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24 Feb 2018

Ozubulu Massacre: I'm Being Threatened Not To Testify - Witness Cries Out

A witness, Chief Osita Okosieme, in the trial of the suspects of  the August 6, 2017 killings at St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu,  Anambra State,  on Friday told an Nnewi High Court, presided over by Justice F.I Aniukwu, that his life was under threat.
Okosieme, who raised the alarm while being led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel,  J.J Ezeuko, SAN, said he received calls from unknown persons from Ghana three days to his appearance, warning him not  to come to court to bear witness.

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

He said, “I got text messages and I got calls from Ghana, they said they would kill me if I attend court today( Friday) to give evidence. They sent threats through text messages and I also got calls from Ghana.

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

During the wake of the mayhem, the state governor, Willie Obiano, had said that his findings showed that the cause of the killings was as a result of international business gone awry.

Reacting to the  alarm,  the Defence Counsel, Mr.  Festus Kayemo, SAN, asked Okesieme to be free to disclose the identity of those that threatened him and he would take it up from there.

Kayemo 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, Ezeuko, urged the court to ensure that all the witnesses were protected because, “this is having a chilling effect on our witnesses.”

In his evidence in-chief, Okesieme 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 killings.

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 would 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 called Nwa Atani who he said was previously in South Africa but came back to  Nigeria because of a problem.

“He said he and Nwa Atani were previously arrested before  Opanka was granted bail.

“Okpanka 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.

He said, “The event happened during the consecration of the Holy Communion at about 7.47 am .I heard 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.”

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