– That Citizen Paschal May Not Die In Vain
By Uche Nworah
You probably may have seen the spine chilling and heart wrenching videos being shared on WhatsApp. In one of the videos, a car is shown burning. In another, a lying murderous member of a certain political party could be heard claiming that the person being beaten to stupor by an irate mob he must have whipped into a frenzy was allegedly sent by Distinguished Senator Victor Umeh to kidnap some kids for ritual purposes. This is a vicious and wicked lie from the pit of hell.
I chose not to watch any of the videos after Dan, a colleague in the Anambra State government sent me the picture of the young man who suffered this unfortunate fate. His name is Paschal Onyilo, a native of Abatete in Idemili North LGA of Anambra State. Paschal was known to all of us in government. He operates music and sound equipment and is the person that sets up sound at most government functions in Anambra State.
I never knew that he suffered such a wicked fate until Monday, February 4, 2019 when a colleague, the baritone voiced Chido Obidiegwu paid me a visit in the office and pleaded that we help change the narrative of Paschal’s unfortunate death. He said that we must let the world know what happened.
Those that murdered him has spun a web of lies that he was a kidnapper. Paschal a kidnapper? Then the Pope must be a nun.
On the ill fated day, Paschal was driving to Obosi for an assignment, to set up for an event. He had in his vehicle some of his equipment. However on getting to Umuoji, some young school children knowingly or accidentally threw stones and other objects at his passing vehicle and caused some damage. He then alighted from the vehicle to accost the kids that caused such malicious damage. Who wouldn’t? That decision to me is normal and is what many would do in such circumstances. Perhaps on hindsight, Paschal could have carried on driving if only he knew the fate that awaited him once he alighted from his vehicle.
The young school children that caused the damage all ran away except for one that wasn’t so lucky. Paschal held him and requested that he be taken to his parents. He had the intention of demanding for the repairs of his damaged vehicle from them.
Meanwhile the kids that had escaped earlier ran to some people in the community and raised a false alarm that a certain man had ‘kidnapped’ one of them. They obviously did not disclose fully what had transpired. The men quickly mobilised, came back and confronted Paschal. They didn’t give him a chance to explain himself and pounced on him immediately beating him black and blue.
By the time help came, Paschal was already unconscious and he was taken to Iyi-Enu Hospital, Ogidi. He did survive an emergency surgery and was able to narrate what happened to the police and others that visited him in hospital.
Unfortunately, Paschal gave up the ghost days later from the injuries sustained from the mob action. His death brings to the fore once again the idiocy and tendency for some people to want to take the law into their hands, to want to judge, condemn, kill, maim, burn and destroy at the slightest provocation. This ‘Boys O-Ye’ mentality and approach to life has caused many innocent lives in Nigeria leaving families heartbroken and with life long scares. The case of the Aluu Four is still fresh in our memories. The lynching of the four young vibrant men in Aluu community in Rivers state caused worldwide outrage in 2012. The families and friends of the four men, Ugonna Obuzor, Toku Lloyd, Chiadika Biringa, and Tekena Elkanah, all students of the University of Port Harcourt are yet to recover from the trauma of their deaths.
We can not continue to behave like savages by killing innocent people. We should find other outlets for our rage and anger. These should not be directed at human lives. In all cases we must allow the law to run its full course. Parents should continue to train their young children and inculcate in them strong moral values. They should teach them time honoured virtues of saying the truth at all times. If the young school children at Umuoji had not lied to their people, if only they had told the truth of what had actually transpired between them and Paschal, perhaps Paschal will still be alive today.
Again we need to caution ourselves how we use social media platforms. We must be discerning in this fake news era to know that not all that we receive via WhatsApp is the truth, we should think twice before sharing certain videos and information. The people that murdered Paschal videoed it and passed it around via WhatsApp with the false narrative that he was a kidnapper. They did this probably to cover their tracks. Paschal was not a kidnapper. He was an innocent vibrant young man working hard like everyone else to take care of his family. Unfortunately, those murderers at Umuoji cut his life short. I understand that Abatete, Paschal’s hometown is the elder brother to Umuoji so ‘Ndi Abatete’ have themselves a case of justice and appeasement of the lands to vigorously pursue.
Anambra Police is already on this matter. There is wide expectation and demand that they apprehend the person whose voice could be heard in the video falsely alleging that Paschal was a kidnapper sent to kidnap kids for ritual purposes. The police needs to do this and bring him and his accomplices to justice, not that this will bring Pachal back to life but at least so that his death will not be in vain. The world should not forget Pascal.
The author can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org