Nollywood actor and comedian John Okafor, best known as Mr Ibu, has revealed how his ‘Village People’ attempted to kill him twice through poison.

In local Nigerian parlance, “Village People” refers to evil kinsmen, witches, sorcerers who reside in the village and ‘hinder’ an individual’s progress.

The 60-year-old comic veteran made this known on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with Premium Times.

Mr Ibu, who was ill in the past weeks and received treatment at Zenith Medical and Kidney Centre Abuja, has fully recovered and was discharged from the hospital. He has currently returned to his job, acting.

Contrary to reports that the much-loved comic actor was poisoned at an entertainment event in Abuja, Mr Ibu said he was poisoned during his numerous trips to his country home in Nkanu West, Enugu State.

He said the effects weighed him down when he returned to his base in Abuja.

He was full of life and in his elements as his remarks elicited laughter at the heart of a serious conversation during his interview with our correspondent.

Speaking about how he was poisoned, Mr Ibu said, “I was poisoned, but not at an entertainment event in Abuja. I was poisoned in my home town, and then I journeyed to Abuja, where the poison affected me and grounded me. At a point, I almost gave up, but God said. No, you are not going to give up. And here I am. I have been discharged”.

Setting the records straight, Mr Ibu explained how he battled what he described as an unknown ailment.

He said: “It’s a long story because the sickness didn’t start today, all these while we’ve been running around, going from here to there, from one diagnosis to another, mentioned different names of sicknesses, I was even tired of the results, how could all these aliments be in one person’s body.”

First attempt

This is not the first time Mr Ibu’s ‘kinsmen’ have reportedly attempted to kill him. In 2020, Mr Ibu raised the alarm about how his kinsmen paid his domestic staff to poison him because of his successful career.

In an interview with Nigezitv, Mr Ibu recounted how he was kidnapped and poisoned at an event in Nnewi. He also noted that his protruding stomach was a result of the poison.

Political entanglement

In November 2021, Mr Ibu, alongside his colleagues like Foluke Daramola, Harry Anyanwu, and Benedict Johnson, drummed support for Bola Tinubu’s presidential ambition.

Although the APC party stalwart was yet to declare his ambition at the time officially, Mr Ibu, an ardent supporter of former vice president Atiku Abubakar in 2019 and his colleagues drummed support for him nonetheless.

The occasion was a meeting themed ‘South West Stands with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’ where the actors unanimously argued that Tinubu had impacted the people.

Several backlashes greeted a viral video clip from the proceedings from Nigerians who faulted the actors’ partisan alliances.

Clarifying his stance, Mr Ibu said he remains committed to supporting Atiku.

He explained that as actors and public figures, they make appearances at different events and activities.

He said: “Actors and public figures, we are like raw materials on the ground, if anybody who is contesting for anything needed our services, of course, we are obviously in the eye of the people, so whatever department of life, which could include a campaign we can go ahead and do it, especially if you are natural and rea, we don’t want fake contestants.

“I supported Atiku from A to Z, every angle of Atiku I supported, but there are hoodlums who wanted to take advantage of my appearances and began to use it right and left to oppress people. So, I know very well that is there anything publicly Atiku is doing politically in Nigeria, I am there. So I give him my 100 per cent undoubtedly,” he said.

Mr Ibu also reaffirmed his endorsement for Mr Atiku, who recently declared his interest in running for president’s office in the 2023 elections.

Mr Ibu is one of Nigeria’s most talented comic characters in Nollywood; his ingenuity in acting earned him the name ‘Mr Ibu’. Mr Ibu made his name a slapstick comedian whose acting is often characterised by stupidity.

The Enugu born actor has featured in more than 200 Nollywood movies, including Mr Ibu (2004), Mr Ibu and His Son, Coffin Producers, Husband Suppliers, International Players, Mr Ibu in London (2004), Police Recruit (2003), 9 Wives (2005), Ibu in Prison (2006) and Keziah (2007).