Ozobulu Massacre: Church Confirms Drug Kingpin’s Dad, 12 others Among Dead

Alleged drug lord, Aloysius Ikegwunonu

Matilda Omonaiye/

Father of the alleged target of the Anambra Church massacre has been formally identified as one of the casualties.

Cyprian Ikegwunonu was listed among the 13 dead victims in a list released by the Catholic diocese of Nnewi.

The list, which also contained the names of 22 injured survivors, was released by the diocese, on Wednesday.

A gunman had walked calmly into the St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozobulu, during early morning mass last Sunday and opened fire on horrified worshippers, before fleeing the scene in getaway vehicle.

Eight of the victims died instantly, while five others were later confirmed dead in the hospital.

Police later revealed that the attack was a spillover of an ongoing war between rival drug gangs operating outside the country, whose “members are indigenes of Anambra State”.

They also identified the target of the attack as Aloysius Ikegwunonu, a notorious figure in the drug underworld in Nigeria and South Africa, popularly known as Bishop.

He is also a traditional chief in Ozobulu, a philanthropist and prominent indigene of Anambra, with alleged close links with the state government.
He bears the title of Ebubechukwuzo, Akuchinyere Nwata 1, Uzochukwu koala 1 of Umueje.

The statement by the diocese listed the other casualties as Mr Hyacinth Oramadike, Mrs. Cecilia Ewin, Mrs. Eunice Akanigbo, Mrs. Rose Okoye, Mrs. Anulika Obunadike, Mrs. Uchenna Obunadike, Mrs. Anthonia Ufondu, Miss Oluchukwu Uhelu, Miss Christiana Igbeja, Mrs. Udeze Pauline, Mrs. Victoria Uzokwe and Mrs. Florence Nweke.

According to the statement, among the survivors still undergoing treatment, including those in intensive care unit, is another relation of the alleged drug lord, Caroline Ikegwunonu.

Others were named as Nwakile Anthonia, Okoye Odinaka, Okoye Patricia, Isaac Chinedu, Oramadike Chinagorom, Oramadike Chinecherem, Udegbunam Chidimma, Ndulue Samuel and Udegbunam Obiageli,

The rest are Ugochi Obiajulu, Chukwueloka Chineze, Oramadike Chioma, Azuka Basil, Oramadike Chiamaka, Uchechukwu Chukwueloka, Nwanya Ngozi, Ngwuta Chinemelum, Asomba Chukwudum and Nnudule Leonard.

The statement said two other survivors, Muomah Michael and Oramadike Favour, had been discharged from hospital.

Gov Willie Obiano in cap speaking with the priests of St Philip Catholic Church, Ozubulu after the attack; behind him in dark goggle is CP Umar.

The bishop of the diocese, Hilary Odili Okeke, who signed the statement, also called on various groups of people, including companies and associations, to make donations that would be used to take care of the survivors.

According to him, the diocese would ensure that it kept accurate records of the contributions, and how they were distributed to the victims.

The statement read in part: “The Catholic Diocese of Nnewi has decided to do all it can to help the victims of the gunmen attack in St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu. To do that, the diocese has opened a bank account to which all funds for the care of the victims will be deposited for proper accountability.

“Anybody, parish, institution, company, society, association or group that would like to join the diocese in providing assistance to the victims and their families can send their contributions. We shall keep accurate records of contribution and distribution of the funds.”

Preliminary investigation by the police had revealed that the attack was carried out by someone in the locality.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Garba Umar, had stated: “From our findings, it is very clear that the person who carried the attack must be an indigene of the area.

“We gathered that worshipers 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.’’

According to him, the attackers trailed a key member of a rival gang to the church, expecting that he would be worshipping there.