the Anambra State Police Command had confirmed the incident, our correspondent gathered that investigation had commenced with no arrest made so far. The circumstances surrounding Nwokolo’s death though still very hazy, has thrown the community into mouring as no one within the vicinity (Otuumoye Street), where Nwokolo, a trader, lived in Asaba, Delta State.
Even when this correspondent visited the scene of the incident, resident were still scared to volunteer any information as to how Nwokolo, who until his death was fondly called Onye Ogologo. It was also gathered that the father of the murdered businessman, Chief Clement Nwokolo, who in the last 25 years had been bed ridden, resulting from a spinal cord injury, said his late son was a happy and easygoing person with no axe to grind with anyone. According to him, his son was an importer, who traded on all kinds of clothing materials and had a store at Amezine Grace Line, Main Market, Onitsha.
The deceased man’s father recalled that on the fateful day his son died, he had received a distress call from his wife, Kate Ifeyinwa, a trader too, who also maintains a shop at the Main Market. He said his wife reportedly informed Nwokolo that passersby hinted her that son was involved in a fight with some group of people at the market. On hearing this, she said she rushed to the son’s shop, this was around 10am and met his absence and then ran to the scene of the incident.
But on getting to the scene, she still could not see her husband but was later told by some of the people around that an alleged notorious group members in the town, Ikanda Boys, fought with Nwokolo and in the process broke his legs and hands and then forced him on a motorcycle and took him to an unknown destination. Narrating what could have led to the incident, the father said: “The crux of the matter was that Ndu was coming to the market to pay for the goods they brought for him from Lagos.
“He had huge sums of money with him and when he got to the bridge head at Onitsha he boarded okada to his shop and along the road these hoodlums flagged down the okada man and demanded money.” But the okada man, an elderly man, pleaded with them to allow him go as he had no money on him. When his pleadings fell on deaf ears, the father said his son then stepped in and offered then N200 and the moment the group sighted the huge sum of money with him, he said they then attacked his son on the spot and in the process killed him.
“They broke his legs and hands and dragged his dead body for about two poles and dumped him there,” disclosed the father, sobbing with tears flowing from his eyes. “When the traders at the main market learnt about what has happened they shut down the market and took to the street in search of members of the group but could not find them anywhere,” he said. He disclosed that after the incident the police arrived the scene and took away the corpse and deposited it at the morgue.
He said they were invited by the police the next day to volunteer statement on the incident, but because he is bed ridden, his wife and his young brother went to the station to offer statement while the police promised to visit the family the next day. But after waiting for days with no sign of the police or news on the matter, he said he wrote a petition to the state commissioner of police, which his wife and one of his sons went to delivered at the police headquarters in Awka.
While waiting on the commissioner to act on the petition, he called on the governor of the state to take prompt action over the incident and fish out the group, which he said had been terrorising the people of the area.
For the distraught and grieving, wife, Mrs. Nwokolo, who is still in shocking and fighting hard to nurse her one-year-old son, life will never be the same again without her beloved husband, who she said was her and the extended family’s backbone. A graduate of Business Management, who hails from Akamkpisi Nri in Anaocha Local Government Area of the state, she disclosed that since graduation in 2007, she has never done any work but that she is a full time house wife depending solely on the husband. “My husband is the breadwinner of the entire family.
My father-inlaw had a spinal cord injury since1996 and since then has been bed ridden, going from one hospital to the other,” she lamented. She also confirmed the narrative offered by her father-inlaw, pointing fingers at the suspected criminal group. Her cry, like other members of the family, is for the murderers of her husband to be fished out and made to face the law of the land while she appeals to the state government and public spirited persons to come to the aid of her children and family as they have no one else to cater for them. When contacted on the telephone by our correspondent, the President General of Anambra Amalgamated Traders Association, Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, confirmed the incident, blaming the ‘Ikanga Boys’ for Nwokolo’s death.
He also blamed the state police command for the murder of the trader and other similar incidents that had taken place recently in Onitsha. Ezenwankwo, who is also the President General of South-East Amalgamated Traders Association (SEAMATA), said: “The police are in the habit of releasing arrested members of the gang. On several occasions, the leader has been arrested over criminal activities in the commercial town, including the offence of illegal revenue collection.” He described “Ikanda Boys” as a criminal gang backed by powerful people in the state, including the police.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Mohammed Haruna, also confirmed the incident, while disclosing that the police were on top of the situation. Although no suspect has been arrested, he said the police would ensure that the perpetrators of the dastardly act were arrested.