Barrister Barnabas Chidi Igwe2002

Barrister Barnabas Chidi Igwe
Name prefix
Given names
Barnabas Chidi
Death September 1, 2002
Cause of death: Assasination
Note: The murder of Barnabas Igwe, his wife, Abigail and their unborn baby, in Onitsha, Anambra State. Barnabas Igwe was then the chairman of the Onitsha branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). His wife was also a lawyer based in Onitsha. They were travelling in a car when some shadowy characters emerged from nowhere and assassinated them with machetes. Mrs Abigail was pregnant, and the murderers did not spare the unborn baby. Barnabas Igwe was then at loggerheads with the state government, and in his capacity as the chairman of the biggest and most vibrant Bar Association branch in the state demanded the state governor to pay striking workers and then resign for incompetence.

Family with Barrister (Mrs.) Abigail Amaka Igwe - View this family
Barrister Barnabas Chidi Igwe
Birth: Atta, Oru West L.G.A, Imo State, Nigeria
Nationality: NigerianAtta, Oru West L.G.A, Imo State, Nigeria
Death: September 1, 2002Onitsha, Onitsha North L.G.A, Anambra State, Nigeria
Barrister (Mrs.) Abigail Amaka Igwe
Somadina Igwe
Chijindu Igwe
Nnenna Igwe


The murder of Barnabas Igwe, his wife, Abigail and their unborn baby, in Onitsha, Anambra State. Barnabas Igwe was then the chairman of the Onitsha branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). His wife was also a lawyer based in Onitsha. They were travelling in a car when some shadowy characters emerged from nowhere and assassinated them with machetes. Mrs Abigail was pregnant, and the murderers did not spare the unborn baby. Barnabas Igwe was then at loggerheads with the state government, and in his capacity as the chairman of the biggest and most vibrant Bar Association branch in the state demanded the state governor to pay striking workers and then resign for incompetence.


Obi, don't kill Obele Chuka- Igwe family

Obi can't kill! Obele is a rabble rouser- Obienyem

The last is yet to be heard of the dastard murder of two (couple) lawyers, Barnabas and Abigail Igwe, in Onitsha, the commercial town of Anambra state, on September 2, 2002, during the regime of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju as governor of the state. Mbadinuju governed the state from 1999 till 2003.

Before now, the mindless killings pitted the Igwe family, being represented by their lawyer, Chuka Obele Chuka, against former Governor Mbadinuju.

But at the moment, the bereaved Igwe family drags Peter Obi, the incumbent governor of the state, into the endless controversies trailing the murder of the couple (with their unborn baby). The family, in a press statement made available to KlinReports, among other things, accuses Obi’s government of planning to assassinate Chuka Obele Chuka, her lawyer because of his (Obele)’s legal tussles for justice in the couple’s murder. The statement, signed by Vincent Igwe on behalf of the family, recollects that the on-going verbal attacks on Obele in the state present the same scenario which led to the mindless assassination of the couple in 2002.

The Igwes were, in the first instance, murdered amidst a lingering face-off between the Onitsha branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), chaired by Barnabas Igwe, and Mbadinuju government concerning Mbadinuju’s alleged maladministration of the state.

Of course, Obi’s government roundly debunks the allegations contained in the Igwe family’s press statement. It is, also, the conviction of the government that that the statement was instigated by Chuka Obele to settle a perceived personal score with Obi’s government. Below are both the text of the statement and Obi’s government’s response to it:

Igwe family’s press statement:

Our attention has been drawn to the vile campaign of calumny sponsored by Governor Peter Obi of Anambra state against our family lawyer, Chuka Obele-Chuka, in which he (Obi), through his party chairman, one Akunwata Mike Kwentoh, sought to politicize the tragic events of September 1, 2002 when our brother, Barnabas Chidi and his wife, Amaka blessing, were cruelly ‘macheted’ to death by Bakkassi Boys under the control and management of the state government then, headed by Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju.

First, it is no longer in doubt that it was Mbadinuju’s Bakkassi Boys that murdered our brother and his wife. The Bakkassi Boys who were hired to carry out the cold blood murders had made confessional statements confirming their involvement and they were charged to court for the offence.

