By Ruth Oginyi
There is tension in Ngbo community, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State following an alleged killing of a Naval officer from Benue State by suspected hoodlums in the area.
Report has it that the Naval officer serving in Calabar, Cross River State missed his way while traveling to Benue State en route Ohaukwu-Effium road.
Earlier, was a trending notice on missing Naval officer with his picture which was trending on social media platforms.
It read, “Navy officer, David Igbashal has been declared missing. Until missing, he was working with Naval Command at Calabar. The family and his office lost contact with him on 23rd Feb when he was travelling between Calabar to Enugu.”
“Any information about him should contact 08063238843. Please let’s make this go viral until the Young Officer is found please kindly share and share on all social media. God bless!!!”
Citizens’ Advocate gathered that the development, allegedly led to the arrest of some prominent stakeholders in Ohaukwu including a female political appointee by the Department of the State Security Services. Some of the arrested stakeholders including the female appointee have been released but some are still in detention.
Consequently, Governor of Ebonyi state, Engr. David Umahi, on Monday gave security operatives in the state seven days ultimatum to find alive or dead the Naval officer who is reportedly missing in Ngbo, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the State.
He gave the directive during a security meeting with security agencies and stakeholders from Ohaukwu Local Government where the Naval officer allegedly got missing.
It was alleged that the Naval officer was spotted with RAV4 jeep with Benue plate number, he was suspected to hail from Agila, Ado Local Government Area in Benue state and was going home through Ngbo a community which had been into war with Benue people.
That when the people opened his car, they saw a gun and became apprehensive and immediately contacted the coordinator of the area who ordered them to take the young man to the State capital.
When contacted, the Chairman of Ohaukwu Council Area, Barrister Clement Odah said he has set up a search committee to look for the missing Naval officer, he debunked the allegations that he was arrested.
He said, “We had a security meeting today with His Excellency and he directed security agencies to make sure they find the naval officer within seven days.”
“In line with that directive, I met with stakeholders of Ohaukwu and we set up a search team that will work shoulder to shoulder with the security agencies.”
“They will comb all the nooks and crannies of Ohaukwu and will not rest until the security personnel is found dead or alive.”
“He was seen with RAV4 jeep and as I’m talking to you now a burnt vehicle has been found, although security personnel are investigating to know which car it is because it burnt beyond recognition.”
“The Officer is missing and we are doing all we can to make sure he is found just as the governor has instructed”, he added.
Recall that Ngbo people in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State and Agila people of Ado Local Government Area of Benue state, have been in a protracted boundary war.
The war has led to the killings of many, both young and old in the two communities, while properties worth millions of naira have been lost.
Ebonyi State Government had also set up a committee to work out modalities for the boundary demarcation by the National Boundary Commission.
Meanwhile, the people of Ngbo, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State has raised alarm over what they described as invasion of the community by armed men who appeared in military uniform.
A resident of Ngbo community, who gave his name as Agbo Ogala while speaking, alleged that the invasion of the armed men has added to the fears in the area and forced the villagers to desert the community.
Ogala alleged that the development has left them with no option than to vacate their homes and squat in neighboring villages.
Ogala said, “We were thrown into panic and confusion when on Tuesday, 25th February, 2020 and Thursday, 27th February, 2020 we saw a number of armed military men surveying our village with fleet of Army Hilux Vans, and you know the Agila people of Benue State just attacked us a day ago. Two days after that, Thursday to be précised, the Army came again and carried out the same suspicious parade and survey. So we became confused on what could have brought the Army without notice, not even the Police. That means something to us.”
“We are worried that after the survey visit of the Army, the Agila Militia came and attacked us again, this time in a very severe manner.”
“And I must tell you that we are worried over the coincidence of invasion of the Army and attacks by the Agila militia before and after the invasion”, Ogala lamented.
A Community Leader from Umuogudu Akpu and the Chairman, Vigilante Committee, Mr. Esheya Attah condemned the recent offensive attacks on Ngbo by suspected Agila warlords and the invasion by the suspected military men.
According to him, while the Ngbo people are praying for the peace process, their Agila neighbours have sustained attacks on the people leading to loss of many lives and properties.
Mr. Attah further alleged that the Ngbo people have received earlier information that top military officers from Agila are making plans to use the military machineries to launch attacks against Ngbo people.
He alleged that the soldiers that paraded around Umuogudu Akpu Community and other parts of Ngbo last Tuesday and Thursday consecutively gives credence to the earlier information as it could be part of the arrangements to study ground before unleashing mayhem on the people.
“This recent attacks on Ngbo people took place about one day before the military came and another one came two days after they came. And these recent attacks were quite unusual, highly coordinated, such that we are thinking that something is wrong somewhere.”
“This is a war zone and you know this type of action cannot be taken for granted. They have much strength in the Army and we think they want to fight us with what they have”, Mr. Attah added.
He called on the government and the Military High Command to investigate this planned attack to avoid further loss of lives.
The Traditional Ruler of Umuogudu Akpu Commuinity, HRH Eze Godwin Ogba expressed displeasure over the invasion and the accompanying attacks by the Agila people before and after the military invaded the community.
He lamented that the people of Ngbo are now sleeping with one eye closed and one eye opened because of the development of suspected military involvement in the Ngbo-Agila communal clash.
He called on the military hierarchy to caution their men from Agila area not to bring bad name to the Army which is known for protecting the innocent civilians and not to fight them.