Eddie Nawgu (born Edwin Okeke) was a Nigerian sorcerer, self-proclaimed prophet and religious figure. He was popularly known in the mid-1990s as Eddie Nawgu amongst Igbo people. His nickname, “Nawgu” came about because he was from Nawgu community, a town situated in the Dunukofia L.G.A of Anambra State, Nigeria.
At the age of 29, Eddie “Nawgu” Okeke, claimed he had been touched by the Biblical God and was given the ability to “see” and “perceive” what the ordinary human eye or other four senses could not intercept.
Shortly after he began his ministry, he built a church-like structure and named it ‘Anioma Healing Centre’. He stated that the reasons for creating the ‘Anioma Healing Centre’, was to heal the sick people in the community and restore hope to people but that wasn’t exactly the case. After a few years, people started speaking of his illicit activities. In 1990 for instance, worshippers in one of his services were told to bless two men who the prophet had prayed for previously for breakthrough (it turned out that the duo had successfully transported hard drugs to Europe without being caught).
The self-proclaimed prophet of God had become a person of interest in numerous crimes committed not only in the community, but across Anambra State as a whole. As a result, he had begun to attract the attention of the Bakassi boys; a vigilante security group which was set up and spearheaded under the tenure of Chinwoke Mbadinuju, former Governor of Anambra State with a single mandate to fish out criminals, sponsors of criminal gangs and men of questionable characters.
Eddie Nawgu had been accused of Kidnapping, aiding and abetting infamous criminals, partaking in rituals involving use of human body parts, i.e.,(the human skull), illegal possession of firearms and human sacrifice. This took him to the top of their “most wanted list”.
Eddie Nawgu became more visible, daring and pronounced. By the mid-90’s, he became friends with almost all the questionable millionaires of that era, they all paid him homage and had him perform tasks such as house openings and dedication of infants. He was said to be well known by most Military Administrators of the time, most of them visited him at his healing centre where he “prayed” for them.
He proudly bored the names “Alusi n ‘eje uka” (the Deity that goes to Church) and “Okala Mmadu, Okala Muo” (Half man, half spirit).
Eddie was visited 14 times before the men were able to match his powers, and apprehend him on Nov. 4, 2000.
Eddie Okeke’s wife, Joyce Okeke, was present when he was arrested. She narrated: “It was on 4 November 2000, at about 4 a.m. I was asleep. Suddenly, I heard a loud bang on the bedroom door. Someone said: ‘Open this door or I will break it down!’. I ran to the door.
My husband was sleeping. There was a second bang. I opened the door. I saw a lot of men with pump action guns and machetes. They asked: ‘Where is your husband?’ and I asked them who they were.
They pushed me aside. I called my husband to wake up. They went and pulled him from the bed. He asked them who they were and they said they were Bakassi boys, also saying that it was a government order. They were about 40 of them and mire outside. My husband asked them what they wanted and they were hitting him. They dragged him outside. One Bakassi was standing at the door with a gun. He told me to go outside and cocked his gun at me. They were still beating my husband. Another group came in and asked me to show them my husband’s room. There was a boy in front of them. I recognized him as a local boy, an armed robber. He had previously assisted people who were after my husband. They turned the whole room upside down. The boy was doing it while the others were watching. They asked me were my husband’s gun was and I replied: ‘Which guns?’ There was one double-barrel gun but they were asking for pump-action guns and pistols. I told them we didn’t have any. One of them raised his machete and said: ‘I will cut off your head if you don’t give us those guns’. They found nothing. He said: ‘Turn your back and I will cut off your head’. He charged towards me with his machete, raised it,m then put it down. They told me they would take me with my husband and that he will be finished if they don’t find what they wanted. I went with them and asked a girl to close the door. One of the Bakassi asked me if I wanted to show them anything. I said: ‘No, they were only children in there.’ The children were scared, so we had locked the door. The Bakassi wanted to shoot. I said: There are children in there. He asked: ‘Which Children? The ones you sell?’ I asked the children to open. The Bakassi just looked in and left them. Meanwhile, I heard the Bakassi outside shooting. I came out with them. Some were behind me, some were in front. I was just wearing my sleeping clothes and wrapper. My husband was just wearing his shorts. They had used his shirt to tie his hands. Outside, I saw Bakassi everywhere. They had made people in the compound lie face down outside. They were hitting them on their back with machetes.”
She further narrated: “They took me out towards the gate. I could see my husband and about 15 people ahead with one Baskassi group. I was about 10 or 15 steps away. One Bakassi told me that they would shoot me if I came any closer, but a Bakassi behind me was telling me to move. The one in front asked if I was deaf and threatened to shoot me. The one behind me also told me to move forward. I stood still and said: ‘I don’t know what to do’.”
Mrs. Okeke also narrated how the Bakassi boys took three of their cars, and arrested her Father-in-law, Elder brother-in-law and another relative after hearing gunshots for about an hour in her Father-in-law’s compound. She also said the Bakassi boys came back by noon and took their entire fleet of cars and particulars, also asking again for hidden guns which they claimed her husband asked her to give them
A lot of business men and sitting Governors were said to have pled his release including a former Nigerian President and a sitting West African Warlord at that time.
It was alleged that during his detention he confessed to a lot of sordid actions, claiming to be particularly gifted in making potent charms capable of aiding its users to disappear in awkward situations. For protection, he made concoctions by killing 3-day old babies and bathing the subject with the remains and for money, he would sacrifice a pregnant woman and the developing foetus, total number of people killed for this purposes were pegged at 93, with 16 children missing from a maternity in Onitsha traced to him.
He was said not to be able to sleep during the duration of his in the cell after his hair was shaved. Before he was cut into pieces and burnt by the Vigilante at the Ochanga Market Square, Onitsha, he was said to have repeatedly begged to be thrown into the River Niger, and also advised everyone he had given a walking stick over the years to discard it in the same river upon his death.
He was married to Joyce Okeke and together, they were parents to 8 biological children.
After the death of Eddie Okeke, the state government set up a panel of inquiry into the case. The panel had no legal status, no power to require further action by the authorities, and its findings were never published.
Bakassi Boys – Human Rights Watch
Death of a Miracle Man