We need not bother reminding Governor Obi that our brother and his wife were brutally killed by the state government for the principled stand against Mbadinuju’s misgovernance of Anambra state. As chairman of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Onitsha branch and the committee of five branches of the bar in the state, our brother had called on the then Governor Mbadinuju to resign following abundant evidence of his incompetence to govern the state. Although we (the Igwe family) are not from Anambra, our brother and our wife felt obliged to refuse all monetary inducements offered them by Mbadinuju government, and insisted that Mbadinuju should quit and not be allowed to return for a second term in office.

Tragically, obsessed by his second term ambition, Mbadinuju saw our brother as an obstacle to his ambition. He thus became jittery and when his monetary inducements failed, he turned round to accuse our brother of being sponsored by Sir Emeka Offor to destabilize his government. We recall that agents of Governor Mbadinuju, particularly, his special adviser on special projects, Ms Anthonia Tabansi-Okoye, accused our brother and his wife of having “pathological hatred against Mbadinuju”. In fact, the said adviser had used these words against our brother and his wife few weeks before they were attacked and slaughtered by the Bakkassi Boys.

We condemn the reference to our family lawyer (Obele) as an opportunist in his unwavering quest for justice for his two friends despite the enormous risk to his life, legal practice and family, a quest that exposed and brought to trial those involved in the murders of our brother and his wife. There is no gainsaying the fact that Obele-Chuka who is not from Imo state, and who knew our brother only in 1999 has exhibited unparalleled acts of friendship and brotherhood. He has become a brother to our family and a son of Atta town. The specie of this human being is, indeed, rare. In other parts of our country and in other climes around the world, his type is celebrated.

But rather than celebrate him, Governor Peter Obi, who was the greatest beneficiary of this young man’s consistent resistance to injustice, and who was proud to claim, at every turn, to be Obele-Chuka’s friend has decided to unjustifiably tarnish his character for speaking out against his on-going mis-governance of the state. We consider Governor Obi’s accusation that Obele-Chuka wanted to be the Attorney-General of the state as the unkindest lie ever to be uttered. We attest that our family was among the many that mounted pressures, to no avail, on the lawyer to accept an offer of an appointment made by the Governor to serve in his government.

Our family was aware of the request made on the governor by our lawyer, as he rejected the governor’s offer to serve in his government, to award scholarship to the children of our brother and his wife. We were aware that Obele Chuka, also, recommended the slain couple for national honors, having lost their lives for the GOOD GOVERNANCE of the state. Apart from this, Obele enjoined Obi to set up a judicial commission of enquiry into all the extra judicial killings carried out between 2000 an 2002.

It is sad that rather than do what even a sadist would have conceded to, Governor Obi continues to play politics with our family’s plight. During many of his usual television programs, he lied to the people of Anambra state that he is the highest donor to the Endowment Fund established for the three orphans of the Igwes, and that his government has done a lot more. Let us put on record that the best Governor Obi has done was to request our family to release the three orphans to pose for a photo session with him during the last National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) meeting which held in Onitsha recently!

We are terrified by the similarity of the current pattern of events with the ones that culminated in the unlawful killing of our brother and his wife. We are worried because our lawyer (Obele) has, as in the case of Mbadinuju against our brother, been accused of being sponsored by the man the current governor sees as his tormentor in chief, Dr. Chris Ngige. Ngige was the immediate past governor of Anambra state.

Again, Akunwata Mike Kwentoh’s words that our lawyer “has pathological hatred against Governor Obi” were the exact words used by Mbadinuju’s special adviser, Ms Anthonia Tabansi Okoye, against our brother, Barnabas, shortly before he was, alongside his wife, assassinated.

Today, there are signs everywhere that Governor Obi, like Mbadinuju in 2002, is desperate for a second term in office. And like Mbadinuju, Obi is extremely unpopular and, therefore, jittery. And our enquiry revealed that this present government has, in its ranks, several persons who are notorious thugs and fugitives of the laws of many foreign lands and who are capable of repeating the tragic event of September 1, 2002, this time around, against our lawyer, friend and brother Chuka Obele Chuka (Esq). We shall, therefore, hold the present governor responsible should anything untoward happen to Obele-Chuka or any member of his family, either now or in the future.

