- I have no hand in his death –Princess Monica Uche
Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
Sixty-year-old Pastor Simon Anyaoha of the Watchman Catholic Renewal Movement, and his wife, Angela, have been in sorrow since the day their 34-year-old son, Bright Chimezie Anyaoha, an engineer, was killed in their village, Umuchiakuma, Ihechiowa in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State.
Bright Chimezie Anyaoha was allegedly shot dead on January 4, 2018, by mobile police escorts of Princess Monica Uche, a prominent female politician and business woman from the area, who resides in Abuja, the nation’s capital and visits home periodically.
However, Princess Uche absolutely denied the allegation and stated that she had no hand in the death of Bright.
The bereaved pastor, who spoke with Sunday Sun in Umuchiakuma sorrowfully recounted how the incident happened and what led to it: “We were in our house, when a woman came and tearfully told us that Bright, my first son, had been shot dead. We rushed to the place and were told that he had been taken to St Anthony’s Hospital, Ihiechiowa. When we got there, the doctor was not available and few nurses who were there could not do anything, but were running helter-skelter. We then took him to Ohafia General Hospital, where help was also not forthcoming. So we moved him back to Arochukwu General Hospital and as we were going, he was bleeding profusely from his abdomen, where the bullets shot by the mobile policemen pierced and came out from another side. He was immediately placed on emergency at the hospital and after examining him, the doctor confirmed that he was dead. We deposited him in the mortuary.”
Giving further insight on the chain of events that led to the shooting, the cleric said that a wedding ceremony of the sister of Bright’s mother was scheduled to take place at a nearby football field in one of the primary schools and some youths went there to make some preparations and fix canopies.
He picks up the story: “That fateful day, Princess Monica Ota Uche, an Abuja based politician and businesswoman, who usually moves around with mobile police officers came there and started accusing the boys she saw of pulling down her canopies, which had been used for an event the previous day. The boys told her that they did not do that, but informed her that harmattan wind must have pulled them down. She did not believe them but rather started harassing them in a show of power. I learnt that she then ordered her police aides to shoot the boys for daring to say that they did not pull down the canopies. The mobile policeman shot the boy, called Okorokpo on the leg. In the confusion that ensued following the shooting, many of the boys fled the venue while some of them, including my son took the wounded boy to Mercy Catholic Hospital, Ihechiowa, because that boy was one of those assisting him in the wedding preparations.
“Princess Monica and her police escorts went to the hospital where the boy was rushed to for treatment, forced her way into the theater, where a doctor was trying to extract the bullet and stitch the wound. They chased away the doctor and dragged the boy out and threw him into the back of their Hilux pick-up van and tried to drive off. The boys, who were already angry, blocked their way, asking them to release the boy for treatment as they suspected evil intention.
“The boys insisted that they would not pass with the boy. Monica and one of her male friends in the police vehicle ordered the police to shoot everybody there. In that confusion, the boy they abducted from the hospital jumped down from the van and ran into the bush. Several of the other boys also ran into the bush for dear life. The mobile police officers started shooting and chasing them in the bush. It was in the course of this that they shot my son.”
Two eye witnesses who spoke on the incident (names withheld by Sunday Sun), corroborated the stories earlier told by the parents of the deceased engineer.
The duo described the deceased as a very good person who never looked for trouble in the community. “The only thing that took him to the hospital was that Okorokpo was one of those that were assisting to prepare the venue. Ordinarily, Bright does not go to any place where there is trouble”, one of the men that witnessed what happened said.
Princess denies allegation
When Princess Monica was contacted on the phone (0809***4507), to react to the allegation levelled against her, the call was not immediately taken. She later called back at 12.43 pm on February 13, 2018 during which she denied the allegation that her police escorts shot the pastor’s son, as reflected below.
Princess: You called my number, what is the problem?
Reporter: There is no problem. I called to confirm a story material I received from our correspondent regarding the allegations made against you by a pastor in Abia State, who alleged that you ordered your police escorts to shoot his son.
Princess: Thank you my beloved brother. My mobile policemen did not shoot anybody. Rather what happened was that hoodlums that his boy followed shot him. In fact what was extracted from his body was a pellet, the type that is used to make the shotgun cartridge. What was extracted was not a bullet. This incident made me know that there is difference between bullet and pellet.
The man is claiming that we shot his son; nobody shot his son. According to the story I was told, the hoodlums his son was with shot him and collected N3000 from his pocket. The younger brother that took the boy to the hospital is a medical doctor. After these things happened, he brought boys to burn my house and my car on January 4, 2018. The police asked him to come to Abuja.
So the brother came back, took the body for the bullet to be extracted. When this was done, they saw that it was not a police bullet and he told the father to take his son and bury him. The brother has been calling me but I refused to answer his call, because I knew that it was his family and the other people that joined to burn my house. Then on January 9, the brother went to my father’s house as early as 5am. He told my father that he wanted to speak with me and I had not been answering his calls. So my father called me and gave the phone to him. When I took the call, he said that it was not his family that burnt my house. He said that it was boys in the village that burnt my house.
I thank you for taking time to cross-check the information that you got. Calling me is the right thing to do, because you cannot write anything without crosschecking, because if you write there could be litigation. So you have done the right thing by calling me.
I am a businesswoman and I made my money in a very clean way. When I wanted to travel home, I knew that they would fight me. I applied for special police protection and the Inspector General of Police gave me four mobile policemen. The story that the man is telling that I picked up policemen from the roadside is not true. When we got to Umuahia, the police commissioner asked for the copy of the police signal that authorized them to come with me. I told him that the copy was in the car that was burnt. So the police in Umuahia called Abuja (Force Headquarters) and a copy was sent to them. They also called Mopol 3 Enugu, where the mobile policemen came from, and they also sent them the signal. The police commissioner then said that the worst thing a person can do is to tell lies against another person. And to burn that person’s house. Look at it now, she has police signal. The CP himself then told the policemen to go, that they did not do anything. Even if they did anything or shot anybody, they were right considering that the boys wanted to take their guns from them. It was their right to act in self-defence because it is an offence to try to take a policeman’s gun. You cannot be a civilian and be fighting with a policeman with a gun.
Life and times of Bright
Recalling the life and times of late Bright, his father said: “Bright was a building engineer, a good Christian, who was not used to joining radical boys. If you see him going with any group, that group must be a group of Christians. He participated in any church activity whenever he came home because he did not live in the village. As far as I can say, he was a good and obedient son who was ever ready to assist, not only members of the family, but others from outside the family as much as he could.
Whenever he got any contract, as a building engineer, he would take boys from the village to do the work and they would earn money for their upkeep. So the day he died, it was like the death of a governor. Everybody was crying, even small boys were saying that their future had been marred, because he would gather them and pay them immediately the job was done, unlike others who would owe them and would sometimes refuse to pay them. It is not only a big loss to me, but to the youths, small boys and the community at large. He was 34 years old, and a graduate of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Imo State. He graduated five years ago and has been doing contracts as much as he could. He was the breadwinner of the family.”