Police Contradict Ebonyi Government Over Edda killing, Blamed Power Supremacy For Crisis
Contrary to the claims by the Ebonyi state government that police exonerated the involvement of the state APC chairman, Stanley Okoro Emegha, and the former Chairman of Afikpo South local government area from the killings that happened in Ekoli Edda on the 26th December 2022, the state police command Monday said that the perpetrators of the crimes were boys loyal to the duo.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chris Anyawu during a press briefing at the police headquarters in Abakaliki said that both the APC chairman and the former chairman of Afikpo South LGA were arrested alongside 24 others.
Anyanwu in the text of the briefing noted that the crisis which claimed 3 lives and destroyed properties worth billions of naira was ignited during a face-off between the security aides of Emegha and boys loyal to Eni.
Anyanwu said, “The key actors among the suspects arrested volunteered useful “confessional statements” that exposed the aggregate of overwhelming findings hereunder outlined:
“The fracas that engulfed Ekoli-Edda on 26/12/2022 ignited at about 1600 hours during a face-off between the security aides of Hon Stanley Okoro Emegha versus a faction of Ekoli-Edda youth believed to be loyalists of Hon Eni Uduma Chima.
‘The protracted political rivalry/supremacy struggle between the duo is the cause of the showdown that took place. Interestingly, the two political stalwarts hail from the same community, belong to the same political party, and even live nearby.
“The visit of the APC Chairman to his village on a fateful day, with his aides, infuriated the fragment of the youths in the area who are purportedly adherents of Hon Eni Uduma Chima, hence the showdown that ensued.
“The war songs chanted by Egwu Famous Chinedu, the Town Crier, amidst hitting/blowing of his gong/trumpet, respectively, galvanized the youth into further action, hence, the rampage and escalation of the brouhaha.
“The investigation further revealed that an attempt to arrest one Aruah said to be the leader of the Ekoli-Edda Youth warriors, brought in the warriors who were reserved to fight in the Boundary Dispute between them and a neighboring community in Cross River State. The said warriors wielded sophisticated prohibited firearms and their actions further degenerated the situation.
The prompt intervention of His Excellency, Engr. Apostle Dave Nweze Umahi FNSE, FNATE, GCEHF, CON as the father and Chief Security Officer of the State, went a long way to abate the hostilities. Without minding whose ox is gored, the Governor ordered that the two political stalwarts be arrested and detained, even as the duo is key members of his political party. He further enhanced and facilitated the arrest of the perpetrators cum recovery of arms/ammunition. Also in his quest to restore peace in Edda Clan, the Governor visited the area more than three times and eventually constituted a Board of Enquiry and Reconciliation headed by distinguished Senator Sunny Ogbuorji.
“It is crystal clear that the supremacy tussle raging between Hon Stanley Okoro Emegha and Hon Eni Uduma Chima is the cause of the ill-fated December 26th conflict at Ekoli-Edda, Afikpo-South of Ebonyi State. Fourteen out of the entire suspects arrested (some still at large) will be arraigned immediately in court as prima facie cases of Conspiracy, Armed Robbery, Arson, Unlawful Possession, and Malicious Damage have been established against them.
But the state government during the last exco briefing by the commissioner of Information, Uchenna Orji on January 16, 2023, said that a preliminary finding by the police exonerated the duo.
“Exco received a briefing on the police interim report on the ugly incident that happened in Edda, Afikpo South Local Government Area, and the Governor’s directive on those involved in the unfortunate mayhem that led to the loss of lives. Exco noted the Police report which revealed that the culprits had been apprehended and would soon be charged in Court. Exco however noted the fact that the statements from the suspects did not indict the duo of Hon. Barr. Eni Uduma Chima and Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha of any complicity in the needless attack”.
However, the PPRO quoted the Commissioner of Police Ebonyi State Police Command, CP Aliyu Garba to have “advises/warns the youth from all communities and clans in Ebonyi State to learn positive lessons from the ill-fated incident of December 26th that befell Ekoli-Edda and guard against its replication. Without being subjudice or preempting the recommendation of the Board of Enquiry and Reconciliation set up by the State Government, the CP further posits that despite the outcome, every individual caught up in the web of such heinous crimes must face appropriate punishment as stipulated by the laws of the land, meaning that the law is no respecter of anyone”.