Dust over murder of secretary for creation of Adada state

•Ugwuanyi sets up commission of inquiry

By Francis Igata, Enugu

Pandemonium eclipsed the frenzy that heralded the last Yuletide at Okwojo Ngwo community located about eight kilometers on the outskirts of Enugu metropolis following the gruesome murder of the Secretary of the Movement for the Actualization of Adada State, Ejimofor Ozongwu two days to the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Ozongwu who is an Enugu- based lawyer was brutally murdered at about 2 pm that fateful day by yet-to-be identified hoodlums over a disputed piece of land in his village, Okwojo Ngwo.

Irked by the dastardly act, the Enugu State Governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has vowed to activate government machinery to unmask the killers and forestall the occurrence of such killings in any part of the state. The governor’s mien at the deceased’s compound showed that he had lost sleep since the nerve racking news broke.

Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi  flanked by Chief Dubem Onyia, Mr. Chime Oji (left) and the Chief of Staff, Government House, Enugu, Sir Victor Atuonwu (right), during a visit to the site where Ozongwu was murdered.
Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi flanked by Chief Dubem Onyia, Mr. Chime Oji (left) and the Chief of Staff, Government House, Enugu, Sir Victor Atuonwu (right), during a visit to the site where Ozongwu was murdered.

The governor who was accompanied to the compound with the member representing Enugu North/South Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Mr. Chime Oji, the former Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Chief Dubem Onyia, former State Commissioner for Justice, Chief Anthony Ani, SAN, and other leaders of thought in the area, described the late lawyer as a good citizen of Enugu State who had championed the cause for the creation of Adada State.

Speaking at the visit, a community leader, Ozo Ramsey Onyia described late Ozongwu as a, “liberator to the community”, adding that what happened to him was beyond the issue of land dispute. He said that the late lawyer had since the early 90’s been protecting the interest of the villagers especially the downtrodden/ He was optimistic that the governor’s visit will go a long way to address the issue to the satisfaction of the people of the community and the general public at large.

Killed two days to Christmas
A version of the story scooped by Vanguard Metro, VM claimed that the late lawyer went to inspect the disputed land when he sighted his opponents in the dispute and reportedly fired some gun shots to scare them away.
It was alleged that Ozongwu in the course of scaring them, wounded the President- General of the town union, whose supporters then pursued him and killed him.
Another version claimed that a group of youths in the area sighted him while inspecting the land, pursued him and killed him before over running his corpse with a vehicle to make sure that he would not be revived.

Police angle
Operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad,SARS, Enugu Police Command said they have arrested two suspects in connection with the gruesome murder of the deceased.

Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP, Ebere Amaraizu confirmed the arrest to VM  adding that the names of the suspects would not be revealed for obvious security reasons.

Govt. sets up commission of inquiry
Determined to unravel the root cause of the killing, Governor Ugwuanyi last Monday, set up a Commission of Inquiry into the incident. The Governor called on perpetrators and sponsors of acts likely to cause the breakdown of law and order in the state to desist from such behavior. He warned that the state  government would invoke the full weight of the law on such persons.

Inaugurating members of the commission, he explained that the constitution of the commission is in consonance with the policy of his administration to vigorously promote security and rule of law. The governor who expressed confidence in the calibre, competence and experience of the members of the commission headed by Hon. Justice F.C. Obieze (rtd), requested them to discharge their duties effectively and satisfactorily. He tasked them to among other things, determine immediate and remote causes of the disturbances and make appropriate recommendations that would ensure justice and lead to the permanent resolution of the crisis

Gov. Ugwuanyi called all members of the community and all concerned parties to give the commission the necessary support to succeed in its assignment. He declared that his administration is committed to the protection of lives and property of the people.

In his response, the Chairman of the Commission, Justice Obieze (rtd), thanked the governor for finding them worthy to serve and assured him of their readiness to discharge their duties creditably
and to the glory of God.

Other members of the commission include Mr. Amechi Okolo, a lawyer, Ambassador Justice Eze, Mrs. May Anayo Enechukwu, also a lawyer and Dr. Anayo Ede who serves as counsel to the commission.

It would be recalled that Ugwuanyi had last Saturday, paid an unscheduled visit to the warring communities of Umuode and Oruku in Nkanu-East Local Government Area of the State where unknown arsonists razed the Parish House of St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Umuode. Luckily, the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Chris Ikegwuonu escaped death as he was away on missionary activities when the hoodlums struck.


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