Source : Ourpage9ja, Gistmania.
His real name was Okwudili Ndiwe a.k.a Derico Nwamama. Derico started out as a Street Urchin in Onitsha, and then graduated to a pick pocket, and then to a dreaded criminal whose mere mention of his name sent shivers down the spines of every single human being in the entire South East part of Nigeria.
Indeed, long before Derico became infamous for his exploits in the City of Onitsha, the entire Anambra State was under the control of another ruthless, merciless, and cold-blooded armed robber known Chiejina. Under the reign of Chiejina and his gang, all residents of Onitsha were living in fear. It was reported that on the 16th of February 1999, two days after valentine celebration, Chiejina, acting on a tip off besieged a family in Onitsha hoping to get money from the man of the house, but unfortunately, the man didn’t come home with money, he had gone to the bank before going home. Chiejina became so enraged that he grabbed the man’s 4month old son, threatened to throw the baby from a 3 storey building, and when the man and his wife was weren’t forthcoming with his demands, he flung the baby from the 3 storey building and shot the man twice in the head!.
Derico and Chiejina were very good friends at that time and also colleagues in the armed robbery business, friendship that started during the famous Umuleri /Aguleri War, but Derico was not based in Onitsha then. He was based in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory and only visited the east from time to time to carry out his robbery operations with maximum terror and after raining a torrent of bullets and gunfire upon the hapless and ill-equipped officers of the Nigerian Police and defenseless Nigerians, he would speed back to his safe haven, with his loot, safe on the laps of power, luxury and comfort. According to reports, trouble started in November 1999, when the then Obi of Onitsha, HRH Obi Ofala Okagbue rallied Onitsha-Ado Youths to help curb the ever rising crime in the city to enable indigenes who ran away to return for the Christmas Celebration that year.
Ado youths then sat together with some of the notorious armed robbers to know how to settle them and have peace return to the city of Onitsha.
Chiejina and Derico were present in the meeting but refused to stand down after the meeting. In fact, he attacked some members of the Ado Youth and became even more ruthless in the entire state. Ado Youths sought the help of his friend Derico but it did not yield much fruit, so they decided to give him a taste of his own medicine. They liaised with Derico and some special Police Officers to raid Chijiena and his gang. The Operation was not totally successful because Chiejina was not present at the time, but members of his gang were rounded up and sent to the central police station Onitsha and sent to the central police station Onitsha. When Chiejina learnt what happened, he felt betrayed by his bossom friend, Derico and without thinking about the consequences, called on his right hand men who also doubled as his bikeman, Amobi to take him to Derico’s parents’ house. On getting there, he met Derico’s father and decorated him with bullets. Derico heard about this and set out for revenge immediately. He ran into Chiejina close to Emmanuel Church at Ugwunakpamba road Onitsha and pumped in lots of bullets into the great Chiejina and the Iroko of the underworld fell into a gutter.
Derico then put Chiejina into a wheelbarrow and wheeled him to the Police station of Isioke, Onitsha.
Unconfirmed reports claimed that Chiejina did not die on the spot, that while in the wheelbarrow, he begged Derico to kill him and not take him to the Police Station alive. Derico then obliged him and pumped in one final shot to end the reign of one of Nigeria’s meanest criminals. On getting to the Police Station, Officers were celebrating and dancing, the lifted Derico up as their Hero and celebrated him as the King of the Town. Little do they know that they just crowned a more vicious soul.
After the death of Chiejina, Derico became the undisputed Emperor of Terror in the land. The entire Anambra State was in soup and its environs were not spared too. At some point, Derico used the town if Umuleri as his hideout. From there, he would issue threatening messages to the Police that they will pay for killing members of his gang. He also maintained bases in other towns like Agbor, Benin and Asaba. Traders in Asaba could not display their wares with peace while many slept with one eye open. Derico sacked commercial banks in Onitsha, carting away millions of naira. Travelers who had to pass the state held their breathes, expecting the hoodlum to strike at any time. The then Governor of the State Chinwoke Mbadinuju, became an old man over night with worries on how to handle the menace of Derico.
