A distraught grandmother, Mrs. Comfort Onyia, has disclosed how her pregnant daughter-in-law, Mrs Mary Onyia, was brutally gunned down right inside her kitchen at Akwuke in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State, saying the killing of her daughter-in-law was like an unkind stab directly in her own heart.
Looking into space as she sat on a blue plastic chair, and wiping away tears with one end of her blue and yellow-coloured wrapper, the grandma, who is mother of Felix Onyia who narrowly escaped the assassins’ bullets, however welcomed sympathizers from the Akwuke neighbourhood, but with a nervous voice as she fought back tears.
Last Saturday could be described as a “day of sad memories” for the Onyias as unknown gunmen went loose and gunned down a pregnant woman and a vigilante member.
Daily Trust Saturday gathered that the armed men equally shot a secondary school girl on the leg and she is now receiving treatment in an unnamed hospital.
Grandma Onyia told Daily Trust Saturday that she was preparing to go and buy akamu (pap) on Sunday morning when two young men arrived at her residence where she resides with her other son.
Surprised, she demanded to know their mission. “I hope there is peace,” she asked the men who replied in the affirmative but added that she was needed at her son’s residence within the same Akwuke rural community. “The men told me that my daughter-in-law wanted me to come and look after her petty-trading shop.
“I told them that I needed to bring money to board a Keke (tricycle) to the place but they objected, insisting that I join them because they came with their own keke.
“I almost fainted when they told me that they had their own keke. I insisted that they tell me what had happened. They said no; that they were not going to tell me any other thing. They came to fetch me as they were directed,” she said.
As she joined the “messengers of sad news,” grandma Onyia said she was not herself until the keke conveying them arrived at her son, Felix Onyia’s place where sympathizers and mourners had gathered in their numbers.
“I attempted to jump out of the keke before it could stop,” she said. But the people around restrained her. That was when the sad news of the gruesome murder of her daughter-in-law was broken to her.
Our correspondent learnt that on the fateful evening, at about 8pm, three hefty masked men stormed a drinking joint and ordered everybody to lie down.
The owner of the joint who also lives in the same compound where he operates the drinking joint, sensed danger and managed to escape through the back door, although his pregnant wife was not as fortunate. The armed men reportedly chased her into her kitchen and rained bullets on her till she died.
A young man, whose identity was simply given as Nonso, one of the vigilante members, who was drinking at the joint tried to escape and was also gunned down.
The pregnant woman’s house help, who was also helping out at the drinking joint was shot on her leg and is now receiving treatment at a hospital.
Reports say that the gunmen had earlier gone into a compound inside Akwuke and demanded to see another young man but the man was not at home, prompting them to come for the owner of the drinking joint, Mr. Felix Onyia, the immediate past councillor representing Akwuke Ward at the Enugu South Legislative Assembly.
An eyewitness who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “I was there live and saw everything. I asked the woman to prepare fish for me and I was drinking, waiting for the fish when we heard ‘lie down all of you’.
“NwaGod Onyia was sitting on the other side with Nonso, the vigilante man that was shot. When they told us to lie down, I quickly moved into one of the rooms and from there, I jumped through the window. They saw me but did not shoot me. It was later I learnt that they shot both NwaGod’s wife and Nonso, the security man. They also shot the girl that serves in the beer parlour.”
He said it was only God that saved him because he could have been shot. He however pointed out that others who were at the drinking joint were not hurt because it seemed they purposely came for the former councillor.
Our correspondent was informed that NwaGod was allegedly “involved in some land deals and may have soiled his fingers” or that he could be a cult member who has offended his group or the rival cult groups.
“The way they came straight to his house and shot his wife when he escaped is an indication that they came purposely for him,” said a resident of the area.
He said that he wouldn’t know why they came for him, but pointed out that something must have prompted the visit of the gunmen who came in a vehicle for the attack.
The deceased pregnant housewife left three infant children and grandma Onyia has appealed to the state government to come to the welfare of the kids as well as try to arrest the perpetrators for possible prosecution.
“I don’t know whether my daughter-in-law was having problems with anybody,” cried the grandma who said she has anchored her hope and faith in God.
The State police spokesman, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, was not aware of the incident and promised to get back to the reporter. “Where exactly in Akwuke did you say the incident happened?” Ndukwe had asked.