The Oruku community in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State was thrown into chaos on Wednesday morning as hoodlums suspected to be loyal to some powerful individuals prone to war with neighbouring communities razed 10 houses.
gathered the houses were burnt between December 25 and Wednesday, December 28, 2022 morning.
Among the houses burnt on Tuesday and the early hours of Wednesday morning included the palace of the late traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Emmanuel Mba, who was killed by paid operatives of the Special Weapons and Tactical Squad on December 26, 2020 by some powerful community leaders.
Others affected are the house of the former local government chairman, Hon. Ejike Ani, and his younger brother, Agozie Ani.
It was also gathered that one man whose identity is yet to be ascertained was equally killed during the burning of the houses.
One of the victims, Agozie Ani, in a message sent to our correspondent, decried the burning of his house, adding he lost everything to the inferno.
He said, “Over 10 houses were burnt in Oruku from 25th December 2022, including my own, Hon. Ejike Ani and the late Igwe Emmanuel Mba’s houses.
“They also shot and killed one man on Christmas Day. Our crime was supporting Gov. Ugwuanyi’s peace deal on Oruku – Umuode crises and he abandoned us,” Ani lamented.
Meanwhile, two videos showed burning houses said to be that of the Agozie Ani and another showing a burnt house said to belong to Ejike Ani.
The arsonists were overheard calling them unprintable names.
In one of the video seen by our correspondent, one of the arsonists was overheard saying “this is the house of idiot Ejike Ani, the devil that bring ruin to Oruku by joining the weakling called Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. This is his house – this is the boys’ quarter, this is also his many building.”
“His house should also look like his own group. We have built him a new house so that his house will look like his own group. He is a human being. This one is the second building. He is the one that causes all the problems we have in Oruku. We have built a story building for him now because the bungalow doesn’t fit him any longer as the former local government chairman, who is destroying the Oruku.”
In a second video showing a burning bungalow, a background voice said “Agozie Ani this is your own house. We have built two storey building for you. This is the house of the vengeance. This is your home since you feel that there was no strength, we want to show you that there’s strength. This is the beginning, you will stay outside to come and implement your governor’s peace. You and others have been boasting to deal with us but we are already dealing with you and your useless governor.”
Meanwhile, the renewed attack followed a judicial panel set up by the Enugu government to look into the Oruku – Umuode communal conflict.
However, the findings and recommendations of the panel had since been submitted to the state government but not much has been heard about its implementation.
No fewer than 12 prominent people from the community who supported Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s peace initiative had been killed and over 100 houses razed down since December 26, 2020.
The murderers and arsonists were believed to be working for some powerful personalities including a military general involved in the protracted communal conflict in the area in the last two decades.
When contacted on the telephone, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, said “I don’t have information on this”.