By Onochie Anibeze
Idah Peterside has added his voice to speculations on what possibly killed Super Eagles star, Uche Okafor.
“They have just killed my friend, they have killed my friend, Onochie,” Peterside cried from his house in South Africa.
Okafor was found dead, hanging in his house at Little Elm in Texas Thursday.
The widow, Ify, said that after he dropped their daughter, Tochukwu at school on the fateful day a friend of the late soccer star called her to inform that he had severally called Uche but that he was not picking his calls. She then called him and when the same thing happened she rushed home to find the husband hanging at the hallway upstairs.
Uche spoke with this reporter same Thursday, about 4 pm in Nigeria (about 10 am in Dallas).
The police in the USA are suspecting suicide although investigations are still going on.
“Uche was not hungry,” Peterside continued. “I can forward to you mails we exchanged last December. Somebody wanted truck heads from USA and Uche had been contacted to supply the stuff. He was into car business and he was doing well. Uche was living well and wasn’t hungry.
So, the possibility of him hanging himself due to bankruptcy or some kind of hardship should be ruled out. I charge the police in USA to carry out thorough investigation. The Uche we knew would not take his life. Uche loved life. We were very close. I have not been myself since the news of his death.
Uche liked life and I’m sure you know that because you were also very close to him. I just read your report on Vanguard web on Monday and decided to call to tell you that they must have killed my friend. Too bad, Onochie, too bad. The police should not give up,” Peterside said.
Sylvanus Okpala, another former Super Eagles star who played in Europe wished that the police would do a good job but feared that since Uche was a black man he doubted if “they would spend time and money to carry out thorough investigation. I lived abroad and I know what I’m talking about.”
When Bowei, a former Edo Sports Council staff, died of gun shot in his house in Houston two years ago police were told that he shot himself and no thorough investigation was made. Police easily accepted that Bowei, a guy who loved life so much that he was always indulging in social escapades shot himself. Uche’s widow, Ify has said that it was her prayer for what happened to be revealed.
“The Uche we knew couldn’t have committed suicide. I hope that God will reveal whatever happened,” Ify said, adding that their daughter said that she saw the dad in a dream where he wore white and appeared happy as he was smiling.
Meanwhile, NFF President, Aminu Maigari has continued to express shock over the death of Uche and said that he called Uche on the day he learnt he died.
“The phone rang but he did not answer. It went into voice mail. He was going to be in one of our committees . We actually spoke a couple of times. This is unbelievable,” Maigari said.
Another ex-Eagles dies
Barely four days after the mysterious death of Tunisia ‘94 Nations Cup hero, Uche Okafor in the US, another ex-Nigerian international, Gideon Njoku has died. Gideon Njoku, a member of the 1973 All Africa Games gold medal winning squad died yesterday morning in Owerri, Imo State.
He once handled the defunct ACB Football Club of Lagos and until his death was involved in grassroots football with some academies in Lagos.