Ahanotu’s fall into the class of millions of Nigerians on the streets in search of means to put food on their tables every other day. However, theirs was hope for a better tomorrow; a promising future the family’s 22-year-old artist, Pascal Ahanotu, represented.
A multi-talented young man, Pascal popularly known as Nene was a graphic artist, a cartoonist and a budding model.
Sadly, the future Ahanotus looked forward to suddenly fizzled out on Tuesday, September 10 when Nene was brutally murdered. He was caught up in a fight between two rival cult members in the Ifako area of Lagos State on his way to a cyber café.
City Round learnt that the Imo State indigene had visited his close friend, Joshua Johnson in the Temple area of Bariga – some distance away from his residence on Baale Street, in the same neighbourhood.
Around 7pm, he was said to have left Johnson’s shop for home and some minutes after dropping his bag, he headed for a cyber café in the Sawmill area of Ifako.
He was on his way when the cult fight suddenly broke out near Oworonshoki pedestrian bridge, leaving him and other passersby scampering to safety.
It was gathered that the hoodlums exploited the ensuing confusion to rob people, including Nene, stabbing him in the neck for allegedly resisting to let go of his phone.
The deceased’s parents were not around when our correspondent visited the family on Thursday.
However, his younger brother, Ifeanyi Ahanotu, who spoke with City Round, gave a stricken account of how devastating Nene’s death was to the family.
“My brother was very kind. My mum counted on him so much and he promised to make her proud with his work. She was a food vendor and my father works at a motor park in Ikorodu. Nene was the one who bought the television set we use at home. He just finished his National Diploma at the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu. He studied Business Administration,” he revealed, before emotion failed him. “This was a gentle young man who had a lot to achieve in life. They just cut his life short,” he added, tearfully.
“I am not sure the police have arrested anybody so far. They should investigate and fish out my brother’s killers,” he said.
The deceased’s close friend, Johnson, whom he had visited earlier that day, also spoke glowingly of him.
Describing Nene as an intelligent and amiable young man, Johnson explained that one of the assailants attacked his friend because he identified him during the robbery.
Johnson stated, “He was in my shop that day. He said he wanted to go and drop his bag at home and he promised to come back. I was shocked when I got a call that he was stabbed to death. His brother told me that he dropped his bag and said he wanted to get to the Sawmill area.
“People that witnessed the incident said three people attacked him and that he was trying to beg one of them he knew. The person stabbed him in the neck with a knife. For one week, I was not myself. We were very close friends.”
Johnson said some days before the tragedy, Nene had returned from Victoria Island where he was contracted by a hotel for art designs.
“He also told me he had another contract with a company on VI. He was supposed to start the work on September 13. Nene was a very good guy; he was very amiable. If you met him for the first time, the way he would relate with you would appear as if you had known each other for years.
“He was very intelligent. When we were at his parents’ house on the day we did the candle night, his mum said Nene was the only person she depended on,” he added.
Another friend of the deceased, Sunday Ozegbe, a choreographer, said Nene groaned with pains for about 40 minutes without getting help from residents within the scene of the incident. He said Nene would have survived the attack if the residents came to his aid.
Ozegbe said people gave the excuse that they might run into trouble at the hands of the police if they had assisted the late artist.
He stated, “We went to the same secondary school, Gbagada Secondary School, but we didn’t really know each other. It was my fellow dancers who told me about the incident. The three communities around here – Oworoshoki, Bariga and Ifako – have been intense with cult clashes for a while now.
“Unfortunately, he was an innocent person. The hoodlums wanted to steal his phone. While he was struggling with them, they stabbed him in the neck and fled. They stabbed him around Oworoshoki Bridge and he started running towards Adeite Street.
“I learnt he ran to some streets for about 40 minutes, seeking help but nobody attended to him. He was bleeding heavily. He later slumped and died. When I heard that he had a chance to survive, I was furious and decided to do the performance protest which went viral.
“We started from the spot where he gave up and moved round the streets he ran to, seeking help. We learnt there was a pharmacist he was approaching for help but the man closed his shop immediately he saw him. People feared the police might frame them but I don’t agree with such an excuse. It could happen to anybody.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, promised to get back to our correspondent with an update on the case.