By Izunna Okafor
Residents and road users Ukpor- Lilu-Orsumoghu-Azia-Mbosi Road in Anambra State have raised serious concern over the worsening state of insecurity along the road, and in the entire area, which have allegedly become a danger zone, due to the activities of unidentified hoodlums operating in the area.
The road, which is also a major gateway to Owerri, Imo State, was said to have been taken over by the heavily-armed hoodlums suspected to be Unknown Gunmen, and who have colonized and been operating in the area for months now and still counting.
Some denizens of the area who shared their experiences and encounters with the said gunmen claim that scores of lives and property have been lost in the area due to their activities.
Also, in a content currently going viral on the social media, titled “Danger! Keep Off!”, a concerned citizen, Melie Ajuluchuku alerts road users on the dangerousness and the unsafeness of the road.
“Please brethren, do not ply the above route for any reason whatsoever. It has been proven to be a major security FLASH POINT,” he says.
He recalls how the gunmen, on Sunday, February 20 (yesterday), murdered the Chairman/CEO of OFOMA ASSOCIATES LTD., ESV Chief Gabriel Ofoma (OJEMBA ENWEILO NNEWI) in cold blood, as his driver made a detour from Onitsha-Owerri Highway enroute Portharcourt, due to traffic jam on the expressway.
According to him, the Nnewi-born billionaire and illustrious son of Igboland, Chief Ofoma, who was also his in-law, was a trailblazer in his professional field of Estate Surveying and Management, and was a national player, with a staff strength of over 150 personnel and offices in Portharcourt (headquarters), Abuja, Lagos and Nnewi.
While describing the death of Chief Ofoma as a very huge irreparable loss to the comity of civilization of Igbo nation, he also calls for prompt intervention and collaborative effort to bring the menace and unlawful activities of the gunmen in the area to an urgent and perpetual end.
“We are at crossroads. There must be a formidable way to put a stop to this fratricidal malady that is besetting the entire Southeast landscape. Agwọ nọkwanụ̀ n’akịlịka! Ndigbo kunie nụ̀ o, na ya bụ ugo ebelụgo na mgbagbu!!!,” Ajuluchuku added.
Mourning Chief Ofoma, the President General, Umudim Nnewi Development Association, ESV. Chief KC Oranekwu (KSC), described the death as shocking and heartbreaking.
In a statement to newsmen, the PG said “With tears in our eyes and heavy heart, I on behalf of Umudim Nnewi Development Association wish to notify us a very sad and disheartening news we received yesterday afternoon. Our Own dear Brother, Colleague, Mentor and Gentleman to the core; ESV. Chief Gabriel Ofoma FNIVS (Ojemba) was shot and killed yesterday the 20th day of February, 2022 on his way returning from Nnewi to Port-Harcourt along Ukpor/Mbosi/Iseke Road Anambra State.
“The loss of this great irreplaceable Senior Estate Surveyor and Valuer from Umudim Nnewi is shocking and heartbreaking. His support to our administration and his numerous contributions to the development of Umunnealam, Umudim, Nnewi and the Estate Surveying & Valuation Profession are highly commendable. May his gentle soul rest in peace.”
Chief Ofoma’s death, has indeed reawakened the concern and month-long calls for urgent action and intervention on the said road taken over by Unknown Gunmen.