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By Tony Ogaga
Nollywood ‘bad’ boy, Charles Okocha aka Igwe Tupac, has revealed how he was almost killed last year after a policeman shot him at close range in Asaba, Delta State.
Recalling the experience in a chat with TS Weekend recently, Tupac narrated: “This is something I really don’t want to talk about because I went through a whole lot. It all happened sometime in December 2015 at Asaba, Delta State. I was at an occasion when my phone rang and I stepped outside to take the call. As I was talking, I saw two guys standing by an Autobiography Range Rover. They were waving and hailing me. I realised they were my fans so after taking my call, I went to meet them and we exchanged pleasantries and then got talking.”
The actor continued: “One of the guys pointed at the white Range Rover and said ‘Igwe Tupac, this is my jeep. I just bought it. It is an Autobiography Range Rover. I am getting married in three days time. Igwe Tupac, what will it take for you to attend my wedding?’ I was like ‘congrats but we can’t talk here. Let us exchange numbers’.
“While that was going on, a gun totting policeman came out of the compound and joined us. Probably he had been watching me all the while at the event. He barged into us and was like ‘oh boy, I like this guy’s film’. He was obviously a fan so I felt compelled to listen to him. He kept blabbing that he had all my films. At a point, I was beginning to get tired, so I stepped aside. But he came right after me and said ‘bros, na you I de talk to. Okay, let me throway one for you, to salute you. I be one of your biggest fans’.
“Before I knew it, he had cocked his gun and fired into the air. I almost went deaf from the gunshot. However, he was probably drunk and lost control of his rifle, which was in rapid mode. The guy who was getting married in three days time was hit in the ribs but he didn’t know. His friend was asking him, ‘were you shot?’ He said no but he was wrong! He had a bullet in the ribs and he died a shot while after. Sadly, that was the end of his marriage plans.”
Did Tupac believe he was going to survive it? Hear him: “I never even knew I had been shot at that point in time but later I found out that my intestines were sticking out, and I passed out.”
Immediately he was shot, Igwe Tupac was rushed to the hospital and doctors extracted five bullets from his abdomen and another from his leg. After spending two months in intensive care, he was finally discharged.
“It’s a miracle that I survived at all. It was by the sheer grace of God. Five bullets pierced my abdomen and another one hit my leg and yet I survived, but the guy who was getting married took one bullet and died. I have only God to thank for this new lease of my life.
“These days when I see policemen bearing guns, I become wary and scared. Who wouldn’t be after going through what I went through? I have been to a couple of occasions lately and when I see gun totting cops around me, I become very cautious, sometimes even hostile. I just have to protect myself.”
Like the popular saying, ‘what cannot break a man will only make him stronger’. Ever since the tragic incidence, Tupac’s career has been on the upswing.
“First thing first, I would say it is God. You know, like they say ‘without God nothing is possible’. It is not by my own making so I give it to God all the way. Everything just started happening suddenly and here we are today. It is not like I don’t get scripts but I am very selective. I don’t just hop on every set that comes along. I have to scrutinise and make sure it is dope before I venture into any film project.
“A while ago, I returned from my maiden US tour and it was cool. We toured four cities, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Texas and one other. I want to use this opportunity to thank God for delivering me from the valley of the shadow of death and catapulting my career to new heights.”
What lessons has the actor learnt from the experience? A smile breaks his features as he responds: “I have come to realise that without God we are nothing, and in order to succeed in life, we need to submit to Him. I have come to realise that not every one that smiles at you is your friend. When I was discharged, I heard what some people said about me and it really hurt me, but I have forgiven them and moved on.”