BY NWABUEZE OKONKWO
ONITSHA—All is not well with members of Okudo family of Nkwelle village, Ogidi, in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State as they are now bogged down with so many pains, including hospital bills, arising from a major attack.
Things actually started becoming bad for the family members from the day Emmanuel Okudo, a lorry driver and an elderly member of the Okudo family, allegedly gave a ride to a middle-aged man who was simply identified as Chigbo, a native of Ogidi-Ani village also in Ogidi, during one of his trips to Enugu to deliver goods.
According to Okudo who spoke to newsmen at the hospital, beside his younger brother’s sick bed, “I was heading to Enugu from Onitsha with my lorry full of goods when Chigbo flagged me down at the old Ogbunike toll gate along the Enugu/Onitsha expressway and requested me to give him a ride to Enugu as according to him, he had no money to pay his transport fare to Enugu. I obliged him and gave him a lift to Enugu.
“When we got to Enugu, Chigbo thanked me for the gesture and alighted from the vehicle, while I headed to my destination to off-load my goods but within some few hours, Chigbo returned to me while the off-loading exercise was still on-going and pleaded with me again to allow him follow me to Port Harcourt as my temporary conductor because he had no job at the moment to take care of himself, which again I obliged and accepted him as my temporary conductor.
“On getting to Port Harcourt, one of the directors of the company who owned the lorry I was driving arranged some goods to be loaded in my lorry for delivery to Onitsha, which I obeyed and carried the goods to Onitsha with Chigbo now serving as my temporary conductor.
“On arrival at Onitsha, I off-loaded the goods, introduced Chigbo to the company’s manager as my conductor and took the vehicle to a car wash for washing.
“Shortly after introducing him to the company’s manager, and leaving for the car wash, Chigbo now approached the manager and told him that I, Okudo, did not account for all the money that was paid to us for the goods that were delivered to Onitsha and at once, the manager became furious and decided to terminate my appointment as a driver to the company by retrieving the vehicle keys from me, based on Chigbo’s allegation of non-accountability against me, his master.
“As the vehicle’s key was being collected from me, the company’s manager directed me to go and pick up all my personal effects inside the vehicle, which I did but allegedly forgot to collect my N3,500 and a pair of slippers inside the pigeon hole of the lorry. “As I returned home, I decided to inform the company’s director of my sudden termination of appointment by the manager because it was the same director that loaded the goods inside the lorry for me to drive from Port Harcourt to Onitsha.
“The director now directed me to go back to the car wash and collect the vehicle with the keys from the manager because according to the director, the manager has no right to terminate my appointment without his (director’s) consent and on getting to the car wash, I discovered to my chagrin that the vehicle had been handed over to Chigbo, the conductor, by the manager to become the driver but he was said to be unable to drive the truck.
“I got inside the lorry and checked in the pigeon hole for the money and the slippers which I had forgotten on termination of my appointment and when I could not find them, I suspected that Chigbo might have stolen them and fled and I went home in anger, waiting for the day I would meet him at Ogidi or somewhere else.
“My anger re-echoed when eventually I met him within Ogidi community and demanded the lost items from him. An exchange of words ensued between us before we dispersed.
“However, on Monday evening, July 25, while I was going to a petrol station at Ogbunike by Oye-Olisa market to buy kerosene, someone held me firmly from the back and as I was struggling to know who was holding me from the back and what it was all about, a group of boys rounded me up.
Then Chigbo appeared in front of me with a sharp object and at once, he stabbed me on my nose and I managed to wriggled out of their grip. I took to my heels and ran to a chemist shop with the blood gushing out from my nostrils. A passerby whom I could not identify on the spot, rushed to my house and informed my family members about the ugly incident and they rushed out to the scene.
“But the same Chigbo picked up a jack knife and stabbed my 14-year-old younger brother, David, on the stomach and his intestines burst out which was why he is here on this hospital bed on admission.
“Not done with myself and my younger brother, David, Chigbo and his own younger brother rushed to the direction of my father, Isaac, and also stabbed him on his head severally, before the arrival of men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, from Ogidi Police Division who were just passing by on a patrol and the patrol team now rushed both my father and my younger brother to Iyi-Enu Mission Hospital for medical treatment, while the perpetrators fled.
“At Iyi-Enu Mission hospital, I and my father whose injuries were considered to be minor, were treated, while David, my younger brother, whose intestines were out from his stomach which he was carrying in his hands, was referred to this place we are now, All Hallows Hospital, for a major operation which had already been performed to take care of the intestine problem.
“I must say that he is recuperating but I do not know the whereabout of Chigbo and his accomplices,whether they were arrested by the police and detained or whether they are on the run. I learnt that he was bragging that he is a police informant but I don’t know whether it is true or not.”
At the time of filing this report, the Divisional Police Officer, DPO at Ogidi, Hassan Musa (CSP), told newsmen on phone that he was not yet aware of the incident.
Also the state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Nkeiruka Nwode, told newsmen on phone that she had just resumed duties as the PPRO for the state command and as such needed sometime to make inquiries about the incident.