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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Why We Didn’t Respond During the Assassination of Anambra Lawyer — Security Operative


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The Squadron Commander, Okija Vigilante Group in Okija, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, Mr. Ikenga Ben Eze, has revealed why he and his men did not respond during the recent assassination of Barr. Peter Awa, an indigene and Secretary-General of the town, by gunmen.

Recall that some yet-to-be-identified gunmen, on Sunday, assassinated Barr. Awa in his hometown, Okija. The deceased, until his death, was the Director of Public Prosecution in Anambra State and Vice-Chairperson of the NBA in the Ihiala Council Area, and was elected secretary of the Okija Progressive Union in November 2023.

The same day he was killed, another indigene of the community, Mr. Izuchukwu Igwenagha, popularly known as Onwa, was also shot dead at Ubahueze Ihite by hoodlums, over alleged protracted land dispute in his village, Isseke.

Similarly, a businessman at Nkwọ Okija was also kidnapped the same period by gunmen, as he was driving home from an event; while his whereabouts still remain unknown to the family.

However, in his reaction to the incidents through a viral open obtained by this, the Squadron Commander, Okija Vigilante Group, Mr. Eze recounted the interventional efforts of the his men during the rampageous attacks.

While narrating how they intervened after receiving a distress call regarding gunshots at Ubahueze Ihite at about 2.am where Mr. Izuchukwu was shot; Mr. Eze further revealed that they could not respond or intervene during the assassination of Barr. Awa due to “limited resources”, as they had already exhausted the little they had.

He wrote: “I write to you today with great concern and humility to inform you of the tragic incidents that have occurred in our beloved town of Okija within the last 48 hours.

“On Sunday, May 19, 2024, at approximately 2:00 a.m., we received a distress call regarding gunshots at Ubahueze Ihite Okija. Our team swiftly responded, accompanied by the police, and arrived at the scene to find that we were the first security agency to arrive.

“We promptly provided assistance to the wife of the victim, who was in shock and pain, and rushed the victim, Mr. Izuchukwu Igwenagha, to the hospital, where he was unfortunately pronounced dead. Our team maintained a vigil with the family until morning.

“Later that day, at around 8:00 p.m., we received another distress call regarding a kidnapping at Pipeline Okija. We promptly responded, made arrests based on eyewitness information, and handed over the suspects to the police for further investigation.

“Unfortunately, while dealing with this incident, we received news of the assassination of Barr. Awa, the Secretary-General of our town union. Due to our limited resources and exhaustion, we were unable to respond further and instead focused on maintaining peace and order at Pipeline Okija.”

Continuing, Eze said: “It is worth noting that our sister group, which supposedly to have the necessary manpower and equipment funded by Ndi-Okija with a capital budget of N9,000,000.00 per month, was absent during these incidents. Despite this, we are committed to ensuring the security of Okija and will do everything possible to achieve this goal if provided with the necessary support and equipment.”

The Spokesperson of the Anambra State Police Command, SP Ikenga Tochukwu, however, confirmed the attack in a statement on Monday, in which he also said the Command has begun an investigation into the case and has also launched manhunt for the criminal elements responsible for the crimes.

“Preliminary information reveals that the assailants operating in motorbikes, shot the deceased as he was about to alight his vehicle for safety when he was approached by the murderers. Meanwhile, some eyewitnesses have provided details that are already aiding the investigation.

“The Commissioner of Police, CP Nnaghe Obono Itam, while commiserating with the family and friends of the deceased, the Nigerian Bar Association, the people of Okija as well as the state, directed the immediate transfer of the case to the Homicide section of the Criminal Investigation Department, Awka for a Comprehensive probe into the incident,” SP Ikenga said.

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