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Blood bath in Egbema – Rival Cultists Clash

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No fewer than four people are confirmed dead in Obiakpu Egbema where two rival cult groups clashed.

On Sunday, June 13, 2014 two main cult groups – Degbam and Dewell, which have been contending for supremacy, collided, leaving on their trail, tears and blood.

Virtually the entire village is sacked. The entire town looks like a ghost town with ninety percent of the people fleeing to neighboring towns and cities.

Our reporters said the renewed cult war started at about 6am on Sunday, June 13 when a faction of the group invaded Obiakpu, with sophisticated weapons, shooting and killing.  When the firing subsided, four people were confirmed dead, including one Chief Emmanuel Opara, Akurulo of Egbema.

The attack was believed to be a reprisal hit to revenge the June 10th mayhem at Obiakpu in which some lives were lost and property worth millions of naira destroyed. The aggression was believed to have been carried out by a rival cult group.

Earlier on June 7, cultists dressed in army uniform invaded Nwari village in broad day.  As in most of their violent activities, there were fatalities and  properties were destroyed.

THE LEADER gathered that after every attack, the cultists would retire to the farms belonging to neighbouring communities from where they launch the second phase of their  activities- raping women, both young and old, and harassing farmers.

Like farmers in the North, who no longer access their farms because of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, those of Obiakpu no longer go to their farms either to plant or harvest.

Our reporters who were on their way to cover the event were advised at Mmahu not to visit the area,  because “Obiakpu is too hot at the moment.” Those who spoke to us at Mmahu said they are indigenes of Obiakpu taking refuge there.

Efforts were made to reach the traditional ruler or the PG of Obiakpu, but we were told “war is going on there and everybody has fled.”

Our sources said that no suspect has been arrested despite the fact that the cultists are known by the members of the community, and perhaps, the police.

“They (cultists) are above the law; they are untouchables; even the police are afraid of them” a native told THE LEADER.

The people of the community strongly believe that the rival cult groups are being sponsored by some prominent members of the community who arm them with guns, to attack rival political or business opponents.

However, the cultists  also engage in armed robbery and kidnapping from where they raise money to buy sophisticated weapons which they use to unleash terror on innocent people. They blamed unemployment for the increasing number of cultists in their area.

Our reporters said that cult groups are flourishing in various communities of Ohaji/Egbema LGA, killing and maiming people. Apart from Obiakpu, Cult-related killings have been reported in Awarra, Abacheke, Mgbara, Etekwuru, Umorji, etc.

It should be recalled that the Palace of the Traditional Ruler of Ochia Autonomous Community Eze Ekwueme and family homes of prominent members of the community including that of Dr. Vitalis Nwulu were destroyed last year by cultists, who also sacked the village.

Eze Ekwueme, who spoke to journalists, from his hideout lamented that most indigenes of the area were living in exile as a result of the activities of the rampaging cultists.

The traditional ruler lamented that following the activities of these dare devil cultists, his people who are mainly farmers, could no longer feel free and safe to go to their farms. A similar scenario is now playing out at Obiakpu.

“Sadly, cultism is becoming a culture in most communities in Imo state. Often polarized and competing for supremacy and command they have become no less a security risk for our communities”, said an observer.

 

EVENTS

HRH Eze Peter Opara inaugurates cabinet

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HRH Eze Peter Opara  inaugurates cabinet

…As traditional leadership gets boost at Umunumo Ancient Kingdom

By Magnus Ibe

The Traditional leadership of Umunumo Autonomous Community, Ehime Mbano LGA of Imo State received a resounding boost on Sunday August 23, as the cabinet members were formally inaugurated by HRH, Eze Peter Chima Opara (Eze Udo II).

The assemblage of top brass personalities into the cabinet is indicative of robust prospects for the growth and development of the Ancient Autonomous Community.

Inaugurating the members of the Eze-in-Council, the Royal Father charged the inductees to shun personal interest and put the community in the front burner for a rapid transformation and development. He enjoined the cabinet members to be proactive, articulative and dogged about the welfare of the community, employment and empowerment of the youths so that a new chapter is enacted.

According to him, many are called, but few are chosen. He charged them to move the community to the next level by articulating right attitude and formulate policies that will accelerate the development of the community. He cautioned against indolence and insubordination that can retard the unity and development of the community.

HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara with Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu and other priests

HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara with Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu and other priests

In his remarks, the President-General of the Town, Chief Godwin Uwah working in synergy with the royal father advised that the various Town Unions leadership should synergize and work in one page with the cabinet members. Chief Godwin Uwah observed that membership of cabinet is subject to review every four years.

