Anambra mourns as Okafor, retired CP dies of heart attack at 82

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By CHUKS EKE

Anambra state government has joined other eminent Nigerians in mourning the demise



of a retired Commissioner of Police, John Okafor, an illustrious son of Nawfia

community in Njikoka Local Government Area of the state who died at the age of 82, following a heart attack.

Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba in a press 

statement, said the state has by Okafor’s transition to eternity, once again lost one of its 

most dedicated public servant.

Adinuba who described Okafor as one of the finest breed of police officers in 

Nigeria who was frequently assigned the most difficult of cases which he always 

discharged, noted that immediately Governor Willie Obiano was briefed on Okafor’s 

death, he sent a state government delegation led by himself to visit the family of the 

deceased in Nawfia to console them on behalf of the state government. 

He disclosed that the delegation met members of the Okafor family, including his 

widow, Mrs Ekwutosi Okafor; his younger brother, Chief Sam Okafor, an accountant 

and businessman based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State; and his father-in-law, Chief 

Nwabu Uboma, an Enugu-based accountant and businessman. 

Going down the memory lane, Adinuba recalled that the late Okafor had served on 

different panels which investigated civil and religious crises in the Northern part of 

the country, adding that reputed for crime bursting, he was deployed to the old 

Bendel State in the mid-1980s by the Inspector General of Police, Etim Inyang, to fight 

violent crime which was then on an industrial scale in the area.

“In the early 1990s when Shina Rambo, West Africa’s most notorious high transnational 

armed robbery was terrorizing Lagos and Ogun states with a large den of blood thirsty 

and dare-devil hounds from Benin Republic, Inspector General of Police Ibrahim 

Coomassie deployed Okafor from the Force Headquarters in Lagos to Ogun to 

checkmate Rambo’s excesses”.

“On the day he assumed office as the Ogun State Police Commissioner, Okafor 

announced that he was prepared to die in order to get Shina Rambo out of the state. 

Most Nigerians thought that the policeman was merely bragging, but those familiar 

with his exploits knew he meant business. He frequently led operations against 

transitional robbers”. 

In one of the several operations, Okafor and his men killed Rambo 

and members of his tough criminal gang. It took several months for the Nigerian 

security agencies to know that Rambo was among the transitional robbers killed by the 

Ogun State Police Command because no one seemed to have his picture”.

“Ogun State in no time became about the safest state in the country, just as Anambra is 

today, a long leap from the days it was almost overrun by unconscionable criminals. An impressed Governor Segun Osoba made a special broadcast describing Okafor as the 

most effective, committed, efficient and caring police commissioner he had ever known”.

“Thirty years after he left Ogun State following his retirement based on years of service, 

the people and policemen still speak of Okafor in nostalgic terms. Sir Mike Okiro,  

Okafor’s Deputy in Ogun State who was to become the Inspector General, doesn’t 

tire of saying that Okafor demonstrated inspiring leadership by personal example, 

as he led from the front in all circumstances. No wonder Okafor was rewarded with a 

national honour in 1999″.  

“Okafor’s performance in the police force is reminiscent of the record of another great 

son of Anambra State, Ezidinma Ifejika, a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police 

from Awka. When Ifejika led the Nigerian contingent to Namibia to prepare the nation 

for self-rule in 1990, the Nigerian contingent was voted the best of the 50 police forces 

from all over the world which participated in Namibia’s transition”. 

In appreciation of the spectacular performance of the Nigerian police under his 

leadership, Ifejika was promoted from Commissioner of Police to Assistant 

Inspector-General of Police, becoming the first Anambra indigene to wear the latter 

rank after the Nigerian Civil War”.  

“Okafor and Ifejika interestingly joined the police force the same day. Despite losing 

some years and seniority on account of the civil war, both Ifejika and Okafor reached 

the top of their profession. The retired distinguished policemen show the difference 

Anambra men and women make any time they are given national or international 

assignments”.


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