Derico Nwamama: A name no real man from South east Nigeria will ever forget
It was 19 years ago.The year 2001,and everything was quite topsy-turvy in Nigeria.The Nation was still smarting from the Y2K scare that the world was going to come to an abrupt End.
All computers would stop functioning at the exact strike of midnight on the 31st of December, 1999.
Doomsday prophets went gaga, milking an ignorant populace from their brisk and dark businesses as they went around screaming the world was going to end.
Nigeria was also experiencing the post-delivery pangs of democracy.
Then came the story of a young man whose mere mention of his name sent shivers down the spines of everyone Olin the entire south eastern part of Nigeria.
22-year-old Okwudili Ndiwe also known as Derico Nwamama, was probably the King of the Underworld in the Eastern parts of the country; a clear replication of the likes of Lawrence Anini and Ishola Oyenusi.
He started out as a Street Urchin in Onitsha,then graduated to a pick pocket,and then to a dreaded Criminal.
A ruthless armed robbery gang that was synonymous with blood and loss in the eyes of the people. It was no
different at night; many would say they could only sleep with one eye open because Derico would come when he would, night or day.
He was described as the personification of terror. From Nnewi to Nkpor, from the villages in Umuleri to towns in Ihiala, the old and young were terrified at the mere whisper of Derico Nwamama.
At that time, he was said to be invisible and could not be arrested.
According to reports, Derico Nwamama had killed over 100 people including 25 police officers whose lives he mercilessly wasted.
He was a master of countless bus robberies and will not blink twice before pumping his hot lead bullets into the beating hearts of hapless victims.
And after his successful raids, he would boast and declare himself invincible. Derico seemed to have placed a lot of faith and confidence in the charms prepared for him by the traditional witch doctors.
Before Derico became notorious, there was Chiejina deadliest armed robber. Like Derico, Onitsha was his stomping ground and naturally, their paths soon crossed, perhaps because they saw more opportunities in collaboration, the two began to work together in a sense, sharing intelligence and scheduling attacks.
Their relationship proved fruitful for a while, but Derico’s blood-lust became too much for Chiejina.
The two began to clash over territory and their approach to the fine art of robbing people for their money.
One day, while they were having a particularly loud spat, Derico pumped Chiejina with a rain of bullets.
Months after his reign of terror began, the people of Anambra cried to Governor Mbadinuju who was under heavy pressure to explore options outside the Nigerian Police.
The Governor invited the Bakassi boys who were able to capture he on his way from Delta to Anambra.
Thus goes his confession :
My name is Oddy, alias Derico, alias Nwa Mama. I appeal to you the people of Anambra State, please don’t kill me, I don’t like evil. It was when I killed Chiejina that people thought I am a strong guy, you know.
I trust Bakassi Boys. They are strong. Please, mercy for me. Nobody can identify me as having robbed him. People just believe that I am a strong guy.”
He confessed that while he was on the run, he was sheltered by a member of the National Assembly in Abuja. He also confessed that he had two other powerful protectors, one being a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly while the other was the chairman of a local government council.
What was to follow remains one of the most macabre displays of public executions in Nigeria. With the speed of a guillotine, a cutlass handled in the strong arm of one of the Bakassi Boys flew and came down with an unforgiving thud, landing on Derico’s slim neck. In a flash, Derico was beheaded.
His severed head rolled on the floor before the crowd while his convulsing body collapsed on the ground, with bright-red blood gushing from his carotid arteries. It was like a sacrifice to the gods had just taken place.
The crowd was satisfied and as far as the Bakassi Boys were concerned, that was a clear lesson and message to any criminal bent on making life miserable for the Anambrarians.
With the lifeless remains of Derico still lying on the floor, the people erupted in jubilation, patting one another on the backs and exchanging mutual congratulations after a monstrously grotesque show of iron and blood. That was not the end.
Razor-sharp machetes flew from different directions and chopped his pitiful remains into sizable chunks. Derico’s mangled remains were heaped up, properly rinsed with fuel and set on fire.