By Kelechi Abonuyo
Sunday, the 6th of December, 2020, was the Feast of Immaculate Conception, and many Roman Catholics were in for it. As usual the sun rose from the East and set in the West. There was nothing untoward about the air quality and humidity of the day. The breezes of the natural environs of Owerri, the capital city of Catholic dominated Imo State, were cool and gentle. We all went about our normal life. In fact, across the skyline, an airplane flew pass. Our life was good.
Two days before, Arch Paul Ifeanyi Anyanwu arrived the city in company of his old friends. Their mission was to go give their comforting presence to one of their secondary school cohorts, who was holding an emotional funeral farewell for his late mother. We all gathered at the funeral to support the bereaved, and all was well. We looked around and saw that everything in town was good. The next day!
Members of Old Boys’ Association are wonderful. Folks know how to redistribute wealth. After function leisure times provide ample and fertile grounds for contract awards to people of different trades. Arch Paul Anyanwu was a professional builder. Like others, most of his jobs come from folks, who have need for his services. When folks gather for their evening recreation, come and see jibes. Within the euphoria of secondary school evergreen memories, folks who have represented us well in their various endeavours in the enlarged human society receive praises. Otherwise they receive punishment. It is this sort of reprimand, or otherwise, that has made us some of the finest in the society. But in all, we look out from amongst us those of them that can give services we need. You name them! They include Priests, Engineers, Lawyers, Architects, Physicians, Surveyors, Teachers, etc. Arch Paul Anyanwu’s hand was full of jobs – design and construction of houses and sundry services.
On that Saturday, the evening breezes were cool and gentle as well. Paul and friends even picked roasted fish and snail from the same pack. They tried red wine of South Africa and didn’t have to bother about rice, because they had had good food somewhere in town – the other beautiful side called New Owerri. They all savoured the fountain of water in that remote hotel garden, where they were and streaming their thoughts on the things they could do in future. They were all happy, trying to make old jokes and relate them to present times. They tried to touch the fountain and splash it on. It was bliss. Another happy re-union, when they hyped high school nicknames. Arch Paul Anyanwu earned a befitting alias: ABAKA – a name which became to him a hash tag and gold. Again, from the window of this life, they looked out to appreciate God and his works of creation. And they saw that everything He made was just good for them to be thankful. The next day!
The Feast of Immaculate Conception again began with bright morning sunrays. And Arch Paul Anyanwu went off happy and healthy, in his Ford Edge SUV. There was nothing ominous in the weather. Unbeknownst to him, the immaculate Sunday was to be stained with his blood. Arch Paul Anyanwu was warm and welcoming, and everything around him used to be a melting pot for many of his friends. But sadly everything has gone quiet. He was murdered together with younger brother, Toochukwu Anyanwu, in what seems to a poke in the eye of the IGP and his Owerri representative, the Commissioner of Police (CP).
A local account says: As Paul was parked in his car down town, just like a flash, within a twinkling of an eye, some youths, wielding dangerous weapons, accosted them and demanded the car key. As he was slow to fulfill their demand, they shot him on his forehead – with such a wicked blast. As if that was not enough, they also shot the brother in the chest, in order to silence the bread winners of a large, humble family from Mbaise.
While the commotion was ongoing, people ducked for their dear life. Quite suddenly silence as grave as graveyard descended on earth. Since then we have neither heard from our friend, Paul, nor his brother, Toochukwu.
The worse is that the bandits leveraged on the deserted place to engage in showmanship. Without much ado, they walked into Paul’s SUV, reversed away in high speed and screeched away to escape before the police could arrive. A visit to the site of this heinous crime showed that, under the scorching sun, our friends’ blood, which trickled and stained the immaculate day, has clotted on the ground where their stiff bodies were found. The clotted blood on the floor now reminds us – including the Nigeria Police Force, the Directorate of State Security and the Imo State government – of man’s evil to man.
Dear IGP, from tax-payers money, you have received your salaries and some other emoluments to keep us and our property safe and secured. But a job remains undone. The Anyanwu Brothers are dead, but their killers are yet to be fished out. We need to know them – the bad men amongst us. Perhaps they have pink noses or dark skins, tall or short. Who knows? Surely they aren’t aliens, who came to earth. And the job shouldn’t be a rocket science for the police force, which you lead. It is not the Herculean Boko Haram. It is a murder and robbery case, at least. Do your job and keep taking the salaries from taxpayers.
I have told a story of Friday and Saturday Nights in Owerri. You may well complete the blank space of Sunday Night to this day, until proper closure. Nigerians need the answers. You may as well rely on your Police Commissioner in Owerri. But surely Nigerians deserve a Christmas gift. And you should know better, sir.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org