From Chuks Moses, Awka
A principal witness in the on-going court hearing on the August 6, 2017 St Phillips Catholic Church, Amakwa-Ozubulu mass murder, Chief Nkwado Onyeka, has sent shivers down the spine of most citizens of the community following his disclosure that the masterminds of the killings had earlier demanded a ransom of one million Dollars ransom or the killings would continues.
Onyeka, in his evidence-in-chief, Friday, at an Awka High Court revealed that it was doomsday foretold, because the suspects in the Ozubulu church mass killings had long before the incident requested for ransom from the community’s citizens based in South Africa to stop all the killings in the community.
The former President of Ozubulu Development Union in South Africa chapter stated that the demand was the genesis of all the troubles in the community.
Meanwhile, the case has now been transferred from the Nnewi High Court to Awka High Court Complex for security reasons.
Chief Onyeka also claimed that it was the same gang under the control of one of the suspects, Chinedu Akpunonu, that killed his wife, Mrs. Onyeka and six other prominent people from Ozubulu in South Africa, before the church massacre of last year.
He also alleged that the gang boasted they would continue the killings until the Ozubulu people whom they claimed were responsible for their travails, pay the $1m ransom.
Hear him, “Within a short time, one man Obinna Obijeme who gave witness against Akpunonu at Igwe’s palace was shot dead in South Africa. When we heard this we called a meeting and invited Chinedu Akpunonu, Aloysius Ikegwuonu and 20 others.
“In the meeting, I was pleading with Chinedu Akpunonu because his gang members in prison, Dozila and Afam had claimed that they killed Obinna.
“We concluded that Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu, Emeka Obi, Chinedu Akpunonu, Fidelis Nwanya and our patron would visit the prison to see Afam and Dozila to know how to stop the killings.
“The next day, Fidelis Nwanya called me and said that Afam and Dozila said they did not want to see Chinedu Akpunonu and Aloysius Ikegwuonu, that it was only Fidelis Nwanya and I that they would want to see.
“ So in December I travelled to New York, my wife and son dropped me at the airport. On landing at America, at the airport I switched on my phone and the first call that I got was that my wife had been short dead in our office which I shared with her. I joined the same flight back to South Africa.
“All Ozubulu people were calling me to sympathize with me but Chinedu Akpunonu did not. Our people were worried and were asking what to do next and I said they should go ahead with our earlier plan to visit Afam and Dozila in prison but that I would not go with them.
“They went to the prison to see them and reported that Dozila and Afam swore that they would continue to kill Ozubulu people except they were given $1 million. That it was Ozubulu people that put them in prison.
“The reason they are saying that Ozubulu people imprisoned them was because the then leader of Ozubulu, Oruche called Chinedu Akpunonu and asked him to stop using the killer gang.
“Secondly, they said Ozubulu people should come and get them released from the prison and thirdly, that Ozubulu people should kill the head of killer gang Chinedu Akpunonu uses, Tijani Usman”.
He also disclosed that “After the burial of my wife another Ozubulu prominent son, Nnoso Ikedinobi was murdered, another person Udoamaka was murdered and by May 2016 Ozubulu people lost six persons in South Africa and Afam and Dozila claimed responsibility.
“All of them were respectively brought home and buried and funeral held for them but Chinedu Akpunonu did not attend any of the funerals though I saw him in Ozubulu in different functions.
“After he killed my wife he called two persons, Onyedinanma and Emeka Obi and told them that he had dealt with me.
“Then, on 6th Agust, 2017 I received a telephone call from Aloysius Ikegwuonu that gunmen went to the church he built in Ozubulu and killed worshippers.
“While we were trying to figure out what happened, chairman, Onyedinma called me on phone and said that Dozila and Afam said they sent those that did the attack.
Under cross examination from Mr. Festus Keyamo, counsel to Chief Aloysious Ikegwuonu, Onyeka said he was not aware that any court both in Nigeria and South Africa had convicted Akpunonu for murder, just as he said he had never written any petition to security agencies on the alleged murder cases Akpunonu was accused of.
The matter was later adjourned to May 4, 11 and 25 for further hearing.