Just as many are yet to come to terms and others expressed shock on hearing that unknown gunmen invaded St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Amakwa Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State and opened fire on innocent worshippers, preliminary investigation shows that it was a drug related feud in which the founder of Ebubechukwu Uzo Foundation, Chief Aloy Nnamdi Ikegwuonu, Akuchinyere Nwata 1, Bishop 1 of Ozubulu and his father were the targets of the attack.
P.M.EXPRESS reports that the unknown gunmen who came in search of the drug lord called “Bishop” and his father, were enraged when they could not locate their prime target because he had left a day before.
So they reportedly could only locate his father and in the process of shooting the man shot other people in the congregation.
P.M.EXPRESS gathered that the attack was a spillover of a drug related feud between two Ozubulu brothers resident in South Africa.
The battle we gathered had claimed about five people already over there in South Africa.
The main matter was said to be between Chief Aloy Ikegwuonu (Bishop) and another Ozubulu man popularly known as Obrocho.
It was alleged that Bishop’s main boy- an Mbaise born guy was killed after he left Bishop because his rival Obrocho had lured the guy to leave Bishop who had more than 500 other boys working for him.
The Mbaise brothers in South Africa also threatened to deal with Bishop and revenge the gruesome murder of their brother.
There is also one Nonso from Nnobi languishing in jail who claimed (Bishop and Obrocho) Ozubulu brothers set him up and took over a popular park (Territory) in Jo’burg where he did his drug runs.
His group were also being fingered in the murder of about five people since the battle started.
P.M.EXPRESS was informed that before this Sunday attack at the Catholic Church that the Igwe (His Royal Highness, Igwe Fidelis Nnamdi Oruche, Eze Ugodinaobi, Okeife II, The Obi of Ozubulu) had tried to settle the matter about eight months ago without success.
Even the involvement of clergymen had not help resolve the feud. And so this attack confirmed that the matter has not been resolved amicably.
Meanwhile, the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano has also confirmed that preliminary investigation into the shooting at St Philip’s Catholic Church in Ozubulu, Anambra State show that it was caused by a feud between two brothers from the community who live abroad.
In a statement issued Sunday and signed by Ifeanyi Aniagoh, media aide of the governor, Obiano vowed that the culprits would perpertrated the dastardly act would be brought to justice.
According to the governor, there was a lone gun man who walked into the community’s Catholic Church and started shooting sporadically killing 11 and injuring 18 persons.
On hearing the sad development, Governor Obiano had stormed the scene to ascertain the level of damage and sympathise with the people.
Speaking at the church premises, the governor said: “This is sacrilegious, totally unacceptable in Anambra State. We can’t allow this happen in Anambra, we must get everyone involved to face the music.”
The deeply saddened governor asked the people to go about their businesses without fear or panic noting that this isolated case must be followed to the root and all perpetrators must be brought to book.
The governor also visited Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi where the injured are being treated.
He thanked over 50 doctors who were on ground looking after the injured and assured their families that all medical bills will be taken care of by the state government.
Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Garba Umar also dismissed the rumour of number of gunmen, rather he said the attack was carried out by a lone wolf gunman, who is an indigene of the area.
“From our findings, it is very clear that the person who carried the attack must be an indigene of the area,” Umar told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka, the state capital.
“We gathered that worshippers for 6 o’clock Sunday mass at St. Philip Ozobulu were in the service when a gunman dressed in black attire covering his face with a cap entered the church and moved straight to a particular direction and opened fire.
“The man after shooting at his targeted victims still went on a shooting spree, killing and wounding other worshippers,’’ he said.
The commissioner said information available to police showed that the attacker was speaking undiluted Igbo Language at the time he was firing at worshippers.
Umar said though no arrest had been made, the police already learnt that the attack followed a quarrel between two natives of Ozubulu residing overseas.
Describing the act as sacrilegious, the commissioner of police said it was wrong for the perpetrators of the act to extend their quarrel into the church.
He added: “such conduct shows the people behind the act do not fear God.’’
He said the police had launched a manhunt on those behind the act and gave an assurance that everybody behind the act would be brought to justice.
He said the police were on top of the situation.’’
Meanwhile, some residents and people of Anambra have condemned the killing at St. Philips Catholic Church in Ozubulu community.
The residents, in separate interviews with NAN in Awka, described the attack as “heinous, unjustifiable and totally unwarranted”.
Chief Osita Chidoka, a former Minister of Aviation, said he was saddened by the incident.
Chidoka decried the desecration of the temple of God, adding that nobody attacked anyone in the church even during war times.
“This is tragic; the church is a place of refuge to anyone who runs into it, and this wicked, barbaric and mindless bloodletting, shows that something has gone wrong on our psyche.
“My heart goes to the bereaved at this moment of pain. I pray that God grants the soul of the departed eternal rest as I urge the security agents to fish out the perpetrators and make them face the law,” he said.
On his part, Mr Oseloka Obaze, a former Secretary to Anambra Government, said such callous attacks dehumanised the society.
“Our heart goes to the family and parishioners of St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, where unidentified gunmen reportedly killed several church members and wounded several others early today.
‘’Such violent incidents dehumanise our society.”
In his reaction, Dr Victor Oye, the National Chairman, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), said that no amount of provocation could justify the killing of innocent people who had gone to worship in a Church.
Oye, who described the attack as wicked, urged the security agencies to unravel those responsible for the dastardly act.
“As a political leader, I totally condemn the Ozubulu Church shooting as dastardly, unjustifiable and callous.
“Nobody has the right to kill innocent citizens. The Police and other relevant security agencies should ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are caught and made to face justice,” he said.
Chief Jude Emecheta, who hails from Ozubulu, told NAN that “a dark cloud has befallen my peaceful town”.
Emecheta, who is the Managing Director of Anambra Signage and Advertisement Agency (ANSAA), said that the losses from the attack were too much for the people to bear.
He wondered why brothers could visit such attack on their people and urged those involved to ‘’sheathe their swords”.
P.M.EXPRESS learnt that Chief Aloysius Nnamdi Ikegwuonu (Bishop) was reported to have singlehandedly built the beautiful Catholic church where the attack took place.
And the last may not have been heard about the drug related feud as it was reported that the unknown gunmen left a warning that they will be back again in the nearest future unless Chief Aloy Ikegwuonu resolved the matter amicably by settling the parties involved.