Anambra killing: Any connection between Ozubulu and the North East?

by Alexander O. Onukwue

Nigerians were in shock on the afternoon of Sunday, 6th August, with about 20 persons killed and many other injured in a gun attack in Anambra.

The Sunday shooting which occurred while a Sunday Mass was going on in St Phillip’s Catholic Church in Ozubulu is reportedly connected to a long-running feud between drug dealers of that community who are based in South Africa. According to various accounts, the warring parties have been on each other’s tails since 2013.

Reports have it that the main target of the attackers, a man called ‘Bishop Ozubulu’ whose given name is Aloysius Ikegwuonu, had fled the community. In an act of vindictiveness, the attackers took out their wrath on the persons who were making use of one of the structures which ‘Bishop’ had built.

Images have emerged on the internet of the fame of the ‘Bishop’, including commemorative posters that show him on the same banner with the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano. Governor Obiano, who is standing for a second term in the coming November Gubernatorial polls, was present at the scene of the massacre and expressed deep lamentations at the incident, vowing that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.

Mass killings in Nigeria over the past few months have been identified with a number of ‘usual’ sources. It was not surprising that as soon as news of this first broke about midday, some persons on social media began to associate it with terrorism and herdsmen. Some new media used images normally associated with Boko Haram to display the headlines, before graphic details from the scene of the attacks began to surface. It says something about the normality which killings are assuming in Nigeria, where there just seems to be one occurrence every other week.

The dastardly events at Ozubulu is another sore dripping gash, adding to the score of gory sores that have come from recent bombardments by Boko Haram in the North East. The nature of this one was different as it was not a case of terrorism. There was the sense of the ‘innocence’ the victims who did not have to get into the wars of ‘Bishop’ and his gang, but it is also a reminder that there should be no conforming to any killings of these kinds, even as those caught in the midst of the other cross-fires mostly have nothing to do with them.

Nobody needs this latest evil episode to teach us that all lives matter.

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