- Security measures are absent in the “oil-rich” community, except in areas directly affiliated with oil companies operating in the region.
In a distressing turn of events, over 100 women from Ogwuaniocha community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State took to the streets on Thursday to protest against the escalating violence perpetrated by sinister gunmen in their region.
The women, predominantly in their mid-50s and older, decried the “incessant killings, abductions, and destruction of properties” orchestrated by a group operating under the name “Lion Squad.”
According to the protesters, their community has been overrun by these gunmen, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 20 lives and leaving numerous others with varying degrees of injuries. The assailants have also been accused of abducting their traditional leader, Igwe Oliver Nnaji, whose whereabouts remain unknown since his abduction in 2021.
Nkemdilim Onwurah, a prominent leader among the protesting women, highlighted that the attacks intensified recently, compelling many residents to flee their homes. She criticized the lack of governmental intervention, pointing out that despite being an oil-rich community, security measures were absent, except in areas directly affiliated with the oil company operating in the region.
The women revealed that these gunmen, seeking refuge from crackdowns in neighbouring communities, have found sanctuary in their midst. They identified specific locations like “Longinus Camp,” “Ose Mkpuruosisu,” “Onuiyi Camp,” and “Usham Ogwuaniocha Annex” where the criminals are believed to be operating.
The ongoing violence has severely disrupted normal life, rendering schools and markets non-operational and driving families into hiding in fear for their lives. Cecilia Okonkwo, another protester, highlighted the grim reality that their community has become a battleground since the discovery of oil.
She recounted the horrific incident where the gangsters invaded the Igwe’s palace, setting it ablaze and abducting the monarch. Expressing deep sorrow, Ngozi Freda emphasized the urgent need for intervention, urging Governor Chukwuma Soludo to address their plight promptly.
When approached for comment, the state police public relations officer, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, stated his lack of awareness regarding the situation in Ogwuaniocha community, underscoring the pressing need for authorities to address this alarming issue immediately.
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