Traditional ruler of Ozubulu, Igwe Fidelis Nnamdi Oruche, has debunked insinuations that the community is known for drug peddling. He said Ozubulu is not a community of drug dealers.
He also denied handling dispute between Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu (a.k.a Bishop) and Mr. Chinedu Akpunonu (a.k.a Oborocho), two individuals alleged to be at the centre of the crisis that culminated in the early morning bloody shooting at St. Phillip’s Catholic Church in Amakwa, Ozubulu on Sunday, which he described as painful, barbaric and ungodly.
He said his palace had never received any compliant about any misunderstanding or quarrel between the two natives, adding that the community had only treated the leadership crisis of Ozubulu Development Union (ODU) South Africa branch about 2014 years ago.
Reports have it that Ikegwuonu and Akpunonu have been at loggerheads over alleged drug business in South Africa, which was said to have claimed lives of some Ozulubu people, and their matter had once been treated at the community level.
But Igwe Oruche while denying having such issue discussed or treated in the community said, “some years back, our children in SouthAfrica, and they are many, had leadership problem at ODU. When it persisted, they brought the natter home; and it was first treated at the home of then President-General of ODU, Chief Nobert Anigbogu.
“Some of them did not agree with the decision. They insisted that I, the monarch, should be present in the resolution of the matter, hence the entire community on an agreed date, converged here in the palace where final peace was reached and they embraced themselves and went to a Catholic church where Rev. Fr. Chidolue used the Bible to covenant them. I repeat, it was a matter of leadership of ODU South Africa, who will become the president-general. It had nothing to do with disagreement in business transactions.”
He further noted that a similar incident had happened in the community about four year ago when four vigilance group members were abducted and killed in cold blood and some of their parts removed.
He called on the state and federal governments to unravel the cause of the incident and arrest the culprits and prosecute them, stressing that the community will apply the traditional method to handle the situation.
Igwe Oruche said the community would fix date for the mourning of the victims in the community way and prayed God to console the families and grant the deaths eternal rest.
In its reaction, the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), in a statement by its founder and president, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, described the massacre as shameful and sacrilegious.
“The killing of these innocent worshippers is one incident too many. Happening in that serene rural environment, it demeans all Nigerians. It shows that nowhere in this country is safe. There is total breakdown of law and order in Nigeria as a whole.
“Perpetrators must be speedily brought to book. If there is an international connection to this callousness, as Governor Willie Obiano and the Commissioner of Police have said, then the assistance of Interpol must be solicited in order to extradite those concerned back to Nigeria for investigation, prosecution and conviction.”
The OPC lamented that Nigerians lived in constant fear from assassins, kidnappers and insurgents.
“This country has now entered a state of anomie where life is short and brutish. Nowhere appears to be safe: Not Lagos, not Port Harcourt or Akure or Maiduguri or Jos. If Nigeria is at war, let us know. Government may just as well declare the entire Nigeria a war zone.”
As far Fasehun is concerned, the spate of killings was not only evidence of the palpable insecurity throughout the country, but a failure of Intelligence.
He stressed the need for Nigerian security agencies to be proactive in order to preempt and prevent the wanton killing of innocent citizens.