father and breadwinner 14 years ago, July 1, 2017 inflicted an even
bigger wound on the Chinedus – a modest family struggling to make ends
meet. Taking refuge in a rented apartment barely comfortable for them in
the Ikorodu area of Lagos, surmounting the hurdles life throws on their
path as a unit on daily basis has not been easy.
the family’s situation got more troubling. Their eldest child, Paul, who
had been a pillar and fortress for them these past 14 years, was killed
in the most brutal manner metres away from their home. The sorrow that
has beclouded the household ever since, is indescribable.
from the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, the 26-year-old Abia native
had woken up that Saturday not knowing what danger lay ahead of him.
Trashing his usual domestic chores before going to the store to pick up a
few personal items, there was no reason for him to entertain any type
of fear. A promising stand-up comedian, events anchor and farmer, Paul
had huge dreams ahead of him. Apart from supporting his three siblings –
Elizabeth, Sunday and Ruth with the little money he made, he also
looked after their mother, Celestina, a petty trader, from the lean
income as well.
from his goodwill as well. Such was the 26-year-old’s large heart. But
by 11:50pm, everything changed. Paul, in company with two others –
Shola, a rewire, and Sunday, a mechanic – were mistaken to be members of
dreaded killer-cult group, Badoo, as they made for the spot
where his newly-acquired second-hand car had broken down the previous
day. He had gone to pick it up from the painter’s shop when suddenly
around Odogunyan bus-stop, the vehicle broke down. The young man will
never live to ride in the car.
that Saturday until about 10:00pm when he left for Ikorodu Garage to
wait for the mechanic and rewire who were coming all the way from
FESTAC,” Elizabeth, younger sibling of the late comedian, told our
correspondent during an encounter earlier in the week. “Shola, the
rewire, used to be our neighbour here at Ikorodu before he moved to
FESTAC after he got married in 2010,” she continued. “He is a specialist
in Honda cars and that was why my brother begged him to come and help
fix his vehicle. If not for the traffic they encountered along the way,
they would have arrived Ikorodu earlier to tow the car with the SUV
Shola brought from FESTAC.
Paul’s car was parked, they were stopped by some guys on the road. One
of the guys who stopped them told the others that he knew my brother and
that they should be allowed to go. The others refused and proceeded to
searching the vehicle. They saw the chain Shola wanted to use to tow the
vehicle and brake oil in the boot of the SUV. Immediately the guys saw
these, they started shouting Badoo. Even though the other one
said he knew my brother well in the area, which another person among
them also confirmed, they went ahead to kill the three of them by
burning them alive. By the time we got there by 3:00am after receiving a
call from somebody who witnessed the scene, it was too late. They had
been burnt already,” she said as her emotions threatened to overwhelm
remains of their beloved Paul, Elizabeth and the rest of the family
still find it hard to believe that the person, who had played the role
of father to them these past 14 years was indeed no more. While the loss
is a pill too bitter for them to swallow, the misery could have been
worse had it not been God’s mercies, our correspondent learnt.
with a firm voice. “I, my mother, younger sister and Paul’s girlfriend
could all have been killed by the same guys after they identified us to
be his relatives. Immediately they saw a small plastic containing gear
oil in the boot of the car that conveyed us to the spot where the three
of them were burnt, the guys started shouting Badoo family.
They shoved and pushed us about for several minutes and were going to
descend heavily on us when one man ordered them to leave us, that if we
were indeed Badoo members, we couldn’t have had the guts to come to that place. That was how we escaped being lynched that morning.
never hurt anyone. He was the only one we looked up to for our needs
since our father died 14 years ago. He didn’t deserve to die in such a
pathetic manner,” she added.
sad reality, Paul’s fiancée, Esther, has been locked in grief since the
tragic events of that fateful day. The lovebirds, who ignited the fire
of their relationship on July 1, 2014, were looking forward to capping
off that Saturday in style being the 3rd anniversary of their time
together. Apart from gifting his woman a special wristwatch and other
lovely items, the 26-year-old comedian had also arranged a nice cake to
go along with the mood. But after leaving home around 10:00pm that night
and promising to return to her warm embrace not too long afterwards,
the journey ended for the Abia native. Esther is still searching for
what went wrong one week after the tragedy.
24-year-old lady told our correspondent in a quaking voice. “Though we
were yet to marry, he was a huge and special part of my life,” she
continued. “That Saturday was the 3rd anniversary of our love story but
to now lose him on that same day aggravates the pain I feel inside.
Apart from buying a cake, he showered me with gifts as well and we were
both looking forward to celebrating with the rest of the family that
night before he stepped out and never returned.
1:00am, the exact time I woke up to call his number on the day he was
killed, I am no longer able to sleep again. I suddenly wake up and start
thinking about him. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to overcome this
pain,” she said.