For those who do not live in Onitsha, Ochanja market is just like any other market; however, for those who lived in Onitsha during the reign of murder, kidnappings, and armed robbery in the 1990s, Ochanja market was a place to buy and sell as well as an execution site where dreaded criminals met their death at the hands of the now-defunct Bakassi boys.
During the reign of the Bakassi Boys, Ochanja market saw a lot of bloodsheds. It was a popular location for the public execution of notorious men.
Hundreds of people, both young and old, filed up to follow the Bakassi boys as they drove down to Ochanja market for execution, much like a scene from a Nigerian movie. Some commercial motorcycle riders, known commonly as “okada men”, were fond of donating fuel for the burning of these notorious men.
In this article, we will look at two of the most popular Bakassi Boys executions at the famous Ochanja market.
Prophet Eddy Nawgu
Until his death in 2000, Onyebuchi Okeke, also known as “Eddy na Nawgu,” was a well-known figure in the South East. He claimed to be a God-sent prophet.
After being accused of kidnapping, assisting notorious criminals, participating in rituals involving the use of human bodies, illegal possession of guns, and blood sacrifice, Eddy became a primary focus for the Bakassi Boys.
Eddy was a difficult opponent for the Bakassi Boys due to his alleged mysterious ability to vanish. However, after incantations by their leader, Ngwuro, the Bakassi Boys locked Eddy Nawgu down, making him weak, and when they went after him and eventually arrested him.
Eddy was beheaded and other parts of his body were cut into small pieces by the Bakassi Boys, who then gathered all of the pieces and set them ablaze at the Ochanja Market.
2. Okwudili Ndiwe aka “Derico Nwamama”
In the ’90s, the people of Anambra were terrified of Derico’s thirst for blood. He was the leader of a brutal armed robbery gang known for its bloodshed.
Derico and his gang would position themselves in ambush, waiting to rob luxurious inter-state vehicles. Derico allegedly attacked a 59-seater bus in the famous Upper Iweka area in December 2000. He and his gang decided to murder all of the passengers after robbing them. Only four people managed to survive.
People’s fear of Derico gave rise to rumors that a bullet couldn’t penetrate him. But they had no idea that Derico’s time was coming to an end.
(Arrested members of Derico’s robbery gang)
On July 3, 2001, Derico was traveling from Agbor to Onitsha when he was ambushed by the Bakassi and later beheaded at the Ochanja market. Derico’s body is said to have been chopped up and set on fire.
(Some of the weapons recovered from Derico and his gang)