Protest erupted yesterday over the gruesome murder of a 45- year-old councillor representing Echara Ward 2 Okposi, Mr Ogbonnaya Ugwu by suspected gunmen in Okposi community in Ohaozara local government area of Ebonyi State.
Furious by the killing of the father of three, youths and women of the area took to the streets to protest what they described as the rising insecurity, political killings and unabated murder of innocent people in the state in the last six months.
The protesters who carried palm fronds and chanting mourning songs described the murder of the councillor as one death too many and called on the state government and the security agencies in the state to live up to their responsibility adding that hoodlums are gradually overrunning the state.
One of the protesters and a community leader, Mr Christopher Ajah, expressed regret that despite the heavy presence of security personnel in the state, hoodlums still struck without challenge from the security personnel deployed in the state.
Similarly, the Ebonyi State chapter of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Campaign Council has expressed sadness over the murder of Ugwu, popularly known as SPACO.
In a statement signed by the director, media and publicity, APGA Campaign Council, Mr Charles Otuh, he said Ugwu was killed around 10 pm Saturday as he was returning from his shop, a drinking joint known in Okposi as “Angle 90”.
“The deceased, Ugwu was a development-oriented and liberal minded community leader, who was well respected in Okposi and beyond. Sources in Okposi who had earlier confirmed the incident to newsmen in Abakaliki yesterday morning, said Ugwu was accosted by the gunmen around Okposi Court Area junction.
“Media reports have also disclosed that the killing, which is the second in the same area in less than one month sparked protests within the community”.
“We at Odohzia Ebonyi Campaign Council strongly condemn this, yet another senseless killing of a vibrant Ebonyi youth. It is very sad that just few weeks to the last election, a vibrant youth, Mr. Ogbonnaya Agwu was also gunned down by yet to be identified gunmen in the same court area, Okposi Okwu in Ohaozara local government area of the state,” he said.
APGA Campaign Council sympathised with the deceased family and charged the government and security agencies to ensure the apprehension of the killers of Ugwu.
“APGA charges the state government whose primary responsibility remains the protection of lives and property in partnership with security agencies to unravel the killers of these citizens.
“We are aware that there have been several reports that the many untrained personnel who operated as members of the disbanded Ebubeagu militia have been responsible for several shootings especially at night in Okposi and many other communities in Ebonyi where they shoot to show force, threaten or harass innocent citizens and road users.
“No stone should be left unturned to apprehend and bring to book, this murderous gang that has been terrorizing Okposi, Ohaozara and the entire state. We have also consistently raised the alarm over the influx of ‘fake’ military and police officers into the state which has heightened tension and anxiety among Ebonyians,” he said.