More details have emerged in the brutal murder of a 39-year-old community leader in Oroma Etiti Anam, Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Late Chudi Julius Chinwuba (a.k.a) Tallest,was allegedly hacked to death on November 15, by persons suspected to be his kinsmen, with whom he had been having a protracted feud.
After he was brutally murdered, his wrists and ankles were bound with ropes, while the body was fastened to a sandbag and a concrete block. The body was subsequently dumped in the river. He is survived by a wife, four children and four siblings.
According to The Sun, following a misunderstanding that he allegedly had with his kinsmen, the deceased was reportedly invited to a peace meeting by his uncle, Ogbuevi Anekwe Chinwuba, the eldest man in the family. It was at the meeting that he was brutally killed.
The traditional ruler of Oroma Etiti Anam, Igwe Nwaozekwe Okeke, described the killing as a great abomination, adding that the land had been defiled. He said the suspects had been ex-communicated from the community.
“We have duly reported the matter to the police, first at Nzam, the local government headquarters, and later at State CID, Awka. We are surprised that, till now, no arrest has been made. The police kept telling us that they would come today, they would come tomorrow. If they fail to arrest and prosecute the culprits, they would be encouraging people to take the law into their hands. And that would be very dangerous for the society,” Igwe Nwaozekwe said.
Tessy Chinwuba, wife of the deceased, lamented that she had been turned to a widow, and her kids rendered fatherless.
“We have been thrown into hunger and a bleak future. Since the matter started, our crops were wasted, as we were not allowed to go to our farms. I am speechless. I want government to do all within their power to arrest and prosecute the killers. That way, my husband’s spirit will find rest,” she said.
Writing on her Facebook wall, Anita Ben-Ekwealor, elder sister of the deceased, alleged that events that preceded the gruesome killing of her brother exposed the identities of the killers, saying the suspects had been dragging the deceased to different police stations.
Chinenye Chinwuba, the younger brother to the deceased, and he has been in hiding since the incident, saying those who killed his brother might come for him.
“In April this year, when Oroma Etiti Anam elected members of the town union executive, the deceased emerged as president-general. Since then, he and those who supported him did not know peace. They were regularly beaten up by our kinsmen. They destroyed our property, burnt Chukwudi’s house and stopped him and others going to their farmlands. Chukwudi was lucky to escape with his family to another village.” he told Sun reporter.
Recalling the event leading to the murder of his brother, he said Ogbuevi Anekwe Chinwuba, the eldest man in the clan, called a meeting to resolve the crisis:
“But I was surprised when I saw our kinsmen at the meeting with machetes. I immediately ran for my life but it was too late for my brother. Some of them told me on phone that my brother would be killed and nothing would happen. I have them on record. We didn’t see my brother again until his corpse was found in the river two days later.”
In the petition to the Inspector-General of Police, it was stated that the alleged killers were well known members of the community.
The divisional police officer at Nzam told Daily Sun that he was not in the town when the matter was reported.
"It was during the Anambra gubernatorial election and I was at Ihiala. It was when I returned that I learnt of it. The report has been sent to the State CID, Awka.”
The police public relations officer for Anambra State, Nkeiruka Nwode, confirmed that the matter was being handled by the State CID, and admitted that no arrest had been made.
Chibuko Ekwenze, a member of the Umunzu clan, absolved his kinsmen of blame in the incident.
“We learnt that he had issues with some of his age mates who are members of our kindred and it led to a fight, which might have resulted in his death. I blame them for beating him to death. What the misguided youths did was a sacrilege. He is our brother and, no matter what he did, it could have been resolved with time. If they had reported to the police when he collapsed, like we learnt, because I was in Abuja, maybe the matter would not have looked as bad as it is now,” he said.
Hon. Ralph Okeke, another prominent son of Umunzu who has been accused of having a hand in the killing, denied the charges:
“It is very unfortunate that my enemies are conniving with Chukwudi’s siblings to circulate wrong information. Why would I want him dead? Would I, at my level, be a president-general? No! He is my son. When the parents died, I made sure, as a local government chairman, that they were given jobs. They still collect salaries till date. Can I live in Abuja and also be in the village? I have petitioned the Inspector-General of Police to wade into the matter. I have also volunteered to take an oath at Ani Anam, which is the highest deity, to prove my innocence.”
He accused six of the eight clans in the community of conniving against Umunzu and using the deceased as a willing tool. He said Chukwudi had battered some elders who had won a case that he instituted against them in court.
“When the children of these elders dealt with him, he wanted Umunzu youths to join and fight them. But they refused. As a result, he disowned the kindred, stopped attending meetings, paying levies and even relocated to another part of the town.
“The traditional ruler does not treat Umunzu as part of his community. When he wanted to form his cabinet, every member of the kindred declined to be a member but Chukwudi accepted. Umunzu had a matter with Umuonuora in Nmiata Anam. Chukwudi testified against Umunzu in court. He followed court bailiffs to serve his people the writ of summons. He also registered a fish pond that belongs to the kindred in his name at the Ministry of Mines and Water Resources,” Okeke said.
He added that there were other issues that pitched the deceased against his Umunzu kin, including opposing the collective decisions of the clan. The deceased’s emergence as president-general, he said, was not popular, as Umunzu had agreed on another candidate. He accused the deceased of plotting with the other clans to foist himself on the people as Umunzu’s candidate.
“I heard about his killing like every other person. That period, I travelled with President Buhari for the APC rally in Awka and did not know what transpired. How would I have supported such atrocity? As a politician, I never ordered political thugs to beat anybody not to talk of killing.”