Anambra Massacre: The Day Integrity Finally Left Nigeria

Chief Aloy Nnamdi Ikegwuonu aka Bishop

There is no gainsaying the fact that the 72% poverty level in Nigeria according to an August 2016 report by Fitch Ratings Incorporated has eaten into the psyche of Nigerians thereby adversely affecting our quality of thoughts and rationality.

 People nowadays astonishingly suppress their conscience for short term benefits.
Integrity appears to have been banished from this country with a threat that it will be lynched on a return at a future date. A typical Nigerian man will not mind housing the dreaded Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau if he can offer him a rent running into millions. This also accounts for why the electorates openly sell their votes to egocentric politicians in broad daylight only to regret it when the treasury is ' kidnapped and raped'.

The Anambra massacre which took place on Sunday, the 6th of August, 2017 at St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Amakwa Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, claiming at least 12 lives with injured 40 people according to recent reports reeks of the level of societal decadence in Nigeria.  It exposes an anomalous situation where people are ready to collaborate either directly or indirectly with individuals of questionable characters for crumbs. To them, crime is legal as far as they are not the direct victims of the act.

A confirmation statement by the governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano that the bloody attack wasn't orchestrated by members of the Boko Haram sect or the separatist group - Independent People of Biafra, IPOB but the sons of the Ozubulu community who were at war over a presumed illicit business deal is a naked walk in the market place. I guess the audacious bloodbath and sacrilege needed no much investigation following the speedy tracing of the source of the fracas by the people. It means it was an open secret which toddlers are even privy to unconsciously. For those who believe the narrative of a drug feud is fallacious, I want to remind them that valid intelligence begins like mere rumours till they are followed up by security operatives and proved to be veracious.

Even the world-record move of Brazilian forward, Neymar Jr from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a fee of £200m and fairy tale annual salary of £40.7m before tax started as a laughable gist on blogs till reality stunned all football fans.

According to reliable media reports, the attacker(s) stormed the Church premises during a worship session to hurt the family members and loved ones of the founder of a certain Ebubechukwu Uzo Foundation, Chief Aloy Nnamdi Ikegwuonu, Akuchinyere Nwata 1, Bishop 1 of Ozubulu popularly regarded as Bishop after a possible failed attempt to nail him on his visit to Nigeria.

Rumours have it that Bishop had been locked in a fierce feud with one other Ozubulu man named Obrocho who is based in South Africa peddling hard substances. The bad blood according to preliminary reports had already claimed 15 lives in both Nigeria and South Africa as at 2015. 

Additionally, Bishop who is alleged to have a drug cartel of about 500 men working under him became a trouble magnet after his former hatchet man from Mbaise Local Government Area, Imo State was killed for defecting to the opposite side. One drug pusher, Nonso from Nnobi  (next to Idemili South in Anambra State) who was reportedly betrayed by the Ozubulu brothers and thrown into jail for the purpose of hijacking his territory in Johannesburg also aggravated the tension among the drug syndicates.

The 36-year old Bishop who claims to be an estate developer as well as an international business man has endured a negative reputation of unfounded wealth and drug-pushing but the people accommodated and showered him with support as long Greek Gifts were in wide circulation.
He is said to have tarred some roads in his community – Amakwa Ozubulu in Ekwusigo local government area and had also contributed to the building of St. Aloysius Church of Divine Mercy, still in Ozubulu. Impressively, Bishop had instituted a salary scheme for the people of Ozubulu, including the aged.

In fact, on May 1, 2017, the governor of Anambra, Mr. Obiano was billed to inaugurate some of the roads Bishop tarred in his community. This assuaged the uneasiness of residents including clergymen who never thought it wise to exercise due diligence in the face of free food. This is the same way our society celebrates morally bankrupt leaders and internet fraudsters addressed as ‘Yahoo Bois’ as long as they are generous with their loot. In fact, musicians praise them in hit songs to the envy of the good and law-abiding citizens.

Bishop with his enigmatic wealth was also conferred with the Ozo chieftaincy title which is one of the most revered positions in Igbo land. This was done by high ranking traditional ruler - Igwe of Umuje (a.k.a Igwe Talu Nchara), in 2014.
The most mind-boggling part of the story is that the bloody feud was reportedly known to prominent people in Ozubulu who are expected to be puritans and fundamentalists redirecting the paths of the youth when they go astray.

