——–Igwe’s house was not burnt but looted and vandalized –Police
From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Nnewi
The Orumba North local government Chiarman , Chief Okey Enekwe yesterday set up a five man investigative panel of inquiry into the mayhem that greeted Oko Community, on Saturday to determine the remote and immediate curses of the commotion that led to burning of property and shooting of a youth.
Chief Enekwe announced this shortly after inspecting the vehicles , and motorcycles burnt and houses vandalized by hoodlums suspected to by youths from the community.
Enekwe announced Chief Paul Nwafor an Engineer and former President General of Awa as the Chairman of the Committee, and Chijioke Onuorah , a lawyer as the secretary. He said other members of the committee included Bundus Oguejioffor, a lawyer, Dr G.U Nweke, Chimezie Ezechukwu from Oko as well as representative of the SSS and Police.
Enekwe said: ‘’The police is on top of the situation because I saw over 20 vans of the Anti-riot police men in Oko during my on the spot assessment . We are setting up a five man panel of inquiry led by former PG of Awa and Onowu Awa, Chief Paul Nwafor. I apologize to everybody for that breech of peace and I am asking them to be calm as everything would be resolved because the Governor Chief Willie Obiano is not happy and would not want to hear such stories again about communal crisis or such roiting and protests that had property vandalized and looted as well as a life feared killed.
‘’Governor Obiano wants peace , unity and solidairty to come from all the 177 communities not war and protests please. Everybody should be calm and support the peace and growth of their various communities . The Governor is peace loving and wants peace restored in Oko community without delay’’.
The Nation reports that setting up of the panel of inquiry was following the break down of law and order in Oko community which led to the sacking of the traditional ruler of Oko , Igwe Prof Laz Ekwueme who narrowly escaped being lynched and burning of his three choice vehicles as well as looting and vandlaizing of his houses and computer room among others. About 10 Motorcycles and other valuables belonging to others were equally burnt even as a Guest house allegely belonging to a staff of the Polytechnic, but an Oko indigene , Chukwudi Nwankwo known as Meta Meta located at a neighbouring community Amaokpala was looted and vandalized.
The Orumba North Council Chairman said normalcy has returned in the morning while he was doing on the spot assessment of the damages by the purported angry youths. He prayed God to ensure no life is lost in the fiasco to be able to resolve whatever the issues were asking everybody to forgive one another for peace to reign.
Chief Enekwe admitted that the Igwe of Oko had last week written his council on banning the masquerade performance during this year’s Afia Olu festival which he acknowledged and directed the security personnel through the DPO to take action.
He reminded that before the letter that some communities in Orumba had their masquerades banned because of dubious activities associated with it including Oko and they msut perform with an express permission from the council which the Oko community never done before coming out with masquerades that caused the breech of peace.
A source at the palace of Igwe Oko, Ekwueme told this correpondent that that the center has fallen apart and could not longer hold together as the hodlums caused a collossal damage to the Monarch’s palace burning his three cars including Mitsuibushi , Jeep and another choice car with every of his proeprty turned up side down including the computer room damaging and looting property worth several millions of naira.
The source said the storey building of the Monarch was ransacked and looted adding that the Army was brought in when the police appeared to be compromising the ban on no masquerade as announced by the Igwe during the festivities but could not say who brought them and where they came from.
He said the youths have their targets but would have done more harm was not for the intervention of the military even when there was more than 20 Anti riot police vans in the community this morning.
But the Commissioner of Police, Usman Gwary speaking through his PPRO , Emeka Chukwuemeka DSP said the situation has been brought under control clarifying that the Igwe’s houses were not burnt but were looted and vandalized adding that only his vehicles were burnt.
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