He was described as the personification of terror. From Nnewi to Nkpor, down to Onitsha, up to Asaba, from the villages in Umuleri to the towns in Ihiala, the old and young, men and children were terrified at the mere whisper of Derico Nwamama. He took over people’s lands, businesses, wives and all his members including members of his family got away with anything because they were related to him. At that time, he was said to be invisible and could not be arrested. According to reports, Dericio Nwamama killed over 200 people including 25 police officers whose lives he mercilessly wasted. He was a master of countless robberies and would not blink twice before pumping his hot lead bullets into the beating hearts of helpless victims and after his successful raids, he would boast and declared himself invisible. Derico seemed to have placed a lot of faith and confidence in the charms prepared for him by traditional witch doctors. The Governor of the State was not the only one worried about the reign of Derico Nwamama, as even the President Olusegun Obasanjo was enraged that the criminal was left to unleash terror in a part of Nigeria.
The Police were helpless and has lost many men to the dreaded bandit. In May 2001, the Anambra State Police command launched operation Derico which was aimed at capturing Derico and his gang members at all cost. The police managed to arrest some of Derico’s men, but was still elusive as he kept operating with reckless abandon, robbing, killing and kidnapping innocent Nigerians.
In December 2000, Derico and his gang committed the worst crime till date. They attacked a 59-seater luxurious bus filled to the brim at the popular upper Iweka. The bus was about to leave for Lagos. After robbing every single person in the bus, they decided to kill everybody on board including women and children. He gave the orders and his men shot all passengers execution style and left them for dead. Only 4 people survived the ordeal.
After that horrible incident, the then Governor of Anambra had no option but to bring in the dreaded Bakassi Boys to help the State.
On Tuesday, July 3, 2001, Derico was in a bus going from Agbor to Onitsha, and getting to the Onitsha axis of the bridge head, the dreaded Bakassi Boys stooped. Sensing danger, the crime lord jumped out of the window to run away, but before he could make the first after jumping out, the nearest Bakassi member on the scene chopped off his left ear and that was how Derico was captured. It was funny how he started crying and pleading for his life. He was taken to Borromeo Hospital for treatment because he was bleeding profusely.
When news of his capture broke, every single human being in Anambra State rejoiced. Derico met his end in the most awful manner. Before then, the Bakassi had developed a terrible blood chilling reputation for dealing with suspects and Derico’s days were surely numbered from when he was caught. On the 9th of July 2001, six days after Derico was captured, the Bakassi did to him what many had earlier predicted. Chanting war songs, they drove in their convoy around the town and ended at the Ochanga Market Junction along the popular Upper Iweka Road in Onitsha. As their buses came to a halt, shouts of excitement and expectation rented the air. Many knew the fate that will befall Derico, so they all trooped to the spot to witness the final judgment on him. Derico was dragged out from the bus, looking gaunt and severely beaten, a trademark of the vigilante group. His body bore cuts and gashes, a testament to what he must have gone through in their hands.
The Bakassi Boys continued chanting war songs, egged on by the crowd. One of the commanders of the Bakassi Boys named Okpompi, addressed the crowd telling them that they were in the State not for politics, but to fight crime.
He handed the microphone to the now trembling Derico, who, like a coward, began begging that his life be spared. He made feeble attempts of declaring his innocence. He said: “My name is Oddy, alias Derico, alias Nwamama. I appeal to 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 was a strong guy. 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 string guy”.
He confessed that while he was on the run, he was sheltered by a member of the National Assembly at 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. 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 Dreico’s slim neck, and in a flash, Derico was beheaded.
Derico was just 22 years Old when his head left his shoulders. 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 Anambrains.
With the lifeless remains of Derico still lying on the floor, the people erupted into jubilation, patting one another on the backs and exchanging mutual congratulations after a monstrously grotesque show of iron and blood. His remains was chopped into sizable chunks, heaped up and set on fire.
After his death, lots of movies were made about him.