It was a tragic moment at Niger Street in Fegge town, Onitsha when Chukwunonso Uyanwa, 31, was murdered by a suspected officer of Anambra State security outfit, Ocha Brigade.
An eye witness told Sunday Vanguard that the deceased and his colleagues in the Association of Tricycle Operators, Owners and Dealers of Anambra State (ATOODAS) had concluded their revenue drive for the day and were on break at noon when the assailant (names withheld) stormed the area in company of some operatives and shot the deceased dead. “When the suspected Ocha Brigade operative discovered that Uyanwa was dead, he jumped into one of the vehicles they came in and fled to Awka, Anambra State capital”, the eye witness said.
The killing of Uyanwa is alleged to be the climax of a face-off between Ocha Brigade and the Patron of ATOODAS, Hon. Wilfred Ezike, who had won a legal dispute against the security outfit. Shortly after the killing, Fegge Police Station was said to have branded Uyanwa a member of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB). But Ezike, disputing the claim, said,” I swiftly went to the police station to explain to the Divisional Police Officer that the boy worked for me and that he was not a member of MASSOB.
We are revenue collectors for Anambra State government and have the approval of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG). Meanwhile, men of the Ocha Brigade have been terrizing us and we have always complained to the appropriate authorities”. Separately, a lawyer, Chima Oguejiofoh, has petitioned the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Sam Okaula, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Assistant Inspector General of Police for Zone 9 on the killing. “The following persons present at the scene of crime witnessed the incident: Messrs Chidom Chinedu, Chukwuebuka Chigbo, Obum Ohanete, Afamefuna Obiekezie, Jideofor Ezeani, Ifeanyi Osinachi and Alex Chukwuma.
The killers apparently did not know that they would be recognized by these witnesses but, as God would have it, they have identified them and have made a report on the incident to the police at Fegge Police Station, Onitsha”, Oguejiofoh stated. “We demand immediately the apprehension of the killers and for a dispassionate investigation of the incident and their prosecution.” Contacted, the commander of Ocha Brigade, Mr. Kenneth Okonkwo, said: “It is unfortunate that the young man died, but I want to state here that Ocha Brigade did not go to Onitsha that day they are accusing us of killing the young man. “I called the police in Onitsha and they told me that there was a clash among some hoodlums in Onitsha only to discover the death of somebody. I also cross checked my men and they were all in Awka, the state capital and not in Onitsha.
“You must also know that we have directives from Governor Willie Obiano to carry out operations in the state and part of our job is to stop illegal collection which one Wilfred and his group are doing. But to say that my men killed somebody is totally false. I do not even know the so-called assailant. “There is no member of Ocha Brigade known by the name they gave.”
Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mr. Sam Okaola, confirmed the killing but said the command was still investigating the matter.