Anambra Governor, Willie Obiano, discusses a point with priests at St Philip's Church Ozubulu shortly after the attack that claimed 12 lives, Aug 6, 2017
Fear has not left residents of Ozubulu Community in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State after the dastardly killing of worshipers at St Philip's Catholic Church by a gun man during holy mass last Sunday.
Fides arrived the community at about 12pm on that fateful day to behold a very quiet community, with indigenes looking aghast as they managed to go about their daily activities.
From Ugwu Oye Junction, a popular junction that also has a market, which is the first point on coming from Nnewi to Ozubulu, it was easily noticeable that something amiss had happened, with place lacking its usual frenetic activity.
The usual loud music from the public address system owned by those who sell music discs was made louder this time by its absence.
Commercial activities however went on normally, despite the palpable feeling of tension in the community. The church where the incident happened looked deserted.
An indigene of the community, Mr Calistus Ndukamma, who lives not far from church premises, said that those who witnessed what happened were still in shock, and still lived in fear.
Fides learnt that among the dead were three members of a family.
The chairman of Ekwusigo Local Government Area, Engr Ikenna Ofodeme, told Fides in his office that one family, which was later identified as Obunadike, lost three members including father, mother and a new born child.
The woman was shot dead while carrying her new born baby, Fides was told by the council boss who affirmed that a total of 12 people lost their lives.
He said that he had also written an official letter to the hospital authorities for proper identification of the dead and injured persons for record purposes.
The council boss however debunked speculations that the killings were caused by a feud by drug barons, pointing out that the said drug lord, Aloysius Ikegwuonu, who was allegedly targeted by the gunman, left the community the previous day.
'Ikegwuonu was here, and for two days he played football with youths in the community and even gave out football boots to people. If it was he they needed, they would have come then and taken him,' he said, while suspecting that it might have more to do with politics.
At Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital where several victims of the attack were being treated, Mr Samuel Ndulue who sustained two broken legs, while speaking to our reporter, recounted how he was saved from the bullets sprayed in the church by the gun man.
Said he, 'I was sitting on the third row of the seat, right in front of the church when it started. It was only one man that entered the church, but I suspected that their members were in a car outside. The man was dressed in an all black attire, with a fez cap. Immediately he entered, he did not say a word or make any enquiry, I was in front and he was behind. So he stood close to one of the three doors of the church and started immediately shooting at everyone.
'I took cover, lying on the ground; but as the man continued to kill people, I decided to stand up and run towards the door because my thought is that the man may have enough bullet to finish everybody. It was while rushing towards the door that I sustained broken legs because the man was standing close to one door, leaving us with just two doors to use.'
He said most of the people that sustained injuries were those who tried to escape through the door, but because too many people were using it at the same time, they sustained injuries.
On the other hand, the Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mr Garba Umar, attributed the killings to a feud between two brothers based in South Africa. He stated this after his visit to the church.
But he would later announce that his command had arrested some people in connection with the incident.
Garba while speaking with Fides on the phone, said arrests had been made, but refused to disclose the number, fearing that any further clarification might jeopardize investigations.
Governor Willie Obiano, for his part, while visiting the scene same day, in a state wide broadcast, declared a day's mourning in honour of the victims of the attack.
'We shall observe a minute of silence in their honour at 12 noon today and special prayers shall be offered for them in churches and prayer houses across Nigeria and in the Diaspora. We have also opened a condolence register for them in Government House,' Obiano announced.