By Favour Goodness
Odumodu kindred in Umunya community, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State, have raised the alarm over an alleged murder of two indigenes of the area and illegal detention of five others by suspected members of the vigilante group of the community.
They also lamented an alleged forceful acquisition and sale of over 400 plots of lands by the security outfit at the instance of the traditional ruler of the community.
The secretary Odumodu Ebunabo Community Improvement Union, Mr Sunday Esedo, regretted that many of the residents had fled the community for fear of arrests and killings by the vigilante.
He called on Gov. Willie Obiano, to intervene by setting up a commission of inquiry, just as he insisted the police should carry out proper investigation into the matter and arrest the culprits.
According to him,“Trouble started when the vigilante, who were recruited by the monarch six years ago, demanded for their own share of the proceeds from the sale of the lands.
“The sharing formula culminated into a crisis which led to the murder of two members of the community, Okwudiri Okeke and Paul Nwabuebo, who the monarch claimed were killed by indigenes of the town.
“For over three months now, many of us have been on exile because he has pursued all the able-bodied men in the community. Presently, you will see mostly women if you visit the community.
“The vigilante is the private army of the monarch to settle scores. Your life is in danger if you’re not in his good book.”
Also speaking, counsel to the community, Chief Obiora Umeh, narrated how one of the indigenes of the community, Ebuka, was beaten, tortured and detained without the knowledge of his parents.
He added, “They also arrested five other who they tortured and stripped naked, paraded round the village and forced to drink mud water and taken to a shrine were they were made to take oath before they were taken to Asaba, Delta state where Ebuka has been in detention.
“We took the matter to court over infringement of fundamental human rights. The judge after going through the application, granted them bail last Wednesday after necessary things were done for the perfection of their bail,” Umeh added.
Umeh, however, said they were disappointed when they were told the detainees would not be released despite the signing of their release warrant by the court.
“What was the offence of those arrested? Why the choice of Asaba against the territorial jurisdiction law even when IGP approved that the homicide section of Zone 13 handles the matter?
“Does the vigilante have the right to arrest and detain people? Can they investigate murder cases? Why is the Intelligence Response Team still holding the detainees indefinitely? These are questions begging for answers,” he queried.
When contacted, the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Chris Onyekwuluje, denied the allegation that he hijacked the vigilante, stating that those claiming to be on exile were only running away over their involvement in the murder case which he said was being investigated.
“There is no village like Odumodu Ebonabo in Umunya, rather it was registered by my accusers for the purpose of selling the community lands,” he stated.