.Text of press conference by Ekweremadu group on political thuggery in Enugu

As police repel attack on Ogrute police division

Igbo youths give Army 7 days to arrest abductors of Methodist Prelate

Demand resignation of COAS

By Ikechukwu Odu & Steve Oko, NSUKKA

Palpable fear has gripped the residents of Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State as hooded  gunmen on Saturday, embarked on political vendetta in the communities.

Vanguard gathered that after  police personnel attached to the Ogrute Police Division in the council area repelled an attack by the gunmen on its facilities, the hooded gunmen visited the homes of political figureheads in the local government where they shot sporadically into the air.

Among those they visited was the home of a royal father and the traditional ruler of Aji Ancient Kingdom, HRH, Igwe Simeon Osisi Itodo, who is also the father of the Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area chairman, Prince Ejike Itodo.

Others are the country home of a lawmaker representing Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency, Simon Atigwe, also in Aji community and the workshop of the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Mass Transit, Matthew Adonu, at Mkpamte, also in the council area, where they killed two police personnel and collected their guns on Friday.

HRH, Igwe Itodo, who spoke to Vanguard on the incident said the gunmen came in the night of Friday and Saturday morning to his residence and were shooting sporadically.

The monarch said that he was still recovering from the shock of the incident in an undisclosed hospital as his blood pressure rose beyond normalcy.

Confirming the incident, the spokesperson of   Enugu State Police Command, Daniel Ndukwe, said that a crack team of the Command’s Tactical Operatives has been deployed to the council area to forestall reoccurrence, adding that no life was lost in the incident of Saturday.

The statement read: “In the early hours of today, 04/06/2022, yet-to-be-identified masked gunmen operating in a green-coloured Sienna vehicle, attempted to attack Igbo-Eze North Police Station at Ogrute, but were repelled by Police operatives after a gun duel. The escaping hoodlums shot sporadically in an attempt to create panic in some locations of the area. However, no casualty was recorded.

“Meanwhile, a crack team of the Command’s Tactical Operatives, have been deployed to the area to forestall re-occurrence and fish out the assailants; while residents of the area and members of the public, in general, have been enjoined to be law-abiding, vigilant and volunteer credible information/intelligence the Police require to clampdown on the hoodlums.”

Meanwhile, some residents who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said   the incident has affected social and commercial activities in the local government area due to the fear of the unknown.

Igbo youths give Army 7 days to arrest abductors of Methodist Prelate

Meantime, Igbo youths under the aegis of Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, the umbrella body of all the youth groups in the southeast geopolitical zone, have issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Nigeria Army to fish out abductors of the Methodist Church Prelate, His Eminence Samuel Uche.

COSEYL which strongly condemned the sad incident also demanded the immediate resignation of the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, if after seven days the abductors of the Prelate and his co-victims were not apprehended.

The ultimatum is coming barely 47 hours after youths in Umunneochi called for the dismantling of the Army checkpoint at Lomara junction, alleging that kidnappers suspected to be herders operate almost unchallenged under the nose of the soldiers at the checkpoint who they also accused of frustrating efforts by the locals to comb the surrounding bush in search of the criminals.

COSEYL in a statement by its President-General, Goodluck Ibem, described the abduction of the Prelate as a big slap too hot to be stomached.

The statement made available to Vanguard read in part: ” COSEYL in strongest terms condemn the abduction of the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Rev. Samuel Uche Kalu by terrorists parading as herdsmen in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State.

“The abduction of a highly respected leader of the Methodist Church and other Ministers with him in Igboland by terrorists is the height of insult against Christianity and Igbo Nation.

“If it was Igbo youths that committed such crime by kidnapping their religious leader in the North, will they have accepted it lying low? The answer is no.

“It is worrisome that such evil practice will be going on in Umunneochi that harbours so many military formations and checkpoints on her roads and these criminals will be operating freely without being apprehended by the army who are always on duty.

“This kind of disgraceful act is going on in Abia State because the army has abandoned her primary  duty of providing security and resorted to  collection of bribe on our roads and the authorities of the army look the other way which is a tacit approval of the illicit activities of the soldiers.

“The Nigerian Army that used to be highly respected by Nigerians is now a mockery as they even give “change” to motorists. The act of collecting bribes by the army is too shameful!.

“The kidnapping of people by terrorists parading as herdsmen along Enugu – Port Harcourt expressway and Umunneochi has been going on for a very long time without any arrest made by the army.

“We have never heard of the army arresting any Fulani man for the crime. Only Igbo youths are arrested and sometimes tagged IPOB members and extrajudicially killed without trial. Is the Nigerian army  now serving ethnic interests? Too sad!.

“We call on the army to stop threatening the Prelate of Methodist Church, His Eminence Rev. Samuel Uche Kalu for saying the truth about what he saw with his own eyes or what transpired between him and the Fulani terrorists in our bush. The action of the army amount to pouring salt on an injury. 

“Harassing such a highly respected Man of God will not be condoned by Christians. It is purely uncalled for.

“We give the Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya 7 days ultimatum to fish out perpetrators of these dastardly acts or he should resign if he can’t perform the duties for which he is paid for with taxpayers money. Throwing blames here and there will not be entertained”.

The Army has denied any culpability in the abduction of the Prelate or spate of kidnapping for ransom in the South East.

Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, had in a statement, dismissed as mischievous and blackmail, insinuations that soldiers in South East were compromised.          

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.