Among the cabinet members comprise Chief Godwin Uwah PG, Sir MCN Asawalam (KSM), Chief Chidi Ogueri, Chief Sir Emmanuel Ibe, Chief Aloka Alexander, Nze H.D. Eze, Mr. Emeto K. Michael, Nze Godwin Amaku, Mr. Columba Ohazurike, Chief Mel Daimeon Osuji (Omereoha), Hon Ononamadu Emeka Joseph, Chief Peter Crown Duru, Chief Romanus Ogueri, Comrade Godwin Ihekwoaba, Nze Romanus Chukwu, Nze Vincent Ukah, Chief E. Evaristus Okafor, Chief S. Okele, Nze Clement Iwueze, Hon Felix Iwuji, Chief S. Obikaonu, Hon Kelechi Iwueze, Mr. Joseph Obi Onyema (Deputy PG), ACP H. Agbiogwu, Chief M.C. Okoro, Nze Nneji Boniface, Nze Charles Nwokoro, Nze Edmund Nwokeke, Chief Joseph Anosike, Chief M. Dingwo, Chief Columbia Isikuma, Chief Oliver Agbaso, Ichie Bernard Nwohiri, Nze Titus Iwunze, Chief Romanus Ijejiobi and all village chairmen constitute members of the enlarged cabinet. HRH Eze P. Alozie, Abunumo I graced the event.

In a vote of thanks, Chief Mel-Daimeon Osuji, promised on behalf of the members of the Eze’s cabinet to live above board like Caesar’s wife. He observed that he was humbled to speak on behalf of the top brass personalities who constitute the Eze-in-Council and also made a personal donation of one million naira.

Centre: HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara (Ezeudo II) with the cabinet  members, Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu & Eze & Ugoeze P.O. Alozie (Ebunumo I)

Centre: HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara (Ezeudo II) with the cabinet
members, Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu & Eze & Ugoeze P.O. Alozie (Ebunumo I)

In his contribution, Hon. Emeka Joseph Ononammadu, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Enugu State, who is also a member of the cabinet made a mouthwatering financial support and others including Sir. M.C.N. Asawalam donated handsomely.

Inducting the new cabinet members, Msgr. Jerry Ofoegbu prayed for God’s guidance and wisdom for the Royal Father and the cabinet members.

He eulogized the royal father for putting God first in his nascent leadership. He admonished the PG and the members of the Eze-in-Council to ensure peace and unity in their various domain. He spoke against injustice, insubordination and manipulative divisive tendencies that will sow seed of discord in the community. He prayed God to bless the royal father with the Wisdom of Solomon.

Msgr. Ofoegbu prayed for longitivity, peace and development of Umunumo Ama-Iri community. He cautioned against sectionalism and maltreatment of widows, orphans and the less privileged in the society.

Traditional cuisine of palm wine, Ugba with stockfish and other local delicacies were served to all and sundry. Eze & Ugoeze Ekwunno, Eze Umuezeala Oguara graced the event amid pomp and pageantry.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Aham Umukwu-Odenkwume Bridge, a death trap – Eze Iwuoha

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Aham Umukwu-Odenkwume Bridge, a death trap - Eze Iwuoha

…As truck survives crash into river

By Magnus Ibe

The Traditional Ruler of Odenkwume Autonomous Community, HRH, Eze Iwuoha Austin (Nkwume II) has cried out against the deplorable and deadly condition of the Aham Umukwu-Odenkwume bridge which he described as a death trap and an accident waiting to happen.

According to him, the very narrow and dilapidated bridge pose serious threat to lives of natives and commuters plying the only route leading through his domain to their kits and kins in Obowo Local Government Area.

Nkwume (II), disclosed that several persons have lost their lives through accidents occasioned by the porous and deadly bridge. He narrated a chilling experience of how two occupants of a car drowned in the Aham River when their vehicle which could not climb the high hill, descended and crashed into the river, killing the two occupants before any help could come.

Corroborating their nasty experience, Hon. Julius Ogoke, the Palace Public Relations officer narrated how an Okada rider crashed and died on the very deadly bridge.

A near fatal accident occurred on the same bridge on the afternoon of Thursday August 27th when a truck with Registration No Lagos AGL 504 conveying crates of beer crashed into the same bridge. It was only through divine intervention that children who were swimming at the time cheated death by whiskers and were lucky as the truck hung on the base of the bridge.
Concurring to the views of Hon. Ogoke, Okenze Gerald Kekeocha and Nze Augustus Ibe observed that the leaders of the community are contemplating shutting down the bridge to heavy duty trucks and trailers to avoid the collapse of the bridge.
The duo posited that the community began the construction of the bridge in 1977 through communal efforts. They expressed worry at the present state of the bridge which is a smooth ride from Orieagu and Aguneze axis.

Investigation reveals that the construction of the bridge which was allegedly part of the design awarded under the defunct Ikedi Ohakim administration was abandoned by contractors after was ousted by former Governor Rochas Okorocha.

A road user, Dr. Bonaventuru Chukwu described the bridge as a flash point for criminal activities as hoodlums capitalize on the porous nature of the bridge to snatch cars kidnapp, rob and fleece commuters of cash and valuables.

It was observed that natives of Odenkwume Community embarked on remedial measures of dropping stones on the craters on both sides of the bridge. They also tried to rehabilitate the bridge with make-shift support of bamboo sticks with mixture of cement and chippings.

The leaders of the community made a compassionate appeal to the state government to quickly intervene before the bridge caves in.

Vehicular traffic on the rout increases daily as a result of the immotorable road networks at Ihitte-Uboma, Ehime-Mbano, Mbaise and Obowo as commuters divert through the road which is a smooth ride.

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