*Says govt. has exhausted all administrative measures to restore peace
chairman of Ohaukwu local government area, Barrister Clement Odah, has reacted to the recent assassination attempt on one of the chieftains of Ukwuagba community at the weekend.
Odah expressed shock that youths of the community attacked one of their leaders who he said has contributed a lot to the development of Ukwuagba.
He frowned at the unruly behavior of the people, stating that the police was seriously handling the matter and that they were looking up to the police to carry out proper investigation on the incident and bring to book those behind the heinous act.
The LG boss averred that the council was not happy with the happenings at Ukwuagba, adding that government has exhausted all administrative measures to restore peace in the area.
He said there are sixteen communities that make up Ohaukwu local government area, and that presently all of them are absolutely peaceful, stressing that if not for what is happening in Ukwuagba, that the council area would have been rated as the most peaceful local government in the state.
This newspaper had reported a town hall meeting of all the stakeholders, government appointees and elected persons in Ohaukwu local government area at Ukwuagba, called by the council boss where they chatted the way forward on the internal crisis ravaging the community.
At the meeting, the youths, elderly men and women were given the opportunity to voice out their grievances and possible solutions.
They all pointed out that they had fed badly under the leadership of their then Town Union executive led by Chief Joseph Odanwu, aka Onyeocha nweze and that their representatives in the government have failed them.
Before the visit to Ukwuagba, the local government council boss had set up a special panel of inquiry headed by Prof. Henry Adagba, to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the crisis and come up with recommendations on the way forward.
Speaking on the recent attack, Odah said that the panel has submitted its findings and recommendations, and one of the things they recommended was to dissolve the town union executive.
“The Panel came up with their findings, which was in line with our collective findings at the town hall meeting, that is to say, there is basically failure of leadership in that Community, specifically, and the town union executive and they recommended that they should be dissolved.
“Their recommendation was in line with the feelings of every stakeholder in Ohaukwu local government. I dissolved the town union executive and set up an interim management committee.
“The basic assignment I gave to the interim management committee is to restore Ukwuagba back to the part of peace and they are doing it. They would have succeeded in a very wonderful way except for one factor which is that we have young men who I believe were misguided.
“They constituted themselves as outlaws and they have no respect for institutions of government.
“Last week victims have made their complaints to the police and the matter is being investigated. But let me put on record that from the perspective of government, we have exhausted all administrative measures to restore peace in Ukwuagba community.
“After I made announcement of the caretaker committee and inaugurated them, we received suggestions from the leaders of the community to expand the committee by bringing in men of the clergy, more youths, Ukwuagba people in Diaspora, the vigilante and we included all these people. Anything that can bring peace in that Community, I was prepared to do it, I was to bend the rules by going back to the radio house to make an announcement incorporating the newly suggested names. More six names were added to the thirteen already on ground, making it nineteen man caretaker interim management committee. All these things were done to ensure that we work together with the community leaders to restore peace.” Odah stated.
On his part, Dr. Peter Okorie who was the aide to former governor Sam Egwu and was almost killed at the weekend by some youths from his Ukwuagba community, narrated his experience.
He said that his attackers numbering over twenty, well armed had wanted to drag him out of the vehicle before killing him, but that he instructed his driver to put the car on auxiliary gear which enabled them to jump the barricade and escaped.
Adding that the youths kidnapped his mechanic and the bus driver that went to carry the generator as well as two of his brothers.
The Voice, gathered that Okorie’s house in the village was mercilessly vandalized and destroyed, while some part was burnt down.
We scoped that looking at the building from outside, one would think is complete, but inside was completely vandalized and destroyed by the youths.
Source close to the community revealed that after Okorie escaped, the youths went to his house in the community, scaled through the fence and destroyed so many things inside. They allegedly looted his properties leaving the building empty.
According to Okorie; “I went to my house in the village to pick my generator for repair. We were trying to pull out the generator and a man came to my house crying.
“He said some boys have planned to assassinate me, their plan was to put a barricade on the road so that I will be compelled to stop for them. So, when we left my house I locked up my jeep doors from the inside. We got there, just 2 poles from my house, we saw the barricade and we stopped.
“They rushed to my car, trying to open the doors, but my doors were closed from the inside. When I saw that they were going to bring their guns to scatter the glass of the car. I told my driver to put the jeep on auxiliary gear and he jumped the barricade and we moved.
“As we moved, they jumped into their motorcycle and pursued us and just about two poles away from the scene, the motorcycle that they were coming with crashed. And so, we moved on and I was able to come out at the main road.
“They later went back to my house, as they failed to get me. They only succeeded in kidnapping the mechanic that came to loose the generator and the driver of the bus that came to carry the generator”
“Not that they attempted to burn down my house, they have burnt it. They looted my properties. The one they didn’t burn, they break through my boys’ quarters. They break through my four bed room bungalows and my duplex in the village. I’m giving thanks to God for saving my life. I know that if God wants to replenish the lost in three months, He will do it.
He petitioned the inspector general of police and the governor of Ebonyi state, for quick intervention and possibly stop further attacks on his family, stating that some people were arrested.
“Yes, some arrests have been made and arrest will continue to go on. Some people have been arrested and detained by police,” he stated.