… As Chairman Refuses To Vacate Office
By Esther Nworie
The people of Enyim Agalegu-Edukwu Community, Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, has called on the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, to save them from a looming crisis in the community over threats to their lives by the community’s Caretaker Committee led by Mr. Anthony Itumo.
The committee was set up to oversee the affairs of the area by the immediate past chairman of Ikwo Local Government Area, Elder John Nnabo.
According to the petition to the Deputy Governor, and also to the Ebonyi State Police command, Department of State Security Services, the Caretaker Chairman Ikwo Local Government Area, Elder Steve Orogwu and copied to Elder Francis Igwe, the Anthony Itumo led Caretaker Committee was meant to serve for 3 months but it is now June, 6th month of the year and he has refused to vacate the office and give room for fresh election.
They also accused Itumo (aka Dauda the couple planner), of refusing to account for a whooping sum of N12 million accruing from a mining company operating in the community and called for the freezing of the community bank account.
In the petition tagged “Embezzlement, stealing of public funds, looming crisis in Enyim Agalegu-Edukwu Opeke communities of Ndufu Alike in Ikwo Local Government Area; Appeal to Freeze First Bank Account Number: 2029894240, belonging to Enyim/Edukwu Opeke Agalegu Federated, and any other bank account(s) being operated by anybody in the name of the communities, pending the conclusive resolution of all outstanding grievances in respect of the burning issues”, the people alleged that Itumo was imposed on the community as their leader as he was not capable of piloting the affairs of the community.
The people said threats to their lives and properties by the caretaker committee in the community have reached an unprecedented level and that the Deputy Governor who is their son with the support of security agents, can save them.
The letter signed by some members of the community including John Mbam, John Ekechi, Fabian Itumo, Sunday Okey, Elijah Ugboka, the youth president of Enyim community, the community called for a general election in the area to enable them elect their leaders to give peace a chance, adding that the tenure of the caretaker committee currently governing them had elapsed with the committee members holding tight to power.
Part of the letter read: “We write you as a concerned stakeholder and indigene of the above communities informing you of the crimes being committed by the Mr. Anthony Itumo led committee using your name and office as well as the name of Chief F.E. Igwe against our communities, which has led to brewing/looming crisis that may degenerate into physical conflict and combat, if not stopped by you, on whose authority, the said offences are been committed.
“It is pertinent to inform you that from the 29th of February, 2020 till date, we have received above N12 million from First Patriot Nigeria Limited and we are demanding a full account of the monies from Mr. Itumo’s led committee.”
The people further explained that the caretaker committee imposed and foisted on them on 29th February, 2020, has expired on 29th May, 2020, but Anthony Itumo refused to leave the office claiming the deputy authorized him to remain in the office.
They appealed to Igwe to take-over the affairs of the community to save them from the hands of the caretaker committee of the community.
When contacted on phone, the accused Caretaker chairman, Anthony Itumo, denied the allegations saying that nobody have asked him to step aside for fresh election.
“I was inaugurated in January, unfortunately there was problem, Covid-19 came, and nobody ever said I should vacate office. It is the past leadership of the community that was accused of embezzling money. We petitioned them and a committee was set by Elder John Nnabo now we want them to come and read the white-paper and they started making trouble.
“They embezzled money; very soon you will hear the report of the white paper.
They are just rumoring for nothing, even the villagers are looking for them. Some of them have run away. I want this reporter that called me to visit my community when the white paper will be read”. He said.