The Oraifite Community in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra, has called on opinion molders in the community to refrain from making misleading and inciteful comments over the issues that led to the killing of two police officers on December 2.
Traditional Rulers Council and Oraifite Improvement Union (OIU) made the call at a news conference in Awka today. The two groups urged all concerned to cease further comments on the matter pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation by police.The text of the conference was signed by Igwe Dan Udoji (Obi Oraifite 111), Mr Sunny Igboanuzue and Mr Uche Offor, the President-General and Secretary-General of OIU.
The leaders blamed the loss of lives and property in Oraifite on December 2 on unfortunate and avoidable acts of violence and lawlessness by hoodlums and miscreants.
They condemned the gruesome murder of the two police officers and reiterated their ban against all masquerade activities in the community.
“The leadership of Oraifite, including Isi-Obi, Obis, executive of OIU and quarters’ chairmen have watched and read with keen interest various misinformed and conflicting narratives of the causes and involvement of individuals, groups and organisations in the matter.
“Although we remain in shock and have restrained ourselves from making further comments or contribution in the media, we are concerned that these misinformed and mischievous narratives are politicising what should be seen as criminal actions.
“We are particularly perturbed that certain influential individuals and perceived leaders of our respective communities, including the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo, without facts of the matter, are making public statement that could potentially obstruct justice,” they stated.The Oraifite leaders said that the bitter rivalry between Otu-Eke and Otu-Afor – two masquerade cult groups – in the community was responsible for the events that led to the killing of the policemen and injuring of many.
They said on November 30, during the burial of one late Chukwudi Okafor, who belonged to Otu-Afor, the Otu-Eke rival group allegedly went and attacked the Out-Afor members, unmasked and later abducted them in a show of supremacy.
They said the police became involved because of complaint filed by the family of late Okafor and chairman of Otu-Afor group, following the fight that left property destroyed and many people injjred.“During the invasion, hoodlums destroyed several property, stole money, livestock and injured several people.
“Other subsequent incidents, violence, lawlessness and destruction resulted from the police efforts to rescue abducted Otu-Afor members, arrest the culprits and restoration of peace and order,” they said.They commiserated with the Nigerian Police and families of ACP Oliver Abbey and ASP Joseph Akubo, who lost their lives in the crisis.
They also commended the Inspector General of Police for taking over the investigation.“We also empathise with all individuals and families who, for no fault of theirs, lost property and sustained injuries during these incidents.“We will continue to pray for speedy healing of our community,” they said.