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Brother of Anambra Masquerader Who Allegedly Killed 71-Yr-Old Man Attacks Journalists, Locks Them Up, Seizes Their Camera for Coming to Interview Them

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By Izunna Okafor, Awka

Principle of fair hearing and balanced reportage is one of the core ethics of journalism.

However, this age-old virtue has been challenged and threatened by a yet-to-be-identified member of the Nweke Family in Umuenu village, Umuawulu, in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State, as he attacked journalists who came to give the family a fair hearing over a murder allegation leveled against one of their sons and masquerader who was accused of beating a 71-year-old man to death.

Recall that the media space was awash over the weekend with the news of a man, Mr. Shadrach Okoye of the Okpala-Nduka village in Umuawulu, who was allegedly beaten to death by a masquerade on December 25, 2023.

The masquerade, who was identified as Ifechukwu Nweke (aged 19) was said to have confronted Mr. Okoye as he was seeing off his visitor on that fateful day, and insisted that he (Okoye) must give him money before he would allow him pass.

It was gathered that even after the visitor whom Mr. Okoye was seeing off gave the recalcitrant masquerade the sum of N500 to allow them pass, he still insisted that Mr. Okoye himself must also give him money before he would allow him to pass. Although, Mr. Okoye was said to have explained to the said masquerade that he was not with any money then and only came out empty-handed to see off his visitor — a passionate explanation and plea the masquerade turned and refused to accept, insisting that he must give him money.

According to the son of Mr. Okoye, as this was going on, the masquerade drew closer and gave his father a heavy punch on the chest and also pushed him aside, which made him to fall, stifle, and give up the ghost there and then, having been battling prolonged heart problem. He also said the masquerade then left his father there and went away, still murmuring and raining insult on him as a very stingy man.

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Since this unfortunate murder of their father, the Okoye Family has been searching for justice, as their father’s corpse still lies in the mortuary since then, till date, while the suspect, the masquerader (Ifechukwu Nweke) was said to have gone into hiding. The five children of the deceased were said to have been thrown into orphanhood by the masquerade, having lost their mother earlier.

It was alleged that their both the family of the suspect, the police and the traditional ruler of the community to whom the matter was since reported, had done nothing much and visible to apprehend the suspect or get justice for the Okoye Family, since then till date.

It was this search for justice that led the first son of the deceased, Chidubem Okoye to some journalists and media houses in the state, including the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), to help amplify their calls for intervention of the relevant authorities on the matter.

However, having heard from the son of the deceased, the ABS journalists, in their professionalism, also thought it wise to also hear from the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Joel Egwuonwu and the family of the suspect who was said to be currently on the run.

Howbeit, this pursuit of professionalism turned sour along the line, as the elder brother to the suspect cantankerously pounced on the journalists immediately they stepped into their family, seized their camera and even locked up the cameraman, Mr. Ebuka Ndubuisi.

Recounting their experience, the ABS reporter, Mrs. Ngozi Obileri, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, (Anambra State Council) said the incident happened shortly after they finished interviewing the traditional ruler, Igwe Egwuonwu, and the son of the deceased, Chidubem Okoye, and then went to the suspect’s house.

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She said: “After speaking with Igwe Umuawulu, we proceeded to speak with Chidubem whose father was murdered; then from there, we went to the alleged murderer’s house. As we entered the compound. I told my cameraman to get some cutaways, as we did the other places.

“As he was about doing that, the elder brother to the suspect came out, rushed him, snatched and seized our camera.

“I tried to explain to him that we needed the shots to patch the story, but he wouldn’t bulge. He asked me to leave his compound, and then locked up my cameraman inside the compound for more than one hour. Though, he later released the camera.”

The female journalist also recalled how she made several attempts to contact the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Anambra State Police Command, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, for the intervention of the security operatives when the incident was happening; but said the PPRO ignored all her calls and never returned any of the missed calls, even as at the time of filing this report.

When asked how they were eventually rescued, she said it took the intervention of the monarch who involved the local vigilante for their intervention.

“The Igwe called vigilante to arrest him. He later came to Igwe’s compound and met us when we went to analyze what happened, to Igwe. He told us to go that he would lock the guy up. Indeed, it was a horrible and unfunny experience,” she said.

Efforts by this reporter, Izunna Okafor, to get the reaction of the Anambra State NUJ Chairman, Dr. Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on the incident, proved abortive, as his phone number was not connecting as at the time of this publication.

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