The blame for the recent massacre of seven persons at Mnahu autonomous community in Ohaji/Egbema local government area of Imo State, including the President General, Secretary and other executives of the community’s town union have been laid at the door step of the traditional ruler of the area, HRH, Eze Augustine Iwuogu.
The Councilor representing the ward at the Ohaji/Egbema interim management Council, Hon Camilus Okoro sad this in a chat with Nigeria Newspaper yesterday recalled that he was the elected President General of the Town Union before former Gov Okorocha’s announcement that dissolved all elected Town Union executives in the state aborted his tenure.
He said, “however, when the state government appointed town union executives in the 30 autonomous communities in Ohaji/Egbema L.G.A our traditional ruler vowed that he would neither recognize nor work with those appointed for Mmehu.
At a point, to avoid a stalemate, I went to him and pleaded that he allows the sleeping dog to lie but he refused. When I reminded him of the need to obey government directive, he said that government can’t tell him who to work with and how to run his community.”
“As if that wasn’t enough, the late President General, Ezinna Charles Mgbaraho went with Presidents General of other communities to beg him to allow them work with him but he refused”.
Continuing, he said, “thereafter, the Monarch summoned the President General and other members of the Town Union executive to a meeting. But unknown to them, some of the ex-convicts who escaped from the Owerri Correctional Centre during the recent jail break who he has been harboring were at the backyard. But one Mr Athanatius Nwokocha who knew about their stay in the Eze’s palace notified the town union executives who quickly left the palace. The next day, Nwokocha was found dead, probably, for leaking the Eze’s secret plot.”
Another incident that made tongues to wag in the community was the death of a Chief who condemned the presence of prison escapees in the community pointing out that it was since their arrival that assassinations became rampant in the area.
“After making that statement, he was killed the next day by unknown persons.”
In January this year, some leaders of the community who alongside the Monarch are opposed to the appointment of the present town union executives by the state government, met with the Eze in Port Harcourt where they wrote a petition to the police against the President General and his executive.
In the petition, they alleged that their unpopular appointments are instrumental to the incessant killings in the area, moreso, when the Eze has continually vowed that he will never recognize nor work with them.”
On Thursday last week, they wrote another petition which prompted police to invite the Town Union executives who made statements accusing the monarch, the member representing Ohaji/Egbema state constituency in the Imo state house of assembly Hon Hercules Okoro who were briefly detained and later released of fomenting trouble in the community.”.
Speaking on the nature of the latest attack which claimed seven lives, the Councilor who narrowly escaped death said, “the criminals went to the house of the town union President, and shot him dead, went to the house of the secretary and other executives and shot them in quick succession. When they came to my house, they couldn’t gain entrance because it is well protected and fortified. They went to my father’s house and shot indiscriminately. In the process, my younger brother was killed.”
It was gathered that Osita Ogbiri, a notorious prison escapee and his 7-man killer gang comprising Obinna Asobia, Livingstone Abaizem, Ugo Neabugwu and other killed the PG, Ezinna Charles Mgbaraho, secretary, Chastity Nwachukwu, the PRO Chinedu Anene, and four others name Edeme Okoro, Isaac Ojenya, Ndubuishi Okereke and Ifeyirinwoke Junior.
According to a source, “on 24th August 2020 the Imo State Governor Sen. Hope Uzodinma through the TC (Transaction committee) chairman of Ohaji/ Egbema LGA Marcel Amadioha appointed Charles Mgbaraho and his team as executives of Mmahu town union.
It was said that Eze Augustine .I. Iwuogu on receiving the list of the appointees from governor Uzodinma “swore that it will be over his dead body that he will allow the appointees to function in Mmahu community”.
The source recalled that the same appointment was made by the former state Governor, Sen. Rochas Okorocha during his tenure and it was accepted by Eze Iwuogu. But it is surprising that the same is becoming a nightmare to the entire Mmahu autonomous community since the Eze vowed that he will not live to allow governor Uzodinma’s appointees function as town union leaders.
The source further narrated that the gang allegedly started by killing the Government appointed deputy youth president Uche Nwokocha on 6th June 2021, on 15th June 2021, Onyekachi Ugwuoha was killed by same gang, and on 4th July 2021, Athanatius Nwokocha, uncle to Uche Nwokocha was killed for supporting the government appointed team.”
The Imo State Police Command in a release issued by its spokesperson, Mike Abattam on the incident, said on 08/02/2022 at about 2200 hours, one “Ossy,” led about twenty armed men with their faces masked to Mmaahu Community in Ohaji Egbema LGA of Imo State, went to the following identified persons houses namely ; Charles Mgbarahor, Funky Anane, Charity Nwachukwu, Edeme Okoro, Isaac Ojenya , Ndubuisi Nwabusi, and Junior Ifeyinwoke , shot and killed them .
The Divisional Police Officer on receipt of this information immediately, mobilised his men and other patrol teams to the area, on arrival at the scene, the hoodlums have deserted the place , leaving seven persons dead.
Preliminary investigation, revealed that the killing has elements of cultism. And that “Ossy” is an escapee from Imo Correctional Centre Owerri who is reasonably to to a cult group known as “De- Gbam”. While the persons killed are suspected to belong to another cult group known as “De- Well”.
The police further stated that they have deployed additional tactical units to the community to support the operation of the Egbema Police Division and Area Command to forestall a repraisal attack.
The Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command, CP Rabiu Hussaini, psc while calling for calm in the community, directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police incharge State Intelligence investigation Department ( SCID ) to immediately, commenced a discreet investigation with a mandate to fish out the perpetrators behind this dastardly act.
Effort to reach the traditional ruler for his reaction was unsuccessful as his phone line was unavailable.