Govt blames withdrawal of security operatives on Imo traditional rulers’ murder

Govt blames withdrawal of security operatives on Imo traditional rulers’ murder

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Fresh facts have emerged on the recent attack at Njaba Local Government Area headquarters of Imo State where two traditional rulers were reportedly shot dead by gunmen.

Mr. Emeka Iheanacho, the Interim Management Committee Chairman of the Council said in a statement on Friday, blamed the attack on the allege withdrawal of police personnel from the event held a the at the Council headquarters, Nnenasa, on October 19, 2021.

He stated contrary to claims by the Commissioner of police in Imo State, Mr. Rabiu Husseini that the Council did not formally request for police protection, explained that he had invited one ASP Nwankwo, the leader of Njaba LGA Police Operation Search and Flush Team, to the Council on 18 October 2021.

Iheanacho also stated that requested their presence at the Council headquarters the previous day for Njaba Local Government Area stakeholders meeting, submission of Community project needs for Imo State 2022 budget, and a monthly meeting with Njaba Council of traditional rulers meeting which coincided with the distribution of 20,000 exercise books to heads of primary and secondary schools in the LGA.

According to The Tribune, Iheanacho said that the ASP agreed to come with his team and on the said date 19th, October 2021, the police team actually came to the Council headquarters.

He regretted that shortly before the commencement of the programme, the leader of the police team, ASP Nwankwo came to his office and informed him that their commander instructed them to return to Owerri.

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He said he refused to allow them to leave in order to avoid jeopardising the security of lives and properties in the environment, but they insisted ongoing.

But the Council chairman alleged that the security team finally left and told him that they would be back before the next two hours.

Regrettably, shortly before the commencement of the programme, the leader of the police team, ASP Nwankwo came to his office and informed him that their commander instructed them to return to Owerri, according to him.

The Council boss further alleged ASP Nwankw, refused to allow them to go in order to avoid jeopardising the security of lives and properties in the environment, but they insisted ongoing.

According to the Council chairman, the security team finally left and told him that they would be back before the next two hours.

He explained further said that their usual monthly meeting with the traditional rulers, which happened to be the last programme for the day, was about to be concluded when they saw some armed men approaching the council hall venue of the meeting.

He also stated that the gunmen on reaching the door to the hall, opened fire on the people as many scampered away for safety.

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Iheanacho said that the incident, which took place around a few minutes to 3pm, resulted in the killing of two traditional rulers, Eze Anayo Durueburuo of Okwudor Autonomous Community and Eze Samson Osunwa of Ihebinowere autonomous Community who died on the spot.

He said that three traditional rulers also sustained gunshot injuries which include HRH A. N Onyeka of Nkume Autonomous Community, HRH P. C Ukonu of Ugbele Aka Autonomous Community and HRH Uche Nwaka of Umunnam Autonomous Community.

The chairman, according to the paper, appealed to the State governor, Mr. Hope Uzodimma to prevail on the Department of State Security Service, DSS Operation Search and Flush Team, and
the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC Operation Search and Flush Team posted to Njaba LGA to report and commence work in the LGA with immediate effect to beef up security in the area, according to The Tribune.

But the police spokesman, CSP Michael Abatham in a statement on Saturday on behalf of the State Commissioner of police, said that the Council’s Chairman never deemed it necessary, knowing full well the security situation in the state, to call or formally write to the Police Command or the Area Commander, who is the closest to him, to inform him of such a sensitive event realising the calibre of dignitaries he had invited to grace the occasion.

The statement reads in part, “It is a common knowledge that, if there is need to hold a function that will involve large crowd or very important personalities, it is mandatory that security agencies must be informed in writing to provide security to cover such occasion”.

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“It is on record that the Transitional Chairman of Njaba Local Government never wrote formally to inform the Commissioner of Police or the Area Commander of such a significant programme scheduled in three phases.

He noted that if he did as he claimed in the media, “he is at liberty to show the approval letter to the public”.

The statement described it as laughable for the Council boss to disparage police authorities on the pages of newspapers to say that “he begged the police not to leave the venue”.

“Who is the police? Does he have to beg? It is unconventional to see police patrol team on assignment and beg them to assist you to cover an occasion”, he queried, but assured that police would fish out the killers of the traditional rulers and prosecute them.

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