Had Prince Noel Tochukwu Unegbu been alive today, we would have been celebrating something good and probably exotic, but as a young man cut down in the prime of his youth by the smoking barrels of the guns of men of the underworld whose identities have remained unknown for reasons best known to the investigating police or anyone else involved in the case; it still remains a mystery that his killers are yet to be exposed almost a year after. As it is customary I must mourn the death of a dear friend.
Breaking the news of his death on February 4, 2014, was one of the most difficult things I have ever done since I joined the media sector and knowing that it was about my friend, everything turned meaningless, and still something I must do.
On that early hours of February 4, 2014, Prince Noel Tochukwu Unegbu who just returned from the United States of America USA was mindlessly murdered by unknown gun men in his hotel room at Rapour Hotels Owerri.Ridiculously and just 12 days after, the Police arrested two young men whom they paraded as suspects but since then have not been able to prosecuted them for the heinous crime.
A lot has been said about his death, but I want to take time to mention some striking events which have happened since the death of the Imo State born but USA based show biz promoter in Owerri.
1. On February 18, 2014 the Imo State Police Commissioner, Abdulmajid Ali paraded two students of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education Owerri, Eze Charles Nnamdi and Maduabuchi Augustine, who were 22 and 20 years old respectively as the alleged killers of the young man and since then no one has been told if these people are still in police custody or if they have been tried by any court.
All though his relatives are not doing anything about it, having focused on burying their brother and leaving the rest in the hands of God, a just loving system is supposed to have done something on this case. Does it mean that only the elites in the country can get justice?
2. When Prince Noel was alive, he bragged about how connected he was especially in the present administration in Imo State where he can boast of wining and dinning with the likes of Imo State Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere and Chief of Staff to Government House, Sir Jude Ejiogu,with whom he wines and dines with in Houston, Texas USA, where they all resided. None of these people and other government officials whom he referred to as his friends even attended his burial on March 6, 2014 at his home town, Umuanukpa, Akwu, Akokwa in Ideato South Local Government Area of Imo State.
3. It took the police just 14 days to apprehend the alleged killers but till date nothing has been done and in the middle of last year, there were rumours that the boys were innocent and the question now comes to be, who killed Prince Noel?
4. According to police investigation and testimony from the hotel receptionists, it was alleged that two people went into the room with Prince Noel at the early hours of February 4, 2014 and the same source also said that two people ran out when the gun shots which killed him were heard.
The Chief of Staff to Government House, Sir Jude Ejiogu in a chat with some youths said he sent two of his aides to escort Prince Noel that night and they claimed to have dropped him around Amakohia area according to reports from a local tabloid, Community Watchdog Newspaper, and when the tabloid published that the Chief of Staff sir Jude Ejiogu should be questioned, he slammed them with a law suit of a demanding a total of three hundred Million Naira as collateral damages for that.
Since then everything has died out.
5. Is it wrong for people to be questioned? If it has been established beyond reasonable doubt that the Chief of Staff [according to the reports on Community Watchdog Newspaper], was the last person Prince Noel saw before his death, isn’t it wise for the police to have started there and probably feed the general public and the family of the young man with their reports.
What happens if the media reported that the last person Prince Noel saw was just an ordinary man, I believe he would still be in jail by now or the police must have arrested him a number of times that his bailout fee would be running in hundreds thousands.
6. The aim of this article is not to indict any one, but to establish the fact that a young man was cut down in his prime and even though arrests were made close to a year ago, no strong fact has been established as to why Prince Noel was murdered in cold blood.
It is clear that articles like this are so dangerous to be written, but the truth still remains that every man must die and wise man once told me that ‘whoever kills his fellow man, has killed himself’
One year has passed in life without you my dear friend and it came to a point when I laughed at all those who associated with you as activist lawyers, they all went into their shells waiting on the day they will probably do the biddings of a certain politician for money.
It’s a shame you died in Nigeria where justice has been wiped from our dictionary; where power threatens truth and people are quiet because of fear.
The Prince Noel I knew would never back out, this is why I want everyone he came in contact with when he was alive to honour his legacy by asking this question everyday ‘Who Killed Prince Noel?” [#WhoKilledPrinceNoel]. Any justice we get for him will never bring him back, but it WILL prevent the death of the next Nigerian youth who would be wasted for no reason.