Women protest invasion of Anambra community as 10 die, monarch, 5 others missing, 20 injured


By Julie Sylvia, Onitsha

No fewer than 10 persons have so far lost their lives, while 20 others sustained various degrees of injuries as two rival groups operating under the name of Lion Squad and Pillar Youths, reportedly overrun Ogwuaniocha community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra state.

Ogwuaniocha which has a common boundary with Oguta in Imo state, is an oil rich community which attracted oil producing status to Anambra state and which placed the state as one of those getting the 13 percent oil derivation fund on monthly basis.

The incident, according to some women from the area who embarked on a peaceful protest in Onitsha, Thursday, said the incident which occurred few days ago, started barely two years ago when the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Oliver Chike Nnaji was abducted from his palace by a terror gang they identified as Lion Squad and his whereabout is yet unknown till date.

Jointly led in the protest by Nkemdilim Onwurah and Ngozi Freda Nnaji, wife of the abducted and missing traditional ruler of the area, Igwe Oliver Chile Nnaji, the aggrieved Ogwuaniocha women numbering up to 100, marched from New Market road to Old Market road, Onitsha and addressed newsmen in front of the General Post Office, Onitsha.

Specifically, Onwurah told newsmen that the same opposition parties known as Lion Squad who abducted Igwe Nnaji from his palace in November 2021, have now formed an alliance with all the criminal gangs known as unknown gunmen to terrorise law abiding citizens of the area.

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According to Onwurah, the opposition parties have teamed up with all the kidnappers operating within Ihiala and Orlu axis and they are currently camping in some places they called Longinus camp, Ose Mkpuruosisu, Onuiyi camp and Usham Ogwuaniocha Annex to terrorise the people of the area.

She lamented that the latest onslaught against the community had taken place between Thursday, October 19 and Friday, October 20 when a combined team of the terror gangs and Lion squad emerged from their bush hideout, swooped on some innocent citizens they tagged as opposition, such as Abiana Alanze and Prince Nnaji beating them to stupor and thinking that they were dead, left them and dispersed.

He however expressed relief that the quick intervention of a combined team of naval men and local vigilantes saved other law abiding citizens of the area from falling victims of the killer group.

She therefore appealed to Governor Chukwuma Soludo and security agencies in the state to come to their rescue from the criminal gangs as according to her, most of the indigenes in the area are now into hiding for sake of their lives, as a result of the menace of these hoodlums as according to her, the state government, with its oil producing status, is getting at least between N400 and N500 million monthly from the 13 percent oil derivation fund.

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Contributing, Mrs. Ngozi Freda Nnaji who spoke amidst tears rolling down her chicks, recalled how the terror gangsters led by one Double Lion invaded the Igwe’s palace on November 15, 2021, set it on fire and as her husband, Igwe Nnaji and herself were struggling to escape through the window of their back yard, the gangsters allegedly abducted Igwe Nnaji, while she, herself fainted and found herself later in a hospital.

She however confirmed that some members of the gang were later apprehended by security forces, charged to court and remanded in the prison custody till date, adding that the day they were brought to court to hear their matter, some of them who had thought that she died the day the palace was set ablaze and Igwe Nnaji abducted, on sighting her, started running helter skelter, thinking that she was now a ghost.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga however told newsmen on phone that he was not yet aware of the incident as at the time of filing this report Thursday.

In a swift reaction, a victim of the attack, Chukwudozie Nduba, who sustained matchet cuts and bullet injuries said he was abducted by the Pillar Youths attached to missing Igwe Nnaji.

“My sister and I ran into the bush on the fateful day, last week, and they pursued us and caught me while my sister escaped by divine intervention. I was whisked away in a waiting boat to the bank of a river where I was beaten to come and stabbed severally. It was on the process that one of them said instead of killing me and throwing me into the river that it was better to hand me over to the Naval officers .

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“As they were about to take me to the Naval post they saw some military officers on the road and quickly dumped me in the bush and ran away and I took the bush and got to Mputu, a neighbouring community and that was how I was said, he disclosed.

Also reacting, Anthony Ejiofor, whose brother, Sunday Ejiofor, said the Pillar youths kidnapped my brother and one Afam Enumezie and we also abducted theirs. But there was an MOU to release all those abducted which was signed by the President of the community, Chief Chidi Eze. We returned those we abducted and the Pillar youths have not returned my brother and Afam they abducted for four days now.

” The pillar youths in collaboration with the Naval personnel attacked us and sacked us from our community. We are not part of those that kidnapped their so called Monarch,” he hinted further.

Pics show burnt Igwe’s palace and wife of Igwe

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