Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Leaders of Oraifite community in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, yesterday, proscribed five groups and masquerades, including the ones that operate in the night as well as some other associations in the community.
This followed the recent fracas in the community, which resulted in the killing of two policemen and two others. The ugly incident reportedly started at the residence of the lawyer to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, before spreading in the neighbourhood.
Some buildings around the area were reportedly riddled with bullets while property reportedly belonging to the lawyer was said to have been set ablaze.
In a statement by the President-General of Oraifite Improvement Union (OIU), Sunny Igboanuzue, Secretary General, Offor Uche, and their traditional ruler, Igwe Daniel Udeoji, the community condemned the killing of the two cops.
They said that the incident that led to the killing of the policemen were not in the character of their people and, therefore, would assist police to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
The statement reads: “What happened on December 2, leading to the killing of some men of the police, is uncharacteristic of Oraifite culture and tradition.
“The acts are condemned without equivocation in its totality. The good and peace-loving people of Oraifite totally dissociate themselves from the acts of the criminals responsible for the abomination.
“The OIU, the Isi Obi of Oraifite, the Obis of Oraifite, the Quarter Chairmen and the entire people will provide full, unrestrained and active support to the police and other law enforcement agencies towards a fulsome, fair and effective investigation of this dastardly act in order to bring all those directly, and indirectly responsible to book.”
The community leaders went on to announce the banning of some groups in the community, including night masquerades whose activities, they believe might have contributed to the imbroglio.
“That, in view of the criminal activities of certain nefarious groups in the town, which acted as catalysts to the tragic events of December 2, the following secret societies, in all their variegated forms, manifestations and expressions in the town, are hereby proscribed and banished from operating in any manner or form whatsoever in Oraifite.
“These are Otu-Eke, Otu-Afor, Otu-wo, Otu-Orie and Otu-Ube. Otu Ayaka and all forms of night masquerades-whether practiced as part of the activities of rituals or any of the aforementioned groups or independent of any of the groups mentioned above. To this end, any Otu-Ube, Ayaka or such other form of masquerade seen anywhere in Oraifite shall be treated as an act of cultism, with the full implications of that characterization at law.
“Furthermore, anybody found to indulge in any of the proscribed practices shall be immediately apprehended and handed over to law enforcement agents for due prosecution as a criminal.
“Oraifite town and people are law-abiding and fully in support and respectful of all constituted authorities and laws, including the decision of the courts of the land for the time being in force. To this end, Oraifite people hereby declare that all groups proscribed by law or through the exercise by any constituted authority of government, whether state or federal, of legitimate powers of office, have no place of operation in Oraifite”, the statement added.