By Emma Amaize & Perez Brisibe
ABRAKA—THERE is anxiety in Abraka, Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State, following the beheading of a welder and native of Urhuoka-Abraka, Mr. Solomon Ejoor, by herdsmen.
Reports said villagers seized the decapitated body from police and took it to the palace of the Ovie of Oruarivie-Abraka, where it was kept for over four hours. They threatened to lay siege to the Government House, Asaba, if Governor Ifeanyi Okowa does not break his silence on the Abraka killings.
The protesters destroyed cars and air conditioners at the palace, saying the monarch and his council of chiefs are not doing enough to stem the herdsmen attacks. It took the intervention of Army personnel to save the palace from being torched.
Vanguard gathered that the fierce disposition of the villagers forced about 100 Northerners, especially Hausa and Fulani indigenes in Urhuoka-Abraka and the environs, to flee to the Abraka Police Station for safety.
The latest victim, Ejoor, was ambushed and decapitated when he went to the farm to rescue his mother, held hostage by gun-toting herdsmen on Monday.
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Delta, Mr. Zanna Ibrahim, who confirmed the incident to Vanguard on phone yesterday, said: “I have ordered discreet surveillance of the forest to verify whether they are herdsmen or not. I am sure you know that the place is said to be under dispute between Edo and Delta states.
“When their fire power is determined, we will strategise with sister agencies on what next to do. Meanwhile, I have reinforced the community with men of the Police Mobile Force.
“The Deputy Commissioner, Criminal Investigation Department, will visit the family of the deceased today (yesterday) to commiserate with them. He will also see the mother, who raised the alarm, in furtherance of our investigation.”
The Commissioner also confirmed that no fewer than 100 Hausa were taking refuge at the police station yesterday.
How victim was killed
A source said the Abraka community erupted in anger when the body was brought from the farm on Tuesday, with flies feasting on the deep wounds inflicted on him.
President General of the community, Dr. Tedwins Emudainohwo, whose car was also destroyed during the attack on the palace, said: “They brought the corpse to the palace with the intention of desecrating the palace, as it is a taboo for the Ovie (king) to see dead bodies.”
On how the victim was killed, Dr. Emudainohwo said: “The victim and his younger brother and two friends had gone to the bush to rescue their mother, who had gone to the farm and was trapped in the bush following sporadic shooting by herdsmen in the area.
“In her hiding position, she was able to see some herdsmen walking past as they continued shooting. After the situation had calmed down, she called her children and told them that she was trapped inside the bush.
“One of the sons called the younger one and their friends, and immediately proceeded to the bush to rescue their mother in a motorcycle without informing the community leaders.
“They engaged in a gun battle with the herdsmen, who over powered them. Fortunately enough, three of them were able to run for their lives, but the eldest son could not as he fell from the motorcycle and was taken away by his assailants.
“The woman slept in the bush. The next day, the boys went back, rescued her, while her son was still missing. We filed a missing person report over the incident and later in the day, we got information that his body was discovered in the bush.
“Immediately, I called the DPO, who mobilised his men and the vigilante and they went to the bush to recover the body.”
They refused to investigate— Lawmaker
Reacting to the murder, the member representing Ethiope East in Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. Evance Ivwurie, in a statement, said: “Anarchy is building in my constituency as a result of the conspiracy of silence by the relevant authorities and security agencies.”
‘Our anger with Okowa’
A commercial farmer in the area and director, Allto Farm Group, Eduvie Anthony, told Vanguard: “We have told the Special Assistant to the Governor on Security that we will hire a car to carry the corpse to the state government for them to eat.
“If they want to kill us with their police, they should do so. But it is possible Governor Okowa is not aware of the killings here at Abraka.
“People have been dying in Abraka and Governor Okowa has not deemed it fit to come and address us on what the state government is doing over this matter.
“We do not even know if we have a governor in the state, because nobody is going to the farm as anyone who does is gruesomely killed.”