By Anayo Okoli & Chidi Nkwopara
Imo state residents have expressed anger and condemned the most recent brutal murder of security personnel at Umualumaku community, Ehime Mbano lamenting that some areas in the state were fast becoming ungoverned territories.
This is just as Ohaneze Ndigbo, the Igbo apex social cultural body, has also condemned killings in Igboland describing them as a sad development.
In his reaction, a resident, Nze James Eke said: “I totally condemn the incessant killings in the state. They don’t promote our humanity in anyway.
Our human values are at risk of extinction, every killing diminishes our human essence, either ordinary innocent civilians or security personnel.”
Another concerned citizen from Orsu local council area of the state, lamented that: “Apart from Owerri Municipal and greater part of Owerri Zone, the other zones of the state, Okigwe and Orlu, have been lost to criminal elements of all shades and characters.
No reason is enough to explain or justify why the criminal elements are engaging in wanton killings and destruction of properties.
The security officials are targeted and eliminated in order to unlawfully collect their arms and ammunition. Cannibalism and other forms of barbarian traits, have become the vogue.” On what should be done to remedy the situation, the citizen said: “There must be a coordinated effort by state and national authorities, to flush out the criminals.
The danger is real.” Enugu, Abia and Anambra residents tell sad tales every week. Anambra Police Commissioner only last week celebrated the rescue of some local government areas from the hold of insurgents.
Apparently supporting the views of the citizen from Orsu, an indigene of Ihube in Okigwe Local Government area, described the situation in his area as “lamentable”.
His words: “Six out of the 11 INEC wards in Okigwe local government area, namely Ihube, Aku, Umulolo, Agbogbu, Amuro, Umuawa Ibu wards, are in firm control and occupation of the bandits. “Countless people, male, female, old and young, have been beheaded, killed or made to disappear. There is no school, no church, no meetings, no gatherings of any sort. Burials are only allowed to be held after settlement with the criminal elements.
“Countless number of houses of prominent people and suspected informants, have been completely burnt down. Homes are being looted. The security agencies are aware. Sadly, although elections did not hold in these wards, in the last general election, voodoo votes were manufactured in these ghost wards, to produce winners in the House of Assembly and Senate elections!” He recalled with grief, how a hapless woman was burnt alive and houses of prominent persons in the area burnt to ashes.
According to him, “in the early hours of Tuesday, February 21, 2023, unidentified gunmen stormed the Amagu Ihube country home of the Imo State Commissioner of Youth and Sports, Mr. Emeka Okoronkwo, and burnt it. Professor Nnamdi Obiaraeri, a former Dean, Faculty of Law, Imo State University, Owerri, also lost his home in a similar manner. Apparently not satisfied with damage done in the community, the rampaging hoodlums equally descended on the country home of a retired Director, Department of State Services, DSS, Mr. Emeka Ngwu, and burnt it. An old woman, who was in Ngwu’s house, was burnt in the process!”
Meanwhile, President General, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, in a statement said: “My heart bleeds at the sad events in Igbo land where Igbos are for the first time killing fellow Igbos.
“I am equally very distressed by the rate at which the Nigerian security operatives are killed not only in Igboland but all over the country. Worse still is the suspected reprisal attack where innocent Igbo sons and daughters from Mbano in Imo State have found their lives and means of livelihood completely destroyed.
“This situation is completely unacceptable to me. It is unacceptable to Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and indeed unacceptable to all honest, right thinking and patriotic Nigerians.
I condemn it in strong terms. I am sending a team immediately under the Chairmanship of Barrister CJ Ihemedu, the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Imo State Chapter to give me a comprehensive report on the matter. I call on the Federal Government to fish out the perpetrators of this heinous crime and make sure they face the law.
“I also urge the Federal Government to put in place necessary security measures to forestall the re-occurrence of this sad event.
“Similar incidents have occurred in all the states of Southeast. As at now there seems to be no solution as the matter is even getting worse. Ohanaeze Ndigbo is right now undertaking a total transformation of Igbo land. By this transformation, more job opportunities will be created in Igboland for school leavers; and infrastructure for businessmen and women.
“Meanwhile, I wish on behalf of all Igbos worldwide, to express our deep sympathy to the families of the security men who were gruesomely murdered. We also sympathise with our people in Mbano Imo state whose shops and houses were destroyed during the reprisal attack. I pray the Almighty God to take control of events in Igbo land so that we will once more enjoy peace, happiness and prosperity in our land”.