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Ozubulu Church Massacre: Unknown people threatening my life — Witness

By Ifeoma Okafor, Awka on 24/02/2018

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The third prosecution witness in the trial of the suspects in the August 6, 2017, church massacre in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, Chief Osita Okosieme, on Friday raised alarm in court that his life is in danger.

He told the Nnewi High Court that his life was threatened by unknown persons from Ghana three days to his appearance in the court warning him to stay away from giving witness in the case.

Led in evidence by the Prosecuting Counsel, Jay Jay Ezeuko (SAN), the witness said the unknown callers said they would kill him if he ventured to appear in the court.

His words: “My Lord, I got text messages and calls from unknown persons in Ghana. They said they will kill me if I appear in court today (Friday) to give evidence. They sent the threats through text messages.

“I urge the court to give me protection today and henceforth.”

Reacting to the alarm, the Defence Counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), urged Okosieme to disclose the identity of those that threatened him so that he would take it up from there.

He reminded him that what he was doing was in line with the law, adding that it was a way of assisting the court uncover people involved in the heinous killing. “If they are from our side (defence) we shall personally take it up,” Keyamo said.

The Prosecuting Counsel enjoined the court to ensure that all the witnesses were protected, noting that the revelation by Okosieme was having a chilling effect on the witnesses.

In his evidence-in-chief, Okesieme said: “Opanga saw me in a hotel in Awka and said it has been long he has been looking for me and would want to tell me something about the Ozubulu killing.

“When I asked him what he wanted to tell me, he said Bishop added his name in the list of people who carried out the shooting at Ozubulu. That he would want me to link him with Bishop so that he will tell him that he was not among the people that carried out the shooting.

“That he would want to tell me the truth, that somebody told him about the job but he declined to join. When I asked him who the person that told him about the job was, he said Nwa Atani who was previously in South Africa but came back to Nigeria because of problem. He said he and Nwa Atani were previously arrested before he, Opanga, was granted bail.

“Opanga was so desperate to see Bishop but I told him that Bishop travelled but after four days Bishop returned and went to the Police cell and saw Nwa Atani. He confirmed that he knew him as dog.”

The Presiding Judge, Justice F. I. Aniukwu, in his response, said that is being done is to unearth the truth about what happened, hence there is no need to threaten anybody. He maintained that the court will not take such threats lightly.

Narrating his story in evidence, the fourth prosecution witness, Mr. Leonard Ndulue, said he was in the church on the fateful day.

He said he sustained injury on his right hand from one of the gunmen, whom he identified to be among the four accused persons.

Ndulue recalled that the shooting happened during the consecration of the Holy Communion.

He said: “I heard gunshot, and when I looked up I had an eye contact with the gunman and shortly after I got a gun wound and fell down as if I was dead. From the floor, I was observing the gun man.

“The gun man tried to change his magazine and it fell and while picking the magazine, his face cap fell. I managed to crawl out and on the floor I heard a voice saying, ‘Dog, Dog, let’s go’ and the gun man came out and followed the one calling ‘Dog’ and they left.”

After the cross examination, Justice Aniukwu adjourned the matter to March 2 and 16 for continuation of hearing.

Meanwhile, some youths from Egbema Ozubulu mobilised to the court, asking for the release of one of the suspects, claiming he was innocent of the matter.

The leader of the placard-carrying group, Kelechukwu Odumegwu, said even though they want justice, “our brother (one of the suspects) is innocent. If they have problem in South Africa they should go and settle.”

It was learnt that the youths after leaving the court went straight to Ozubulu to cause chaos but were dispersed by the police.

Source News Express

Posted 24/02/2018 1:42:40 PM


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