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Derico Nwamama: Notorious criminal that terrorized Eastern Nigeria



Derico Nwamama was a notorious criminal famous for terrorizing people in Eastern Nigeria.

His real name is Okwudili Ndiwe, and was 22 years old at the time.

Derico Nwamama hailed from Aguleri, Onitsha, in Anambra state. He rose from a pickpocket to a dreaded crime king.

He killed Chiejina, another hoodlum, before rising to prominence.

During his reign as crime king, he was based in Abuja and only visited the east to unleash terror.

After his successful operations, he would return to his base with his loot, safe in the laps of power, luxury, and comfort.

Derico once used the towns of ?m?leri, in Anambra as well as Agbor in Delta states as his main hideouts.

From there he would send letters threatening the police for killing men of his gang. He placed great trust in the charms prepared for him by the native doctors and always boasted of his invincibility; that no man born of woman could kill him. Deri as was also called, robbed banks, carted away millions of Naira and killed many in the process. He & his sinister gang also robbed luxurious interstate buses.

On December 2000, Derico attacked a 59-seater bus coming from Lagos at the popular Upper Iweka in Onitsha. After robbing the passengers he decided to kill all of them. Only four survived. That was the height of it all.

The then Governor of Anambra state; Chinwoke Mbadinuju (Odera), had no solution to the menace of Derico because he was said to be invisible and could not be arrested.

In May 2001, the Anambra State Police Command officially launched “Operation Derico”, a manhunt aimed at capturing the rampaging Derico and his gang members at all costs.

The police arrested some of Derico’s men, most importantly, Amobi, his bike driver but he was still elusive as he kept robbing, killing at will and kidnapping people for a ransom.

With the failure of Police and other security forces to capture Derico Nwamama, Governor Mbadinuju brought in BAKASSI BOYS.

In June 2001, Derico attacked a Police station to acquire weapons for a bank robbery in Asaba. He also began to work with other gangs to execute more daring robberies.

A certain morning the well-prepared Nigerian Police and the Bakassi Boys turned the heat up on him. They stormed his Abuja residence unannounced and raided it, he escaped, but two of his trusted warriors were killed in the operation.

Desperate, Derico chose a nomadic way of living as he sensed that his life was in a serious danger with the Bakassi Boys involvement. It was during one of his trips that the Bakassi Boys got a tip-off and mounted an ambush that led to his arrest.

On a fateful Tuesday, July 3, 2001, the Bakassi boys got an intelligent info that Derico was on his way from his hideout in Agbor to Onitsha. They laid a strong ambush at the popular Head Bridge for his commute.

He was identified in a bus and arrested. The city of Onitsha was thrown into jubilation at the news of his capture. The Nigerian Police requested that he be released for investigation and prosecution but the Bakassi boys did not trust the police to do justice to him.

On Monday, 9th of July, 2001 (six days after Derico was captured), the Bakassi boys drove in their convoy around Onitsha town and ended at the ?chanja Market junction along Upper Iweka road.

There, they unveiled the “Big Meat”, Derico. Onitsha residents trooped to the junction to catch a glimpse of the man who had turned their lives into a nightmare. Derico was handed a microphone to address the teeming crowd. In his words; “My name is Oddy” alias Derico Nwamama. I appeal to you Nd? Anambra, please don’t kill me. It’s true I have killed “Many”, but don’t kill me. I don’t like evil, I will repent”, he said.

“It was when I killed Chiejina that people thought I was a strong guy I trust Bakassi boys they’re strong. Please mercy for me”, he echoed in a pitiable tone.

What followed remains one of the most macabre displays of public execution in the history of Nigeria.

A cutlass handled by one of the Bakassi boys went up and came down with an unforgiving thud, landing on Derico’s slim neck. In a twinkle of an eye, Derico Nwamama was beheaded.

The crowd shouted in approval and chanted songs in praise of the heroic Bakassi boys. Derico’s body was cut into pieces and set on fire.

The chase and capture of Derico inspired the 2001 movie “Issakaba”.

The movie was produced by Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, and it depicted the origin of the vigilante group and their encounter with Nwamama and Anini.

Credit: Twitter/@NigeriaStories/IGBO History & Facts

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