Controversy has trailed a couple after a member of a community vigilante in Anambra state, was butchered on duty in cold blood.
Community vigilante butchered on duty
Mrs. Cordelia Umeh, a native of Umuinem village, Umuonyiuka, in Ufuma, Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State is distraught. She cannot be consoled because her eldest son, Chuks Umeh, was recently murdered in cold blood a few strides from their home.
The deceased, 30, was a member of the community’s vigilance group. On the night he was murdered, he had allegedly rung the village bell at about 10pm, signalling the commencement of duty; but unknown to him death was lurking at the corner.
Before his tragic death, his kinsman, Ezechukwu Okechukwu, had allegedly threatened on different occasions to deal with him over a series of issues. Some of their kinsmen, including the chairman of their vigilance group, Andy Nwankwo Eze, corroborated the allegation.
The accused, Ezechukwu Okechukwu, has, however, dismissed every allegation against him as false. Ezechukwu, who visited The Sun office in Awka, maintained that he was innocent of the crime. He, however, alleged that one Chibuike Akamnonu, had confessed to the police of committing the crime.
The Anambra State Police Command, which has been accused of complicities in the murder incident now generating serious tension in the community declined to speak on the matter when our reporter called him. The Police Commissioner, Sam Okaula, told a reporter that he would not comment on the matter.
The deceased’s mother, Mrs. Umeh, a widow, and other members of the family told Daily Sun that the accused, Okechukwu, and his wife, Ifeyinwa, a police sergeant, had some questions to answer over Chuks’ death.
“Owners of the house where he went to recharge his torch empathetically said that he collected the torch a few minutes past 10pm that night. Afterwards he proceeded to ring the security bell, as he was the one in charge of it.
“While he was out for security duty, some people swooped on him on the lonely route, leading to the village square. People are testifying that they saw two dreadful persons come into the village that night.
“From what we saw in the morning, Chuks was strangled to death behind a house whose owners live abroad. They later deposited his body on the road, wore him his foot wear and put his security torchlight in his hand. They later inflicted deep cuts in the head with axe and scooped out his brain.”
Recalling how both families got at the crossroads, she said that they had been enmeshed in bitter quarrel before the incident happened over a missing fowl. Okechukwu, she said, had accused the deceased of stealing his broiler, an allegation she dismissed.
“One day, he locked up all the members of the community’s vigilance group. But the community bailed them all. We were at Eke square when they returned and everybody clearly heard Okechukwu and his wife, saying that they had been spiritually targeting Chuks but he could not get him.
“He personally tried using the police to intimidate him but could not succeed. He said that the next step was to spill blood. They said that many families would cry soon. The villagers replied him immediately, urging him to get ready to buy a shovel and a hoe with which he would use to bury his victims.
“Each time he saw Chuks, he would be pointing at him, threatening that he should get ready for him. Now that he has been killed, the villagers have gone to Okechukwu’s house to ask him what had transpired. Okechukwu replied that maybe the deity he had commissioned to kill his enemies had begun working, starting with Chuks.
“Puzzled, our people asked him whether idols had cutlasses, axes and arrows. He said he did not know – that maybe Chuks was killed by hired assassins.”
It was learned that Eze’s wife, Ifeyinwa, a police woman, was alleged to have been boasting that nothing would happen. She was also accused of blocking police men, who were supposed to investigate the matter. “They have a close relationship with a top police officer attached to Ajalli Police Station."
The deceased’s sibling, Ekpereamaka, said that Okechukwu had in the past told him to warn his brother to stop collaborating with the villagers against him otherwise he would deal decisively with him. He also accused the Deputy Commissioner of Police in-charge of the case of being partial.
“When the community’s vigilance group chairman narrated to him how Eze and his wife had been threatening Chuks, the DCP ordered for his detention.
“Before the community constituted the members of the vigilance group, it was noticed that Okechukwu and his wife usually visited the market square to perform some incantations, usually naked. To stop that, the vigilance group was constituted. He was not comfortable with that and vowed to stop the security. He said that once he killed my brother, who was their main man others would be easier to deal with.”