Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Omuogba Nike community in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State was on Monday night thrown into mourning as a 15-year-old girl was shot dead following a protected leadership tussle in the community.
Eyewitnesses said the girl, Chinagorom Anike, was killed when a group of thugs loyal to the town union chairman, Chief Emma Ubosi, invaded the compound of her uncle, Chief Emeka Anike, who was opposed to his leadership.
It was learnt that the community is sharply divided as some members of the community are demanding for an election into the town union chairmanship position since the tenure of the current leadership had expired, while some others are insisting that Chief Ubosi should continue.
Violence erupted as the groups clashed early on Monday when some members of the community tried to stop individuals who had purchased plots of land in the community from developing them since the tenure of the current leadership who had collected development levies from them had expired.
It was also learnt that after the clash at the site, the group loyal to the incumbent chairman invaded the home of Chief Emeka Anike who is his predecessor and one of the community leaders calling for an election in the community
Speaking to Daily Sun on Tuesday, Chief Emeka Anike said his only offence was insisting that there should be an election in the community. He regretted the killing of his niece who he said was a very peaceful girl.
“For a while now we have been having issues with our town union leadership. Their tenure expired in April last year. I have been pressing them to conduct an election but from one issue to the other, they have not been able to do that.
“They said that they will continue their second tenure without election. We would have had the election by March this year but because of COVID-19 the election was postponed. But after COVID-19, we have been fixing different dates for the election but they could not go through because everyday they come up with different reasons why they election will not hold.
“So yesterday, some boys with us said that their tenure has expired that they have to stop work at some sites. So they sent their own boys to attack those boys.
“The two groups sustained different degrees of injuries. That was how the crisis erupted. Their own boys regrouped themselves and came to my house to attack me. They were armed with guns, matchets and iron rods. I called the Igwe that I was under attack.
“They held me hostage. Later on, the traditional ruler arrived with his entourage. He pleaded with them to stop what they were doing but they were too unruly. When I saw that they were about to attack me, I escaped into a nearby bush.
When they saw that I’ve escaped, they started shooting everywhere. It was at that point that they killed my little niece. They shot her in the stomach. She was rushed to a hospital where she was confirmed dead. They also vandalized my house.”
When contacted, Igwe Gabriel Okoh, admitted that the tenure of the current town union leadership expired in April last year after serving out a four year term which started in 2015. He alleged that Chief Emma Ubosi had thwarted every effort made to conduct an election according to the constitution of the community.
When contacted, Chief Emma Ubosi denied knowledge of the people behind the death of the teenager. Though he admitted that his boys attacked those who had wanted to disrupt development activities at the site in the morning, he said the boys who invaded Chief Emeka’s home were unknown to him.
The body of Chinagorom Anike has been deposited at the Colliery Hospital mortuary in Enugu.