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Residents of Enugu State’s Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area have been besieged by visceral terror after masked gunmen unleashed a political retaliation in the neighborhoods on Saturday.
According to The Eastern Updates, the hooded gunmen visited the residences of political nominal-head in the local government and shot sporadically into the air after police forces attached to the Ogrute Police Division in the council area impeded an attack by the assailants on its facilities.
The residence of HRH, Igwe Simeon Osisi Itodo, the traditional monarch of Aji Ancient Kingdom and the father of the chairman of Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area, Prince Ejike Itodo, was among those visited by the gunmen.
Other locations include the country home of Simon Atigwe, a legislator representing Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency, also in Aji community, and the workshop of Matthew Adonu, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Mass Transit, at Mkpamte, also in the council area, where they killed two police officers and acquired their guns on Friday.
According to HRH, Igwe Itodo, the gunmen arrived around his apartment late Friday night and early Saturday morning and shot sporadically.
The monarch stated that he was still recuperating from the shock of the emergence in an unidentified hospital as his blood pressure rose above normal.
Enugu State Police Command spokesperson Daniel Ndukwe said a special squad of the Command’s Tactical Operatives had been dispatched to the council area to prevent a reoccurrence, emphasizing that no one was killed in the Saturday event.
The statement read: ‘In the early hours of today, 04/06/2022, yet-to-be-identified masked gunmen operating in a green-colored Sienna vehicle, attempted to attack Igbo-Eze North Police Station at Ogrute, but were repelled by Police operatives after a gun duel. The escaping hoodlums shot sporadically in an attempt to create panic in some locations of the area. However, no casualty was recorded’.
‘Meanwhile, a crack team of the Command’s Tactical Operatives, have been deployed to the area to forestall re-occurrence and fish out the assailants; while residents of the area and members of the public, in general, have been enjoined to be law-abiding, vigilant and volunteer credible information/intelligence the Police require to clampdown on the hoodlums’.
Moreover, other people who talked to the Eastern Updates and asked to remain anonymous, said the incident had a negative impact on social and business ventures in the local government area because of feeling of insecurity.
Igbo youths gave the Army seven days to incapacitate the abductors of the Methodist Prelate.
Meanwhile, Igbo youths have issued a seven-day verdict to the Nigeria Army to arrest the abductors of the Methodist Church Prelate, His Eminence Samuel Uche, through the Alliance of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, the umbrella body of all youth organisation in the southeast geopolitical zone.
COSEYL, which severely demonised the horrific incident, also requested the forced dismissal of the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, if the abductors of the Prelate and his co-victims were not apprehended within seven days.
The ultimatum emerges just 47 hours after youths in Umunneochi demanded the removal of the Army checkpoint at Lomara junction, asserting that kidnappers alleged to be herders operate almost undetectable under the noses of the soldiers at the checkpoint, who they also charged of frustrating local efforts to comb the vicinity bush in search of the perpetrators.
COSEYL’s President-General, Goodluck Ibem, described the Prelate’s kidnapping as “a giant slap too hot to stomach.”
The eastern update obtained the following statement: ‘The abduction of a highly respected leader of the Methodist Church and other Ministers with him in Igboland by terrorists is the height of insult against Christianity and Igbo Nation.
‘If it was Igbo youths that committed such crime by kidnapping their religious leader in the North, will they have accepted it lying low? The answer is no.’
‘It is worrisome that such evil practice will be going on in Umunneochi that harbours so many military formations and checkpoints on her roads and these criminals will be operating freely without being apprehended by the army who are always on duty.’
‘This kind of disgraceful act is going on in Abia State because the army has abandoned her primary duty of providing security and resorted to collection of bribe on our roads and the authorities of the army look the other way which is a tacit approval of the illicit activities of the soldiers.’
‘The Nigerian Army that used to be highly respected by Nigerians is now a mockery as they even give “change” to motorists. The act of collecting bribes by the army is too shameful!’
‘The kidnapping of people by terrorists parading as herdsmen along Enugu – Port Harcourt expressway and Umunneochi has been going on for a very long time without any arrest made by the army.’
‘We have never heard of the army arresting any Fulani man for the crime. Only Igbo youths are arrested and sometimes tagged IPOB members and extrajudicially killed without trial. Is the Nigerian army now serving ethnic interests? Too sad!’
‘We call on the army to stop threatening the Prelate of Methodist Church, His Eminence Rev. Samuel Uche Kalu for saying the truth about what he saw with his own eyes or what transpired between him and the Fulani terrorists in our bush. The action of the army amount to pouring salt on an injury’.
‘Harassing such a highly respected Man of God will not be condoned by Christians. It is purely uncalled for’.
‘We give the Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya 7 days ultimatum to fish out perpetrators of these dastardly acts or he should resign if he can’t perform the duties for which he is paid for with taxpayers money. Throwing blames here and there will not be entertained’.
The Army has renounced any involvement in the disappearance of the Prelate or the recent wave of kidnapping for extortion in the South East.
In a statement, Brigadier Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, Director of Army Public Relations, described as malicious and blackmail presumptions that soldiers in the South East were compromised.