Many called it bizarre and unchristian. Others said it was brutal, damnable blue murder of a promising young man. Whichever way it is looked at, the truth is that Kevin Ezekwem has become history. Life was snuffed out of him by armed hoodlums. He was assassinated right in front of his kith and kin.
The Ezekwen family of Umuocha, Awa, Oguta local government area of Imo State, does not ring a bell but it is relatively comfortable by any standard. This honest achievement was however not without hard work. An account has it that Kevin was brought up under very strict parental care. Information has it that his now ageing father put in everything in him in bringing up his son, including sending him abroad to acquire sound education.
On attaining adulthood, Kevin, Sunday Vanguard was told, did not understand why people from his community should not get the best of life like those residing in the cities. He therefore decided to build a hotel in his Awa country home.
When construction was completed and the facility was ready for commissioning, Kevin did not waste time in inviting everybody to “come, eat and drink whatever they wished”. The celebration turned sour when a group of young boys stormed the place at about 9pm and asked for a particular brand of beer.
“As Kevin made to serve his supposed guests, the boys drew out their guns and started firing into the air and people ran for safety. The confusion created the right atmosphere for the hoodlums to act out their script”, a female villager said.
According to the villager, who spoke on the grounds of anonymity, the hoodlums shot their victim in the legs before taking him away in their waiting Toyota Camry car. Nobody could confront the gangsters because the whole episode looked strange.
“The entire village was shocked beyond description when they discovered the same night that the hoodlums further shot their victim in different parts of his body before dumping him in the premises of nearby Community Primary School, Akabor”, the woman recounted.
Another villager told Sunday Vanguard that the community’s vigilant group mobilized and pursued the suspected assassins but only met the lifeless body of Kevin in the primary school.
“From the way the gory event played out, it is clear they were not kidnappers but assassins, who were possibly hired to execute the damnable act. The police was quickly alerted and they moved the corpse to a morgue”, the man said.
There was another disturbing angle to this tragedy, which the male villager narrated with grief. He alleged that Kevin had a heated disagreement with his wife, which culminated to sending the woman out of the family home, stressing that three days after this incident, the assassins struck.
Sunday Vanguard was equally told that after the misunderstanding between husband and wife, the latter allegedly secretly moved her things away from the house and was on the verge of evacuating all the equipment in her well furnished hair salon when people alerted her husband.
This vital information, according to the villagers, stopped the woman from removing the properties. Nobody saw her again in the area, even after the assassins struck. Sunday Vanguard gathered that after the incident occurred, she was phoned and briefed on the tragic event but she allegedly said she was in Lagos.
Our correspondent heard as the villagers poured encomiums on the late Kevin. From the look on their faces, it was very clear that the villagers loved the deceased so much.
“He was very friendly and favourably disposed to exercising the virtue of philanthropy. He is one human being that was mindful of his business, made friends and tried to maintain the relationship even in the face of odds”, a young lady said about the late Kevin.
The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, in Imo State Mr. Vitalis Onugu, confirmed the incident.