The killing of over seven persons in Ndegu Orie Umuoguduakpu community in Ohaukwu Local Govt Area of Ebonyi State on Tuesday has ignited a war of words between the police and proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The Leader of the group, Nnamdi Kanu had in a statement, claimed herdsmen carried out the attack with the support of some security agents, but the Police insisted that the attack was carried out by Agila people.
Kanu’s statement reads: ‘On March 10 at Ndegu Orie Umuoguduakpu community in Ohaukwu Local Govt Area of Ebonyi State.
“Armed herdsmen camped at neighbouring Agila community Ado LGA of Benue state, numbering about thirty five (35), some dressed in military uniform and supported by Nigerian security agents who were already present in Umuoguduakpu village harassing people.
“These herdsmen in collaboration with the Nigerian Army invaded the community and killed 20 persons.
“They include Fidelia Ali 70yrs, Helen Ali(f) 55yrs, Ogayi Ali 45yrs, James Eze 58 yrs, Eke Ajah (f) 75yrs, Idenyi Agbo 45yrs, Elizabeth obele(f) 65yrs, Ogah Oge 35yrs, Ogba Eze(f)65 yrs.
“Also houses and farm produce storage facilities were burnt and destroyed during the attack. These Herdsmen and Nigerian security agents beheaded their Biafran victims in their trademark Jihadi style. They also destroyed Bethel Methodist Church at Umuoguduakpu.
‘Those that look up to governors across the east for protection can now see for themselves that caliphate are the ones in charge.
“BBC, CNN, NTA and Channels have maintained their criminal silence over this abominable atrocity.
“I am certain that when the time comes they will report IPOB response with glee”, Kanu said.
However, spokesman of the Police, Loveth Odah, in a swift reaction debunked IPOB’s and other allegations on social media.
She said: “The attention of the Ebonyi State Police Command has been drawn to pictures in circulation on various social media platform misleading the reading public that it is herdsmen attack in Ebonyi State.
“To set the record straight, the Ebonyi State Police Command wishes to State that pictures showing the killing of persons is as a result of renewed communal crisis between Agila Community in Ado L.G.A of Benue State and Umuogudu Akpo Ngbo Community in Ohaukwu L.G.A of Ebonyi State, an incident which is in itself most regrettable.”
“However, the command wishes to state categorically that this crisis is a re-enactment of the age long border crisis between the two warring communities which has led to loss of lives and destruction of property worth millions of naira’.
‘Today 10th March, 2020, the Divisional Police Officer in-charge of Ohaukwu Division received information through phone call from the vigilante chairman of Umuogudu Akpo Ngbo in Ohaukwu L.G.A of the state, stating that the people of Agila in Ado L.G.A of Benue state numbering about thirty Five (35) persons attacked the people of Ndiegu Orie in Umuogudu Akpo Ngbo.
“The Police Command swiftly mobilised to the area and discovered that one Fidelis Ali Omem ‘m’ 70yrs old, one Helen Ali ‘f’ 55yrs old and seven (7) others have been murdered while one Titus Ugadu ‘m’ 50ysr old was seriously wounded and admitted in the hospital, some houses and yam bans were set ablaze by the rampaging assailants”.
She added: “The Commissioner of Police Ebonyi State, CP. Awosola Awotinde, undertook a tour to the crisis areas where he admonished the people to remain calm and not to carry out any act that will further jeopardise the peace process already initiated by the Government, both at the State and Federal level.”
According to the statement, the CP noted the National Boundary Adjustment Commission is slated to visit Makurdi on 26 March 2020 for demarcation, adding that it is an age-long dispute that has defiled previous peace initiatives.
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