The Youth Leader of Ogwuaniocha Community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, Mr Uche Onyedi, has said the kidnappers of its traditional ruler attacked the community on Friday night killing no fewer than four persons and burning over 50 houses.
Onyedi alleged that since the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Oliver Nnaji, was abducted about six weeks ago, the kidnappers had been visiting the community and causing mayhem.
He disclosed that the corpses of the four persons killed were taking away while an elderly man was also taken away after the hoodlums burnt his house.
The elders of the community had staged a protest in Awka on Friday due to the level of insecurity in the place.
Speaking with our correspondent on Saturday, Onyedi said following the protest by members of the community, the men invaded the community again.
He said, “On Friday night, the men attacked our community and the vigilante team, killing four people and burning over 50 houses. They went away with the corpses and also took an elderly man away after burning down his house. Up until now, we don’t know where they took him to.
“Right now, as we are speaking, the men (hoodlums) are still parading the community with fuel and burning down houses. We have called on security agencies, none of them is responding.
“I called the Commissioner of Police and he said they were sending their men, but up until now, we have not seen any security personnel.
“We need government presence in our community because we are helpless. While people are celebrating Christmas today, our community is deserted because people are fleeing. We are likely considering staging another protest as the ones we have done are not yielding any desired results.”
Also speaking, the Secretary, Ogwuaniocha Community Association, Mr Chukwudioha Franklin, explained that the problem started since the discovery of oil in the community, which he alleged that the Lion Squad wanted to be in control of the proceeds.
Franklin accused the state government of only being interested in the oil and thereby playing “politics” with the people’s lives.
He said, “We have been sending messages to the state government and the security agencies to tell them to stop playing politicising with people’s lives and declare the abductors wanted, but all our pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
“I spoke with the SSG this (Saturday) morning, he told me that he had directed the security agents and that they are on top of it, but they are not on top of anything. The government is only interested in the oil that has been found in our community, which has made the state one of the oil producing states. They are not interested in protecting the lives of the people.
“We are seriously helpless. The government is nonchalant over our plight. Come to Ogwuaniocha today that is Christmas, it looks like a desert; the people are fleeing their homes. We are not celebrating. How can a small group of individuals kidnap a traditional ruler, till now, the government has not declared them wanted
“All of them are interested in the oil, the government wanted to make the state an oil producing state which they have achieved through the discovery of oil in our community and the efforts of our abducted ruler, but they don’t care about the welfare of the people.
“As we speak, there is a faceoff between the abductors and the community’s vigilante group.”
When the police spokesman, Mr Ikenga Tochukwu, was contacted on the issue, he simply replied, “I have no information on this please.”
The calls to the phone number of the Secretary to the State Government, Solo Chukwulobelu was not picked as of the time of filing this report.