The controversy and buck passing elicited by the recent shooting at the headquarters of Njaba local government area, Nnenasa which resulted in the death of two traditional rulers has continued unabated as the Interim Management Council Chairman, Hon Emeka Iheanacho has faulted the claim of the police who said they were not informed about the meeting hence adequate security was not provided for a gathering of such high profile individuals.
Ihenanacho in a statement he personally signed commiserated with the people of Okwudor and Ihebinowere autonomous communities and the entire people of Njaba L.G.A over the death of Eze Barr. A. E Durueburuo, Obi II of Okwudor and HRH, Eze S.C. Osunwa, Ugo I of Ihebinowere, who were killed by unknown gunmen during a meeting of traditional rulers in the area.
He narrated how the police who had been deployed to the council headquarters since September 20, 2021 in view of the tense security situation in the state were also notified about the meeting three days earlier as a matter of protocol.
The statement reads in part, “I would have addressed my good people of Njaba LGA since two days ago the incident happened, but we have been deeply engaged in the battle to ensure that the 3 traditional rulers who sustained various degrees of gunshot injuries during the attack are given proper and urgent medical attention in a good hospital to prevent the loss of any other life. I am happy that they are responding positively to treatment and I pray for them and also wish them quick recovery.
“Following the directive of Imo State Government to convene a stakeholders meeting(between Monday 18th and Wednesday 20th October) aimed at receiving the priority needs and proposed projects from every community for 2022 Imo State budget, I consulted the Member Representing Njaba State Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly Hon. Amb. Uju Onwudiwe and we jointly agreed to fix the meeting on Tuesday 19/10/2021. The Interim Management Committee(IMC) of Njaba LGA also scheduled two other major programs in the Council same day. They included:
(1)Free distribution of 20,000 exercise books to public primary school pupils and secondary school students through the heads of the schools.
(2) My monthly meeting with the traditional rulers of the LGA.
On Monday 18th October, I had notified the Operation Search and Flush police team led by one ASP Nwankwo about the said programs scheduled for the next day Tuesday 19th October and also requested for their presence at the council headquarters during the programs. The team leader assured me that they would come.
It is also worthy of note that this particular team of Police men had been officially posted to Njaba LGA, since 20th September 2021, to work permanently in Njaba LGA. Therefore my notification to them about the programs of the Council is a mere fulfilment of protocols because Njaba LGA is their workplace.
However, on Tuesday 19/10/2021, the police team came to the Council Headquarters for the programs as we agreed. But shortly before the commencement of the programs, the police team leader came to my office and informed me that their Commander instructed them to return back to Owerri. I refused to allow them to leave the council to avoid jeopardising the security of lives and properties in the Council. After some arguments with them, they finally left my office and told me that they would be back in two hours. The H.O.D Works of the Council, Mr Emeka Uneanya, a gateman working in the Council, Mr Ernest Okorochukwu and few others were witnesses to my argument with the police team leader in my office.
Our meetings and programs nevertheless commenced immediately the police left, as we hoped on their return as they had promised.
The distribution of the exercise books and Stakeholders meeting lasted for about three hours, yet we did not see the police. I then called the team leader to know why they have not come back, but he told me that his commander had not yet released them. And this is verifiable.
Our usual monthly meeting with the traditional rulers, which happened to be the last program for the day, was about to be concluded when we saw some armed men approaching the Council hall where the meeting was taking place. The unknown gunmen on reaching the door to the hall opened fire and shot at some of us as we scampered for safety.
Unfortunately, the two traditional rulers lost their lives in the incident. Three traditional rulers also sustained gunshot injuries. This incident took place few minutes after 3pm”.