December 28, 2022
A police orderly attached to Chief Stanley Okoro-Emegha, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi State; his younger brother, Eme Orji, and a youth leader, identified as Eseni Kalu Orji, have been killed in a supremacy clash that ensued between his supporters and that of Hon. Eni Uduma Chima, who is the APC candidate for Afikpo North/Afikpo South Federal Constituency, on Monday evening.
The irate youths equally set ablaze the village house of Mr. Okoro-Emegha, who doubles as the State Security Consultant, his Toyota Hilux van and a Toyota Sienna space bus belonging to the Police Command’s Tactical Teams.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Ebonyi State Command, SP Chris Anyanwu, who confirmed the incident on Tuesday, in a statement said the Tactical Teams of the Command dispatched to Ekoli-Edda to take control of the situation, were also ambushed by the youths of the area at the village entrance, but the operatives maneuvered unhurt.
Anyanwu said the bodies of the three deceased persons have been evacuated and deposited at different morgues, adding that a total of eight suspects had been arrested among the irate youths while others were still at large.
He further disclosed that the two political gladiators in the middle of the whole imbroglio, Messrs. Eni Uduma Chima and Okoro- Emegha, who hail from the same community, had been placed on protective custody to douse the tension in the area.
The statement read: “Ebonyi State Police Command is presently investigating a case of murder, arson and malicious damages to government properties and individuals resulting from apparent struggle for supremacy and who controls the area politically among two notable political stalwarts in Ekoli-Edda, Afikpo South LGA of the state.
“At about 1630hrs of 26/12/2022, a day popularly known as Boxing Day, a distress call was received that sporadic shootings and killings were going on at Ekoli-Edda between Ebube Agu operatives, who accompanied their boss, Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha, the state’s Chief Security Consultant, and another group of men purported to be loyalists to the immediate past council chairman, Hon. (Dr.) Chima Eni, who is also the APC flag-bearer for the House of Representatives in the area.
“It was further gathered that the open shoot-out was not far-fetched from previous grudges existing among the two factions. In the process, a youth leader identified as Eseni Kalu Egwu was fatally wounded, later rushed to a neighbouring hospital at Ohafia, Abia State where he was confirmed dead.
“Angered by his death, the youths of the area mobilised and went on rampage, killing Eme Orji, a younger brother of Chief Stanley Okoro-Emegha and an Inspector of Police attached to the Special Protection Unit (SPU). The irate youths equally set ablaze the village house of the security consultant, his Toyota Hilux van and a Toyota Sienna space bus belonging to the Police Command’s Tactical Teams.
“When the Tactical Teams were dispatched to Ekoli-Edda to take control of the situation, they were ambushed by the youths of the area at the village entrance. However, the operatives maneuvered unhurt.
“The bodies of the three deceased persons have been evacuated and deposited at different morgues. A total of eight suspects were arrested among the irate youths while others are still at large.
“Also, the two political gladiators in the middle of the whole imbroglio, who happen to hail from the same community, have been placed on protective custody to douse the tension in the area, while a scrupulous investigation has been activated by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in-charge of SCIID here in Ebonyi State.
“The Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State Police Command, CP Aliyu Garba, who has visited the scene, advises that everyone affected in one way or the other in this ugly development should keep calm as he wades into the matter, please.”
Sources said the clash that ensued between members of the Ebube Agu Security Outfit and the youths in the area took place on Monday about 6p.m.
The Ebube Agu operatives was said to have arrived the market square in the area in company of Mr. Okoro-Emegha, patrolled and shot sporadically into the air and left.
The development, a source further noted, attracted youths of the community, who in liaison with some elders announced that natives should go into their homes for safety, while they mobilised against any unforeseen attacks on the community.
Thereafter, the security operatives allegedly reinforced and stationed at Ogwuma, a hamlet close to Ekoli-Edda community in the council area, and engaged youths of the community, who were allegedly ready for a showdown.
Eseni Kalu Orji’s eventual death occurred when the youths engaged the security operatives.
Few hours after the clash, the youths burnt the country home of the APC chairman in the state, Okoro-Emegha, at about 10:18p.m.
Investigations revealed that Okoro-Emegha, had on Sunday, kicked against the election of a youth group in the community that saw the emergence of persons loyal to the immediate past chairman of the Afikpo South LGA, Chima Eni, as principal officers.
The APC boss, according to the source, had allegedly expressed displeasure over the election and reportedly drew the attention of the council area chairman, Chima Ekumankama, who allegedly nullified the election and disbanded the officers elected.
But confirming the incident, the APC chairman, Okoro-Emegha, said he was attacked by thugs loyal to a politician in the area, saying his house had equally been burnt by the miscreants.
He said: “Yes. It’s true. They attacked me tonight at Ekoli-Edda community, and the same people, some of whom I know, I have just heard, burnt my house.
“These are Eni’s boys; they attacked me and they are the people that burnt my house. I call on the police and other security agencies to swing into action. They know what to do to unravel the truth of the matter.”
Narrating his ordeal, the elder brother of the dead victim, Mission Egwu, lamented that his sibling’s killing was senseless and premeditated, adding that the community had been lockdown as a consequence of the crisis in the area.
He said, “What happened in Ekoli-Edda today is an unfortunate and senseless killing. It is unfortunate in the sense that the life of a vibrant young man in active community service has been cut short. It is senseless that there was no provocation for his killing.”
Umahi Orders Arrest Of APC Chairman, Reps Candidate Over Mayhem
Meanwhile, Governor David Nweze Umahi has directed the immediate arrest and prosecution of the state APC Chairman, Chief Stanley Emegha and the candidate for Afikpo North/Afikpo South Federal Constituency, Chief Eni Uduma Chima, for their roles in the murder of three persons in Ekoli-Edda.
Governor Umahi gave the directive during an on-the-spot assessment of the level of damages in the area.
The governor also directed the Commissioner of Police to arrest all those connected with the carnage and ensure they face justice.
Umahi while announcing the suspension of all social gatherings in Edda until normalcy returned, urged the Commissioner of Police to saturate the area with security presence to forestall further breakdown of law and order.
As at the time of filing in this report, the whole Ekoli-Edda has been cordoned off by the combined team of the police, army and the Ebube Agu security outfit.