Following different versions of false news peddled by the Nigerian media and most regrettably, respected individuals, to narrate the very unfortunate incident that happened at St Philips Catholic Church, Amakwa Ozubulu, I have dug out the details of this event and how it deteriorated to the August 6 massacre.
Aloysius Ikegwuonu (Bishop), presently a drug baron in South Africa, was born in 1981 to the family of Chief Ikegwuonu, Amakwa Ozubulu. He grew up in a very poor home and often helped his mother who trades at Orie Akpu market, Off Ugwu Orie Bus Stop, Amakwa Ozubulu. ‘Aloyee’ as fondly called by his friends in his early youth stage, first came to limelight in 1999 when he became the senior prefect of Comprehensive Secondary School, C.S.S., (formerly College of Basic Studies, C.B.S.) Egbema Ozubulu; a school founded by Reverend Father Nwabaju Izuchi, a United States based Catholic priest.
Right after his secondary school studies which he finished after his May/June WASSCE examination in the year 2000, he traveled out to South Africa on March 2001 where he became a multi millionaire within his first four (4) months of his stay there. He came back nine (9) months later (December 2001) and splashed his money around. This was the first major drug deal advert in Ozubulu, a land formerly known for the bravery of her indigenes, tranquility and high moral standards. (This seed Aloyee planted did not take time to bear fruits.)
With this, Aloyee attracted many friends to himself especially his school mates at C.S.S.. They indicated interest to serve him and do whatever he wants them to do as long as they will end up as ‘successful’ as he is and as quick as he made it. There was an exodus of Ozubulu youths to South Africa between the years 2004-2007. With these many people around him, Aloyee who had adopted the name ‘Bishop’ in South Africa needed someone he could trust better. He went for his best friend in the aforementioned secondary school, Ginika Nwoke.
Ginika, alias Giniyee, hailed from Mbaise in Imo State; he is an orphan and the only child of his parents. He grew up with his uncle, Ite Ego (a butcher at Orie Akpu market, Ugwu Orie Ozubulu) all through his childhood and adolescent age. He gained admission to study Psychology at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka in the year 2001 and was living at an unpainted two storey building, a lodge for students, about 100 meters from Unizik temporary site junction. Due to pressure from Bishop, he abandoned his university education just after his 200 level. Giniyee’s room mate at the University was Nonso Ewulu, alias Ajagara Igwe, who studied Political Science in the same university 2001-2005. Ajagara Igwe was also Giniyee and Bishop’s classmate at C.S.S. Ozubulu.
Bishop’s notorious act began with his own mother. He allegedly sacrificed his mother (who had rejected his ill wealth) to occult group. This allegation seemed more truthful when he refused to raised a stone at his mother’s grave. Bishop leveled his father’s home with an interlocking tiles months after his mother’s death and till today, you cannot identify his mother’s grave in his father’s compound.
To douse this rumor, Bishop engaged in an aggressive philanthropic aid. He renovated most churches at Ozubulu (particularly St Michael’s Catholic Church, Amakwa Ozubulu) the Igwe’s palace and instituted a charity foundation. He also penetrated the state government, donates to the state police and the local vigilante groups.
These events were happening so fast, Bishop was audacious, intimidating and energetic. His friends that traveled to South Africa had started complaining about him: his intimidation and oppression; killings had started; it has become the survival of the fittest, the jungle of beasts. More than six (6) people had died, all from Anambra State in some misunderstanding between Bishop’s group of drug cartel and many more groups of drug cartel in South Africa. Even at this stage, no one took any information about Bishop so seriously. Life went on and on and on.
The peak of this crisis was in a clash between Bishop and his best friend, Giniyee. Bishop claimed he handed Giniyee a package (hard drug) to deliver to a buyer but ended up with some cooked up stories with the intention of duping him. Giniyee denied this, but stated that Bishop’s enemy ambushed him at the point of delivery (in what seemed more like a set up) and made away with the package -a package worth hundred of millions of naira.
It got so heated that it was reported to the Igwe of Ozubulu who summoned the two with their families and pleaded for all to exercise patience till the truth be revealed. Bishop rejected Igwe’s verdict and swore that “isi ga ada” (meaning that ‘head must fall’) within some months if his money is not remitted back to him.
Few months later, the stunning news broke out, September 2015, Ginika Nwoke was shot dead in South Africa, the only child, an orphan with a wife and a little girl was killed. An Igbo adage says that “ihe mee onye ara, i mara na onwere mmadu” (meaning that when something happens to a mad man, you will know he has people). Mbaise indigenes made it clear that the only thing that will suffice them is a revenge, Bishop must be killed or a total war against Bishop and his kindred.
Situation started to deteriorate; between October 2015 and March 2017, Ozubulu youths were gunned down on monthly basis in South Africa. The owner of Vacarmata (located around Michael Junction, Egbema Ozubulu) Mr Obinna Ebuzeme, Mrs Nchedo (Nkwado’s wife) and many others, especially the alumni of C.S.S. have been killed.
Since then, Bishop attends occasions with over 50 security personnel, very intimidating entourage, but Mbaise indigenes had not given up. In this latest event, he came back July 2017, he is still being tracked. Investigations revealed that he was to be gunned down on Sunday, August 6, 2017 at St Philips Catholic Church, Amakwa Ozubulu, a church he built himself, from the foundation to the roof. Mysteriously, he got the news and escaped from Amakwa at mid night (Saturday, August 5, 2017).
The killers invaded his church still assuming he was there, opened fire and killed more than a dozen people. To prove it was targeted and purposed to get at Bishop, Bishop’s father ran away the church building with a bullet shot but the killers chased after him and shot him severally to ensure he dies.
We should all take responsibility. Rather than caution Bishop and reject his wealth, he was celebrated and most regrettably, by churches and others. We also believe that Igwe Ozubulu should have done better. This matter tarried for too long. It does not take a lot to set up a peace committee between Ozubulu and Mbaise. With this recent massacre, the death toll on Bishop’s case has risen to over 40 people from 2015 till date.
From report, this notorious Bishop has stepped on many toes. This particular attack might not necessarily had come from Mbaise people. Many groups are chasing after Bishop. Hence, we advice Ozubulu elders to ostracize Bishop indefinitely till this matter is resolved.
Churches, the state government and individuals should dissociate themselves from Bishop to discourage our younger generation from desperation for wealth. Any bill board with his image at Ozubulu and environs should be taken down immediately.
I also entreat Ozubulu and Mbaise elders to set up a reconciliation committee. Ginika Nwoke’s family must be approached with all humility, sincerity and respect; not because we believed Ginika’s testimony but because we want peace to return to Amakwa Ozubulu for the sake of the innocent ones and Igbo tribe at large.
There is no amount of killings that will bring back the dead, rather, will provoke each other towards more killings. Therefore, any other group that feels aggrieved towards Bishop’s action should be directed to Igwe Ozubulu for more and more reconciliations.
If you do not believe this piece, if you are more interested in believing that Fulani herdsmen left every other church just to attack Bishop’s church, I can’t take your imagination out. I advice you go down to Amakwa Ozubulu and spend good time to make more investigations.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are entirely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of CHECKPOINTCHARLEY