Ozubulu Church massacre: I was warned not to Appear in court or be killed – Witness cries out


The third prosecuting witness in the trial of the suspects in the August 6, 2017 killings in a Catholic Church in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area, Chief Osita Okosieme, Friday told the Nnewi High Court that his life was under threat by unknown persons.
Okosieme said he received a phone call ordering him not to appear in court to give evidence or risk being killed.

The witness, who raised the alarm while being led in evidence by the Prosecuting Counsel, Jay Jay Ezeuko (SAN) said he received calls from unknown persons from Ghana three days to his appearance to the court warning him not to come to court to bear witness.

The unknown callers he said threatened that they would kill him if he ventured to appear in the court.

He said, “My Lord, I got text messages and I got calls from Ghana, they said they will kill me if I attend court today to give evidence. They sent the threats through text messages and I also got calls from Ghana.

“I urge the court to give me protection today and henceforth.”

Reacting to the witness’ alarm, the Defense Counsel, Mr. Festus Kayemo asked Okesieme to be free to disclose the identity of those that threatened him, so the court can take it up.

Keyamo said, “What you are doing is in line with the law, you are trying to help the court to unravel those involved in the heinous killing, if they are from our side (defense) we shall personally take it up.”

On his side, the Prosecuting Counsel urged the court to ensure that all the witnesses are protected because, “this is having a chilling effect on our witnesses.”

Responding, the presiding judge, Justice F. I. Aniukwu said every effort was to bring out the truth of the matter, hence there was no need to threaten anybody, stressing that the court would not take such threats lightly.

In his evidence in-chief, Okosieme said one Opanga saw him in a hotel in Awka and said it had been long he had been looking for him and would want to tell him something about the Ozubulu killing.

He said, “When I asked him what he wanted to tell me, he said Bishop added his name in the list of people who carried out the shooting at Ozubulu. That he would want me to link him with Bishop so that he will tell him that he was not among the people that carried out the shooting.

“That he would want to tell me the truth, that somebody told him about the job but he declined to join. When I asked him who was the person that told him about the job, he said Nwa Atani who was previously in South Africa but came back to Nigeria because of problem. He said he and Nwa Atani were previously arrested before he, Opanka was granted bail.

“Opanka was so desperate to see Bishop but I told him that Bishop travelled but after four days Bishop returned and went to the Police cell and saw Nwa Atani and confirmed that he knew him as Dog.”

In his own evidence, the fourth prosecution witness, Mr. Leonard Ndulue said he was in the church on the fateful day.

He said he sustained injury on his right hand from one of the gunmen who he pointed to the court among the four accused.

He said, “The event happened during the consecration of the Holy Communion, I had a gunshot, and when I looked up I had an eye contact with the gunman and shortly after I got a gun wound and fell down as if I was dead. From the floor, I was observing the gun man.

“The gun man tried to change his magazine and it fell and while picking the magazine, his face cap fell. I managed to crawl out and on the floor I heard a voice saying Dog, Dog, let’s go and the gun man came out and followed the one calling Dog and they left.”

After the cross examination, Justice Aniukwu adjourned the matter to March 2 and March 16 for continuation of hearing.


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