By Innocent Anaba and Peter Okutu
FOR the people of Uwalagbaegwu Iziogo Ezzainyimagu in Izzi Local Government Area, Ebonyi State, the events leading to the just concluded general elections will not be forgotten in a hurry, considering the violence that was witnessed in the peaceful town.
One of the victims who is now crying for justice, Mr Igwe Edene, said he is thankful to God to be alive, even though he lost everything he had laboured in his 60 years on earth to acquire.
Speaking to Vanguard Metro, VM, he informed that on the midnight of March 31, two days to the botched April 2, election, a group of men invaded his compound, forced open his door and dragged him out, beat him with heavy sticks and hit him several times with machetes.
He has called on the state Police Commissioner, Mr Emmanuel Ayeni, to investigate the case of arson, burglary stealing, malicious damage, assault occasioning grievous harm, and attempted murder against some persons in the town, who he claimed masterminded the attacks on him and his daughter in law on the said March 31.
In a petition to the state Police Commissioner, by his lawyer, Mr Godwin Onwusi, Edene added that after a while, he was ordered to sit on the floor and say his last prayer, adding that his assailants broke into his son’s house, who is living close to him, dragged his daughter-in-law, Ifeoma Igwe out and both were taken away, to the house of one Vincent, where he was beaten to stupor while his daughter-in-law watched helplessly.
According to him, the daughter-in-law was later taken to a shop in Iziogo, where the sponsor and leader of the attack on him, waited for his men to complete their instruction.
As he was further tortured, he fainted, while his daughter-in-law who suffered serious machetes injury on her back, shouted that they wanted to kill him (Igwe).
Similarly, some other individuals, who claim to be members of the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP, members, namely: Sunday Awoke, Onwe Daniel, Ali Nwankalenu, Chief Boniface Ochokwu, Nwoba Nwibo Awoke, Nwoga Clement, Nwopoke Uchenna, Nwibo Chukwuma, Chigbo Ogu, Fidelis Oke, Obagu Thomas, Awoke Puis, Nwigwe Simeon, Nwudele Ifeanychukwu, Oliver Ifoma, Nwopoke Eregu and Dorcky Michael, all of Izziogo area of Izzi council of the state, have also called on the state Police Commissioner to investigate allegations of stealing, extortion, brutalization, arson, looting, assault occasioning bodily harm committed against them by some highly placed individuals in the area, with the backing of the police.
According to them, while they were at the polling centres or on their way home, on April 2, they were attacked by thugs, who beat them up, dispossessed them of their money and other belongings.
They pointed accusing fingers at a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the area and a former commissioner in the state.
They are particularly worried because, according to them, instead of the police arresting and prosecuting the thugs and their sponsors, they (victims) were detained and charged to court for various criminal offences.
But former Commissioner for Health and Environment in the state, Dr. Sunday Nwangele, who was accused of playing a part in the crisis, has blamed some politicians in the area for the crisis, saying that he was a victim of the violence perpetrated by the ANPP in the council.
He accused an ANPP National Assembly candidate in the area for plunging the council into crisis because he wanted to dislodge the PDP in the area.
Nwangele further alleged that the ANPP senatorial candidate for the election in the area, masterminded the violence, adding that the defection of most PDP stakeholders in the area to ANPP was instrumental to the emergence of crisis in Izzi council.
In apparent reference to the allegations by Edene, Nwangele said: “Our older brothers who had political ambition embarked on a campaign of calumny, character assassination, and pull-him-down syndrome to the point of assaulting, kidnapping and shooting …their fellow community brothers and sisters.”
He noted that “Izzi Inyimagu has been restive because of the activities of the opposition political parties. Our brothers in the opposition decided to fuel crisis in the area against me simply because I am the only government stakeholder there. The grassroots are with us. That was all”.
But Mr Edene, in his petition, insisted that after he regained consciousness, his house was set ablaze, including that of his son. “As a result of this directive, my compound was razed after they had looted my valuable and N225,000 inside my house,” he alleged.
He added that the hoodlums also proceeded to his daughter-in-Iaw’s (Ifeoma Igwe) shop and burnt it, including, his son’s household property.
He added that he was bundled by the same men to Iziogo Police Station on the directive of a certain influential politician in the area, but at Iziogo Police station, none of the policemen on duty even listened to him, let alone arrest the culprits.
He wants the police authorities in the state to thoroughly investigate the matter with a view to arresting and prosecuting those who carried out the heinous attack on him, his family and other ANPP members in the council.