By Francis Ekpone & Gabriel Alonta
Tension-soaked grief pervaded the family of Ikwunyelu family in Akpulu village, Ugbenu in Awka North local government area of Anambra state, following the horrific death of their son, Mr. Sunday Ikwunyelu, popularly known as ‘A-Big’, who was allegedly killed by his relative and friend, Mr. Ifeanyi Eziechine over a ludo game.
The deceased, a father of six children, according to the information at the disposal of Orient Daily, was said to have been hit with a heavy weapon before his genitals were cut off with a knife, leading to heavy bleeding that eventually claimed his life.
The alleged murderer is still at large but his mother, Mrs. Maureen Eziechina and his wife, Ada Eziechina have been arrested by men of the Achalla police division.
When Orient Daily visited the family, the wife of the deceased, Mrs. Maryrose Ikwunyelu could not hide her emotions as she sobbed uncontrollably while narrating the incident that led to her husband’s sudden demise.
“I was in front of my shop playing ludo game with one nurse Rebecca when Ifeanyi, who happens to be my husband’s brother, joined us. He requested to be allowed to participate in the game but I declined on the ground that he often caused trouble each time he participated and lost out in the game. Sometimes, it would lead to wanton destruction of some items in my shop and the compound.
“It was on that note that he took offence and this led to exchange of words. He abused me and called me all sorts of unprintable names. My husband was not around then but when he came back, somebody else told him how Ifeanyi abused me right in my shop. This made my husband to confront Ifeanyi.
“It was that confrontation that led to a fight on that Tuesday morning between the two and my husband, out of anger, confiscated his motorcycle ignition key, insisting that he must pay for all the damages he caused in my shop.
“This incident happened in the morning but, around 6:30 pm, my husband rushed off to the neighboring village to watch the Nigeria/Agentina match. In no time, someone rushed to our house to announce that my husband and Ifeanyi were fighting again; that Ifeanyi waylaid him and attacked him with a heavy weapon from behind.
“He was still struggling for survival when he grabbed his genitals and cut it off with a knife. He was already lifeless at the point I got to the place and this happened right in the presence of his (Ifeanyi’s) mother and wife, an indication that it was a calculated plan to kill my husband”, she narrated.
The mother of the deceased, Mrs. Louisa Ikwunyelu, who looked calm but pale, said that she could not believe that her son was no more. She called for justice to prevail on the matter. “I am calling on the Nigerian police to fish out the whereabout of Ifeanyi that killed my son. My son cannot be buried until Ifeanyi’s whereabout is known. They must be buried together. Ifeanyi’s mother vowed to eliminate my family and she said it to the hearing of many”, she said.
It was also gathered that the mother and wife of Ifeanyi had been granted bail and that they had gone into hiding at the neighboring village, called Enugu-Eketeke, Ugbenu at the house of one Mrs. Ekedimma Nweke.
Orient Daily investigation, however, traced the duo to the area but was told that the assailant’s mother, Mrs. Maureen was critically ill, as a result of her detention in the police cell, while the wife, Ada went to see her relations.
Mrs. Ekedimma, who described the incident as unfortunate and the handiwork of the devil, however, denied the allegation that Ifeanyi cut off the manhood of the deceased, saying the allegation was an attempt to compound the circumstances surrounding the death.
She noted that the deceased was still alive, as at 7 pm when she arrived the scene, but that his relations refused that he be taken to hospital. She claimed that they, instead, placed him on her sister’s bed and asked her to eat the body of the boy.
“The boy would have survived if we had taken him to the hospital as we pleaded but his elder brother, Mr. Alex refused when one of the villagers volunteered his bus to take him to hospital.
“He was still breathing till around 3:30am the next morning before he gave up a ghost. It is true that the boy died but it is not an avenue to tell people what is untrue about the whole thing. We did not send him to kill anybody and now he is nowhere to be found. We don’t even know if he is still alive or dead”, she lamented.
On the consequences of such tragic incident in Ugbenu town, an elder townsman from the area who pleaded anonymity said it was customary that anybody who shed innocent blood intentionally will die by hanging, adding that Ifeanyi, if found guilty, would be compelled to take his own life.
“The town has made a pronouncement about that. By that pronouncement, Ifeanyi will die by hanging. His family will provide land for farming and residence for the deceased family and as well build a house for him and marry a wife for him too” he said.
When contacted, the police public relations officer (PPRO) in Anambra state, Mr. Haruna Mohammed, said he was attending a security summit in Owerri and was not in a position to confirm if the fleeing suspect had been arrested or not.