From Wilson Okereke, Afikpo and Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
A 17-year-old girl and SS1 student of Winners International School, Miss Munachi Paul, Onicha Ebonyi State, was in the evening of Tuesday, July 26, 2022, gruesomely murdered by yet-to-be identified persons at Amokporo, Igboeze Onicha Community in Onicha Local Government, Ebonyi State.
Some residents of the area speculated that the killers could be Fulani herdsmen, “because it followed their style.” It was gathered that the young girl’s throat was slit by her assailants after raping her.
The allegation was, however, dispelled by Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Uchenna Orji. He exonerated Fulani herders from the attack: “The community was working hard to apprehend the killers of the innocent teenage girl.”
Our reporter who visited the area was told by the bereaved father, Mr Paul Obasi Igwe, that on the fateful evening, his daughter left for Agbebor village in neighbouring Isu community to grind cassava at the Garri Processing Mill: “It was on her way back home, that she encountered the devil incarnate.
“I was the person who conveyed her with the bag of the cassava to Agbebor village. While at the mill, after I had found out that there were other two women from my kindred whom she could come back with after grinding, I started coming back.
“But around 8.30pm when I did not see her, I sent two of her siblings to the mill to find out what might be the problem. The children came back and told me that Munachi had for so long left the place according to the information from the miller.
“Out of anxiety, I started combing the whole place without minding my fractured leg. In the process, a basin containing a little can of palm oil, which she went out with was found by the roadside. As we entered into a track road, behold, Munachi’s lifeless body was sighted on a heap of firewood.
“It was at that point that I raised the alarm. This attracted the attention of other residents to the discovery. Indigenes of the two communities gathered over the ugly development. The people of Agbebor opted to deposit Munachi’s body in a morgue at their own expense. They promised to partner with security personnel in the search for the perpetrators.
“My daughter was a member of both Assemblies of God Church and the Scripture Union. She was not into any boy and girl friend affairs. She was brilliant, hardworking and respectful. That is why I am confused over the particular angle through which this calamity emanated from.”
It was gathered that through the intervention of some critical stakeholders and political office holders from Onicha Igboeze and Isuokoma communities, the problem which would have ordinarily degenerated into communal conflict was pacified.
Coordinator of Onicha West Development Centre, Ogbonnaya Oti, condemned the incident: “The community will do everything possible to fish out the girl’s killers. I want to sincerely appreciate the Acting president-general of Onicha Igboeze and our beloved elder statesman, Onyibe Nwite Eze, for your interventions to secure peace and further damages that could have occurred.
“I thank you so much. We shall put in our best as a government to assist the two communities, fish out the perpetrators.” He also extended condolences to the bereaved family: “Such evil will never occur again in Onicha Igboeze.”
Insecurity in Ebonyi State has gradually moved from attacks on police personnel and facilities, to killing of civilians and community members by unknown assailants. About three months ago, gunmen attacked the family house of the Ikwo LGA chairman, Steve Orogwu and killed his brother’s two sons and a security guard.
Earlier in July, gunmen also attacked Ukwa Ngbo in Ohaukwu LGA killing three residents. Police spokesman confirmed the incident. Not done yet, gunmen few weeks after the Ukwa Ngbo attack, stormed Isu community in Onicha LGA and abducted the traditional ruler of the area, Eze Ambrose Ogbu.
As at the time of this report, the traditional ruler was yet to be released. President general of the community was also reportedly killed by unknown assailants, although, outside the community.
Curiously, few days after his killing, Palace Secretary of the abducted monarch was also murdered in his farm at Isu. Fear and panic capture the situation now in the community.