Senseless killings in Igboeze North of Enugu State

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By Theo Rays

Enugu-EzikeIgboeze North, a densely populated Local Government Area in Enugu State has over the years produced bad news orchestrated by heartless daredevil criminals whose barbaric acts of killings do, not only contradict the affairs of normal human beings but depict them as people with cruel souls from the hell.

As horrible and worrisome the development is, Enugu Ezike, which is the heartbeat of the local government and a town known for peace and producing quality palm produce such as special palm wine, palm oil and palm kernel is now being associated with horrible stories.

The stories of several gruesome murders that have serially occurred in villages like Inyi, Umuagama, Okpo and lately, Amaja and Etteh are beyond human imagination. Take the case at Amaja where a couple, Marcel Abba Ossai and Jecinta, his wife, a breastfeeding mother, were gruesomely murdered in the midnight as an example. Why should people make out time to plan how to terminate the lives of a couple with the attendant ill of turning their children to orphans overnight?

What must have informed the decision of their killers to do that? Were the Ossais involved in land dispute or other forms of dispute with anybody? Were they indebted to anybody? Were they owners of a lucrative landed property or other property which an envious relative or neighbour are not comfortable with and are desperate to take over by all means? Were they suspect of criminal offence? Nobody can safely say yes to these questions because the couple were poor going by the standard of life they lived.

According to the traditional ruler of Amaja, His Royal Highness, Igwe Ignatius Idoko, alias Atlas, Ossai was a palm wine tapper along with mini cultivation of cassava, maize and yam. The wife was saddled with domestic responsibilities of cooking and harnessing palm produce. The late palm wine tapper was a member of Enugu State armless vigilante outfit known as Neighborhood Watch in Amaja. The story of their lives cannot move anybody to hunt after their lives.

As people are eagerly waiting for Police investigation over the Amaja incident, another latest cruel murder occurred on October 1, 2015 at Etteh also in Igboeze North as a group of men nicknamed Kogi Youths were said to have shot one Michael Abugu from Opanda Umuopu. Reports from Etteh have it that, the hoodlums called Kogi youths, deceitfully lured the deceased person to their place to carry out farming job for them, but on reaching the place they accused him of doing farm job for people they believe are Enugu State loyalists opposing those who are acclaimed Kogi State loyalists and shot him at close range and left him in a pool of his own blood somewhere called Unyi Etteh.

A crack team of policemen led by the Divisional Police Officer Enugu Ezike Police Station, made successful effort to arrest the principal suspect in the killing of Abugu. He is now detained at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Enugu State Police Command as Police continue investigation into the case.

It is of note that the lingering boundary dispute in Etteh where a section of the community are clamoring to be ceded to Kogi is a major source of security concern in Igboeze North. The dispute which has apparently divided the community into two factions made up of those loyal to Enugu State and another loyal to Kogi State has claimed many lives and also led to unwanton destruction of properties worth millions of Naira.

The boundary dispute along with series of gruesome murder of innocent people over the years including cases of kidnapping and armed robbery, all put together has exposed Igboeze North into a security flash point and arguably the most vulnerable council area in Enugu State. The council is conspicuously in the storm of barbaric serial killings and other criminal activities.

People are no more safe riding motorcycles around town for fear of these broad daylight thieves. Observers say the wanton killings are overshadowing criminal activities of armed thieves who snatch motorcycles in the market and along the road, and break into houses to steal cash and palm oil from vulnerable villagers.

The question is: what is the solution? In a petition to the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State on behalf of the family of Michael Abugu, who was killed in Etteh, Barr A.O. Ndubisi of A.O. Ndubisi & Co pointed out to the Enugu Police boss that Igboeze North deserves and requires thorough policing, absolute raiding and search for recovery of these fire arms they use in perpetrating crimes.

According to Ndubisi, the Police should carry out detailed investigation to unravel the suspects in the brutal killing of Abugu and bring them to justice with deserved punishment to serve as deterrent to other potential criminals in the area.

According to the lawyer, bringing criminals to book would scare away others from delving into crime. The Police and government of Enugu State as well as the people of Igboeze North should put extra efforts to put an end to these practice of man’s inhumanity to man in Igboeze.

The people have to be at the forefront. First, to provide useful information to the Police and fish out jobless youths and interrogate them. Secondly, to support families of victims to provide all it takes to fight for justice.

Also, the people have to look into the state recognized vigilante outfit known as Neighborhood Watch with a view to improving on the quality of its operation. Investigation shows that some of them do not have functional telephones. Those who have, suffer low battery due to lack of access to steady electricity supply.

Altogether, there should be more police outlets. One police station is not enough for a large sized local government such as Igboeze North.

Rays writes from Enugu Ezike, Enugu State

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