Exactly a week ago, on Saturday, precisely, I had a good time at a friend’s wedding. I returned from the wedding feeling so good but exhausted. The groom was Francis Okoye. He is the PA to my spiritual father, Rev Fr Emmanuel Obimma, popularly known as Fr Ebube Muo Nso. His wedding was so groovy that I enjoyed every minute I spent there. When I returned in high spirits, I merely freshened up and settled down to retire early as I preferred attending the 5.30am Mass on Sundays. In my usual manner of relaxing just before sleeping off, I logged on to whatsapp to read all my waiting messages and try to reply them. I was so shocked when I saw the news of a young man who murdered his four children and the younger sister to his wife in cold blood. At first, I didn’t know what to make of it. As the picture got clearer, it turned out that the tragedy took place in my street, here in Onitsha and the wife of the murderer was also known to me. She owned a patent medicine store just opposite my building and I bought drugs from her some times. The four children were really beautiful. They were two boys and two girls who always waved to me each time they saw me. As I heard, the man drank poison after brutally murdering his children and in-law and died eventually. Now, I have never been as shocked as I am presently in a very long time. I managed to muster up enough courage to watch the gory videos of the corpses of those children and their father all soaked in their own blood and couldn’t believe what I saw. I just kept on asking myself why in the world a father would raise his hands against his own children, not to flog them for whatever crime they must have committed, but to heartlessly stab them brutally, not once, not twice, but over and over till they breathed their last. Violence!! You know, most times, we are told by priests NEVER to ask God the question WHY. Today, I ask God for the umpteenth time, WHY??? Why did He sit back and let those innocent children go through such horrific death? What was their crime? Couldn’t He have stopped it? Why would they watch in terror as their lives were taken one after the other in such a gruesome manner? I can never get over the fact that they must have been begging him for mercy and compassion before they resigned themselves to fate, helplessly. I still can’t erase the image of the youngest one in his pampers lying in a pool of blood in the video clip I watched. We really do live in a strange and wicked world. Where was his heart? What sort of devil possessed him? Unanswered questions begging for answers, indeed! You know, when things like this happen, lots of speculations are bound to arise. I have heard lots of different versions of the Awada killings and don’t even want to delve into most of the stories I heard. I heard the version of the man being mentally imbalanced as a result of the usual injection pumped into his system when he was caught for drug peddling overseas years ago. I don’t know how true that is. Like I said, these are speculations. There are also speculations that he left a note explaining his reasons for the dastardly act. Did you just ask what those reasons were? Well, the story flying about is that the man just found out that those four children were not sired by him. They were products of infidelity by his wife. That’s the news about town. Now, is this true or just mere speculations? Uche Amunike does not know, but am I shocked at these speculations and I have this to say: if that young man heard that his wife was unfaithful to him and as a result, gave birth to four children biologically sired by other men and decided to murder them in the manner he did out of anger, then that is bunkum! You bet I am not in the least moved by that excuse. As a matter of fact, I would rather go with the speculation that he has mental streaks in him which might trigger such violent tendencies. However, even at that, how can he be mentally deranged and yet think out such a plan the way he did and even implement it to the letter? He was mentally deranged and yet, went to the market, got a sharp knife, got the poison with which to kill himself, went home, ensured that his wife wasn’t around, made sure her little sister was in the house, sent the house help away and then carried out his plan. As far as I am concerned, no mentally deranged person can be that articulate in the planning or implementation of any event. Not possible. Now, as for the bit about his actions being caused as a result of the infidelity of his wife which made her bring forth four children from other men into his home, I still do not agree that it is enough for him to kill those kids and in such a gruesome manner. This readily brings to my mind, the character, Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. When the elders planned that the young lad under his care, Ikemefuna was to be killed to avenge the death of a young girl from Umuowa that was mistakenly shot during a burial or so, Okonkwo felt bad that Ikemefuna would be killed, because he had lived with his household long enough to be considered a part of his family. However, because he wanted to prove to his kinsmen that he was the brave and fearless warrior they knew him to be, he personally drew his machete and cut the boy’s head off. I can’t remember if it was his best friend in that novel that blamed him afterwards and told him, ‘you shouldn’t have killed a boy that called you father’. I read that novel ages ago and hope I got the narrative right. However, the point I am trying to make is that no matter what the deceased murderer found out about the paternity of those lovely kids, he shouldn’t have taken it out on them. These are very innocent children. The eldest was 12. What do they know, except that he was their daddy and his widow was their mummy? Why in the world would he take out his frustration on them? How did they offend him? Oh Lord! Can I ever erase the image of the little baby in his pampers from my mind? Why did I even watch that video? In my rating, whether that man was mentally deranged or just frustrated because he was deceived by his wife all these years with regards to the paternity of his children, there was absolutely no need for him to murder them the way he did. The question is, who was he really angry with? The innocent children? Or his wife??? It would have even been better if he poisoned them so that they would go back to their creator peacefully without any pain. They might have just died in their sleep. Making them die in the circumstances they did was just too heartless of him. Why stab a child with a knife? I can never stop imagining the terror they might have faced throughout that ordeal until he killed them one by one. The one who died last certainly suffered most because he or she witnessed all the four killings. I don’t care what the man’s wife did to him to make him harbour such an evil plan and implement it. Even if he caught her in the very act of adultery, it is not enough to make him slaughter his children like fowls. At most, he can divorce her and marry someone else. That’s what a sensible person does. That is, if it is really true that he found out he wasn’t the real father of those innocent children. You don’t kill a child that calls you daddy! I have tried reaching the woman to no avail as her shop has been locked since that incident. My heart goes out to her wherever she is. I can’t even begin to imagine how it feels losing a child, how much more, four at a time. It must be really numbing for her and her trauma would be better imagined than felt. She must be feeling so empty without her four lovely children and her little sister. She will always and forever have this guilt trip that her sister might still be alive if she didn’t come to live with her and her family. That woman must be cursing, this minute, the day she met her deceased husband and killer of her children and little sister. I also imagine, presently, the pain her parents must be going through having lost their grandchildren and daughter on same day in the hands of their own son-in-law.