Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
The people of Ogwuaniocha in Ogbaru Local Government Area, Anambra State, have protested over the incessant killing and abduction of their indigenes by unknown criminal groups in the community.
They said insecurity in their community had claimed scores of lives and left numerous individuals with various degrees of injuries.
They also said many had fled the community as a consequence of the security situation posing serious threat to their lives and that of their families.
Displaying placards with different inscriptions, they marched around Onitsha and surrounding areas, decrying the anomalies in their area.
The protesters comprising mostly women and youths disclosed that houses had also been destroyed in the melee, attributing the insecurity in the community to a group known as the Lion Squad, which they described as a criminal gang responsible for the abduction of their traditional ruler.
They lamented that their community had been abandoned by the Anambra State Government, noting that even their traditional ruler, Igwe Oliver Nnaji, who was kidnapped in 2021 was yet to be seen and questions have not been asked.
The leader of the protesting women, Mrs Nkemdilim Onwurah, said fresh attacks by the Lion Squad started last Friday, a situation, she said forced many people to flee the community for their dear lives and safety.
She said the gunmen had found a haven in Ogwuaniocha since security operatives began bombarding their camps in Ihiala, Orsu, Lilu, and others.
She, however, lamented that despite massive insecurity and killings, the state government had abandoned the community to the criminals, and concentrated on protecting and providing security only to the area where the oil company operated from.
Another protester, Mrs. Cecilia Okonkwo, noted that the criminals who fled Ihiala and Orlu axis were currently camping in some places in their community called “Longinus Camp,” “Ose Mkpuruosisi,” “Onuiyi Camp,” and “Usham Ogwuaniocha Annex,” to terrorise the people of the area.
She said the latest onslaught against the community had taken place between Thursday, October 19, and Friday, October 20, when a combined team of the terror gangs and Lion Squad emerged from their hideout in the bush, swooped on some innocent citizens, beating them to stupor and, thinking that they were dead, left them, and dispersed.
Contributing, Ngozi Freda, said: “The insecurity and killings in our community started as soon as oil was discovered in the community. These criminals allied with some opposition seeking to hijack the control of the resources in the community. It is unfortunate that the state government has ignored our plight while only providing security to the areas operated by the oil company drilling oil in our community.
“We use this opportunity to appeal to the Governor to come to our rescue. We believe he is a listening Governor and he will listen to us.”
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer( PPRO), Tochukwu Ikenga, said the complaints that had been received from the community were being investigated by the command.
He noted that the outcome of the investigation would be made known to the public when concluded.