The Slain Igwes and Babel of Police Investigations
Police authorities in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, recently announced the arrest of yet a new suspect in the gruesome murder of Barnabas and Blessing Igwe, a couple, in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra state of Nigeria. The new suspect, known as Odogwu Anam and described as a dreaded underworld kingpin, was arrested by the police in Asaba, Delta state capital. The so-called Odogwu Anam reportedly pulled the trigger that killed the Igwes. Police authorities added that this suspect was arrested shortly after the gruesome killing, but surprisingly granted bail.
Barnabas and Blessing (Amaka) Igwe, both lawyers, it will be recalled,
were brutally murdered in
Police high command, a couple of days ago, claimed that the arrested Odogwu Anam was a member of the gang that actually killed the couple, and had, shortly after he was granted bail, fled overseas only to return when he thought the matter had been forgotten.
What a strange story! Where does this novel development leave concerned
Nigerians in tracking down the killers of the Igwes? And what impression
does this incessant volte-face in this murder probe create about
six whole years, the police had been floundering, arresting and clamping
into detention camps numerous alleged killers of the Igwes. They were
murdered during the regime of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju as governor of
Anambra state. While his wife died on the spot, Barnabas died later at
the hospital, but not until after reportedly making a dying declaration
linking Mbadinuju to the attack. The dying Barnabas was said to have
mentioned Ken Emeakayi, Mbadinuju’s works commissioner, as the leader of
the gang that attacked him and his wife. This dying declaration was in
spite of Mbadinuju’s alibi that he was attending a world Igbo congress
It is noteworthy that Barnabas leadership in Onitsha Bar was so critical of Mbadinuju government in Anambra state before they were slain. In fact, at a point in the rift, the Bar declared war against Mbadinuju regarding his protracted indebtedness to the state’s workforce, and, subsequently, declared Anambra a failed state.
Understandably, following Barnabas’ dying declaration, coupled with the
efforts of the leadership of Chuka Obele Chuka, Barnabas replacement,
the police, first, arrested and severally arraigned Emeakayi. Emeakayi,
in charge of the dreaded
After the arraignment of Emeakayi and scores of his co-accused, the police turned their prosecution searchlight in the direction of former Governor Mbadinuju who just returned to Nigeria after holidaying overseas fro months after the expiration of his tenure in May 2003. Mbadinuju, subsequently, faced a high profile murder trial in both Abuja and Anambra state in 2006. He was slammed with a three-count charge of conspiracy to murder the Igwes before an Onitsha Chief Magistrate court presided over by Mabel Mbakwe. According to the charges numbered MO/1c/2006, Mbadinuju was accused, alongside others still at large, “of conspiring with one another to commit murder and thereby committing an offence punishable under section 494 of the criminal code cap 36 vol. II revised laws of Anambra State Nigeria, 1999”.
recently, Mbadinuju was discharged and acquitted by Justice D.O.C
While not passing comments on the propriety or otherwise of Mbadinuju’s discharge and acquittal by Justice Amaechina, I am of the opinion that the Nigerian police do not deserve any pat on the back for their so-called latest break-through in nabbing Odogwu Anam, whom they claimed, was one of the killers of the Onitsha couple lawyers. Is it, rather, not a shame on the police force that it could not pull through any of the trials it initiated over the cold-blooded murder of the lawyers for the past six years? This development, in deed, exposes the crass inexperience of our police force in cracking and curbing crime.
six years, Nigerian police had adopted the tactics of ‘trial and error’
in tracking down killers of the Igwes, whose brutal murder had plunged
their three little kids, Somadina, Chijindu and Nnenna into penury and
misery. Is it not a shame that the police has continued with this
macabre dance without end? Who is sure that the on-going celebrated
arrest and planned trial Odogwu Anam is not another foray into a
fool’s paradise? Who is sure that the eventual prosecution will not go
the way of others, inexplicably end in discharge and acquittal of the
accused? If the police could not successfully prosecute Mbadinuju and
his officials, who were implicated in the assassination of the couple by
the Onitsha Bar, what is the guarantee that the latest uproar over the
nabbing of yet another suspect is not part of a plot to continue to
deceive and hoodwink the public into believing that the Nigerian police
can live out its name? What
Aham is a veteran journalist based in Enugu,