By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Iyiowa-Odekpe community, a once-peaceful community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, has become a scene of chaos as houses and vehicles fell victim to the flames, a sinister act attributed to suspected hoodlums.
Residents of the community disclosed this on Wednesday at the Anambra State Government House, during a protest to express their grievances against the alarming destructions.
The dissatisfaction and frustration of the protesters found expression in the placards and poignant inscriptions they displayed during the demonstration. These further amplified the community’s urgent calls for assistance and resolution adorned their placards, reflecting its grappling with the aftermath of an unwarranted assault and seeking justice and redress.
Addressing the protesters, Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, who spoke through his Chief of Staff, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi, utterly condemned the acts and issued a stern directive for the identification and apprehension of those involved in the heinous act.
Amidst the palpable tension, the Governor’s representative re-affirmed the unwavering commitment of the present administration in the State to the broader vision of transforming Anambra into a livable and prosperous homeland.
Mr. Ezeajughi, who appreciated the protesters for their peaceful conduct, sought to address their concerns and assuage their anxiety; even as he assured them that justice would be served, and the matter treated with utmost seriousness.
Earlier speaking, the spokesperson of the protesters, Dr. Tony Chukwunoso Princewil, provided a firsthand account of the horrifying events. He painted a grim picture of the attackers, allegedly led by the President General of Odekpe community, Barrister Innocent Nwanosike, who continued to wreak havoc in the aftermath of the initial assault.
According to Princewil, the community bore the brunt of the attack on November 7, 2023, at 7 am, resulting in the incineration of 10 storey buildings and the destruction of 30 vehicles. Adding a more personal dimension to the tragedy, he highlighted the physical injuries inflicted on residents during this brazen act.
The root cause of the conflict, as outlined by Princewil, dates back to the community’s refusal to acquiesce to exorbitant levies imposed by Odekpe Community, owners of the Iyiowa lay-out. In a plea for intervention, the protesters, a diverse group comprising individuals from various ethnic backgrounds, beseeched the state government to address the matter promptly.
The dissatisfaction and frustration of the protesters found expression in poignant inscriptions displayed during the demonstration. Urgent calls for assistance and resolution adorned their placards, reflecting a community grappling with the aftermath of an unwarranted assault and seeking justice and redress.