Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Tension and fear now pervade the Isiama Afaraukwu country home of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu following a fracas that has left the President General of the community, Chief Ikechukwu Ndubueze hospitalized and a vehicle burnt. The community leaders are however accusing a lady, Ms Ogala Doris of being responsible for the attack on the President General and vowed she must leave the community.
Bone of contention
At the centre of the crisis was the reconstruction of the road that passed through Nnamdi Kanu’s home in Afaraukwu, which the natives said was awarded by the state government to ease traffic during the burial of their late monarch, Eze Israel Kanu, and his wife, Ugoeze Sally Kanu, but the project could not be completed before February 14 when the late monarch and his wife were buried.
However, the contractor was said to have returned to site last week with the intention of completing the road project but allegedly met a stiff resistance from Ms Ogala. As a result, Chief Ndubueze was invited to intervene but allegedly ambushed by hired thugs who inflicted injuries on him.
Narrating his ordeal, Ndubueze who spoke from his hospital bed at the Accident and Emergency unit of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia where he was receiving treatment following injuries he sustained during the attack said he escaped death by the whiskers.
Ndubueze said he had received a report that Doris was obstructing the on-going road reconstruction in the community and went to the scene to see things for himself. He said Doris had blocked a section of the road that passed through her family house with loads of sand and resisted the contractor handling the road project from dropping chippings at the junction close to her house.
“Even when I advised her not to obstruct the road project, she insisted that no chippings should be dropped close to her house until she was through with her own project”, he alleged.
The President General said instead of heeding his advice, the lady descended on him with her thugs who attacked him with machete, shovel and stones, leaving him injured before he was rescued by members of the community.
Ndubueze alleged that “Doris has suddenly become a thorn in the flesh of the community without regard for anybody. She has become troublesome, bragging that she is very close to top police officers and governors and can do anything she likes in the community and get away with it”.
Speaking on the incident, one of the Village Heads, Chief Ben Ohaeri, said that Doris deliberately wanted to disrupt the community road project apparently to prove her “powerful influence”, adding that after the President General was rushed to the hospital, Doris’ brother blocked the junction leading to their building with a mini bus which was later burnt in the night apparently to create the impression that they were attacked by the community. “Isiama Afaraukwu is peace -loving; we accept strangers but this can never happen in Item where she comes from; so, we want her to leave our community”.
The contractor handling the road project, Maureen Uzochukwu said that trouble started on Wednesday when their trucks brought chippings from Abakaliki, and wanted to drop them at the junction close to Doris house, but she resisted the attempt.
Uzochukwu who also claimed to be a victim of the attack said she sought the intervention of Chief Ndubueze who promptly came to the area but was allegedly attacked by Doris and her thugs. The contractor said she had notified the state Commissioner for Works as well as that of Information who assured her that government would handle the situation.
IPOB talks tough
Meanwhile, Nnamdi Kanu’s younger brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu, has warned that IPOB should not be brought into the fracas. In an interview, he said contrary to claims by Doris, IPOB had nothing to do with the matter, and warned her from discrediting the peaceful movement through blackmail. “I noticed heavy police presence in the community and inquired from one of the personnel on a road block who told me they received a report that IPOB was planning an attack in the community. It is people like Doris who write fictitious petitions against IPOB to blackmail it, she should retrace her steps before it’s too late; she is too small for IPOB”. Kanu maintained that Doris must leave the community and to stop creating problem in the area.
When Doris was contacted for her reaction, she feigned ignorance of the development. “I don’t understand what you are saying”, she said and switched off her phone. The Abia Police Public Relations Officer, Geoffrey Ogbonna who spoke to Saturday Sun on phone said he was out of Umuahia on official duty and had not been briefed about the incident.