Nigerian Musician, Ja Rule shot dead as gunmen, security operatives clashed in Orlu

A musician, Roco Nnadiekwe, otherwise known with stage name Ja Rule was on Sunday shot dead as gunmen and security operatives clashed in Orlu in Imo state.


The musician, a 2007 graduate of Political Science from Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, was said to have returned to his hometown from Port Harcourt, Rivers state, last week and was supposed to shoot a video of his latest song (single) in Owerri, on Monday, before his death.


A popular musician in the state, Obinna Okoro, known as Acharaman, who is a friend of the 38-year-old entertainer confirmed the incident.


Mourning his colleague, Okoro said “Roco {Ja rule} is my brother and friend since our university days. His dreams was to be successful in life through his music. After our graduation, Roco went to Portharcourt in search of his family’s betterment.


“He returned to music three years ago and later we recorded a song which he featured me in his 1st single called “ONYE NA WAY YA”.


“Last week Roco returned home from Porth Harcourt and said he was going to shoot the video of that our song by tomorrow being Monday.


“This afternoon the Nigerian army killed my homie Roco in his home town Orlu. Roco believes in Nigeria so much and today Nigeria has failed my friend. It’s hard to believe this.”


Another musician, Uche Ndum, popularly known as Tooblac, who is a friend of the victim said “The Nigerian army has just killed my friend Roco two hours ago in orlu. This is so disheartening. I lack words right now.”


The spokesperson for the police in Imo state, Micheal Abattam, had yet to respond to an inquiry concerning the murder incident.


For many, Jesus is alive, but for those in Orlu LGA, it was a Bloody Easter.


Many were feared killed on Sunday when gunmen attacked Ihioma Community in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria’s South-east.


Who Did What?

There have been two contrasting narratives about the killings. While some say the killings were done by the gunmen, others accuse the Nigerian military of targeting civilians in retaliatory attacks on the gunmen. The second narrative led to the hashtag #OrluIsBleeding which trended on Twitter on Monday and early Tuesday.


A resident, who asked not to be named for fear of attacks, told PREMIUM TIMES that heavy shootings began when military personnel engaged the gunmen in a battle.

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“The gunmen became enraged and started shooting sporadically. They were in a gun battle with the soldiers from Sunday morning till evening,” the source said on Monday night.


The gunmen, believed to be members of Eastern Security Network (ESN), the militant wing of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), were said to be on a manhunt for members of Ebubeagu Security Network (ESN), who reportedly arrived in the area last Saturday.


The gunmen, it was learnt, were infuriated by the presence of the members of the security outfit in the area.


The group and many Igbos have also frowned about having two groups securing them.


A Facebook user, Success Obum, who posted a video clip of the incident, described the attack as heartbreaking. In the clip, the army was accused of attacking civilians.


In the video clip, posted by Mr Obum, residents were seen scampering for safety while sounds of gunshots rented the air. Some residents were also seen weeping and lifting the corpses of their loved ones killed in the attack.


“This is the popular Okwu Aki or Inland Guest house (which) has been razed down by the military forces. They have been shooting since morning. Shooting and killing innocent people, burning peoples’ shops and properties. That’s what we witnessed today. So, we are not happy,” a voice was heard speaking in the clip, apparently shot on Sunday.


“How can government deploy its security agencies to destroy people celebrating their Easter. We are sad. Since Night, nobody has slept in this area. Nigeria military forces (are) shooting every damn thing they see,” the voice added.


What the Nigeria Army says

Reacting, the Nigerian Army said its troops from the 34 Artillery Brigade killed a member of IPOB during the attack in the area.

Army spokesperson Onyema Nwachukwu disclosed this in a statement on Monday.


He said troops were on their routine patrol when they encountered the IPOB members firing gunshots at the Banana Junction of the area and challenging the soldiers.


Mr Nwachukwu said the members of the group were enforcing the suspended sit-at-home order.


