CLOSE-UP: ‘Drug baron’, ‘lover of God’… meet the ‘bishop’ believed to be the target of Anambra shooting

The name Aloysius Ikegwuonu has been trending on social media since the devastating attack at St. Philip’s Catholic church in Ozubulu, Anambra state.

After visiting the church, Willie Obiano, governor of Anambra, said the incident was the fallout of a feud between two brothers who are based abroad.

Reports have it that the gunman had invaded the church in search of Ikegwuonu, popularly known as “Bishop”, who is said to be having a prolonged misunderstanding with a relative whose name is yet to be ascertained.

Although not much is known about Ikegwuonu, there are reports that he is a drug dealer based in South Africa.

According to reports, in 2015, a gang war broke out in South Africa between two drug cartels which led to deaths of over 15 people, both in South Africa and Nigeria.

Despite the negative reputation, people in his community see him as a philanthropist.

He is said to have tarred some roads in his community – Amakwa Ozubulu in Ekwusigo local government area – and had also contributed to the building of St. Aloysius Church of Divine Mercy, still in Ozubulu.

In fact, on May 1, 2017, the governor was billed to inaugurate some of the roads Ikegwuonu tarred in his community.

A billboard containing information of the governor’s visit in honour of Ikegwuonu

Although it couldn’t be confirmed if the governor later did, the commissioning was to hold alongside Ikegwonu’s 36th birthday celebration at St Philip’s, same church where the bloodbath took place two months after. Pictures of what seemed to be the event where late uploaded on the internet

Ikegwuonu is also said to have a non-governmental organisation – Ebubechukwu Uzo Foundation Ozubulu – which is focused on members of his community as well as neighbouring communities.

Although there’s not much known about the NGO, its Facebook page shows pictures and details of programmes reportedly targeted at improving the lives of the people.

Among the organisation’s objectives, according to the page, is “to assist churches in various ways in order to bring people nearer to God.”

Ikegwuonu with Obiano during the inspection of a road project

Other objectives are “to assist in the development of quality education for children, youth and adults” as well as “to help improve healthcare services for the people.”

A post made on March 9, 2016, said Ikegwuonu had instituted a salary scheme for the people of Ozubulu, including the aged.

“Chief Aloysius Nnamdi Ikegwuonu, Akuchinyere Nwata 1, Ebubechukwu Uzo Ozubuku, never forgets his promise to the people of Ozubulu,” the post read.

“Aside paying the aged people in Ozubulu, he includes the oldest men in Ozubulku like Okenye Amankwa, Egbema, Eziora and Nza. The four Obi in Ozubulu are now benefitting from Ebubechukwu uzo salary scheme.

“We, the people of Ozubulu will increase the fire in our daily prayers for Almighty God to give him more blessing and long life in Jesus name.”

Another post on the page dated May 1, 2015, shows a picture of pupils of Orumba Primary School at the birthday mass of Ikegwuonu, held in the same church – St. Philip’s Catholic church.

Ikegwuonu was also conferred with the ozo title – one of the most revered positions in Igbo land – by Igwe of Umuje (a.k.a Igwe Talu Nchara), according to a December 2014 post.

“Ebubechukwu Uzo receiving Ozo title as Uzochukwu Kwalu 1 of Umuje Anyamelum LGA on 14th Decemeber, 2014, after which he collected the title with the sum of N500,000,” the post read.

“The Igwe of Umuje said he gave the title to Chief Alloy because of his kind gesture to indigenes of Umuje.”

The police are yet to release detailed information on the attack.

SOURCE: The Cable