Ozubulu Massacre: Killers Vows To Wipe Out My Family – Witness Tells Court
By Nedum Noble
One of the witnesses in the case of the killings at St Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Obi, yesterday told the State High Court, sitting in Awka, that the suspected killers had issued death threats to some persons living in Brazil and South Africa.
Obi, from Johannesburg, South Africa, who stated this in his evidence before Justice F.I Aniukwu, said the perpetrators had vowed to wipe him and his entire family
“The killers have threatened to kill my father in Ozubulu, attack four families in Ozubulu; kill my younger brother who is living in Brazil and myself who is living in South Africa.
Led by his lawyer, Jay Jay Ezeuko, Obi said they had been receiving strange phone calls from the killers who demanded one million dollars from them.
“They are demanding one million dollars from us or they will wipe all us. We have been receiving strange phone calls from these people.
“They accused me of being a betrayer because on one occasion, I traveled with Bishop( Aloysius Ikegwuonu) from South Africa to Nigeria; rode in his(Bishop’s) car from Lagos to Ozubulu.
He alleged that one of the suspects, Chinedu Akpunonu, standing trial in the case in Awka was working with two persons he called Gozila and Afam, who are in jail in South African prison to terrorize the people of Ozubulu at home and abroad.
Another witness from South Africa, Emeka Nzelu told the court that another suspect standing trial in the case, Onyebuchi Mbanefo called him on phone and threatened to deal with “bishop” for abandoning him at a point in need.
“Mbanefo told me that he would now join forces with Akpunonu to deal with bishop for failing to assist him to foot his bill for bullet wound surgery, despite the fact that it was because of bishop that he sustained the wound.
“He refused to accept all appeals I made to him to forgive bishop.
Asked during cross examination by the defence council, Mr Festus Keyamo,SAN, whether he reported that such threat to the police in South Africa or Nigeria, Nzelu answered in the negative, saying that he rather reported the matter to the chairman of Ozubulu Development Union in South Africa,” he said.
Meanwhile, Justice Aniukwu on Friday refused bail application for the four suspects standing trial in the August 6 killings at St Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu.
The Judge in his ruling said the risk of releasing the suspects outweighed their freedom, adding that the suspects did not prove exceptional circumstance to warrant their bail.
The suspects in their application for bail stated that they were innocent of what they were charged, stressing that before the law they remained innocent and entitled to bail.
They also stated that they had health conditions that the prison health facilities could not handle.
The judge who concurred that ill health was a ground to grant suspects bail in criminal matters, reasoned that it was better to keep the suspects intact to face their case than risking granting them bail where they might abandon the case or jump bail, adding that besides he was not persuaded by their applications that were any exceptional circumstance about their ill health.
The Judge, however, asked the prison’s authorities to ensure that the suspects were given proper treatment.
The counsel to the defendant applicants, Mr Festus Keyamo, told journalists that he had got the brief of his clients to go on interlocutory appeal on the bail.
The matter was adjourned to May 16th and 25th May; June 8th and 22nd; and July 6 for continuation of hearing.