By CHARLES IWUOHA
A father of seven children, one Joseph Isu, has been murdered, and over a hundred buildings reportedly razed in Amata-Akpoha community, Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, over a land dispute between Amata-Akpoha and their neighbours, Ezeke- Amasiri community.
News Express gathered that eight persons sustained serious injuries in the said land dispute that has lasted over 40 years.
The chairman Ekpuke-Eto traditional council of Amata Akpoha community, Prof. John Igidi, made this known while briefing journalists in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital.
He said: “There are incidents that we never anticipated and have been avoiding over the years. The people we felt as our brothers and neighbours had last month September, killed an innocent man who went to his farm.
“He was rounded up and was gruesomely murdered, the young man was shouting according to eyewitnesses.
“When the matter was reported to the Nigerian police, the DPO and others who came, saw the blood, saw where they dragged him to, but to the glory of God, four days after, the body of the deceased was discovered floating on the other side of Akpoha River.
“After killing the young man, they put him inside a cellophane bag and hanged on three heavy stones, so that nobody will see his corpse. And we will be saying he is missing. The police that came helped our people to recover the young man’s body from the river.
“The question is what led to this killing? Government directed that nobody should go there, until the determination to resolve the matter. They left the disputed areas and came to where we are farming to threat the farmers.
“There was a woman who was caught alongside with this deceased, who hails from Amasiri by birth and she is of Akpoha by marriage. They took her to that place for confirmation. And the family confirmed before they released her.
“They threatened the woman that if she gives account of what happened, they will kill her and the entire family. We have told the police to safeguard that woman.
“We request that security personnel be deployed to the area, because since a week now, our people no longer go to farm. The security should secure the lives of our innocent farmers.
“We don’t want war, because we are not prepared for war. We don’t have all it takes to fight war. You see this killing that happened, there have been no arrest. The police have discovered the list of those who went to that farm that day.
Prof. Igidi, however, called on the Ebonyi State Government led by Engr. David Umahi to urgently bring permanent peace, and that “about eight persons have been injured”.
He frowned at the rate of destruction of their buildings by the neighbouring community, “After ten years, Ezeke Amasiri invaded Amata Akpoha and started destroying people houses.
“They equally destroyed farms/buildings of our people that is more than one hundred buildings, destroyed their farm crops. We are not strong to fight them back now. We reported to the state government, police and that made the government to set up a committee to look into it,” he stated.
In a swift reaction, the wife of the victim, Mrs. Florence Isu, who is a mother of seven children, called on the state government to seek justice for the murdered husband.
“My husband didn’t do anything and they killed him like a foul. They hang three stones on my husband after putting him inside a cellophane bag and throw him inside a river. My husband did not do anything to them.
“They killed my husband and left behind seven children. I have no one else to help me, except my husband whom we are struggling together to find what to eat and train that seven children.
“I and my husband did not do them anything. My husband went to the farm to look for what we will eat and they killed him like a goat, an innocent man. My husband didn’t do anything to Amasiri community, and Amasiri people killed my husband like a goat.
“I wouldn’t have seen my husband’s corpse if not that God made his lifeless body to float on the Amasiri River. I call on the government to help me seek justice for my husband, by ensuring that those who killed him are apprehended,” she stated.
Responding, the Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State Command, CP Philip Sule Maku, confirmed the incident, describing the incident as barbaric and inhuman.
He also urged the communities to remain calm and not to take laws into their hands as, “Police will ensure full scale investigation into the matter with a view to arresting and prosecuting the assailants,” he stated.