…Schools shut, corps members sacked, roads blockedhttps://orientdailynews.com.ng/cityscope/mayhem-umuomaku-youths-clash-vigilante/
By Okechukwu Onuegbu
Bloody mayhem is looming in Umuomaku in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State following clashes between irate youths and members of the community vigilante group.
Orient Daily gathered that the crisis which took a dramatic twist last Tuesday, with the destruction of patrol van donated to the community vigilante by the Anambra state government, culminated in the closure of private and public schools as well as chasing away of 19 members of National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) deployed to the community.
A community source linked the fiasco to a parallel vigilante group installed by the President General of Umuomaku, Robert Obi, after dissolving ‘legally’ constituted vigilante members some months back. According to the source, the community was against the new vigilante group because the president general did not only take the unilateral decision without consulting them but also failed to tell them why he dissolved the existing one.
The source further alleged that what broke the camel’s back was that seven NYSC members serving at various schools in the community were robbed twice and they contacted the ‘new vigilante members’ yet nothing happened to fish out the culprits.
“However, the same vigilante went to beer-parlour to arrest someone driving a new vehicle. They accused him of stealing the vehicle. We know that it was a lie and told them to first go and fish out the robbers who invaded the NYSC members lodge before they can come to arrest the car owner.
“We engaged them and chased them away. Later, we called for a meeting to resolve our differences with them.
While the meeting was going on, one of the vigilante members phoned the police and they came to arrest us.
Immediately we spotted them, we ran after them. They ran away, and we overpowered the vigilante members, beat them mercilessly and destroyed their security vehicle.
We chased away the NYSC members in our town so that no harm will happen to them. We shutdown schools and our Eke markets, barricaded our roads so that nobody can come in or go out until the PG come and address us,” the source added.
It was further learnt that the youths want their president general to explain to them why he constituted another Vigilante group and why he was yet to introduce Solomon Ozoemena Eboh, the winner of Umuomaku traditional ruler’s election held on 30th of December 2017.
The source also disclosed that Umuomaku youths want the PG to explain why he wrote to the state government to cancel the election as well as why he had never convened a town union meeting till date.
Confirming the report, the leader of NYSC members in Umuomaku, Mr. Chibuike Ori, said they left the community in search of security elsewhere since the youth and vigilante members who ought to secure their lives and properties are currently fighting each other.
“We have entered our report at Umunze local government area, Orumba South divisional police headquarter and Awka police must be aware. They later told us to come back and we obeyed but when we sensed that our safety might not be guaranteed we left again.
“The crises started last week Thursday when we left our lodge to CDS at local government area. When we returned, we discovered that our kitchen was burgled, and our food and pots stolen.
We informed the vigilante, the president general and Igwe elect and they promised to get back to us. But on Monday last week, we went to school and returned to discover that our kitchen was burgled again, and they made away with our food and money,” Ori said.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Haruna Muhammad, first claimed not to be aware of the incident but later told our reporter to come with an introduction letter to his office before he could grant him an interview as he knows only one reporter from Orient Daily, whom he would only grant interview.
Attempts to hear from the Chairman of Umuomaku Vigilante group failed as his phone was switched off as at press time.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ezekiel Abazu, the former acting chairman of Umuomaku vigilante group, while exonerating himself and the formation of vigilante from the crisis, said he was informed on phone by some indigenes of the community that the breakdown of law and order was as a result of misunderstanding between the vigilante group and some youths over a robbery activity.
However, the President General of Umuomaku, Mr. Robert Obi, in a phone interview, dismissed the allegation that the crisis was connected to the election of the traditional ruler.
According to him, “it was smokers and miscreants who chose to beat up security men, destroyed their van and other properties because the security men wanted to arrest suspects who allegedly robbed some NYSC members deployed to the community.”
Obi noted that the government, Orumba Divisional Police Office and Anambra State police command was aware of the existing vigilante group, which was inaugurated by them.
He urged this reporter to call him in evening to be updated on how the incident was resolved “because the situation is already under control by the police.”