What Governor Obi owes Anambra people is to use their money to deliver quality jobs now instead of inferior jobs, and not to save the money in the banks where he holds substantial interest. Governor Obi must, also, stop deceiving outsiders that he is performing and, also, leave former Governor Ngige alone, as Ngige has acquired the status of a demi-god following his extra-ordinary service to Anambra people.

The same Governor Obi who has refused to set up a commission of enquiry into the unprecedented UNLAWFUL KILLINGS of over 50,000 people on the streets of Anambra between 2000 and 2002 has set up a kangaroo commission of inquiry into the tenure and transactions in the Electronic Dealers Association, a non governmental traders organization, and also awarded scholarship to the siblings of an unmarried young man who lost his life during the infamous screening exercise by the Nigerian Immigration Services, an award the Governor is even yet to redeem.

We do not wish to engage Kwentoh as we know that a primary school graduate could not have possibly authored such a document. We will not, therefore, be dignifying such a graduate whose work before he veered into politics was his management of a small brothel located in a high density area of the town with a reply.

Obi’s government replies:

Valentine Obienyem, special assistant to Governor Obi on Media, dismisses the allegations against his governor (as contained in the press statement by Igwe family) as tissues of lies. Obienyem sums up the allegations as a vein attempt to distract Obi from carrying on with his good works in the state. Below is an excerpt of our telephone interview with Obienyem:

A recent press statement made available to KlinReports accuses Governor Obi of plotting to assassinate Chuka Obele Chuka, just like the Igwes were murdered in 2002. How would you react to this? Every Nigerian knows that Governor Peter Obi does not play such politics of assassination, and could not have, in anyway, contemplated any harm on Chuka Obele. Governor Obi can’t kill. For somebody to allege easily that somebody wants to kill him, examine that person very well because it is only killers that make such an allegation. It is only people that kill that always want to say that somebody wants to kill them. My governor is not a killer. Chuka Obele is a rabble rouser and one of the senseless distractions we have in Anambra state, but our governor is too focused to be distracted by somebody like Chuka Obele.

Governor Obi and Chuka Obele were one time soul mates. What has gone amiss? Nothing has gone wrong. You Know Governor Obi is somebody who believes in principle and uprightness. And he wants people who are focused and chaste in anything they are doing. And once you want him to empty the treasury of the state for you, that is where the problem starts.

How do you mean? Chuka Obele wants my governor to empty the treasury of the state for him because he was one of those that fought for his success. That is wrong, and that was why Chuka Obele took up fight against Governor Obi. But Obi remains focused. He is too busy to be distracted by Chuka Obele’s shenanigan.

Your government reportedly alleged that Chuka Obele is making trouble because he wanted to be appointed Attorney-General of the state, but he was not? Yes, Chuka Obele wanted to be appointed attorney general and commissioner for justice in Anambra state just because he claimed to have worked for Peter Obi’s success, but there are more competent people than him. And Governor Obi is a man who believes in competence, not sentiments.

Are you saying there is no current plan by Obi’s government to assassinate Chuka Obele Chuka? Well, to say that government is planning something against Chuka Obele is to give him the prominence he does not deserve. The governor is busy flagging off road projects everywhere and executing so many projects every week to recognize that somebody like Chuka Obele exists. So, we don’t want to give Chuka Obele that prominence.

What about this talk of Obi’s second term ambition? Is he really interested in a re-run? You know that Governor Obi still has over a year to serve out his term. He is in a haste to develop the state. Therefore, his attitude is ‘let us work and develop the state’. Whatever happens tomorrow God will decide. Second term or no second term, Obi’s pre-occupation for now is the development of Anambra state.

  1. Generation 1
    1. Barrister Barnabas Chidi Igwe was born in Atta, Oru West L.G.A, Imo State, Nigeria and died on September 1, 2002 in Onitsha, Onitsha North L.G.A, Anambra State, Nigeria.

      Barrister Barnabas Chidi Igwe had 3 children.