The President-General of the Town Union of Oruku Community in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State has been killed by gunmen.
The assassination took place on Saturday morning, making him the eightieth prominent residents of the Community that have been killed by gunmen suspected to cultists used during a communal war with neighbouring community, Umuode.
According to Punch newspapers, Nwatu, a retired police officer, was shot dead in the early morning of Saturday by gunmen who broke into his house where he resided with his family members after his retirement from Nigeria Police some years back.
The source regretted that the President-General was killed on a day that the community had scheduled to bury a member of the town’s neighbourhood watch, Dennis Ike (a.k.a Peace), who was shot dead by gunmen in the town on June 6, 2022.
Late Ike was ambushed and killed while riding his motorcycle at the time.
The hoodlums had after killing him set his corpse and motorbike ablaze before proceeding to torch houses of some persons in community that fateful day.
A Community source told our correspondent that the gunmen, apparently on a mission to forestall the burial of the slain Ike slated for today (Saturday), stormed the compound of the president-general (Nwatu) and murdered him in cold-blood this morning.
The source, who spoke on anonymity, said the attack on Nwatu was not unconnected with his role in the lingering communal conflict in Oruku, which the Enugu state government has failed to resolve over the years.
The traditional ruler of Oruku community, Igwe Emmanuel Mbah and several natives had been murdered by hoodlums loyal to a faction in the communal dispute from December 2020 till date. The traditional ruler was assassinated on December 26, 2020 and his killers are yet to be brought to book.
The assassination later sparked a disorder that caused destruction of lives and property in the community prompting Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to institute a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate Mbah’s killing.
The murdered Town Union President, Chief Nwatu, had alleged while testifying before the commission that “23 collaborators and sponsors were fueling cultist activities in Oruku” to destroy lives and property.
He had urged the commission headed by Justice Harold Eya to look into the names listed in his memorandum as the masterminds of Oruku crisis and bring them to book.
The Justice Harold Eya panel had since submitted its findings to Governor Ugwuanyi but the government has yet to make the report public and take necessary steps to restore lasting peace in the area.
As a result, many natives who deserted the community following series of attacks and arson, have not returned to their homes while those who remained in Oruku and neigbouring towns have continued to exist in fear though security operatives conduct patrol activities in the area periodically.
Another community source told our correspondent while lamenting incessant killing of members of the community by people whose identities were known while the government pay no attention, said eight leaders of the community have been killed by the same gang.
The source gave the names of those killed in less than two years as “Igwe Emmanuel Mba, Hon. Linus Nwatu, Mr. Samuel Ani, Mr. Okechukwu Ogbodo, Mr. Calistus Amushi, Mr. Dennis Ike, Mr. Zik Mba and Mr. Okenwa Mbah.
“Their killers have vowed to kill us all and the government is doing nothing about it. The governor deceived us that he was making peace and abandoned us to be extinguished by Raymond Okenwa, Moses Nnamani and others.”
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