…As Afaraukwu youths protest alleged police killing of 23-year-old native in Umuahia***
Contrary to misinformation by ill-informed, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) came out strongly on Tuesday, saying its members actually enjoy very cordial relationship with the governments and people of the South East Zone, comprising of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States.
The Chairman of the Cattle Breeders in the zone, AIhaji Gidado Sidikki indicated this in Awka while reacting to malicious publication in a Social Media platform entitled, ‘South East Will Boil any Moment from now Because of their Stubbornness.’
Sidikki, in a statement, condemned rumours as published in some sections of the media that there was looming crisis between his members and the people of the geopolitical zone.
He said such information which was founded on falsehood was capable of fracturing the existing peace between his members and the people, urging that the report should be discountenanced.
“Once again duty calls you to rise and save our society from the pains of misinformation consequent upon the permissiveness of the social media.
“Few days ago, we woke up to a malicious publication in a Social Media platform, purporting a phantom statement in Abuja entitled “South East Will Boil any Moment from now Because of their Stubbornness” ascribed to the leadership of MACBAN and erroneously assigned to me.
“It is my wish to inform the public that MACBAN did not make any statement to the effect of the content of the publication either in Abuja or anywhere for that matter.
“I humbly will wish to correctly place my designation as the Chairman of South East Zone of the Association and not ‘the leader of cattle breeders in Nigeria’ as I was addressed in the primary falsehood the publication sought to disseminate.
“It is, therefore, my intention, while dispelling the published rumour from the pit of malicious mischief, to share my upbeat spirit with all of us that the sincere and committed understanding we all propagate today will yield us minimal rancour if not rancour free society tomorrow,” he said.
Sidikki, also pledged the continued commitment and cooperation of MACBAN towards strengthening the cordial relationship and peace with the people of the South East.
“I wish to put it on record that the South East Zone of MACBAN and her cattle herder members whom I serve as the Zonal Chairman enjoy warm relationship with the governors, governments and people of South East Nigeria.
“I wish to state that this warmth has not been completely devoid of flashes of momentary conflicts at few locations, such instances were however, promptly addressed by the authorities and warm communality restored amongst the people.
“Given the increasing orientation and reorientation of our people and the locals who are our landlords here, and given the strong commitment of the state governors to peaceful relationship across board, there is no doubt that the relationship between us can only be increasingly better.
“I wish to thank the governors of the South East States of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo for their wonderful sense of accommodation, as I pledge our continued efforts towards greater harmonious environment for thriving economic activities and better life,” he said.
Meanwhile, scores of angry youths of Afaraukwu in Umuahia, the Abia capital, took to the streets of the city on Tuesday morning to protest the alleged killing of a 23-year-old native, known as Chukwubikem Onuoha.
Onuoha was shot to death on Monday night in his father’s compound by a policeman, identified simply as Sgt. Collins Apugo, generating palpable tension in the town, as the protesters marched to the Central Police Station (CPS), Umuahia to lodge their complaints.
Narrating the incident to newsmen at the station, an eyewitness and spokeswoman of the protesters, Mrs Ngozi Ogbonna, said that the policeman was driving back home at night in a Hilux van, when the incident happened.
Ogbonna said that the suspect pulled out his pistol and allegedly shot the deceased twice in the chest for allegedly asking him to dim the light of his car.
She said: “Chibuikem and his brother, Kenneth, were sitting in front of their compound, when the policeman, who was driving back home, pointed his light at them.
“So Chubuikem told him, ‘Oga please dim your light’ but the policeman got angry.
“He quickly came down from the car with a pistol and immediately shot him at his collar bone.”
“His elder brother, Kenneth, who was also there, accosted the policeman and he (policeman) also threatened to shoot him.”
Ogbonna further said that Kenneth quickly rushed to inform the youths of the community about what happened.
“But before he came back, the policeman shot Chibuikem the second time, which eventually led to his death,” she said.
She said that the policeman immediately ran away before the youths got to the scene.
She said that the boy was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia but reportedly died on the way, having bled profusely from the gunshots.
It was further learnt that the policeman had fled the area with his family after the incident.
The youths, who combed the entire area in search of the suspect to no avail, later set his Hilux van ablaze.
The President-General of the community, Mr Emeka Ezebuiro, expressed concern over the incident.
Ezebuiro said that the information available to him showed that the boy was shot and murdered in cold blood, leaving his mother totally inconsolable.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Ene Okon, confirmed the incident, saying that he had ordered the arrest of the suspect wherever he might be.
Okon also said that he had set up a committee of senior police officers to wade into the matter.
He said that the committee was expected to pay a condolence visit the family of the deceased, the community leaders and youths with a view to pacifying them.
He further said that the command was already talking with appropriate government officials on how to handle the matter and avert further damage.