[From CHINEDU NWAFOR, Abakaliki]
Founder of the Gospel Fire Assembly, Pastor John Onu, and a yet to be identified native of Ebyia Unuphu village, have lost their lives following civil unrest that broke out in Ebyia Unuphu village, the country home of the Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Chief Emmanuel Nwangele.
The incident took place between Sunday night and Monday morning of September 20, 2021.
Pastor John Onu, it was gathered was hit by stray bullets, while observing his morning devotion inside his room, in a-3 storey building at Hatchery, Nkaliki road, Abakaliki.
The police stray bullets hit the pastor while trying to shut his windows following a rampage caused within the neighborhood by irate youths who came from Ebyia Unuphu village to attack a guest house, belonging to one Chukwudi Onyibe, Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Abakaliki local government, Hon. Emmanuel Nwangele on Internally Generated Revenue in the local government.
The security operatives were said to be shooting to scare the irate youths when the bullet reportedly hit the Pastor on the upper side of his chest and pierced through his back.
It was gathered that the Youths of Ebyia Upnuhu village had gone on rampage, burning houses in the area after a native of the village was beaten to death allegedly by men of Ebube Agu security outfit invited by Chukwudi Onyibe came to make some arrest in the area.
It was further gathered that the Council Chairman’s house and that of his Aide, Mr Chukwudi Onyibe were set ablaze in the village.
The rampaging youths also attempted to attack Abakaliki local government headquarters, but were dispersed by the security agents.
Chairman of the local government, Hon. Emmanuel Nwangele, confirmed the incident to Journalists in Abakaliki.
He said, “I was about to go to the village that night to calm the youths but some people around told me it was late that time; that it was better in the morning. It was after that that I was informed that somebody died and that they are rampaging to the extent that they came to one Bosco Guest House and they were dispersed by the police. They went back home and set ablaze houses.
“Swift reaction was that I was called that they also moved to my own house and also set it ablaze, destroying so many things. I said why? Because I don’t know the genesis of the problem. Late in the night, they also went back to that Bosco’s hotel. According to information, they were even trying to come to Abakaliki local government headquarters but security agencies prevented them. Then this morning, they repeated.
“The owner of the guest house, Bosco, Chukwudi Onyibe is my SA on IGR. But information reaching me said that they conveyed Ebubeagu people to go and arrest somebody who stole something and on the way to that place, they had a clash with somebody who overtook their vehicle and from there, they had some squabbles and it was led by one soldier from that our village who was posted outside but returned to the village.
“It was one of the Ebube Agu boys that they said that had encounter with them and Bosco wasn’t even with them, he was on the steering. This was what I was told, I don’t even know anything about it.”
When contacted, the Assistant Police Public Relations Officer of the State Police Command, ASP Philip Levi also confirmed the incident but said everything had been brought under control.
It was gathered that some persons have been arrested in connection to the incident.