Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Police in Ebonyi on Monday said it has arrested 26 persons in connection with the crisis and killings of December 26, at Ekoli-Edda Community in Afikpo South Local Government Area of the state.
They noted that 14 of the arrested suspects will soon be charged to court.
One of the suspects arrested, Nnamdi Omeoha, is said to be a member of Ebubeagu Security outfit.
Ikengaonline had reported how three persons including, a youth leader in the community identified as Eseni Egwu, Eme Orji, younger brother to Ebonyi APC Chairman and an Inspector of Police, Esien Akpan, were killed during the crisis.
Police spokesperson, Chris Anyanwu, while parading the suspects in Abakaliki said they would be arraigned as prima facie case of conspiracy, armed robbery, arson, unlawful possession and malicious damage, have been established against them.
Mr Anyanwu said: “The key actors among the suspects arrested volunteered useful” confessional statements” that exposed the aggregate of overwhelming findings.
“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.
Mr Emegha is the APC state Chairman while Mr Chima is the party’s House of Representatives candidate for Afikpo North/South constituency.
Mr Anyanwu noted that 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 in close proximity.
“The visit of the APC Chairman to his village on the 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, galvanised the youth into further action, hence, the rampage and escalation of the brouhaha.
“An attempt to arrest one Aruah said to be the leader of the Ekoli-Edda Youth warriors, brought in the warriors who were reserved for the purpose of fighting in the Boundary Dispute between them and a neighbouring community in Cross River State.
“The said warriors wielded sophisticated prohibited firearms and their actions further degenerated the situation,” he said.
Mr Anyanwu noted further that Emegha and Chima were equally arrested on the directive of Governor David Umahi.
“Without minding whose ox is gored, the Governor ordered that the two political stalwarts be arrested and detained, even as the duo are key members of his political party.
“He further enhanced and facilitated the arrest of the perpetrators and recovery of arms/ ammunition,” he stated.
Mr Anyanwu said some property were destroyed during the incident which include a residential building belonging to Ebonyi APC chairman, Stanley-Okoro Emegha, a Toyota Hilux van and one motorcycle, Toyota Sienna space bus, one grocery shop, doors and windows.
He said the command also recovered one AK-47 rifle and live ammunition, two pump action rifles, one Dane gun, three AK-47 magazines amongst others.
“The command is advising the youth from all communities and clans in Ebonyi to learn positive lessons from the ill-fated incident of December 26 that befell Ekoli-Edda and guard against its replication,” Anyanwu added.