By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor
THE bright hopes of a Nigerian amateur footballer to excel in far-away South Africa have been dashed in a dusk attack at his home in Cape Town, South Africa. The footballer, Emeka Kenneth Okafor, 35, was killed in his home by a three-man gang allegedly hired by his South African neighbour, Sunday.
The victim, who hailed from Awkuzu in Anambra State met his untimely end after one of his Nigerian friends who visited him earlier in the day brushed the car of his South African neighbour.
It was gathered that all efforts by his visitor to pacify the South African failed as he quickly rushed out, only to emerge later with three members of a notorious South African gang called ‘INTA’.
Reports said members of the dreaded gang asked for the whereabouts of the Nigerian who brushed the car and when they were told that he had left, they went for Emeka who was busy pleading for forgiveness. The gang members who were said to be armed accosted him and fired several bullets into his head. He died on the spot.
Hot leads of bullets
His elder brother, Ifeanyi Okafor, 43, an Abuja based football coach at the East Coast Academy, Nyanya, narrated, in tears, the heart-rending story to Crime Alert. His word: “My brother left the shores of our land for South Africa last year after several failed attempts to succeed in life.
Last Sunday night, I received a telephone call from one Chinedu from Nteje who resides in South Africa. He was weeping profusely when he told me that my younger brother, Emeka, had been killed.
“When I asked him what happened, he said he and other Nigerian boys were in Emeka’s house that Sunday and after lunch, one of his friends from Enugu state left and while driving out of the premises, his car scratched that of a South African neighbour.”
Okafor added: “The South African went wild with anger. Emeka intervened and pleaded with his neighbour but to no avail. Soon after, his South African neighbour left in his car, then returned later with three members of the notorious South African gang called ‘INTA’ and began a search for the Enugu boy that brushed the car.
When they were told that he had gone, they searched for Emeka and as soon as they saw him, shot him point blank in the head. He died on the spot.
“As soon as they saw that he was dead, they fled with the man that hired them. Later that night, policemen came and removed Emeka’s corpse.
“Another Nigerian who witnessed the cold-blooded murder narrated how the incident happened to the police. He went further to make a statement to that effect at the Police station. At that stage, it was also discovered that members of the South African family had also disappeared from their apartments. The police, therefore, deposited Emeka’s corpse in the mortuary in Cape Town while they claimed they were looking for his killers.”
Still in tears, Coach Okafor narrated the agonising life of his brother from childhood. “Emeka came to Lagos to serve as an apprentice in a provision store at Agege after passing out from secondary school.He could not continue with his education because our parents died earlier in life. He served his master for seven years but was wickedly thrown out without the agreed settlement by the man after he was accused of simply spraying money during a wedding ceremony his master also attended. After this ugly development, he was forced to return to the village.
“I had to raise money from my scarce resources to bring him back to Lagos where he operated a pepper soup joint at Orisumbare in Ejigbo. While there, I prepared him to join his friends in South Africa to look for a football club.
He was still searching for the club when the ugly incident took place last Sunday. I don’t know whether his friends have reported this to the Nigerian embassy or not but I am aware that they are preparing to bring the corpse home.
He was a very good boy; we will surely miss him greatly,” he lamented.