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Imo: US-based Nigerian Narrates How Mother Was Killed

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Today marks one year since the peaceful atmosphere of Uzinaumu, a village nestled in the Mgbidi community of Oru West Local Government Area in Imo State, was disturbed by the unsettlingToday marks one year since the peaceful atmosphere of Uzinaumu, a village nestled in the Mgbidi community of Oru West Local Government Area in Imo State, was disturbed by the unsettling sound of sporadic gunshots. Frightened and fearful, the villagers hurriedly sought refuge within the confines of their rooms.

As the chaos subsided, the aftermath revealed the distressing scene of Mrs. Justina Onunaku, a 62-year-old widow, lying lifeless in her bedroom amid a pool of blood. The troubling sight showed four bullet holes scattered across different parts of her body.

Investigation revealed that the perpetrators accessed her residence by climbing over the fence to carry out the attack, and they departed using the same escape route. Oscar Onunaku, her son residing in the United States, expressed profound sorrow, considering his mother’s demise as a devastating loss.

He attributed responsibility to specific individuals within the village after his late mother mentioned the names of her attackers.

In a letter to Police authorities on the need to fish out perpetrators of the dastardly act, Onunaku, explained, ‘On July 29, 2022 at exactly 7:10pm Houston time, I got a call from my younger brother about my mom’s passing. I was confused because I had spoken to her hours earlier and she was hale and hearty. As a matter of fact, she was at the Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC that day to pick up her PVC for the 2023 election. After a while, I summoned courage albeit with tears in my eyes to ask what had happened to her.’

Read also: INEC Labels Imo State Tough Areas To Conduct Elections

‘To my shock, I was told that my mom was shot dead. I immediately dropped the call and reached out to our last born who was with her at that time to know details of what happened. He said he was in the other building when he heard the gunshots and that when he rushed to the main building to check on my mom, he met her on the floor still breathing. He said my mom was shot at about 10pm Nigerian time but died at about 2am the next morning’.

‘My brother told me that my mum mentioned the names of her killers before she died. She told my brother that they shot her four times. Our last born rushed to the Imo State Police Command, Owerri, to report the issue, and to get a police report for the hospital to be able to start treatment. Before he could get the needed police report, my mom had passed on.

Before the attack on his mother, Oscar Onunaku shared that she had been visited twice by unidentified gunmen, and he suspected that these incidents were related to a dispute over a piece of land. He explained that the disagreement was between his mother and some relatives, centering on property that had been inherited from his late father.

Oscar said, ‘Months prior to my mom’s death, unknown gunmen visited her twice. The first time, they accused her of using her son’s wealth to intimidate and to take over lands. But she explained that the land in question were her late husband’s and that some people wanted to forcefully take them from her. The gunmen went away with a promise to carry out an independent investigation and that they would come back if they discovered she was lying.

After the visit, my mother reported the issue to the eldest member of the Onunaku family, who promised to resolve the issue.’

‘They visited the second time and revealed the name of the person that sent them to her. They requested to speak with the eldest member of the family, to tell him the reason they came and he (family head) promised to resolve the matter. When I got the news of what was happening, I told my mom to go to the police station to report the situation but due to the insecurity in the eastern part of Nigeria at that time, she did not want to bring the police into the situation, coupled with the fact that the elders had promised to call the other party to order.’

‘While the move for settlement was going on, her assailants threatened her severally and even called her a walking corpse. When she informed me about it, I told her to ignore them. But I regret giving that response till date. I only told her to fence one of the landed property at the front of the compound which was being encroached on.’

After the sexagenarian’s passing, conflicts have risen between her children and certain extended family members, resulting in mutual allegations.

The situation escalated when Prince Okikajekwu Onunaku lodged a petition with the Imo State Police Command, accusing a family member of involvement in leading unknown gunmen to perpetrate an attack on his house, occurring shortly after the demise of Mrs. Justina Onunaku.

Concerning his safety, Oscar shared that he had been receiving voice messages with threats to his life, which he dutifully reported to the Police.

He earnestly implored the authorities to seek justice for his late mother, stressing the importance of their investigation in uncovering the identities of individuals who acted as an advance party, obtaining crucial information on his mother’s whereabouts before the assailants struck.

All efforts to communicate with the Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, Henry Okoye, proved futile.

However, Crime Guard was informed by credible sources within the Command that there had been several arrests in connection with the killing of Justina Onunaku after the incident was reported.

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