Further reports have it that before this Sunday attack at the Catholic Church that the Igwe (His Royal Highness, Igwe Fidelis Nnamdi Oruche, Eze Ugodinaobi, Okeife II, The Obi of Ozubulu) had tried to settle the matter about eight months ago without success according to an investigation carried out by online news portal, PM Express.

Even the involvement of clergymen had not help resolve the animosity. And so this attack confirmed that the matter wasn't resolved amicably. It this is true, then the last iota of integrity and morality in Nigerians has been lynched by an angry mob for no just cause. People no longer patronize the devil on a subterranean note but they also romance him in broad daylight and damn the public.
This might not come as a rude shock considering the fact that a former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori was celebrated by state governors, businessmen, lawmakers, traditional rulers and other eminent people on his exit from a United Kingdom prison in December, 2016. This was a man that ostensibly pleaded guilty at the Southwark Crown Court in London in 2012 to the theft of $250 million from the state's commonwealth and other 9 corruption charges.

In Nigeria today, the Church has been enmeshed in dirty politics as religious gatherings have become campaign grounds. Politicians in turn share their loot with their so called spiritual leaders who are impatient about reaping the rewards of their labour in heaven as postulated in holy books. Every politician today is attached to one religious group or the other to launder their stinking images. The peak of it was when the then ruling party - People's Democratic Party was accused of sharing N7 billion among influential clerics during the 2015 presidential election to bribe them into securing their political support and that of their members for former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

Nowadays, nobody cares about the source of money anymore. Everybody just wants to partake of the spending party without any due consideration of the untold implications. This has encouraged and energized criminals in our societies which is boldly detrimental and condemnable.

A few months ago, some unscrupulous Nigerians mustered courage to push for the freedom of a self-confessed billionaire kidnap kingpin - Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike aka Evans who ran a criminal empire across geopolitical zones in Nigeria elusively for years.

As a subtle way of abusing the sensibilities of Nigerians, an aide of Bishop named Mr. Jovita Offomata has adopted a damage control measure. He refuted the claims of the governor and the media that his principal's hands are not clean as well as his involvement in the Black Sunday incident.

In his words;

“He (Bishop) has built three churches in the community and through the foundation has assisted so many people; including scholarships to indigent students and empowered others in Ozubulu and beyond"

Of course, nobody is expecting Bishop to admit culpability in the gory incident. Drug lords are good at cleaning their money by creating decoy business enterprises to beat the law when prosecuted. The Churches built with blood money are nothing but mere buildings without the presence of God. Christians should be reminded of how God rejected the sacrifice of Cain who later killed his brother Abel and hid his body.  The books of Jude 11 and 1st John 3 verse 12 in the Holy Bible painted Cain as an evil doer laying emphasis on God’s disdain for unclean things.

Hard drugs symbolize destruction and disaster; its proceeds are evil. The traffickers should never be tolerated but shamed and ostracized for the purpose of sanity in any environment that means well for its people.

Since the Anambra massacre has been described as a fight of rich brothers, one doubts if their wealth will not be extended to the police officers to influence their investigations. Already, the arrest of the 3 suspects of the attack is shrouded in suspicious secrecy. Community leaders who have also benefited from the sweet drug money will also use their positions to deter the police from searching in the right directions.

In a few days, the media will shift attention away from the matter and the case is discreetly buried. The perpetrators will go scot free. The dead passed away for nothing and the crime could repeat itself again. This is how it works in Nigeria when big people are involved. I am sure it was on this premise that President Muhammadu Buhari admitted humbly on international soil that his people are corrupt and the same hypocrites who abhor the truth stirred up a massive outrage against him in the media.
How do we expect our society to advance when we continue to injure ourselves with greed and adopt corruption as part of our culture and tradition?

Integrity has indeed been sacrificed on the altar of selfish interests. It has finally severed ties with Nigeria in consideration of recent developments.
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About Osahon

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on Phone number: +2347053302356.
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