There is pandemonium in Oruku Community in Nkanu East local government of Enugu State after gunmen on Saturday morning reportedly killed the President-General of the Town Union, Chief Linus Nwatu. The assailants according to Community sources stormed Nwatu’s residence early Saturday morning and murdered him in cold blood. His murder has brought the killings to eight of prominent residents of the community by gunmen in recent times.
One of the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity to Easterner said that Chief Nwatu, a retired police officer, was shot dead in the early morning of Saturday by gunmen who broke into his house where he resided with his family members. The source regretted that the President-General was killed on a day that the community had scheduled to bury a member of the town’s neighbourhood watch, Mr. Dennis Ike (a.k.a Peace), who was shot dead by gunmen in the town on June 6, 2022.
Easterner had reported the killing of Mr Ike by the gunmen who were reportedly laid ambushed shot dead while he was riding his motorcycle at the time. Another source who spoke with the Easterner alluded that the hoodlums may be on a mission to forestall the burial of the slain Ike, which was slated for today (Saturday), by killing the President General today.
The attack on Nwatu was not unconnected with his role in the lingering communal conflict in Oruku, which the Enugu State government has failed to resolve over the years, said the source. The traditional ruler of Oruku community, Igwe Emmanuel Mbah and several natives had been murdered by hoodlums loyal to a faction in the communal dispute from December 2020 till date. The traditional ruler was assassinated on December 26, 2020 and his killers are yet to be brought to book. The assassination later sparked a disorder that caused destruction of lives and property in the community prompting Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to institute a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate Mbah’s killing.
The murdered Town Union President, Chief Nwatu, had alleged while testifying before the commission that “23 collaborators and sponsors were fueling cultist activities in Oruku” to destroy lives and property.
He had urged the commission headed by Justice Harold Eya to look into the names listed in his memorandum as the masterminds of Oruku crisis and bring them to book. The Justice Harold Eya panel had since submitted its findings to Governor Ugwuanyi but the government has yet to make the report public and take necessary steps to restore lasting peace in the area. As a result, many natives who deserted the community following series of attacks and arson, have not returned to their homes while those who remained in Oruku and neigbouring towns have continued to exist in fear though security operatives conduct patrol activities in the area periodically. Another community source who lamented the incessant killing of members of the community by people, he claimed their identities were known while the government pays no attention. He said that eight leaders of the community have so far been killed by the same gang.
The source gave the names of those killed in less than two years as “Igwe Emmanuel Mba, Hon. Linus Nwatu, Mr. Samuel Ani, Mr. Okechukwu Ogbodo, Mr. Calistus Amushi, Mr. Dennis Ike, Mr. Zik Mba and Mr. Okenwa Mbah.
“Their killers have vowed to kill us all and the government is doing nothing about it. The governor deceived us that he was making peace and abandoned us to be extinguished by Raymond Okenwa, Moses Nnamani and others.”
Meanwhile, efforts to get reaction of the Enugu State Police Command were unsuccessful as the Command’s spokesman, Daniel Ndukwe, could not be reached as the phone indicated switched off.