Disbanded local security outfits in Evwreni kingdom, Ughelli North local government area, Delta State, have allegedly shot two persons, one Mr Marcus Uba and a little girl, Miss Esther Kowfigho, destroying and vandalizing the house of one Mr Matthew Uba in what has been described as a reign of terror by the people.
Our correspondent gathered that what would have been a bloodbath was averted by the timely intervention of policemen drafted to the kingdom to stem the crisis by the Police in Ughelli Area Commander, following a distress call by the President-General, Mr Bright Adjogbe.
The disbanded vigilante outfit (Bakassi) led by one Tuesday Okwah aka (Adjuga) was established 13 years ago in 2007 as a security committee to check and prevent crime in the community but has allegedly transformed into agents of oppression and terror in the kingdom.
Our investigation revealed that the trouble started when the new President-General of the Evwreni Clan Improvement Union (ECIU) in the exercise of its power in line with the ECIU’s constitution called an enlarged national executive committee (NEC) meeting of the 15 branches of the Union, on March 21,2020, where it was resolved that the security outfit be dissolved and reconstituted.
The NEC amongst others, recommended the constitution of a new security committee, which the President-General of ECIU constituted and formally inaugurated on March 21, 2020, a move which didn’t go down well with the kingdom’s monarch.
The monarch, Eruvwedede III, Ovie of Evwreni kingdom, who has been accused of using the disbanded vigilante outfit to intimidate anyone who expressed a contrary view, allegedly reported the President General to the police who invited him for questioning.
The President-General of the Evwreni Clan Improvement Union (ECIU), Mr Bright Adjogbe speaking on the recent crisis disclosed that the security outfit was disbanded due to their unlawful activities and harassment of innocent people in the community.
According to him, “what happened on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, was a fallout of the internal crisis in the Kingdom, following the dissolution of the former local vigilante outfit (Bakassi), on March 21, 2020, which the kingdom’s leadership considered to have outlived its usefulness and has derailed from its goals.
“Rather than protecting and checking crime, the vigilante has become an agent of terror to the community, killing, maiming innocent people at will, and sadly the monarch supports all their actions because he uses them to intimidate those who dare hold a contrary opinion.
“So when I came on board as the new President-General of ECIU, I reached out the leaderships of the 15 branches of ECIU and invited their chairmen and secretaries for an enlarged national executive committee meeting on March 20th, 2020, it was agreed that the former Bakassi vigilante group be dissolved and a new security committee was set up.
“The new security committee was inaugurated same day by me as the President General because the constitution empowers me to set-up a security committee that shall serve the general security interest of the entire kingdom or clan. However, this move didn’t go down well with the king, who made moves to stop our meeting on that day but failed.
“This resulted in an unprovoked attack on the members of the new security committee, at the wee hours on Monday, March 23rd, 2020, leading to about eleven persons being injured and one person missing till date.
He disclosed further that the kingdom leaders, led by Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, OON appealed to the Police Ughelli Area Commander to allow them to settle the matter at home. However, the Coronavirus lockdown has not made that possible before the dissolved Bakassi boys launched a fresh attack on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, where two people were allegedly shot with sophisticated firearms and weapons.
“In this fresh attack, Prince Matthew Uba’s house was destroyed and vandalized. I got the distress call from our people because I was not in town when the incident happened, so I called the Ughelli Area Commander and the A – Division DPO who deployed their men to stem the situation from degenerating to a bloodbath crisis.
“However, to our chagrin, the police didn’t arrest any of these gun wildings dissolved Bakassi boys, even though they saw them firing shots into the air when the police got to Evwreni, this situation is giving us a cause for concern.
When contacted Mr Marcus Uba and Odion-Esiri corroborated the President-General, assertion, according to them, since the recent attacks happened without any arrest, they have been living in fear and that they don’t know what will become of them the next minute since the police authority are turning a blind eye to the actions of the dissolved Bakassi boys.
Meanwhile, the monarch, Ajuvwe, Eruvwedede III, Ovie of Evwreni kingdom, in a telephone chat with our correspondent said that the matter is being handled by the Police Area Commander at Ughelli and would not want to speak to the press on the issue.
According to him, “Journalist this matter does not concern the press, the Ughelli Police Area Commander is handling the matter, and so, I don’t want the press to be involved, thank you.”
All efforts to speak to the chairman of the disbanded vigilante outfit (Bakassi) Tuesday Okwah aka (Adjuga) proved abortive when a call was put across to him, he said: “please I cannot speak to you now, I am very busy, call me by tomorrow,” and repeated calls to his mobile phone the next day were not answered.
Efforts to also speak with the Ughelli Police Area Commander, Mr Lawal Shinkafi didn’t yield the desired result, according to him, “I can’t speak to you on phone, if you can come over to my office, then we can talk,” he said.