FROM CHIDI NNADI, ENUGU
THERE was panic yesterday at the Enugu Park Avenue National Secretariat of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, as a policeman attached to one of the leaders opened fire at the beginning of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the group.
The gunshot was said to have jolted the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Gary Enwo Igariwey; the Secretary General, Dr. Joe Nworgu and other leaders of the organisation who had gathered for the meeting.
But when contacted on phone, Dr. Nworgu denied that there was shooting at the secretariat.
But Saturday Sun reliably gathered that as the NEC meeting was about to commence two factions of the Ohanaeze Youth Wing (OYC), the youth arm of the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, who had raised questions over the handling of funds at the just organised Igbo Unity Forum in Owerri, Imo State, disagreed.
Trouble was said to have started when the National Publicity Secretary of the youth wing, Obinna Adibe, who belongs to the Arthur Okafor faction, came with some policemen from the Enugu Area Command to arrest one of the youth leaders, Alex Okemiri.
Adibe had earlier in a petition to the Enugu Area Command also accused Okemiri, who belongs to the faction of the National President, Ikechukwu Isiguzoro, of using his name without his permission to send out text messages for meetings.
While the policemen from the Area Command who were in plain clothes were trying to drag Okemiri into a waiting vehicle, the Deputy President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Hon. Ugochukwu Onyema, was said to have allegedly instructed a policeman attached to him to stop Okemiri’s arrest.
Consequently, the mobile policeman was alleged to have shut the gates of the secretariat, raised his rifle and fired into the air, thereby causing panic at the secretariat.
The Ohanaeze President General who was said to be ruffled by the gunshot started appealing for calm between the warring factions of the youth wing.
An eyewitness said Igariwey pleaded with Adibe to tell the plain-clothe policemen with him to leave Okemiri and allow him to use internal mechanism of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to resolve the matter. The pleadings were heeded.
The policemen from the Area Command, who reprimanded the mobile policeman for obstructing the arrest, later left the Ohanaeze Secretariat while the NEC meeting resumed.
The meeting was expected to deliberate on the report of a panel set up by Ohanaeze Ndigbo to resolve the crisis in the youth wing of the organisation, as well as look at the Owerri Igbo Unity Forum handled by Chief Onwuka Ukwa, who they said is yet to give account of the outing bankrolled by Imo governor Rochas Okorocha.