Thursday, 22 February 2024 12:53


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The government of Anambra deems Masquerade sought for fatally striking a 71-year-old man. The government of Anambra deems Masquerade sought for fatally striking a 71-year-old man. Ifechukwu Nweke, a man sought by the Anambra State Government, is suspected of murdering Shedrack Okoye, a 71-year-old man while posing as a resident of the Umuawulu village in the Awka South Local Government Area. According to information obtained, Okoye of Okpala-Nduka kindred of Enugu quarters, also in Umuawulu, was fatally assaulted by the 19-year-old suspect from Unuenu quarters, Umuawulu, after Okoye refused to pay him money.

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On December 26, 2023, the event occurred when the dead were being visited by a friend. The State Commissioner for Culture, Entertainment, and Tourism, Comrade Don Onyenji, responded to the incident in his office at the Jerome Udorji Secretariat, Awka, on Tuesday, February 20, 2024. He said that the act violates the state's law on masquerading, which was enacted in 2022, and stated that communities that use masquerades as a form of entertainment during festivals or festivities should have an arena where people seeking such fun should go and enjoy themselves.


Onyenji stated that masquerading as a culture is all about enjoyment and amusement. He claimed that the state's legislation states that under no circumstances could a masquerade or masquerade restrict people's mobility, block a community's road, or cause any problems in a community. He said that it is illegal for the specific disguise to obstruct people's path and to speak less about killing someone. The Commissioner stated unequivocally that this is a murder case that requires the utmost seriousness and that the perpetrator would be held accountable for their actions regardless of the length of time it takes.


Onyenji expressed his sympathies to the family of the deceased but advised them to work with the community through the traditional ruler, who he claimed has been organizing arrangements to provide the deceased a respectable burial, rather than trying to impose rules on their own. In the meantime, the deceased's family is calling for justice, claiming that the Umuawulu community is not making any significant efforts to bring the offender to justice. Speaking to the punch, Chidubem, the deceased's first son, bemoaned the difficulties the family had faced in obtaining justice and burying their father, adding that as a result, the body of the dead had been placed at the morgue since his murder.


He recalled, "On that fateful day, my father, Chief Okoye, left his house alive to go with his friend and a community member who came to fete with him in the spirit of the Christmas season, only to be brought back as a corpse moments later." "While traveling, my father and his friend encountered about four masquerades; one of them would not let him pass, even after the other three had moved on." "The unyielding masquerade requested money from my father and insisted that he must give him money before he would pass. "My father explained to him that he had just left empty-handed to bid him farewell and that he had no money on him.


However, the disguise persisted, calling him a shrewd guy and promising that if he didn't pay him money, he wouldn't let him pass. According to the agreement, my dad's buddy may go even if he didn't pay him any cash. Until they realized that the disguise was cruel, they originally believed it to be a joke. To rescue the day and spare my father, who the masquerade was even shoving and frightening with a cane as he was speaking, my father's buddy reached into his pocket, pulled out N500, and handed it to him.


He clarified that the masquerade had threatened to deal with him and pushed him since, even after receiving the money from his father's friend, he insisted that the dead pay him his own money. "The masquerade exposed his face, presumably so that he and those in the vicinity could see that he was not grinning, and he struck Okoye in the chest with a strong blow at close range, pushed him again, left him there, and left."


"My father leaned down and began to moan about his chest after the masquerade punched him. Then, the masquerade shoved him down, left him there, and departed, still cursing my father for wasting his time. "My father's friend and the people around him called him as the masquerade was leaving, but he ignored them, telling them to leave my father there, saying that he was just acting and faking everything at the time and that he would still get up after a little while," the man said.


My father began to stifle at this time, and he passed away right then, and when people realized he was no longer himself and couldn't be rushed to the hospital on a tricycle. He suffered as he passed away. He disclosed that before his demise at the hands of the masquerade, his father, a small-time businessman, whose spouse passed away in 2003, suffered from a significant cardiac condition. According to Chidubem, many in the vicinity of the event recognized the masquerade as "Ifechukwu," a 19-year-old local native.


He said that following the occurrence, the offender had left the community. He claims that after reporting the issue to both the traditional ruler of Umuawulu and the Central Police Station in Awka, not much has been done since the police stated they would not take any more action on the problem until the suspect was taken into custody. Speaking earlier, Igwe Joel Egwuonwu, the Traditional Ruler of Umuawulu, said he was startled to hear about the event and that it led to an indefinite ban on masquerading in Umuawulu.


 According to Igwe Egwuonwu, he also formed a committee to mediate a settlement between the two families and provide a respectable funeral for the dead. According to the monarch, they have managed to agree on the amount of money that the guilty party's family would have to pay thus far. He said that some concerned community members are attempting to raise the remaining funds that the committee had allowed for the funeral service because neither the deceased nor the offender has the financial wherewithal to cover the costs.

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