By Nwabueze Okonkwo
Clouds of dust raised by the shooting and killing of Uchenna Udoh, an automobile mechanic and native of Abatete Community in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, appeared to be dying down, following the ongoing peace talks between the authorities of security forces, Abatete Town Union, the state government, bereaved Udoh’s family and the restive youths in the area.
A combined team of security forces, including the Police, Army, Navy, Civil Defense and vigilante operatives had, while in a convoy of routine patrol, met Udoh at Eke Agu market, Abatete, on the fateful day, ordered him to come closer for a search but, out of fear, he took to his heels and one of the security personnel shot him dead, accusing him of being a member of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB.
Consequently, youths in Abatete, both indigenes and non-indigenes revolted at once, embarked on a violent demonstration in protest against Udoh’s killing on mere suspicion, went on a rampage, and started destroying properties at the palace of the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Charles Emeka Efobi who was not even in town.
The irate youths also stormed the palace of the traditional prime minister of Abatete (Onowu and Obi of Agbaja Quarters), Pius Ezigwe, and the compound of the President-General,PG of Abatete Development Organization, ADO, Chief Lawrence Okoye and destroyed some existing structures, which prompted the police to descend heavily on them, arrested some, and clamped them into detention.
However, the monarch and town union leaders pardoned the youths and took them on bail, despite the quantum of damages they perpetrated at the Igwe’s and Onowu’s palaces, to enable the peace talks to continue in earnest.
At the last count of the peace talks, the state government was said to have agreed to pay compensation for killing Udoh by the security forces over mistaken identity.