St. Philip Catholic Church Amakwa Ozobulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State

….says I was drafted to kill Bishop

One of the four suspects alleged to have participated in the August 6th, 2017 mayhem in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo local government area of Anambra State, Mr Chukwujekwu Eze, yesterday to the court in Nnewi that he was drafted to kill Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu.

The confession of the suspect heightened tension yesterday at the court premises in Nnewi which was filled to the brim.

Following the shooting and killing of 13 persons and injuring 29 at Saint Phillips Catholic Church at Ozubulu, police arrested four suspects allegedly involved in the massacre.

The suspects were Great Chinedu Akpunonu, 44; Vincent Ike, 57; Chukwudi Ugwu, 30, and Onyebuchi Mbanefo, 46.

They were arraigned on a 24-count charge in Suit No: HN/36C/2017 bordering on conspiracy and murder, while Others allegedly involved in the shooting were still at large.

The commotion in the court yesterday, made the presiding judge, justice FI Aniukwu ordered that no pictures would be taken in the next adjourned date, while nobody would also allow to stand in court.

Meanwhile, justice Aniukwu would on 23rd February, 2018 rule on the bail application of the suspects, while the next adjourned date was fixed for March 3rd, 2018for further hearing

Eze, the second witness, who hailed from Ugbawka in Enugu State, told the court that he lived in South Africa for 11 years before he was deported, adding that he had remained unemployed since his deportation.

He was Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Jay Jay Ezeuko, SAN.

According to the witness, “There is a boy named Okpanda who told me that they were going to the Bishop’s place at Ozubulu to execute a job. I asked him the nature of the job and he told me that they were going because Bishop was owing some people some money in South Africa”

“He said they wanted to go and destroy everything in Bishop’s house and shoot at every living thing”

“I asked him who was sponsoring the job and he told me it was Obrocho”

” When I mentioned it Okpanda, he said he would assist me if I would agree to follow in the hit job at Bishop’s place”

” I told him I would be involved because I won’t want to shed any blood”

“Okpanda invited me so he could explain the whole thing to me and when I went the following day, he told me it was only if I took part in the job that he would help me to go back to South Africa”

“It was in Okpanda’s place that I met Dobby (Onyemaechi Mbanefo), the 4thaccused and two of them tried to convince me to join in the job. I refused to join”

“After the shooting in the church, I saw Okpanda again and he told me that they had done the job and when I asked if he could help me since they had made the money, he told me he couldn’t help me since I refused to join in the job”

“I then told him I was going to approach Bishop since I didn’t have any other person to help me. He told me not to go to Bishop because the Bishop would arrest me”

“I later decided to approach Bishop because of the level of massacre in the church in which the Bishop’s father was among those killed.”Eze said

While Cross examining the witness, counsel to the first accused person, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN put it to him that it was in his desire to return to South Africa that made him approach Bishop after the shooting

He further put it to him that Bishop may have already concluded arrangement for him to travel to South Africa.

He however denied that Bishop had made arrangement for him to travel, adding that he didn’t even have any international passport.

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