By Ikeugonna Eleke
Gunmen suspected to be members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have killed Prof I.O.Onyemelukwe.
The now late Professor of Economics was the father of Dr Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature, 2021, with a prize sum of $100,000.
Fides had previously reported a Thursday night attack by gunmen in Oko, Orumba South Local Government Area, where they blocked vehicles coming from Umunze and Ufuma into Oko.
Sources said the gunmen killed an unidentified old man in the less than one hour operation, while abducting two men who were said to have been unable to answer questions about the self-determination struggle of IPOB.
But a social media user who simple goes by the name Onyi, had identified the slain man as Prof Onyemelukwe.
Onyi, in a post, said: ‘South East is indeed going down. Just lost my Godfather to the hands of the marauding killers devastating the Southeast environment.
‘An 88 year old man, first class brain, Prof I.O.Onyemelukwe. He was the former permanent secretary in the old Anambra State. Later, a Professor of Economics at UNIZIK.
‘He studied Economics with OAU scholarship at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the age of 22. He was the father of Dr Cheluchi Onyemelukwe that won LNG $100,000 literature prize last year.’
Onyi explained that the slain man was returning to Nanka from Enugu with his wife and decided to follow Oji, Ufuma, Amaokpala, Oko axis instead going through Awka, when he was attacked by the hoodlums. Onyi said the deceased was the cousin of the former Bishop on the Niger, Bishop J.A.Onyemelukwe.
His daughter, Dr Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, winner of the 2021 NLNG Prize for Literature with the novel, ”The Son of the House”, had in January been named one of the Canadian Black writers to look out for in the future.
Attempts by Fides to reach the spokesperson of the Anambra State Police Command, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, for confirmation of the identity of the slain man were not successful as his phone remained unreachable.