Residents of Afikpo North Local Government Area (LGA) in Ebonyi State have questioned the silence of the police and the Ebonyi State government with regards to the different forms of crime, especially killings and maiming, that have enveloped the area believed to be the second most developed city after Abakaliki, the state capital.
Just last month, Azubuike Inya, a timber dealer in Amankwo, a community in Afikpo, was murdered by members of the community while trying to intervene in an argument involving other community members now at large.
Also, this week has seen a resurgence in cult related fracas, which has led to the maiming and alleged killing of many residents, especially cultists allegedly engaging in supremacy battle.
The situation has left residents living in fear of the unknown and sleeping with one open, especially with the discovery of the corpse of a spare parts dealer from Ndibe, Emmanuel Eni, whose body was abandoned at Ugwuegu and who is believed to have been murdered by yet-to-be-identified people and for yet to be known reasons.
Taking the above scenario into consideration, residents of Afikpo have appealed to Umahi to live up to his oath of office of saving lives and property in the state by declaring a state of emergency in the LGA as soon as possible.
In an exclusive interview with Blueprint, a resident, Patrick Kelechi Ogbonnia, revealed that Afikpo is no longer safe for people to live in and called on the state governor, Engr. David Nweze Umahi, to, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency in the LGA; in order to arrest the situation.
He said: “Umahi needs to send military trucks to all corners of Afikpo immediately. The slaughtered guy was attacked by more than 20 cultists. They scattered his door and slaughtered him. When he was taken to Mater, they rejected him and said he should be taken to Abakaliki. He must have even died by now because his intestines were gushing out and he was a gruesome sight to behold for the alarmed hospital nurses.
“Right now hot spots in different cities are even safer and calmer than Afikpo of today. With the cult clashes and killing of innocent residents, Afikpo is daily becoming a dangerous place to live in and it’s going to get worse by the day. Only a state of emergency will do. Let Umahi declare a state of emergency in Afikpo and station the military and police officers to arrest the station otherwise more innocent people will be killed by blood-tasty cultists.”
Similarly, another resident of the LGA, Mrs Margaret Ogeri Oko, said that she couldn’t sleep a wink Tuesday night as she continually heard footsteps and mutterings behind her window and wasn’t surprised to hear that her neighbour has been hospitalised because of an attack by cultists.
“Right now, I am discussing with my husband for us to abandon Afikpo and travel to somewhere safe. If not for the interstate ban that has compounded our problems, we would have travelled out of Ebonyi, so we may have to travel to Abakaliki. Afikpo is no longer safe for anyone to live in and I appeal to Governor Umahi to intervene.
“Our politicians are said to be the sponsors of cultists in Afikpo, but this is not an election period, so I don’t understand what the cult war is all about. Apart from cultists killing themselves, other murders have been going on which should not be overlooked. Let the governor and police not keep silent at this time. They must intervene to save our lives and property,” she said.