Civil War Experience: How Police Boss, Ngadiolu Obiekea Assisted Ibusa Compatriots Out of Danger - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Friday, February 19, 2021

Civil War Experience: How Police Boss, Ngadiolu Obiekea Assisted Ibusa Compatriots Out of Danger


By Emeka Esogbue

It was Sophocles who said "it is the task of a good man to help those who are in misfortune". 

The good man in the instance is Obi Vincent 'Ngadiolu' Obiekea, wartime Assistant Commissioner of Police with the Nigerian Police who is remembered this February for helping Luke Ashinze, a young boy trapped in dangerous Midwest Region of Nigeria in 1968. 

Twenty-two years after the war ended, Pastor Luke Ashinze narrated the monumental assistance that helped preserve his life. Narrating the story in Umejei Descendants forum Ashinze explained: 

"During the Biafran war, Papa Obieke was a :Commissioner of Police', charged by the Federal Government of Nigeria with the responsibility to woo Igbuzo and other communities out of the bush during the Federal troop invasion of the area". 

"After staying for about 6-7 months in the bush, my senior cousin and I escaped to Agbor where my cousin hoped to meet his friend to help us with transport fare to Lagos". 

"My cousin, Bros Tony (Nzegbunemu) was on leave from Lagos when the war trapped him in Igbuzo. When we got to his friend's house, the man had travelled to Lagos that very day we got to Agbor. As we bemoaned our plight in front of the friend's house, not quite 30 minutess later, a Police Force official car drove past us, and in it was the 'Commissioner of Police', Papa Obieke. You can imagine my 100 metres race in pursuit of the car which was to park few meters away. When I caught up with the car, Papa Obieke sighted me, ordered the driver to do a halt, jumped out of the car screaming as he lifted me up from the dusty Agbor road, with his full Officer's uniform. He took me and my cousin away". 

ACP Obiekea consequently invited Luke Ashinze and Tony to his guest house where for the first time in 7 months, they ate something called a meal according to Ashinze. The Police Boss then told them that he had been visiting the Igbuzo axis in search of Ashinze and with tears in his eyes, he informed them that the father of Luke Ashinze had been detained. Luck smiled at both Tony and Luke when the following day, he arranged the Police Jeep with escort that took them to Lagos.

Two close cousins, Luke Ashinze and Tony Nzegbunemu, both from Umuwor, Ogbeowele, Ibusa in Delta State are two people that suffered untold hardship during the Biafran War but extremely lucky to survive it. They were together when Luke escaped being arrested at Mr Okolo's house, in Ogbeowele, Ibusa by the Federal forces. Tony eventually got arrested, whisked away to Asaba but fortuitously escaped the Asaba massacre by the whiskers but not without the injury he sustained on his nose.  They would re-join inside Ogbeowele bush and after traversing it all around up to the Akpako River of Ibusa and Oko- Ogbele, another Anioma community, before meeting the ACP Obiekea.

In 1968, Biafran forces led by Col Banjo had invaded the Midwestern Region. Consequently, Gowon hurriedly put together the 2nd Division Troop led by Murtala Mohammed to clear the  Midwest of Biafran army. The Murtala role would therefore carry out massacres in a number of Anioma communities in the defunct Asaba Division.

Obi Vincent Obiekea, ACP (retd) who hailed from Umueze in Ibusa was a Seargent in the Police force and a war veteran from Congo peacekeeping mission. As a politician, he was a very popular personality in Ibusa and  a two - term  representative of his constituency in the defunct Bendel State House of Assembly.

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