“The IPOB/ESN criminals, on sighting the troops, withdrew in a blue Toyota Highlander towards Ihioma Community for reinforcement.


“In the firefight that ensued during the operation, one of the criminals was taken out, while others fled in disarray,” Mr Nwachukwu said.


The army spokesperson accused the gunmen of seeking to whip up public sentiments by circulating “a doctored video” on social media to allege the complicity of the military.


“This propaganda should be disregarded in its entirety,” he said.


Mr Nwachukwu said the troops were combing the area to track down the fleeing suspects.


What the IPOB says

In a Monday 19th statement by Comrade Emma Powerful, IPOB’s media and publicity secretary, the attack on Orlu was done by Ebubeagu Security Network (ESN) in collaboration with the Nigeria Security Agencies and corrupt politicians.


Listing the names of the rogue ESN operatives, Mr Powerful said the ”fake self-acclaimed ESN operatives terrorising Orlu province of our land should be brought to book.”


”We, the global family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the command and leadership of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi KANU wish to disclose the names of Ebubeagu security team terrorising and killing innocent citizens of Imo State.


The Ebubeagu leaders who are behind the killings in Orlu senatorial zone of Imo State are as follows:

1) Chibuike Igwe

2) Paul Udenwa From Amaifeke Orlu

3) Okwudili Dim (aka) One Nigeria

4) The man called Sky from Umutanze Orlu and the man called 2men from Umuna in Orlu. Anybody who knows the whereabouts of these people should report to IPOB and ESN members for prompt action.


”Again”, the statement continued, ”the fake self-acclaimed ESN operatives terrorising Orlu province of our land should be brought to book. They are also part of the Killings, kidnappings and rapes going in that vicinity. These vampires are forcing the residents to buy them guns or give them money to continue with their barbaric activities. These are hoodlums recruited by corrupt politicians and security agencies to demonise IPOB, and now they are out of their control. They carry out this evil act right from 12am to 3am daily.

They are as follows:

1) Cyril Amasiatu (aka) wasara.

2) Iron Agbaradu from-Amagu.

3) Chinedu Agbaradu – Amagu commander.

4) Cheta odinkenma – Amagu.

5) Uchenna Nwachukwu.

6) Chibyke Gezek Amagu.

7) Chukwudi Odimegwu.


The fake ESN members in Oru East and Njaba LGAs of Imo State are.

  1. Akiriko Atta.

  2. Kingkom.


The impersonators of ESN members in Orsu-Ihiteukwa are :

  1. The man called Uru,

  2. The man called sky,

  3. The man called No one,

  4. The man called Double lion

  5. The man called Commander


”These people mentioned above are behind the criminalities going-on in these communities including kidnapping, car snatching and rape. IPOB is hereby declaring them wanted, and anybody who can give useful information about them will get handsome reward.


”These criminals mentioned have done a lot of damage to our people living in Orlu area of Imo State. IPOB has always told the public that the above-mentioned hoodlums are part of the criminalities going on in our land.


”No criminal should be allowed to demonise IPOB. These agents of darkness and their sponsors should be brought to book to pay for their atrocities.”


More fingers on the Nigeria Army

A movie actor and indigene of Orlu in Imo state, on Monday, narrated how he saw security operatives allegedly shooting civilians during the clash between bandits and security men on Sunday in the area.


The actor who pleaded anonymity said that at least three persons, which included a musician, Roco Nnadiekwe, popularly known as Ja Rule, a teenager and woman, were killed in his presence.


He said there could be other casualties, but three persons fell down in front of a hotel he lodged at.


He stated, “We were at the hotel, about to move out for our daily movie shooting which will be an epic movie that would mandate us to enter the bush. All of a sudden we started seeing people running into the hotel. I came out and watched from the window, the gateman closed the gate and the people remaining outside ran to different directions.


