Saturday, 20 December 2014

Mother Of The Onitsha Boy Punched To Death By Classmate Laments (PICTURED)

The huge human and vehicular traffic at the Onitsha Main Market through the New Market Road failed to hide the gloom that has enveloped the home of the Azubikes, a small house tucked behind one of the major buildings along the road.

The family had had to swallow the hard reality of losing their promising 18-year-old son, Chukwuebuka, in mysterious circumstances.

Chukwebuka, who was the Senior Prefect of Modebe Memorial Secondary School, Onitsha could not recover from a fatal punch he received from a junior he had tried to correct few weeks ago. He died few hours later after many attempts to revive him at a private hospital in Onitsha failed.

Rumours had circulated in the area at the time that a year one student had used a mystery ring to punch Chukwuebuka even though no one could prove such claim.

Saturday PUNCH gathered that Chukwuebuka was alerted by other SS1 students who had complained about how the boy was improperly dressed for school. They also complained that he was distracting them with Indecency which he watched on a mobile phone in class.

Responding, Chukwuebuka came in and asked the boy to leave the school premises immediately. In the confrontation that followed, the boy punched Chukwuebuka, sending him sprawling in a fit on the ground. He was rushed to the nearby New Hope Hospital, where medical officials worked on him till he died.

During Saturday PUNCH’s visit to the deceased’s family home at New Market Road, Chukwuebuka’s younger brother directed our reporter to the sitting area, where their grandmother was receiving counselling from a young woman. The pain of the old woman was further magnified by the crutches lying beside her.

It was clear the pain of losing her grandchild had taken a heavy toll on the woman’s appearance.

Our correspondent was later directed to Chukwuebuka’s mother, Ifeanyi, a young woman, holding a rosary which she said had been her constant companion and solace as she grieved over the death of her son.

Holding back tears, Ifeanyi reluctantly agreed to an interview. She had, with the support of her mother, brought up Chukwuebuka and her younger brother, it was learnt.

Chukwuebuka, according to her, was in high spirits when he left home that fateful morning in November.

“Because he was the senior prefect of the school, he had to leave very early. I asked what he would want me to prepare for him as lunch. And he said I should prepare ora (a special leafy Igbo sauce),” she recalled.

“I was at the market when an anonymous caller informed me that Ebuka had fainted in school and had been taken to New Hope (hospital). When I got there, they had placed him on oxygen. Then I called a reverend father to come over and pray for him,” she added.

The distraught mother said they all fought hard to revive her son until about 9pm when he began to struggle for breath.

“I held him down and we continued to pray. But he eventually gave up. I fainted. I was told it took a long time before I came around,” Ifeanyi said.

Ifeanyi also believed that her son was hit with a fetish ring.

She said while the efforts to revive Ebuka were ongoing, she pleaded with the boy who punched Chukwuebuka to undo the action that sent her son into a coma.

Speaking amid sobs, Ifeanyi wondered why Chukwuebuka, who had no problem with anyone would become such a tragic victim.

“He was my only hope. I don’t know what to do now. Though I am leaving everything to God, I feel very pained and sad. All my efforts these past 18 years have just gone like that. Well, God knows best,” she lamented.

Weeks after the incident, the situation at Modebe Memorial Secondary School had returned to normal when Saturday PUNCH visited. The school seemed to have overcome the initial shock that followed Chukwuebuka’s death and the events leading to it.

The principal of the school, Mr. Ralph Machi, was appreciative of the fact that Saturday PUNCH had visited to find out what actually happened.

He complained that a lot of what had gone into the media was speculative and hearsay.

Machi said the incident was started by an SS1 student named Chukwunweike Chukwuma, who had come to the school not properly dressed and wearing bathroom slippers.

The principal said, “He was not properly dressed. He was using his phone to terrorise his classmates. He was watching pornographic video on it. So they wanted him to go away. He refused. Then they had to beckon on Chukwuebuka as the senior prefect to come and do something about it. In a bid to drive the boy away from the class, Chukwuma gave Chukwuebuka a punch, and he collapsed.”

On the likely cause of death, the principal said an autopsy was not conducted on the boy because the family had collected his corpse before that could be done. “The day following his death, his family took away his body and deposited it at the general hospital,” he said.

Machi described the deceased as a level-headed boy, who was committed to his studies and duties as senior prefect. “He was very handsome, very intelligent. He was not the troublesome type,” the principal said.

The police told Saturday PUNCH that Chukwuma, the prime suspect, was still in the custody of the State Criminal Investigation Department pending when its investigation would be completed.

Source: The Punch

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