By Emma Nnadozie, Nsukka
He was among a select group of Nigerian professionals from the University town of Nsukka in Enugu State based in far-away United States of America, clamoring for a better medical care for the seemingly forgotten majority in our country Nigeria. They swore an oath of allegiance and commitment in God’s Own country to alleviate the suffering of their people back home.
Their credo and unalloyed commitment was to raise money and come back home to take care of their massively impoverished populace that were unable to get proper medical care in their oil -rich fatherland.
They therefore, formed what they called ‘’Nsukka Professionals in US’’ and embarked upon fund raising for the construction of an ultra-modern medical diagnostic centre in the University town. For years, they have been tasking themselves and raising funds for the project. Then in December this year, the professionals decided to come back home and actualize their pet project. They all trouped back home for a formal launch slated for today.
But tragedy struck in the early hours of Wednesday preceding the D-day. One of their prominent members and an arrow head of the project from inception, a reputable Financial Economist, Ogbo Bennard Edoga, 56, was slain by unknown gun men in his village, Aku, Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area, LGA, just 30 kilometers from Nsukka township.
The victim had gone to the village to see both his aged mother and twin sister whose husband was opening his new house. After that, he, in company of his elder brother and two of his nephews aged 12 and 10 respectively, decided to visit some of his kinsmen. On approaching the entrance to the man’s residence, he parked his car and alighted with his briefcase after pleading with the other occupants of the car to give him few minutes to felicitate with the owner of the house.
Eyewitness said as he was about entering through a small gate, a car suddenly pulled up in front of his car. Two boys emerged from the car leaving the third person inside. The two boys approached the occupants of his car and asked where the driver was. Before the occupants could answer them, they sighted the victim entering through the small gate and they quickly pulled out their guns and fired some shots.
They reportedly rushed towards him and ordered him to kneel down. As he was obeying their orders, they snatched the briefcase and ransacked his pockets. While this was going on, the victim was passionately pleading with them to spare his life stating that they should take whatever they wanted.
Unfortunately, as they were leaving the scene with the briefcase, one of them who was clutching an AK47 assault rifle retraced his steps and released several shots into his hip angle. The bullet penetrated through the waist and pierced his innards. Blood started flowing freely.
While the gun men were coming out from the compound, they accosted a retired SSS official from the town who was driving in his car and on overhearing the commotion, stopped to ascertain what was happening. They confronted him and one of them reportedly ordered that he should be killed but his colleague said they should leave him alone. They therefore, pushed him out of his car and fled in it abandoning their operational car.
It was gathered that the bewildered villagers who thronged the scene quickly rushed Ogbo to nearby Attah Memorial Hospital, where unfortunately, he was declared Dead On Arrival, DOA. The incident threw both the community and the entire University town of Nsukka into utter confusion and shock.
Crime Guard learnt that youths from both the community and Odenigbo area in Nsukka main town where the deceased grew up started grouping to carry out a violent demonstration against the brutal killing of one of their foremost sons whom they described as a “messiah and philanthropist” that was working hard to alleviate their sufferings. It was the timely intervention of a one- time Chairman of Nsukka Local Government Area and former member of the House of Representatives, Alex Ezeh and other elders that stopped what could have been a bloody protest by the aggrieved youths.
Meanwhile, it was reliably gathered that few minutes after the incident, the Police Area Commander in Nsukka, Ros-Amson Halladu and his military counterpart, Lt. Shuabu, in-charge of Nsukka Urban patrol quickly swung into action and blocked all entrance and exits to both the community and other neighboring towns.
Police sources said they quickly mobilized their men and commenced frantic search and patrol of the areas. Their efforts paid off as they were able to recover the vehicle used by the fleeing gun men at 9th mile near Enugu . Following this development, they mounted heavy surveillance and house-to-house search in and around the area and beyond.
When Crime Guard visited the family house of the victim, the two teenagers who witnessed the ugly incident were said to still be in shock. One of them, a 12-year-old, was overheard lamenting pathetically that he and his sibling have finally lost the opportunity of getting educated because the victim promised to educate them to all levels after the recent death o
f their father.
Few minutes later, a group of teenagers numbering about 10 came into the compound crying uncontrollably. They told Crime Guard that the victim gave them scholarship and had returned to renew his financial commitment before he was brutally murdered.
Following this development, it was also gathered that other returnees from overseas and even those from different parts of the country who came for both the yuletide and the launching of the project had to flee for their lives. Some of them that were already landed in Lagos from abroad were reportedly said to have hastily flown back to their bases for fear of being killed.
As at the time of going to press, it was not possible to ascertain the motive for the gruesome murder but police sources hinted that all hands were on deck and they were not leaving any stone unturned in their desperate quest to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of the US returnee. According to one of the sources, “we will also spread our dragnets abroad with a view to finding out the motive and if it has to do with the project.”