Chief Valentine Ugbala on Hospital bed, after the deadly attack.

Bizarre!Kidnappers Invade Catholic Church In Orlu, Target, Valentino Escapes Death By The Whiskers

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-Imo Accountant  general’s brother shot dead

By Martin Opara

The issue of insecurity in the state, especially around Orlu axis and environ that has  recently dominated  the front burner of  public discourse, seems to  have negated the sanctity of human life and sacredness of God’s altar as kidnappers recently invaded St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Okporo and attempted to kidnap Chief Valentino Ibenye Ugballa, KSM, a philanthropist and illustrious son of the community for ransom.

Narrating his ordeal, Valentino, (Ikukuoma) who hails from Amanator Okporo, in Orlu L.G.A went to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on five different invitations comprising, invitation from the Parish Priest Rev Fr, Kenneth, for church harvest, for child dedication, memorial service of his friend’s late father, special thanksgiving of a family friend and the 50th wedding anniversary of Chief Linus Igwe.

The Italy based business mogul said he was at St Joseph for the  6.30am mass and joined the three above mentioned groups  for  thanksgiving and was waiting for the 5th person and to give the church his  donation for the harvest before leaving.

Later, the fifth person, he was waiting for, Chief Linus Igwe called him and pleaded that he waits for his own church service scheduled for 9.30am, hence he went to St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, for other invitations, after which he rushed back to St. Joseph’s for Chief Igwe’s 50th wedding anniversary mass and the harvest donation. “As I drove inside the church premises with my sister’s daughter in search of a parking space, as there was a a security personnel or MOD at the car park, I noticed some boys on a motorcycle enter the car park. Suddenly four other motorcycles also came into the car park, instead of the place made for motorcycles to park. All the motorcycles had no plate/ identification numbers. One of them jumped down and pointed a gun at me and ordered me to quietly follow them or they would shoot at me. It was then I realized that they were kidnappers. I tried to attract attention but no one came. When  I refused to follow them, they  pounced on me, tore my clothes,  heat the gun on my head repeatedly, collected my two phones, wrist watch, neckless, and cash of N1.150m and eight hundred and fifty dollars ($850). After much beating, I managed to enter the  church auditorium and they  followed me inside the chuch for more than one hour. When the church called the police, they all ran away before their arrival LEAVING one of their motorcycles behind.”

He said it was the Amanator vigilante group and a special squad from the police, and DCP, Benneth Igwe from Akatta who sent his boys to  rescue  him and take him  to  the hospital where he is still to receiving treatment.

He thanked God that he is alive and can identify some of the kidnappers while some parishioners also identified others.

The kidnappers, were said to have on the same day, shot the Imo State Accountant General’s brother, Mr Obieze, an indigene of Akata in Oru-East to death. The deceased was said to be driving in his Toyota Hilux car when the kidnappers ran into him, shot him and escaped with his vehicle.

The hoodlums were also said to have terrorized the entire area, including Okporo, Akata and Omuma,  where the Governor comes from.

A source who pleaded anonymity said, “the situation has become frightening and worrisome. There is presently a stampede as all our prominent sons and daughters have gone into hiding. No politician or dignitary can ever go out freely now as that would amount to taking big risk.”

In a similar development which prompted the Anambra police command to response to a report that one of the casualties was killed in Ihiala.The release signed by the command’s PPRO, CSP Haruna Mohammed, said their attention has been drawn to a trending video clip that has gone viral on the social media. The said video is said to have shown a white Toyota Hilux car with registration No. Kogi BJK 527-AA with two male occupants fatally which injured, the recorder claimed happened in Ihiala LGLA, of Anambra state.

The release described the report as misleading, “as the preliminary investigation conducted by the Anambra State police command, revealed that the alleged incident took place at Awo Idemili, in Orsu L.G.A of Imo State. The victims were only rushed to Our Lady of Lords Hospital, Ihiala, where they were confirmed dead by medical personnel. Meanwhile the Divisional Police Officer where the incident occurred had since commenced investigation into circumstances surrounding the it.”

Recall, that Nigeria Watchdog newspaper in it’s January 2 2021 edition lamented the increasing rate of insecurity in Orlu and called on state government, police and other relevant agencies and institutions to urgently rise up to the challenge before it deteriorates to a level where it will defy every solution in the long run just like the Boko Haram menace.

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