*Tension mounts as Ogbakiri natives flee Emohua
*They‘ve killed our son —Heartbroken couple
By DAVIES IHEAMNACHOR
OGBAKIRI- UNIDENTIFIED persons suspected to be youths of Rumuokani village, Ogbakiri community, Emohua Local Government Area, Rivers State, have allegedly assassinated and buried a 21-year-old commercial motorcyclist, Progress Onuekwa, an indigene of Rumuche community, in what appears to be retaliation for last month’s brutal murder of their kinsman, late Daniel Odike, a security guard with Emohua council.
Niger Delta Voice exclusively reported in its May 19 edition how heartless killers of Odike, a father of 12 children, pulled out his two eyes and cut-off his ear and the escalating tension between Ogbakiri and Emohua people over the incident.
We learned that last Friday, Onuekwa carried passengers to Ogbakiri community, but has not returned since then to tell his story. A source said efforts made so far to locate his whereabouts remain fruitless.
However, his father, Mr. Mbadiwe Emmanuel Onuekwa, told Niger Delta Voice that youths of Rumuokani have already killed his son, Progress.
He said has it on good authority that that his son had been killed, adding the concern of his family now was how to retrieve his remains.
The latest killing has ignited palpable tension between Ogbakiri and Emohua communities, as people from the two areas have put themselves at arm’s length.
Ogbakiri villagers resident in Emohua have taken flight back to their home for fear of attack.
The grief-stricken father stated, “Progress left the house on Friday, May 22. As an Okada rider, he did not return up to 9.00 pm, which was unusual. When I asked his sister where he was, she told me that Progress has not yet come back. I marvelled that Progress has not yet returned until that time. He has never stayed outside until such time.
“I have to call his number to find out where he was but his number was switched off. I took my motorcycle and went to one of his friends. I went to the Emohua Junction around 11.00 pm but I did not see him.
“In the morning, I have to call my relatives to tell them that I have not seen my son, Progress till now,” he asserted.
Visit to Ogbakiri
His words, “I went to Rumuji Police Station to make an entry with the police on the development. As I was coming back, my daughter called me that an Okada rider from our village came to tell them that he saw Progress carrying two passengers to Ogbakiri around 6:30 pm.
He said that he (Okada man) told him (Progress) to come back early because the day is getting dark and he said he would come back immediately he drops them, but till now we have not seen him.”
He continued, “Having waited for a long time, I decided to go to Ogbakiri myself. When I got to Ogbakiri at Okporoworo village, I saw a boy and I told him that I am searching for my son, an Okada rider who took some people to this community, yesterday (May 22) and till now he has not returned home.
“The boy responded that maybe Rumuokani people whom their brother was murdered at Emohua local government council secretariat may have revenged as they had threatened to kill an Emohua person, and that it is an Okada rider that will carry the cross. When he finished telling me all these, I asked him his name but he refused to tell me.
“He followed me to Ahai village in the same Ogbakiri, he called a boy we saw and told him the story. That one asked me if my son’s motorcycle has a black tank, I said yes. He asked if I want to see the boy, I said yes that I want to see him.
He said I should give him N2000 to buy recharge card and I gave him. He said I should give him my phone number, I gave him and asked him to give me his own, he said no that his phone is switched off.
“He insisted that he will call me that I should not bother getting his number. He said I should go and come back 12:00 pm that same Saturday. It was by this time it dawned on me they have killed my son,” he said.
According to him, “When I related what I saw to my people, our vigilante chairman called somebody at Ogbakiri also. By 12.00 pm, I went to Ogbakiri again to meet the youth leader whom our vigilante called. I saw him; he told me that he is just coming back from Rumuokani now. He said he gathered the youths and that he did not like what they are saying. He told me to go with him to see the youths again.”
Town hall confrontation
“When we got there, all the youths were already in their town hall, immediately they saw me, they started shouting at me, asking what am I looking for in their community, I told them that I am looking for my son, who came to Ogbakiri and has not returned till now. They asked why
I must come to Rumuokani direct.
“I said one of you told me that your youths threatened to revenge the death of a Rumuokani man at the council, now is it my son they want to use to revenge? They started shouting on me again as I requested to see my son,” he further narrated.
Mr. Onuekwa said, “When their youth chairman became angry and wanted to shout at them, they told him that what they did was what he taught them. The youth leader said he did not teach them to that extent.”
He added, “When the immediate past Caretaker Committee Chairman, CTC, of Emohua local government, Engr. Nnamdi Abah called me to find out what is happening, the same youths came to collect my phone because they do not want Abah to come with police because he knows about the case, which is why they never wanted me to take the call.”
Onuekwa said, “Emohua local government council said it does not want problem but that they would wait for the police to conduct their investigation. They have warned the Emohua people that no one should touch any Ogbakiri person nor make problem with them, but that the council will follow the matter accordingly to a reasonable end.”
Onuekwa insists Ogbakiri youths killed my son
Responding to comment that it was too hasty for him to have made conclusion on the death of his son and the killers, he retorted, “It is Ogbakiri people that killed my son because he took passengers to their community. And the passengers he took were Ogbakiri boys because they were speaking Ogbakiri language.”
He said, “The Ogbakiri people have killed my son that went to their community. I do not have power to do anything, it is only God that will fight for me and I do not want anybody to go and fight for me, let God fight for me.”
He asserted, “The police said they will send message to the Royal Highness of Ogbakiri that they should produce the boy. The DPO of Rumuji Police Station has sent message to the King of Ogbakiri and the King has set up a committee to find out what happened. However, from the news I am getting, my son is not alive. They have killed him. We have not seen even the motorcycle.”
Evil boys plucked my eyes- Grieving mother
Mother of the missing boy, Mrs. Cordelier Onuekwa said she required help from relevant government and nongovernmental organizations to bring the killers of her son to book.
In her words, “I have been in pain ever since my son has not been seen. Since then, I have been restless; I have not been eating or sleeping. My son is a quiet boy that does not like problem. He believes in hustling on his own to make ends meet.
“He learnt Glass Molders Pottery, GMP, job and he had been running around to get money that he will use to buy tools for his work, which is why he started driving Okada.
“I saw my son on Saturday morning, till today, Wednesday, I have not seen him, my plight as a mother is high and I cannot bear the pain. These evil boys have plucked out my eyes. My son promised me that he will give me N5000 that I will use for my mother’s day celebration coming up this Sunday, but now they have captured and killed him,” she lamented.
Similarly, the elder brother of Progress, Mr. Gift Onuekwa, who said he lived with him, said he was the quietest boy in the family and admired by all, regretting that his killers decided to use him as an object of revenge.
He said a reliable source in Ogbakiri disclosed to him that they killed Progress same night he entered the community, adding that the remains were later thrown into the river with blocks tied around his body.
Emohua monarch alerts police
The paramount ruler of Emohua community, HRM Eze Vincent Okor, had summoned the Emohua Council of Chiefs and Elders to deliberate on the matter and had lodged complain officially with the police.
After the murder of Odike, last month, some angry youths of Ogbakiri stormed the Emohua council secretariat, allegedly destroyed several properties and threatened to revenge their brother’s death.
The immediate past CTC chair, Engr. Abah, brought the matter under control with his interface with the deceased family. However, Ogbakiri youths remained inconsolable, despite his assurance that police would investigate their brother’s death and the council would bear the cost of his burial.
A relative of the late Odike, Mr. Chinedu Odike, told Niger Delta Voice that his family condemned the act, saying they did not send anybody to kill on their behalf.