“As I watched from the hotel balcony, I started seeing soldiers and some other group of people dressed in rough attires. Few minutes after they movedpass our hotel, we started hearing gunshots, the soldiers were seen running back towards the hotel area and it seemed like they were being pursued by some other people. What caught my attention mostly as I lay down flat and watched from upstairs was that the people accompanied by soldiers were shooting civilians as they were running backwards.


“The gun battle lasted for almost three hours. After everything settled down by 5 to 6pm, I came outside and saw people gathering along the road, and it seemed like it was the relations of the dead bodies on the floor, as they were carrying them one after the other. Just for the record, there were no soldiers among the dead people on the floor.”


Attacks by armed men have increased in the South-east in recent times. The attacks often target security agencies and government facilities.


The latest development comes three days after gunmen attacked a polling unit where the Continuous Voter Registration Exercise was being held in Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of the state.


An official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Anthony Nwokorie, was killed in the attack. INEC has suspended the registration exercise in the local council area following the attack.


IPOB has been linked to the deadly attacks in the South-east, but the group has repeatedly denied its involvement in the attacks.


The separatist group is leading an agitation for an independent state of Biafra, all South-Eastern states to be carved out from Nigeria.


The leader of the group, Nnamdi Kanu, is currently detained in Abuja where he is facing trial for treason.


Meanwhile, the Imo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has expressed regrets that Easter celebration in most parts of Orlu, Orsu, Oru East and West of Imo State became a festival of tears and blood.


It blamed the development on the failure of the APC-led administration of Gov Hope Uzodinma to address the festering insecurity.


The opposition party said nothing else, aside gunshots, deaths, fire and pandemonium reigned across the land.


The PDP made this statement in Owerri, through the State Publicity Secretary, Emenike Nmeregini, while reacting to Uzodimma’s Easter message.


Gov. Uzodimma in his Easter message had said personal property of opposition politicians were hardly affected by the menace in the State, an indication that politicians could not be exonerated from the killings and wanton destruction of property.


He called on those behind the dastardly acts to repent quickly before government would go after them, adding that the killing of innocent Imo people must stop henceforth.


PDP in a swift reaction said, “day after day, the situation gets worse and the carnage only increases. In the last few days, Orlu has been on fire, with countless gory images and visuals of killings and arson dominating the cyberspace.”


According to the PDP, “All of these point to a catastrophic failure of government. They are directly consequent upon the inept and clueless leadership in Imo, underscored by the irredeemable inability of Gov Uzodinma to deliver the most basic expectation of political governance, which is the security of lives and property.”


The party lamented that “even in the face of these killings of genocidal proportion and mindless attacks on public institutions, Gov Uzodinma has never felt the urgency to properly diagnose the situation and set in motion sustainable programs and policies aimed at permanently addressing it. He has instead chosen to grandstand.”


The release further said, “Uzodinma has blamed everyone and everything else for the insecurity but himself. Every new day meets him with cheap and idle talks over a situation that consumes hundreds of innocent lives, which he has the responsibility to tackle.


“He had set a date in January for the naming of so-called sponsors of the killings. Till now, he has failed to do so. He has rather continued to seek ways to frame his perceived political foes and rope them into the orgy of violence.


“What could be more revealing of Uzodinma’s intellectual inadequacy to govern Imo than that, instead of arresting and prosecuting criminals who kill innocent citizens and burn down the state, he chooses to organize a naming ceremony in their honour?


“Further, the PDP views as shocking and condemnable the statement credited to Gov Uzodinma in his Easter message, where he wondered why bandits, killers, arsonists, terrorists and militants have not been attacking and wiping out opposition figures in Imo.


“By that statement, Uzodinma has openly reached out to these monsters and killers, encouraging them to start targeting those who disagree with him. This is an open call for the elimination of members of opposition parties in the state, and it has, in the final analysis, betrayed his sadism and deep-seated disdain for the lives of Imo people.”


The PDP while commiserating with all those who have been affected by the incessant killings in Imo, “also wishes to call on security agencies in Nigeria to hold Gov Uzodinma responsible if any attack is levied on any opposition figure in the State.”

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