According to an Uzubulu source, more than 30 sons of the community have died in South Africa as a result of the raging war.
Professor Linus Amobi Ilika, former Commissioner of Health in Anambra State and pro-life activist, confirmed to INDEPENDENT that there had been frequent killings of indigenes of Ozubulu community living in South Africa and their corpses conveyed home for burial before the shooting of worshippers at St. Phillip’s Catholic Church, which he described as an abomination against the land.
However, Ilika said there is no evidence that High Chief Aloysius Nnamdi Ikegwuonwu, who built the church where the lone gunman shot worshippers, was involved in drugs trade, describing him as a philanthropist.
Ilika when asked, a former Secretary General of Ozubulu Development Union, to rationalise the shooting and corroborate the stories making the rounds that Ikegwuonwu is in the drugs business and may have offended his business partners, who may be his own people.
Ilika admits that the community does not know the young man’s trade, adding: “He has not been charged or arrested for such offence.”
“There had been shootings in South Africa and they bring down the corpses of our people living in South Africa. The person who built the church resides in South Africa. There is likely to be dispute and struggle among them but I cannot say exactly what the issues are.
“But for whatever it is there is no single justification for assassinations and invasion of a place of worship and committing of such mass killing of innocent worshipers in a place of worship”.
Ilika described the shooting as an abomination of the land of Ozubulu and appealed to people to join in prayers of atonement and reparation to God for the heinous sin and sacrilege.
According to a source, Ozubulu drug barons control about 60 percent of wholesale drug sales in South Africa (not importation or retail).
The source alleged that Ikegwuonwu, also known as Bishop, is at the centre of the crisis and controlled a cartel in SANS, Hillbrow/Berea, Johannesburg.
He said there was a time when there was a serious fight for the soul of SANS.
He said a long time ago, Bishop allegedly invited his high school classmate and friend to manage his cartel, even though he also brought a lot of Ozubulu boys from Nigeria to help him secure SANS.
Six years later, the source said, Ikegwonwu’s manager (the former classmate) told him he was resigning to start his own business.
“Ikegwuonwu then asked him to leave SANS and go somewhere else to start his own trade. The manager (I have forgotten his name now) refused to leave SANS. Some people alleged Ikegwuonwu paid him money to leave SANS but he refused”, he noted. The source said nobody heard about the manager thereafter.
“Ikegweonwu asked all drug barons to leave SANS for him alone. Some left while some stayed back.”
He said that was when the fight started.
“2016 was the worst year for Ozubulu people in South Africa. Over 30 drug barons were killed”, he noted.
The source said the church shooting was targetted at Ikegwuonwu’s father just to hurt him and force him out of hiding.
He recalled that when Ikegwonwu’s father was kidnapped, N60 million was demanded but he paid N120 million and warned them not to harm his father.
It would be recalled that gunmen on Sunday killed 12 worshippers and injured 25 others in an early morning attack on St. Phillip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.
An eyewitness said unidentified gunmen arrived the church in a Lexus Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) during the 6.30a.m mass when the congregants were engrossed listening to the sermon.
According to him, three gunmen disembarked from the SUV and stationed themselves at the three main doors leading to the church auditorium as one of them immediately entered the church and opened fire on the worshippers at close range.
He said before the shooting started, the attackers had disconnected the generator supplying electricity to the church to have absolute darkness and make it impossible for victims to identify them.
According to him, eight adults and four children died in the attack.
Rev. Fr. Jude Onwuaso, Parish Priest of the Church, told Governor Willie Obiano and the Anambra Commissioner of Police, Garba Umar, who visited the church on getting report of the incidence, that the gunmen stormed the church and began shooting indiscriminately killing at least 11 on the spot.
Police Arrest Suspects
Meanwhile, Garba Umar, Commissioner of Police in Anambra, has said that some suspects have been arrested in connection with Sunday’s killings at St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu.
Umar told newsmen on Monday that the number of arrest would not be disclosed so as not to jeopardise ongoing investigation into the massacre of 12 persons by unknown gunmen.
The commissioner had on Sunday said that the attack was an isolated case of feud between two individuals from the same community, adding that the police had contacted some persons who would be useful in the investigation.
Osinbajo Vows To Get To Root Of Killings
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has vowed that he would get the perpetrators of the Ozubulu church killings in Anambra State to justice even as he condemned the act.
He said he has been in constant touch with the state governor,Willie Obiano and has been receiving regular updates on the status of investigations regarding the atrocious and mindless acts of violence on Sunday at the St.
Phillip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu in Anambra State.
He said police authorities and other security agencies have also swung into action to unravel the mystery behind the killings.
Osinbajo commiserated with families, relatives, friends of the victims, the entire people and the government of Anambra State in a terse statement made available to NEWSMEN by his media aide,Laolu Akande.