Tears flowed freely as the remains of Ifechukwudi Nwanikpor was laid to rest at the Badagry Cemetery in Lagos yesterday. The 24-year-old was one of two young men lynched by villagers from the Tozukame community area in Ajara, Badagry .
Policemen watched as both men – Nwanikpor and Kazeem Onayemi (26) were beaten and killed by the community members after being labelled armed robbers.
Mourners and family members came out in their numbers at the Badagry cemetery but couldn’t hold back their tears at the burial.
Nigerian Telegraph spoke to Sam Nwanikpor, a retired Immigrations officer and father of the deceased after his son’s interment. The senior Nwanikpor, who served for 30 years before he retired in 2008, said that John was the oldest of his two sons.
“He was born on 25th September, 1988 and he was born here in Badagry, the same area where he was murdered. He read Geology and Mining at the Delta State University, Abraka and he was home, hoping to put some things in place.
“Instead of being idle, myself and his mother decided that he should go into clearing and forwarding though with his consent. We handed him over to a relation, who is from Isialuku and ever since then, that’s what he has been doing; his only free time is Sundays due to his job.”
Asked if he intends to press charges, he said, that they would wait for the outcome of the investigation by the police.
“We are watching and waiting. The whole world is watching,” Nwanikpor said.
“I have a lawyer and I think he is in the best position to answer that question. He is not around now, if not I would have referred you to speak to him because he knows the next line of action.”
Nigerian Telegraph also spoke to some of the deceased’s family members.
One of them, Mrs Rose, said, “[He] is my nephew and I hope the Nigerian police comes out with a better investigation [The police] are currently doing a very good job with the arrest of some youths involved in the killing, the Baale of the community, who gave the order and the police officers, who were at the scene to supervise the horrible incident. But we are still going to press charges; we want justice. All the people who have a hand in the death of my nephew must be brought to face the law.”
Blood money on the table
Some sources said that the community is now pleading with the families of the lynched young men and have offered about N2.5 million to the families so that the matter is closed and forgotten.
In reaction to that, one of the relations, Ike Daphey, who was visibly angry, told Nigerian Telegraph that the said amount offered to the families cannot bring back the dead and that the most painful part of the whole situation was that his family was humiliated, by labelling their son an armed robber and killing them [Nwanikpor and Kazeem Onayemi] like animals.
“Now, the community is begging with money, saying it was a mistaken identity. We are not ready for all their rubbish talks, we are taking the case to court to seek real justice, I also blame the police because they gave their consent to the community and supervised the killing.
Ifechukwudi Nwanikpor's family at their residence in Ajara, Badagry.
Ifechukwudi Nwanikpor’s family at their residence in Ajara, Badagry.
“The two young men were innocent of what they were accused of. The police is supposed to protect lives and properties and not supervise the killing of poor innocent people, all these people including the police that were at the scene will never go unpunished.”
The pastor, who officiated the burial, Rev. Fidelis Ajoko, advised the family of the deceased to leave the case for Almighty God to handle and he also advised the friends of the deceased to be very careful and mindful of the kind of places they go to. He also advised them to be prayerful at all times.
Ajoko, who said he was shocked when he got the news, described the late Ifechukwudi Nwanikpor as cool-headed.
The young man’s friends from the Delta State University were also in attendance but refused to speak on the matter. The late Ifechukwudi Nwanikpor was a football lover and a fan of Chelsea Football Club of London. He was buried with the club’s muffler.