​Tension in Enugu community as ‘gunmen’ kill traditional ruler

Pandemonium broke out in Oruku community, Nkanu East local government area of Enugu State as gunmen invaded the community on Saturday and killed their traditional ruler Late Igwe Emmanuel Chidiebere Mba,

The traditioner ruler, Mba was shot dead by armed men who claimed to be policemen from Force Headquarters, Abuja.

It was gathered that the “policemen” led by one Inspector Danladi, also took away one Mr Agozie Ani from the Oruku Townhall where the deceased traditional ruler was addressing a meeting of the natives.

The armed men, who invaded the venue of the meeting in an SUV and a Sienna at about 2 pm on Boxing Day, according to an eyewitness, moved into the hall and sought to see the royal father.

The armed men were reportedly escorted to the Townhall by three natives of the Oruku identified as Emmanuel Nwobodo, Onyema Edeh and Sunday Onunze. They came and left with the same vehicles that brought the armed men, the eyewitness said.

When the traditional ruler who was presiding over the meeting was identified by the three natives, one of the ‘policemen’ immediately shot him on the thigh and he fell down bleeding.

Confusion ensued after the royal father was shot as the natives scattered in different directions amidst sporadic shooting by the armed men, who made attempts to arrest some of them.

The bleeding royal father and Mr Ani were taken away by the armed men to the Parklane hospital Enugu but Igwe Mba could not be admitted due to lack of bed space.

They were referred to the National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu but on arrival doctors at the Emergency Unit only confirmed the royal father dead.

It was learnt that the royal father who was elected by his community on December 26, 2019, reportedly bled to death before he could get medical attention.

His corpse was deposited at the National Orthopedic hospital mortuary while the whereabouts of Ani is yet to be known.

The FORD Pick-up van driven to the aborted meeting by the deceased royal father also driven away by the team is yet to be found.

Checks by some leaders of the community at the state police command headquarters to ascertain the identity and motive of the “invading policemen” proved abortive as they were told that there was no such entry made at any police station to that effect.

As a result of the incident, the aggrieved members of Oruku community reportedly regrouped Saturday evening and attacked the homes of some indigenes believed to be behind the murder of the traditional ruler.

Four houses including the compound of the father of a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, Chief Raymond Okenwa were reportedly burnt down. Some vehicles parked within the affected premises were also set ablaze by the mob.

The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Enugu command, ASP, Daniel Ndukwe who confirmed the murder of traditional ruler, disclosed that Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Abdulrahman has deployed police personnel to restore normalcy in the area.

He said the Commissioner while reiterating commitment to meticulously investigate and bring the perpetrators of the alleged murder of the Traditional Ruler, urged residents of the community to remain calm and eschew acts capable of further inciting violence in the area.

“Following the acts of violence that occurred in Oruku Community, Nkanu East L.G.A. of the State over the alleged shooting and death of its Traditional Ruler by armed men suspected to be policemen on 26/12/2020 at about 1630hrs, normalcy has been restored after the Commissioner of Police, Ahmad AbdurRahman promptly ordered the deployment of operatives of the Command to the area and the launch of a full-scale investigation into the incidence.

​Wike to re-impose COVID-19 lockdown in Rivers, January

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has hinted that he would re-impose COVID-19 lockdown in the state beginning from January following the recent upsurge in the number of coronavirus cases in the State.

Wike according to a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, gave a hint of the imminent second phase of lockdown amid rising cases of COVID-19 during the church thanksgiving service in celebration of the 90th birthday of Mrs Priscilla Nwanediye Mark, at the St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government on Sunday.

Wike regretted the refusal of most churches and markets in the state to enforce the compulsory wearing of face mask in adherence to COVID-19 protocol, noting that the state government had initially relaxed the restriction on the number of persons who worship in churches which have often been violated.

He noted that with the second wave of COVID-19, he would this week announce new stringent measures to check the spread of COVID-19 cases in the State,

He said: “When you go to some churches, they don’t wear a mask. Go to market, they don’t wear a mask. They believe COVID is not real. It’s not real because it has not happened to you; nobody had died whom you know. When somebody has died and the person was close to you, you will know that COVID is real.

