As Umahi orders arrest of Ohaukwu LGA Chair, Ebonyi Assembly member, 22 others
By Peter Okutu – Abakaliki
No fewer than seven persons have been feared dead while many were seriously injured as aggrieved members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW clashed in Effium Community of Ohaukwu local government area of the state.
A source in the affected community explained that the clash was an upshoot of an existing leadership crisis in the Union.
According to the source, the faction of the Union from Effium clashed with the faction from Ezza Effium over sharing formula for the revenue generated from the park.
He said the clashes spilled into the community leading to casualties on both sides.
Houses, cars and other properties were also touched as the crisis spilled over into the community.
There was pandemonium in the community as the crisis escalated with many deserting the community to neighbouring communities.
Also, health workers and Staff of the National Population Commission, NPC, who were on assignment in the area were caught in the cross fire.
Following the incident, Ebonyi state government announced a ban on activities of the Union in Effium Motor Park on Saturday.
The Commissioner for Internal Security and Conflict Resolution in the state, Mr Stanley Okoroemegha announced the ban in Abakaliki.
Mr Emegha emphasized that the clashes engulfed the entire Effuim and Ezza Effium communities because the Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers in the area allowed politicians to meddle into the affairs of the Union.
According to him, Ohaukwu Local Government authorities would be mandated to take over the park where the incident emanated from.
“It was not something that happened on the grounds of IPOB neither was it a politically related matter. It was a National Transport Union case dragging the leadership of a motor park.
“It has been a matter I handled earlier before this time. The National Union of Road Transport Workers is an organisation recognised by the Federal government but has no right in our motor park because we discovered that what they were doing was not in tandem with the peace effort of the state government”, he said
The Commissioner said all government personnels on special National assignment in the community who were trapped by the crisis had been rescued while the area was calm following the deployment of security men.
“All the people trapped in the area not only health personnel but also staff of National Population Commission were safely evacuated. My office deployed security and vehicles on the directive of the Governor and all of them were rescued. No scratch on them and the place is calm now”
Mr Emegha said when he contacted the State Chairman of of the Union, he claimed to be out of the state and wondered why he should be absent from the state when his Union was in crisis.
He warned that the government would bring to book all the politicians whether serving in the government or in the opposition party who played a role in sparking up the crisis.
Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Aliyu Garba said over nine persons were critically injured and receiving treatment at the hospital.
He said some suspects had also been arrested while investigation continues into the matter.
“Actually it was my first litmus, but like I told you normalcy has been restored. We have lots of them that have been arrested and investigations are ongoing”
Mr Aliyu who visited the scene said normalcy had been restored as police operatives and personnel from sister Agencies have been moved into the community.
It was also gathered that Governor David Umahi despatched his Deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe who visited the area to calm the
Vanguard investigation revealed that the State Government invited the underlisted stakeholders of Effium, in Ohaukwu Local Government Area to am emergency security meeting with the Deputy Governor , Barr Eric Kelechi on Sunday 24th January, 2021 at Old Exco Chambers, Old Government House, Abakaliki.
The stakeholders include: My Lord the Chief Judge of Ebonyi state, Hon Justice AA.Nwaigwe, Member Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Chief Chinese Awo, Chairman of Ohaukwu LGA, Barr Clement Odaah, Hon Frank Onwe, Dr Ignatius Unah, Chief Nick Omenka, Barr Tony Ngwuta, Dr James Agenda, Alfred Onuoha, Prince Fidelis Agena, Barr JOJ Utobo, Pastor Emmanuel Olor, Mr Sunday Oguta, Barr Paul Awada, Mr Ben Elechi, Chief Bernard Ike, Ezekiel Unah.
Others are: Sunday Agbo, Eucharia Ogwale, Monday Umoke, Barr Nnabuife Abara, Chief Vincent Egbe, Dr. Chibugo Oketa, Mr Benjamin Eje, Mr. Ikechukwu Omena, Chief Dave Thomas, Mr. Amechi Alo, Sir Emmanuel Uzor, Chief Paul Okorie, Prof Mathias Onuma, Mr. Benjamin Agena, Mr Paul Elom, Mr Paul Nwafor, Mr Gabriel Ajagbo, the secretary to State Government/ Coordinating Commissioner, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala, Commissioner for Internal Security, Mr Stanley Okoro Emegha and All former Members of the House of Assembly, from Effium.
A source from the Old Government House, Abakaliki revealed that Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State in the cause of the Stakeholders Meeting ordered the arrest of 24 persons suspected to be involved in the crisis.
Those arrested have since been taken to the Police Headquarters, Abakaliki for questioning and detention.