Killings in Nsukka … how human rights crusader Papa Nsukka was hacked to death
By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor
Barely a month after, another tragic incident took place. This time around, it happened at Agbani village inside Nsukka main town. A frontline human rights crusader and politician, Christopher Onah popularly called. Papa Nsukka was hacked to death in front of his residence.
He was attacked around 9.30pm on a Sunday night by assailants numbering over 20. Crime Alert learnt that the assassins had accosted their victim at the gate of his residence even as his neighbors shouted for help by beating wooden security gongs to scare away the hoodlums.
Onah had reportedly gone to bed but was woken up by his wife who informed him that people were shouting outside. Dressed in boxers, a T-shirt and wrapper, he went outside to ascertain what was wrong only to be attacked at his gate by young men armed with cutlasses and axes, leaving deep cuts on his head, neck and body. His attackers fled when they thought he was dead. He was however rushed to a private hospital in Nsukka where he died around 8.30pm Monday night after efforts by a team of doctors to save his life failed.
When Crime Alert visited him at the hospital around 4.30pm on Monday before he gave up the ghost, the victim narrated how the incident took place. According to him, I was sleeping when my wife called my attention to shouts of thief! Thief! outside my compound.
I quickly dashed out to ascertain what was going on only to be confronted by young men numbering over 20. Before I knew what was happening, they started hitting me with both cutlasses and axes. Their cuts were landing on my neck region.
I quickly fought back and succeeded in dislodging five of them after snatching a big stick one of them wanted to use in hitting me. When they saw that I was gaining upper hand with the stick, and my neighbors who were alerted were rushing towards us, they fled into the darkness. I made frantic efforts to go after them but I was becoming very weak because of the blood I was loosing.
That was all I knew until I woke up in the hospital. I have been in the hospital since midnight but no policeman had come to either safeguard me from being attacked again or get a first hand information from me over the incident. I was able to recognize some of the boys that attacked me and I will give their names to the police anytime they come.
Even one of them came to see me here and was pretending as if he was innocent but I will address the issue when I leave the hospital. All I know is that I did not do anything that will make people attack me like that, what I have been fighting all my life is for the benefit of the downtrodden”. (At this stage, he insisted that everybody around should be given drinks to celebrate his survival little knowing that he will give up the ghost within the next two hours.)
One of this relations who spoke with Crime Alert immediately his death was announced said doctors confirmed that he was hit on the medulla oblangata and he fought hard to survive but he could not make it. According him, “After we rushed him to this place, the doctors battled to save his life.
We sent some people to go to the police and make statement. Could you believe that no policeman came here officially to get first hand information from him until he died. What the police did was to go round our village and after that, they started saying that it was a reprisal attack as a result of land dispute.
They could not even come to the hospital to safeguard him against further attacks by his assailants because they did not know he will survive the attack.. It was the hospital authorities that quickly alerted soldiers attached to the urban patrol and they swiftly came to patrol around the area. Our friends in the police informed us that the Area Commander, on hearing the attack, quickly directed the Divisional Officer to take control but nothing was done until he died.
Even his suspected assailants were seen walking around the village freely but nobody could do anything because of the absence of the police whom we learnt had concluded that he was a victim of mob action. As I speak with you, not even one suspect has been either questioned or arrested.
Our greatest worry now is that one of his assailants called his wife with an unknown number and warned her against taking the case up threatening that they will not only burn our house but kill her and her children if they go ahead further with the case”.
Meanwhile, Crime Alert learnt that police authorities at the Command headquarters in Enugu had to quickly wade into the case after members of the slain activist’s family went to Enugu to seriously complain against the attitude of the police in the division.
The Command Police boss who was said to be very unhappy with the development reportedly directed that crack detectives from the homicide section at the headquarters should take over the case and report directly to him within two weeks.
A police source in Enugu said the State police boss reprimanded his men at the division and threatened to take drastic action against them if such lackadaisical attitude should rear it’s ugly head again. The police source further hinted that so far, no arrests have been made even after reliable information about the identity of killers of the activist was freely obtained from members of his family.