“So, it is real and I want to appeal to all of you that we have to be more strict now because the second wave is more dangerous than the first wave. It’s very, very dangerous. I know how many people we have lost since the second wave started.”

Governor Wike urged the Bishop of Diocese of Ikwerre to prevail on members of all the churches under his jurisdiction to always wear their face mask.

“If you don’t comply, I have no choice, but to shut down the churches; Pentecostal, Catholic, Anglican. I have no choice because when you have it, who spends the money? It is the state that treats. So, we need to use the money for some other things, but not for this. Let us discipline ourselves and know that COVID-19 is real. Let nobody tell you that there is nothing like COVID. It’s real.”

The governor urged Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, leaders in Ikwerre Local government area to use Mrs Mark’s 90th birthday to work in unison for the development to the area.

He also used the occasion to extol the chairman of Ikwerre local government, Samuel Nwanosike for his commitment to the development of the area.

Meanwhile, the Bishop, Diocese of Ikwerre, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Right Reverend Blessing Enyindah, stressed the need for people to always acknowledge God’s mercies in their lives.

Enyindah in his sermon titled “Thanking God for His Mercy”, observed that this was an era where people lived below the lifespan of 50 years, said it was the mercy of God that made Mrs Priscilla Mark attained 90 years.

​Amotekun debunks report of killing of UI student

Retired Col. Olayinka Olayanju, the Commandant of the Southwest Security Network in Oyo State, otherwise known as Amotekun, has debunked a report that its operatives killed a student of the University of Ibadan last Sunday.

Olayanju said in a statement issue in Ibadan on Saturday that men of the Amotekun Corps had an encounter with a three-man robbery gang, neutralised its leader and handed the two surviving members to the Atiba Police Station in Oyo town.

“On Sunday, Dec 20, a mobile patrol team of Amotekun operatives from Oyo East and Atiba Local Government Areas ran into an illegal road block mounted around Sabo area in Oyo town at about 4 a.m.

“While the team was attempting to clear the barricade to facilitate smooth passage for interstate commercial vehicles plying the road, a group of armed men suspected to be robbers fired at the Amotekun operatives and a gun duel ensued.

“In the process, one of the robbers, nicknamed Akin Sarz, was neutralised and two other gang members were arrested at the scene with a locally made pistol and cartridges

“Men of Nigerian Police from Atiba were called to the scene where Amotekun operatives handed over the two arrested suspected armed robbers along with the corpse of Akin Sarz to them.

“The police later handed over the surviving gang members to the State CID Iyangaku, Ibadan, for further investigation#,’’ he stated.

The commandant implored people who desired to get further details on the incident to visit Akinmorin Community in Afijio Local Government Area of Oyo State or inquire from the Police.

“Amotekun operatives will do all within their legal responsibility to protect lives and property without prejudice to any sentiment,’’ Olayanju stressed.

​WHO chief warns coronavirus pandemic won’t be last

World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Sunday warned that the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) would not be the last such crisis.

Tedros gave the warning in a video released to mark the first ever International Day of Epidemic Preparedness on Sunday.

“History tells us that this won’t be the last pandemic and epidemics are a fact of life,” he said.

The WHO head said that better investment in public health supported by governments and society could “ensure that our children and their children inherit a safer, more resilient and more sustainable world.”

Tedros added that the new coronavirus turned the world “upside down” over the past twelve months with far-reaching consequences for societies and economies.

He, however, said the pandemic itself was not a surprise, especially since warnings of such a possibility, and of the world’s unpreparedness, had been issued many times over the years.

“We must all learn the lessons the pandemic is teaching us,” Tedros said.

This includes investment in preparedness capacities not just in the health sector but rather an “all-of-government and all of society approach.”

“The pandemic has highlighted the intimate links between the health of humans, animals and planet,” which required a common approach, the WHO chief said.

[dpa/NAN]