By Anayo Okoli
Umuahia—THE family of Chief Chikara Ugorji, the 84-year-old man remanded at Umuahia Prisons for allegedly killing one Sopuruchi Nzedibe, has cried out for help, alleging that their lives were being threatened by people sent by their opponents in a dispute.
The octogenerian was remanded in the prison by an Umuahia Chief Magistrate Court, presided over by Chief Magistrate Israel Nwulu two weeks ago for murder.
A member of the family, Engr. Pele Ugorji, who addressed journalists in Umuahia, in the company of his siblings and some leaders of the community, alleged that for two days, they noticed a motorcyclist trailing movements in the area.
Ugorji alleged that on close observation, they discovered that the person allegedly trailing them was a policeman, who is a cousin to Chief S.N. Nwosu who is the leader of the other party in the dispute.
The family claimed that they reported the incident to the Police Area command in Umuahia who allegedly cautioned the said police man to steer clear of the matter, warning that the matter was bigger than him.
The Ugorgis also expressed worry \about how their father’s charge of mansalugher was unceremoniously changed to murder on based on alleged orders of the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Bala Hassan.
Hassan admitted ordering that the charge be changed because, according to him, there was fresh information that the accused pulled out his double barrel gun when the youths invaded his house. He explained that it was the duty of the court to look at the matter and determine whether it was his bullet the killed Nzedibe and whether he was acting in self- defence.
The family also regretted that several petitions sent to the governor of the state, Chief Theodore Orji, were being blocked by some people they did not mention their names, even as they called on the governor to wade into the crisis.
They regretted that the community had turned to a ghost town because of what they described as the selfish ambition of one man.
Ugorji was arraigned on a 2-count charge of murder.
The first count charge read: “That you Ugorji Chikara, ‘m’ on the 30th day of September, 2011 at Ehume Umuopara village, Umuahia South in the Umuahia South Magisterial District, unlawfully killed one Sopuruchi Nzedibe ‘m’ by shooting him with a double Barrel long gun thereby committed an offence punishable under section 319(1) of the criminal code, CapC38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Abia State.
The case comes up today.